Extreme Politicing

I had a good conversation with friends today.  When did politic change from electing representatives to “represent” our views and interests, to now electing people who think they have political capital to pass laws while ignoring the priorities of their constituents.

Seriously, through Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram, … I can’t avoid learning the most intimate detail about the lives of friends and strangers alike.  But we haven’t figured out how to use social media to communicate our instructions to the Elected Officials?

Purple StatesHow did we let the failure of private enterprise to provide services catered to our needs progress into extreme Democratic views that it’s solely the government’s responsibility to give everyone an equal playing field, resulting in a safety blanket and handout for all?

And why do we allow Republican ideals of social networks to provide community support individuals need, to convince us that the government cannot effectively provide these services.  Have you heard about health care in Canada?  Compared to the US where individuals have to fight for profit health insurance companies to get the services they are rightfully owed?

The wealthy are using both systems to manipulate the US population (the Americas are comprised of 20 countries across North, South, and Central America).

  • They tell us government programs are inefficient so that they can create a private enterprise that will make a profit and may or may not be a useful service.  But they make it work for the Congressional benefits.
  • They convince of trickle down economics.
  • The only way for non-wealthy people to hold anyone accountable for their behavior and the effectiveness of their goods/services sold is to spend a fortune in legal fees (that they don’t have).
  • They convinced us to eliminate institutions for the mentally ill, who now end up in correctional facilities with no rights to seek treatment they need.
  • Conditions are even worse in detention centers for illegal immigrants, Amnesty International and others have shown the human rights abuses that occur in these centers, often held by private corporations.
  • The wealthy have learned when they can make extra profits, such as non-bid government contracts that no one is complaining about!

How might our costs for welfare, Medicaid, and criminal justice be reduced if we improve education and opportunities to decent paying jobs (where someone can pay for housing, food, and health care in their community)?

Federal Spending

We’re all connected throughout society.  I did not learn to read and write on my own, I did not invent my own internet technology or small pox vaccine, all of which helped me get to where I am today.  We can’t act as if we accomplish everything on our own.  We also can’t act as if people aren’t responsible for their own actions, however corrective repercussions will help society more than punishments.  This Radiolab show about Blame explains how our understanding of the causes of behavior is improving our ability to respond to behavior.


Living the Dream…

Does it feel like we work our butt off, to afford a house that we don’t even get time to be home and enjoy?  We’re doing more work for the same, or less pay and benefit?  OK, yes I can be VERY cynical.  And yes, I think this all stems from unrealistic expectations.

All of the journalism groups are covering the plight of the middle class in the US, as it’s an important topic this election cycle.  People are working harder, and getting less.  Students go into major debt before they even start working, racking up students loans because it’s considered “Good Debt”.  Just like mortgages are good debt, unless you are buying a million dollar house on a salary of $20,000 a year.  I guess it’s human nature to blindly believe that we can achieve so much.  And human nature for bankers to inflate those dreams, because they can make money off of the false ideas.  I’m convinced, if you can make money off an idea, the Republicans will ensure it’s legalized and tax exempt.  For that reason I’m happy someone has decided to get them back, an atheist has offered pet insurance, he will take care of your pets after the apocalypse (but cancelled the service due to low subscriptions).

Why is our society moving in this direction?  A natural development from our desire to pay less for everything, and someone else’s ability to do our work for less money.  But those in power, i.e. the wealthy, are able to insulate themselves from this augmentation.  I just wonder how much they actually influence this natural development for the 99%.  We have to wonder why the cost of education is rising so fast, 2-3 percent more than inflation according to Ronald Ehrenberg at Cornell University.  It’s supply and demand, people want to go to the top universities, and so they can charge more.  They use those funds to improve the university, to maintain it’s status as a top university.  And people are willing to go into significant debt to get a degree from these universities, even if they cannot pay back the loan.  An article on Yahoo Finance reports the outstanding debt on student loans is at $1 trillion, and states that neither Romney or Obama’s plans for helping students will have much impact.  Because people are willing to dig in that deep, not realizing the challenge of paying for the debt after college, especially if you don’t get a job right away.

My goal is to save up in advance to buy things, and limit my debt.  It’s the same as making monthly payments, just that I make the payments before I enjoy the item of interest instead of after.  And I spend less overall.

Infinite Learning (&) Is the answer to our political discourse rooted in Education?

Infinite Learning

As a young child, we learn just about everything society has developed to date.  Young children are a whiz on the computer, changing profiles to access certain information and quickly finding the Disney website or downloading Tigger on your iPhone.  Many of us who can remember the times before the internet might wonder, “How do these kids know so much?”

Well we did the same things as kids, quickly learning about the world around us while our parents had to learn these things at the slow rate of development.  See it takes an incredible amount of knowledge to develop technology and make such advances.  But it doesn’t take much to learn them once developed.

So really, I like to think that children have the capacity for infinite learning.  They quickly catch up with the rest of us to understand everything developed to date, and then they can expand on that knowledge depending on their skills.

Differing View of Education at the Heart of Political Disagreement?

It’s clear that the liberals want higher taxes to pay for programs giving basic needs and opportunities to all.  Just as it’s clear that conservatives feel they have earned their wealth and do not want to give a free ride to people who are willing to work for it.

So who is right?  Well on this superficial level they both are.  But I think this argument is a symptom, not an underlying cause of the issue.  I think the underlying issue is the different opinion about education, opportunity, and how people learn.  Well actually it’s a lack of understanding of these issues and therefor a mis-belief about the necessary laws and regulations.  What exactly do I mean by this?

It’s as if the conservatives belief that they have earned every opportunity they experienced: good education both schooling and culturally, adequate nutrition and emotional support, the means to pay for an expensive education to mingle with a group of people having similar opportunities, and the list goes on.  (Sure there are success stories of people lacking these opportunities and support, but for now lets consider them outliers.)

And the liberals act as if these opportunities are not inherent to everyone’s life situation and that they are the major factor for success.  They ask for society to provide extra support for those lacking such opportunities.

So on some level we agree that, in general (not counting outliers), we would all benefit from these opportunities and have a fair chance as success.  And the breakdown occurs when we get to the discussion on Motivation.  If something is provided for free, people may stop working for it.  But when we don’t have something, we are motivated to work for it.  So how do we provide equal opportunity (we can never provide exactly equal) without also creating a sense of entitlement?  Maybe that discussion will bring the 1% and the 99% closer together.