Monday, July 3, 2017

PERSPECTIVE: THE DIVISIONS THAT HAVE CAUSED US TO BECOME UNCIVIL

Our Nation has become nearly as divided as during the Civil War. Then it was Slavery. Now, it is something about the political parties. The Republican policies are mostly Free Market oriented which is mostly consumer driven. If the customer does not like the product, it can stop buying it. If the stockholders don’t like the profitability or stock value, they can and will change the management. By contrast, the Democrat policies are mostly Government driven. Government management is expensive, and not easy to change since the customer is forced to take the product, often the civil employee can’t be fired, and changing the top management requires a couple of years of intense political battle. Thus we have a divide that has been widening and is still widening to the point that it is now a virtual shouting match, if not  worse. 

Capitalism unregulated can be bad. Government locked in bureaucracy that cannot be fired or easily changed, is equally bad. However, the two can be compatible, and if the adherents work together, the best of both worlds can be found. Our democratic Republic, with its division of powers, has managed this conflict quite well for two centuries. During this period there was camaraderie among our representatives that made deals possible, no matter how strongly the individuals held to their party beliefs. The ability to accomplish this peacefully is what has made America great and the envy of the world.  But somehow we have lost this vital skill in the past few decades. 

The “debate” over what to do about Obamacare epitomizes the political divide and why. The Republican approach involves mostly free market principals with some government help for the very poor; the Democrat approach is all government. They even call it “single payer”.  

This issue illustrates how Big Government is completely out of touch regarding the effects of their programs. Medicare created in the 1965 was based on life expectancy of 65 years. Today life expectancy is 82 years for a woman and 77 for a man. By 2050 a mere 33 years from now, a woman’s life expectancy will be 100 years. A man will reach the 100 year life expectancy by 2080. 

Now, consider this dilemma: Big Government, whether they know it or not, is subsidizing medical research and thus extending life expectancy. At the same time government is encouraging businesses to shift from human labor to robotic devices. They it does this by raising the minimum wage, which makes human labor so expensive that it further encourages businesses to purchase and install robots. Then they allow the businesses to write off the expense of the purchase, installation and operation of the robot against their taxes. Meantime the robot pays no Medicare taxes. In other words Government is cutting off the source of income for Medicare while it subsidizes the scientific medical developments that are permitting the life expectancy to grow increasing the expense of Medicare. If you are told that in a decade or so Medicare is going broke, and you are not surprised as to the cause, go to the head of the class. A CEO who ran his business like this would be canned..

So, just what has happened to cause us to divide in our civility to each other? Three revolutions have hit our Country since WWII. The first was globalization when the US encouraged under developed countries to enter our markets. The second is digitalization which is recent and impacts every aspect of our businesses, government and society. Then since the 60s we have been experiencing a cultural revolution. These phenomena have happened too rapidly for our leaders to grasp, much less be able to explain to their constituents, namely, “We the People”.  

Globalization permitted capitalists to move their factories overseas to employ the cheap labor of the undeveloped countries. 70,000 such factories were shut down in virtually every town and city if front of our eyes. Then about two decades ago the digital revolution and its robots started replacing more and more workers, and the rate of this change is exponential. Today, due to globalization and robots replacing human labor, only 60 percent or so percent of the potential work force is fully employed.  Big Government is subsidizing those who are unemployed with food stamps and other government handouts, and that  along with other out of control government programs is what has caused the National Debt to quadruple in a mere 17 years from 5 trillion dollars in 2000 to 20 trillion dollars today. 

The Cultural Revolution which began in the 60s is probably the main reason for the interpersonal divide. Prior to the revolution the basis for good behavior was good manners. Two key rules understood by and practiced by nearly all were that in public “a child should be seen and not heard”, and “if you get in trouble at school, wait until you get home”. A parent knew what a parent’s job was; the neighbor and the school respected that and became willing partners in the raising of the child and nearly everyone when to Sunday School. 

That cultural structure is gone. A parent is more of a pal than a parent, because they will be sued by the parent, the neighbor and school management will not be partners, and then virtually no child goes to Sunday School. 

Today, a child can be “obscene and absurd” in public and no one does or says anything. If the child gets in trouble in school, the parent races to chew out the teacher and the administrator. And let’s not forget what texting brought in the 90s. It has virtually destroyed face to face communication in the Millenial generation, who will be our future leaders. Should we be surprised that the use of  Facebook, Instagram, and the modern digital means of communication where one’s identity can remain secret further exacerbates poor manners? 

This Presidential election cycle two outsiders, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, entered the arena and spoke to this mass of voters, Trump with a Capitalistic sounding message, Sanders with a Socialistic sounding message. Trump won an overwhelming majority of our Electoral College votes and became the President, which the Established Parties and the Mainstream Media refuse to accept. Consequently, the Country is more divided than ever. Should anyone be surprised the politicians of both parties along with the Main Stream Media are out of touch with the problem? You see they have not and still do not go down to talk to the individual workers from the 40 percent of the work force that has been unceremoniously dumped from their jobs during this period. What is even more amazing is that they denigrate this group from whom came the votes to elect President Trump. “We the People” have spoken and the “establishment still has not heard us and evidently doesn’t want to hear us! 

Finally, despite the enormity of the problem and the divide it has produced, we must find a way to bring back civil discourse. We can start by reminding ourselves that we may be Republican, Democrat or Independent, but we are first and foremost Americans and our Democratic Republic and its great Constitution is still the best government we Earthlings have. One by one with each other we can be Civil and we can expect Civility of each other. Therefore, we should not be afraid to stand our ground and demand Civil Behavior from our neighbors and our government representatives, and ourselves.

 

 

 

No comments:

Post a Comment