If you’ve listened for any length of time, you know that I do not believe in New Year’s Resolutions. People who want to change will do so when they truly want to, not because a page on a calendar has been flipped. This is why the most revered study on the subject has confirmed and revealed time and again that just under 90% of all resolutions fail, and most of them do so within the first 21 days of the new year. https://blog.bufferapp.com/the-science-of-new-years-resolutions-why-88-fail-and-how-to-make-them-work
With that said, resolutions make for nice small talk and short term self-esteem, so why fight it?
2016 will be a seminal year in America’s history…you can just feel it. With seemingly imminent terrorist threats, an economy struggling to maintain any sort of momentum surrounded by a world bordering on economic calamity, and a Presidential Election of seeming enormous importance, it doesn’t take a psychic to foresee a year of tumult. Never mind, of course, the things that either weren’t mentioned or can’t be known, whether they be civil unrest or natural disasters. So with that as the backdrop, what if the nation could resolve to do some things as a collective? Realistic, reasonable things, not childish fantasies like “solve world hunger,” or “create world peace.” Here are a few suggestions:
IN 2016, AMERICA RESOLVES TO STOP RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE
Unfortunately, in 21st Century America, every discussion about anything topical or remotely political needs to begin with the understanding and caveat that facts are, sadly, meaningless.
So allow me to bore you with some facts:
There is no doubt that income inequality is a dire problem in America in 2016. The haves have a lot more than the have-nots and there are far too few of the former and far too many of the latter.
The Middle Class in America has almost entirely disappeared3
Half of all Americans currently make $30,000 per year OR LESS. That is unsustainable, as is having 102 million Americans who are capable of working who are choosing to not be part of the work force. And make no mistake, it is a choice; one we make much easier with subsidy programs that pay most people more NOT to work than they could make by actually going back to work.
However, here is another fact; raising the minimum wage, as we are doing across the nation in various cities and states, will do nothing to solve any of the problems we are currently facing and will only exacerbate the situation. The sales pitch is simple; give working people more money and they will then spend it and the economy will begin to churn. As a side note, I have to confess that I am always amused by people who dismiss the theory of trickle-down economics and then use the theory of trickle-up economics to defend their ideology. Humans are fascinating creatures. But sadly, the poor arguers are prevalent on all sides. The argument against a minimum wage increase by many is “do you want to pay $10 for a Big Mac,” which is an asinine argument. History has shown time and again that increasing wages of workers does not in any appreciable way effect the costs of goods and services.
It does, however, effect the workforce. When we insist that businesses and companies pay people more, they simply pay fewer people more, thus maintaining the bottom line. Period. It happens all of the time and has happened recently as well. A recently released report by the Federal Reserve, studying cities in America who have increased their minimum wage in 2015, concludes that “…A reasonable estimate based on the evidence is that current minimum wages have directly reduced the number of jobs nationally by about 100,000 to 200,000…” proving once again that such forced wage hikes hurt the very people they purport to help. http://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/publications/economic-letter/2015/december/effects-of-minimum-wage-on-employment/
Sadly, none of the historical reams of data proving this cause and effect, nor the recent report by the Federal reserve, nor the story from earlier in 2015 when Wal-Mart voluntarily increased its minimum wage (for PR purposes) and then promptly fired over 1,000 employees (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-31/economics-101-wal-mart-hikes-minimum-wages-prepares-fire-1000) will apparently stop us from this lunacy in 2016.
IN 2016, AMERICA RESOLVES TO STOP SURRENDING CIVIL LIBERTIES IN THE NAME OF FEAR
Of all of the disturbing trends in today’s culture, this one bothers me the most. History, time and again has shown that those who willingly surrender their freedoms and liberties in the name of security wind up with neither, yet once again, Americans are wandering down that very path at warp speed. Multiple end-of-the-year surveys show that the overwhelming majority of Americans support further intrusion on innocent people, with virtually no oversight, all in the name of protecting us from the Bogeyman. To whit:
A majority of Americans say they support warrantless government surveillance of the Internet communications of U.S. citizens,
For most Americans, safety concerns trump civil liberties at least some of the time.
Think of the logic (or lack-thereof) at work here. Terrorism, on average, kills 17 Americans WORDLWIDE, with the average annual being less than 1 in America for every year since 2002. Yet, we say we are willing to allow government agencies, without cause or warrant, to watch our internet activities.
Given that thinking, we should focus our efforts on the average of 10,000 Americans who are killed every year by drunk drivers. Think of the parallels, for a moment. A terrorist strikes out of nowhere, with almost no warning and renders you almost completely incapable of defending yourself or having time to react. So does a drunk driver.
Americans says that we should monitor not just Mosques, but everyone, to find who might be plotting domestic terrorism. Therefore, logic dictates police at every bar, football game, and outside any home with more than a half dozen cars, monitoring for people who might be preparing to drive drunk. It’s not hyperbole, it’s not fear-mongering, it’s common sense. Time to grow up, America. http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20151231/business/312319977/
IN 2016, AMERICA RESOLVES TO…Oh, who the Hell am I kidding?
I’ve already violated my own rules as laid out previously. The resolutions had to be realistic and attainable. Neither of the two things I listed are such.
We live in a country having a love affair with Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, two of the least serious political figures in our nation’s history. We live in a nation where people continue to chant “Hand up, don’t Shoot,” even though it was named by countless publications across all political spectrums as one of the biggest lies of 2015. We live in a society where truth and facts don’t matter and everyone seems to want to be scared of everything. Some people are afraid our climate has been destroyed, others are afraid our guns are going to be taken away, many think their child is at imminent danger of being abducted by a stranger, and still more are building Doomsday Preparatory shelters. None of these eventualities is going to occur, and no one gives a rat’s ass. How about this; IN 2016, AMERICA RESOLVES TO CONTINUE ACTING LIKE IGNORANT, ARROGANT, APATHETIC, DERANGED PARANOID FREAKS. At Least we can keep that one, we’ve been doing it for years now.