Many drillers don't have their money in the stock market, but many of their customers do, Wayne Nash says

Is airport security any better? Who knows? There certainly is more of it.
By the time you read this, I hope things have improved, but, right now the stock market is below the post 9/11 low, and the war on terror drags on with little result. The rocket scientists in Congress are using this as an excuse to dip in our wallets more, while whittling away at our rights, and the airlines are strip-searching grannies in wheel chairs, using non-English speaking people who probably would be better suited to asking the passengers if they'd like fries with that. I reckon they figure if they take granny's knitting needles, she won't knit an Afghan! Thanks to the panic mode we've gone into, these people now are on the federal payroll and, thus, got a big raise (at our expense) and can never be fired. (This viewpoint might not all be accurate, but it is the public perception.)

It's enough to make me wonder how this will affect the average driller. I don't have much money in the stock market - I like my investments to be close enough to put my hand on - but a lot of my customers do. They use their discretionary money from their mutual funds to buy things like irrigation wells. This will probably slack off some like it did last fall. The upside: since the market is down, people are looking for places to put their money. Housing starts are up and that's good for all of us who drill house wells. People will put money in improvements in their real estate, so that may offset some of the downturn. It seems like the key is to keep our productivity up and charge enough for our work to weather the slow times. There's nothing like a broken rig to ruin a schedule - when we should have been doing regular maintenance.

Looks like supply house prices are going up pretty sharply lately, and this means that if we don't keep up, we'll be taking a pay cut. I don't know about you, but I, for one, haven't worked 36 years in this business to take a pay cut.

One thing is for sure - we can't depend on the government to help much. When I watch the news, there's always some congressman or senator being interviewed, telling us how they will "fix" big business. Check out their records - most of them have never even had a job, let alone figured out how to make a profit. Heck, about half of them (you know which half) think profit is a four letter word that deserves to be punished. Now they are going to tell America how to run a business! Let's see - so far they have given us such spectacular examples as Amtrak, which can't even show a profit with continuous bailouts; or the post office, which overcharges me to lose the bills I send out, but delivers enough junk mail to bog a 300-Hp paper shredder; and, best of all, that ponzi scheme they call Social Security. Note that federal employees are exempt from Social Security and have their own retirement program, which actually seems to work. Of course, they pretty much knew how Social Security worked, so they left themselves out of it - it's only for the unwashed masses.

If we don't watch 'em like hawks, they'll raise taxes, pile on regulations, erode the freedoms we fought for and keep telling us what a wonderful job they're doing. In order to pull this off, they've got to convince us to send all our money to Washington, so they can send back what we "need." I think a guy named Lenin, (not John) tried this, with disastrous results a while back. Some of this is our own fault - hey, the Alzheimer's vote is a big block in Florida. One of those old dead guys they don't teach about in history anymore said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." The point: don't get so tied up in your business that you lose everything. If we don't keep a short leash on 'em, they'll run wild with our wallets and our freedom.

On the bright side: As I write this, once again drillers have saved the world, or at least nine miners in Pennsylvania (which, for them, is just as good). We all should be proud of the drillers who busted their butts for days to do something that had never been done before, and on short notice, no less. My hat's off to those guys. I was in Myrtle Beach at the South Atlantic Jubilee a while back, and I understand that a sizable collection was taken up for them - well deserved. And maybe a little name recognition this year at the National Ground Water Association show in Las Vegas wouldn't hurt either.

Sorry I missed y'all last month; the summer season is keeping us pretty busy.