Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

In the end, being warm this winter, and being able to cook and eat, will trump all other factors. Security counts a lot, too. Security is things like police and fire protection, clean water, sanitation, health safety, 3R’s schools …the basics.

In early June this year, a round trip air ticket from Atlanta to Managua was around $708. One fellow did it by car for $600 in gas, plus $900 in bribes. Decades of “good intentions” by voters, their politicians, and their bureaucrats have the USA on the same path. Is that what we wanted, and expected? Bitter discussion and rancor seems to change little of people’s minds. Will it come down to freezing, starving, wild west type crime, and paying bribes to get the basics in order to make a point.

Much has been published about the young moving in with old, but how about the old social security of big families and the old moving in with the young, and entire families sharing large old people medical bills. Is this what the voters wanted and expected?

What happens when governments can no longer borrow money as a course of action to pay all the promised benefits? What happens when governments, city, county, state, and federal have to pay their way or default on obligations. What happens when all our safety nets get saturated by all the guarantees come due, and the voters finally figure out they are left holding the bag, even when they work all 12 months of the year to just pay city, county, state, and federal taxes?

One thing seems likely. The two national parties that led us into this mess over decades will be replaced, as they should be. Now is a good time for voters to think about what they want and expect for their future politicians and bureaucrats.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The End of the World as We Know It

The status quo is dead. Long live the status quo.

Not too long ago, many thought the Soviet Union would go on. Many think the two USA national parties will go on because they have in the last many decades. But the status quo is no guarantee of future existence. Satisfying the peoples’ needs is a better indicator, and if the status quo doesn’t solve the problems, then the people will find a better way out of necessity. Yes, people will be selfish, especially when it comes to having security, a job, having food, and being warm enough in the winter to live. The burden is especially harsh on those with children.

Our national personality includes the most altruistic and noble instincts to help our fellow Americans. This has been expressed federally as programs like social security and Medicare, and at the state and local levels (county, city, and school system) by extending good pay and benefits to fellow Americans who serve in these governments. Americans have for decades supported all this to include the ideas of tolerating crime against individuals while addressing the underlying causes, and increasing our expectations that results should happen sooner rather than later.

One trend is the degree to which we Americans have turned to borrowing to finance our altruistic nature; the obvious alternatives being raising our federal and state and local taxes to preclude borrowing, or to pay for what we can afford in pursuit of our altruistic ideals. Either way, the status quo will change when borrowing comes to an end of its own weight; that is no one will loan our federal government money, as has happened in our past and been increasingly forecast for our future, and we have to pay, lower our goals and implementation schedules, or increase taxes. Our states and county and local governments will also be affected similarly, probably more so due to greater dependencies on property and sales taxes. Borrowing for them using the bond method will be tougher.

The status quo as we know it is changing right in front of us. All the passionately held opinions and talk and cynicism means much less than people losing security, jobs they want , food, and heat during cold weather. And the USA will be affected by the World as others who go without cooking oil, food, and heat choose war or emmigration to solve their problems. And the USA will be further affected as some our various governments choose employee jobs and benefits over basic services to the people, more taxes to pay for it all, or ever less effective efforts to borrow money to pay for it all.

The future status quo has many optimistic trends emerging. Time phasing as a way to implement our altruistic goals is becoming more obvious. Doing many things on multiple fronts vice one thing now is becoming obvious and necessary. Promoting our New World persona over our Old World legacies is becoming more entrenched. Royalty and nepotism are simply un-American values. Knowing disease and symptoms are different is an American value. Emotions and passion will fall by the wayside and the basics like security, jobs, food, and forced air heat are recognized as privileges as compared to rights; and public policy and laws will recognize this via the fellow Americans we elect at all levels of government. Some might perceive this as slowing things down, while others might perceive this as doing things smarter and more realistically.

The status quo will change. And no amount of talk, good intentions, passion, or cynicism can change that.