Sunday, August 28, 2016

Complaining: The Drug of the Millennial

It seems each generation has an “addiction”.  For my grandfather’s generation it was smoking, for my parent’s generation it was drugs, and for Millennials it appears to be complaining.  Like all addictions, complaining began with an enabler: lack of discipline, participation trophies and, most of all, the idea of not just starting on an even playing field, but requiring an equality in outcome no matter the input effort.

We now have a generation that is addicted to complaining. You didn’t get your way? Complain. You didn’t get the grade you wanted on an assignment in school? Complain. You lost a game? Complain.

Millennials have forsaken hard work, dedication and respect as the tools to move through society and gain prosperity.  For too many, complaining has become a route to reap rewards from the ambition of others.

According to surveys, Millennial's number one issue in the workplace is fairness.  But fairness is in the eyes of the beholder.  Translated, it can be taken to mean, if I get my way it is fair, otherwise it is not.  This concept of fairness is juvenile and, as working adults, needs to be left in the childhood sandbox where it started.

We subscribe to the notion of equal opportunity that removes artificial barriers.  But beyond that, prosperity takes tremendous individual effort, risk and some luck!  Try scaling a mountain.  The ones that make it to the top all started with the equal opportunity to try.  But on the path from the base to the summit, weather, skill, strength and determination make the difference between those who make it up the mountain and those who do no…fairness has nothing to do with it.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Presidential Policies – A Non Sequitur

A non sequitur is a conclusion that does not follow from its premise.  For example, summer is a wonderful time which makes dogs better than cats.  The premise, summer, is not connected in any logical way to making dogs better than cats.  Presidential policies too are replete with non sequiturs.

Donald Trump wants to stem the flow of foreign trade with China and Mexico.  He derides these countries for taking American jobs.  He degrades the “stupid” bureaucrats in Washington for making bad trade deals, like NAFTA, and scolds Carrier Corporation for moving its manufacturing to Mexico.  For Trump, NAFTA is the premise that caused Carrier to move - this is a non sequitur.  Carrier moved because of the excessive tax and regulatory burdens imposed on it by the government.  NAFTA just made Mexico a potential place to move to, but NAFTA was not the premise for the move.

Hillary Clinton would cure anemic economic growth with, among other big government programs, infrastructure spending to the tune of about $55 billion a year.  Her premise is that government spending has a multiplier and any government spending will increase demand.  This is a non sequitur.  President Obama and the Congressional Democrats allocated close to a trillion dollars in economic “stimulus” in 2009 – with a portion dedicated to infrastructure – yet their touted “recovery summer” of 2010 did not materialized: unemployment spiked over 10% when they assured us that the stimulus would hold unemployment to under 7%, and workforce participation sank to the lowest level since the 1970’s.  So the premise that government stimulus will spur demand and accelerate economic growth does not follow.

Partisans will cheer their candidates and not stop to question policies they accept as dogma.  However, non-partisans need to be clear minded and question the premise before being agreeable to the policy.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Poison of Populous Partisans

On August 1st Hillary Clinton held a rally in Omaha, NE.  In attendance and on-stage to promote Clinton’s campaign was renowned investor Warren Buffet.  One of the items Mrs. Clinton focused on was increasing taxes on the wealthy – what Buffet has also proposed.  She railed against the wealthy, proclaiming that the wealthy had to pay their fair share of taxes, and she would not tolerate Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy.  She exclaimed “We’re going to write fairer rules for the middle class”. Then, with a stern and determined look on her face, she pointed her finger into the crowd to emphasize as she shouted “And we are going to raise taxes on the middle class!”  The crowded erupted in applause, as she looked at them in an air of certainty and, Buffett, seated behind Clinton, clapped profusely to show his approval too.

This miss-step by Clinton, to raise taxes on the middle-class, unfazed the crowd as their cheers continued.  Nor did anyone tap Mrs. Clinton on the shoulder to correct her vow to raise taxes on the middle class.  She gave it no heed either, as she continued her speech.   This is the poison of partisans who do not even listen to their candidate, as they are deaf to the candidate’s words while they cheer in delight.  These people have a “mob” mentality and, like locus, will devour anything in their path.

Political partisans, especially those of the populous bent, should be feared.  Populism is an enemy of democracy.  As we have covered in Vigilance The Price of Liberty, the Bill of Rights was specifically written to protect our liberty from encroachment by government and – the tyranny of the masses a.k.a. populism.

When candidates Trump and Clinton insight populism, they actively work against what the Constitution stands for.  Promoting division by demonizing success, pitting the classes against the masses, and brow beating identity politics is divisive and dangerous to liberty and prosperity.

We need to carefully listen to the candidates and have open discussions to challenge their views.  We must be objective and free to be persuaded by fact and reason.  And unless we tune-out the partisans and parties we face the threat of sacrificing our freedoms to fear and jealousy.