Why Me, Lord?

A problem with the truth is that it often hurts. There are truths that exist whether you acknowledge them or not. We are stuck in a difficult situation due to the export, in mass, of our manufacturing jobs. What would have been a gradual transition from an industrial economy is now an emergency on what the next economy will be. The post-industrial economy will look and feel quite different, but no one is exactly sure what that will be. You cannot lose 800,000 jobs per month without funding mass retraining programs.

Another item is the false economies that have been built by individuals and companies. The NFL is a perfect example. The Green Bay Packers are owned by the people of Green Bay; therefore, the revenue is redistributed within the community. The other teams’ revenue is given to an individual or group of individuals. Since the economy of the NFL is driven by the ticket-holders, it would seem reasonable that the revenue should be used for community improvements. There are several countries that use the revenue from their natural resources, such as oil and minerals, to help their population through salaries, healthcare, services, and infrastructure. Where other countries allow those resources to be owned by individual companies or people, thus creating a false economy that enriches the few at the cost of the many.

Let’s take healthcare as an example, from a community standpoint. Your city and county are paying out huge amounts of money to insurance companies, to insure their employees. My city budgets $10,000 per employee for insurance premiums, yet some of the salaries are barely above $20,000 per year. The insurance company gets ½ of the salary of the worker each year. If the city and county pay out more than the cost of running a hospital for a year, why not run a hospital that accepts all patients and is not focused on recouping the costs.

Although the millennials seem to be more difficult to deal with, it is the fact that they are more aware than past generations that make them seem more difficult. This is where leadership must conform to the people and the situation in order to succeed.  You expect them to be content even though they can instantly find information showing the pay disparity in companies, possibly even the numbers for the company in which they work. How do you motivate someone who knows that in order to make one year salary of a C-class officer, they would have to work 400 years? There is no way that individuals should be valued so little and this would be one of the many reasons behind why millennials seem difficult.

Now the search begins to find out what a post-industrial economy and society will look like. The information age has been offered up, but it would be quite difficult to make this transition. Information does not work the same as commodities. If I show up with two apples and you buy two apples from me, then I have no apples. If you have information to sell, such as the alphabet, and I buy this information from you, then we both have a copy of the alphabet. In a capitalist, consumer society, the value of information would decrease each time it is shared. I believe this would also create information silos that exists somewhat today, due to the competitive nature of capitalism. This will limit what could otherwise be achieved through open-source development of ideas and projects.

As the threat of austerity measures looms in the future for the US, we struggle with the costs and benefits of deficit spending. What we have seen in recent past has proven that austerity measures in Greece have devastated the country and destroyed around 40% of GDP (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/greece/gdp). This seems to be the course the US will be taking soon (https://www.lee.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=2DE3167A-8F16-4946-8371-DEF84902D2E7).

Local markets are going to need to look more at the total costs of business on the local economy and ecology. The tax burden may need to be redone to reflect the costs and benefits of the business to the community. A local contractor, for example, brings in more to the community than they take out through the product they produce and the wages they pay. In contrast, an employer that only pays minimum wage and is merely a middle man of inventory could possibly cost the community through the increased needs of the minimum wage employees, in order to provide for their family. If the federal government cuts money to the states, then the states cut money to cities and counties, then local governments are going to be put in an awkward position. At a time when the people need an increase in help, the local government will be limited due to lack of funds.