The Anti-Trump Revolt that Wasn’t

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When I first began this blog back in 2009, I promised myself I wouldn’t write about politics. It’s divisive, and in the end it solves nothing. I think that’s exactly what we’re seeing right now in the American political circus.

But on the other hand, that circus is getting just too entertaining to ignore. And part of what I’d like to convey in this article is that none of this is either as extreme or as productive as any of the partisans want to believe.

The Anti-Trump Revolt that Wasn’t
The Anti-Trump Revolt that Wasn’t

We didn’t see anything like the political earthquake the mainstream media and liberal partisans were promising would happen. It looked like a typical off year election more than anything else. In fact, in spite of a lot of the Monday morning quarterback commentary, the results of the election are unlikely to affect any material changes on politics and business in America.

It seems to point toward a large swath of the American public living in some sort of political alternative reality.

And before we dig any deeper into this topic, let me state for the record that I’m not a Trump supporter. But I prefer to deal with life and the world as they really are, and not as I wish them to be. That means I’ll never assume that everyone loves or hates something or someone as much as I do.

The 2018 Election by the Numbers

According to CNN.com and Wikipedia, the 2018 election produced the following results:

  • House of Representatives: Democrats 232 seats, Republicans 201, with two seats still undecided. Control passed from Republicans to the Democrats. This represents a wholesale flip of the House to the Democrats, who were outnumbered 235 to 193 before the election. The Democrats picked up at least 39 seats.
  • Senate: Republicans 52 seats, Democrats 47 seats, one seat still undecided. Republicans retain control of the Senate. This represents a net gain of at least one seat for the Republicans. They held a 51-49 advantage before the election.
  • Governors: Republicans 27 seats, Democrats 23 seats. The Republicans had a 33 to 16 lead before the election, so the Democrats picked up 7 seats. However, the Republicans retained control.
  • State Legislatures: Republicans 30 legislatures, Democrats 18. Before the election, Republicans held 31 state legislatures to 16 for the Democrats. The Democrats picked up two state legislatures, but the Republicans lost only one, with two undecided or split. Again, Republicans retain control.

The overview is that while the Republicans held control of the White House, the House, the Senate, the governorships and the state legislatures going into the election, the Democrats have wrested control only in the House. Everything else remains under Republican control.

If you’re a Democratic optimist,  you’re going to focus on the gains made by the Democrats. And you’ll likely completely ignore the fact that the rest of the election did little more than support the status quo.

But based on the results of the election, we have to conclude that this was the Anti-Trump revolt that wasn’t.

Historic Off-Year Election Results – Putting 2018 into Perspective

According to Brookings the off year elections were far worse for both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

In 1994, Bill Clinton lost 54 seats in the House, and nine in the Senate. In 2010, Barack Obama lost 63 seats in the House, and six in the Senate. (Obama’s losses continued in both houses in the 2014 election.)

And for what it’s worth, both Franklin D. Roosevelt (1938, 1942 and 1946) and Lyndon Johnson (1966) experienced losses of similar proportions (to Clinton and Obama) in their off year elections, as did Dwight Eisenhower (1958) and Richard Nixon (1974).

In fact, Trumps off year election most closely parallels that of Ronald Reagan. He lost 26 seats in the House, while gaining one seat in the Senate in 1982.

At best we can say the 2018 election was a mini-revolt against Trump. But it was certainly nothing out of the ordinary. The reality of American politics is that the sitting president typically loses seats in one or both houses in an off year election.

Nothing more can be read into the 2018 election.

What the Mainstream Media and the Anti-Trump Crowd Still Don’t Get

It remains to be seen how the Anti-Trump crowd will play the 2018 election. It’s a certainty they didn’t get the outcome they expected, which would have been a full scale revolt, with both houses of Congress, as well as the governorships and state legislatures tilting toward the Democrats. They’ve certainly gained more leverage by picking up control of the House, but it’s not the kind of wholesale power they were hoping for.

This is an excellent example of the trap of being too certain in what you believe. As Dr. Phil once remarked in regard to an unrelated matter on his show, “If you’re a hammer, you see nails everywhere you look”. That’s certainly the case here. The Anti-Trump crowd is so wrapped up in their hatred of the man and everyone and everything remotely associated with him, that they can’t see there’s a bigger picture issue here.

The bigger picture, I believe, is a general revolt against the status quo. It’s kind of ironic that Donald Trump is certainly a part of the “1 per centers”. He’s well-entrenched member of the financial establishment. But he’s not from the political establishment and that speaks volumes. As a political outsider, Trump was, and probably still is, preferred to anyone coming out of the political establishment.

Reviewing the 2016 Presidential Election

Let’s step back to the 2016 election for a moment. Barack Obama was the sitting president. The economy was good (according to the official narrative), the stock market was at record highs, and Obama got high marks personally.  (BTW, I voted for Obama in 2008, in case you might mistake me for an angry Republican).

His heir apparent was Hillary Clinton, a woman of the highest political pedigree, if we can say that about anyone. Not only was she a former first lady, but she also served in the Senate and worked in the State Department under Obama. She was an insider’s insider, and enormously popular with the mainstream media.

Yet she failed to win the election.

Her followers, and the Democratic faithful, have been claiming foul ever since. But what they don’t see, and probably can’t, is that Trump won precisely because he was not considered an insider’s insider. Yes, Clinton did win the popular vote by a slim margin. But if you look at a political map of the United States from 2016, you see that most of the country, geographically speaking, voted for Trump.

True enough, the large urban areas stayed true to their Democratic roots. But “flyover country”, and many of the smaller urban areas, went with Trump.

The 2018 off year election seems to be more of a validation of the outcome of the 2016 election then a repudiation.

Is it Possible America is Finally Serious About Genuine Change?

It may well be that America is done electing presidents from the political inside. I believe most Americans are aware that the nation is deeply troubled, even if publicly published statistics don’t support that conclusion. But as I’ve learned in my own life, trust that little voice inside, it won’t steer you wrong.

I think that’s what’s happening with the voters. If John and Jane Q. Public truly believed the state of the nation to be as good as we’re being told, establishment politicians would be put into office and returned with little effort. But that’s not what’s happening, and may not happen in the future.

Missed in the 2016 election was the Bernie Sanders phenomenon. He did much better in the Democratic primaries that anyone expected, and even gained as they went on. Though he’s a political insider, he’s always been outside the political mainstream. Thus, even within the Democratic Party, the rank-and-file we’re open to somebody new and different.

I think that was the real story of 2016, and reiterated in 2018. But the mainstream media, and the party faithful, both Democrat and Republican, aren’t ready to accept that reality.

Facing and Accepting the Future – Whatever it May Be

Either party may attempt to run a political establishment candidate in 2020. But don’t be surprised if a political outsider – or a political maverick – wins the White House in that election.

I may be guilty of ringing the bell of serious change a bit early, but I’m getting a sense that Americans are ready for just that. Should the economy slip back into the doldrums before that election, all bets are off as to who will be our next chief executive.

Perhaps the real question then is will we accept that change and go with the flow, or will we continue to dig in and resist?

Thus far, Trump has proven to be no reformer. But as a political outsider, he at least offered that hope. And perhaps he continues to be seen as at least having that potential. When you consider the media and political firestorm he’s been facing from the very beginning – including the interminable Mueller investigations – one would have expected the Republican party to experience a full-blown route in this year’s election.

But it didn’t happen that way, and that speaks volumes about what’s REALLY going on, despite the incessant media chatter to the contrary.

The Anti-Trump Revolt that Wasn’t and the American Detachment from Reality

If you’ve spent much time on this blog, you know I’m fond of “connecting the dots”. I believe the Anti-Trump hysteria is a reaction by a certain segment of the population to the undocumented decline in both the US economy and the American social fabric. It may be the most convenient reaction of all, since it attempts to assign blame squarely to one person. Or to put it into sports parlance, it’s the fire the coach mindset.

But the fantasy of that hysteria is that America’s problems didn’t begin in November of 2016. They’ve been snaking through the nation for the past several decades, while most of the populous has ignored them in favor of official happy talk.

But what isn’t connected is the groups expressing anger in different ways are becoming united in their understanding that something’s seriously wrong. Only when that happens will we begin to see real change, the kind that improves life for the average person.

I think all the tension and conflict we’re witnessing across the country is connected. That includes the Anti-Trump hysteria, the mass killings, political hostility, the increasing use of drugs and alcohol, and the rise of anxiety, depression, and suicide. We can probably throw in the obsession with distraction, like smartphones, shopping, sports, and celebrity gossip.

Each represents a reaction to circumstances that seem beyond our control. I think most people sense it, but the reactions are varying somewhere between extreme pacifism/withdrawal and outright violence.

But if the current trajectory continues, it’s unlikely we have much of a future as a nation.

I’ve covered a lot of territory in this post, using the 2018 election as a starting point. But there’s a lot going on here, certainly more than most of us probably perceive. What are your thoughts?

( Photo by raschau )

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73 Responses to The Anti-Trump Revolt that Wasn’t

  1. Kevin, I think you said it all when you said this, “But if the current trajectory continues, it’s unlikely we have much of a future as a nation.” The country is so split, that people cannot even seem to talk to each other if they have differing views. Personally, I’m really tired of hearing people called racist, bigots, etc when they have a different point of view. There is little meaningful conversation anymore. I don’t think it helped when they started taking God and prayer out of everything either. A company I worked for had a Giving Tree, which was to support needy families at Christmas. When 2 people, out of thousands that worked there, complained that it was a “Christmas tree”, we were forced to take it down. There was no mention of the families in need that it was put up for. This is very sad. I like that you posted actual election results, and not what I generally see in the mainstream media. I used to be a very liberal in my voting, and have since changed to much more conservative. I like having an outsider like Trump in office, but don’t like the nastiness that has been directed towards him and anybody who supports him. I agree he is an entrenched member of the financial establishment. One of the things I really like about him; however, is he is well versed in business and finance, and not a political guy. While I don’t agree with everything he does, I think he has truly attempted to address the tough issues head on while being fought tooth and nail by both sides. My life, while still challenging, has been much better under his administration. These are simply some of my thoughts, and I look forward to hearing others!

  2. You and I are pretty much on the same wavelength then. Trump actually has done more good than most people know or are being told. Part of the problem is that what he’s doing is no longer considered good. For example, lost in the Trump tax bill is a 20% income exemption for small businesses. Small businesses have always been the backbone of both the economy and the culture. But in recent decades that’s shifted over to big business and government, which has proven to be a disaster. I’ve also heard Trump has been rolling back regulations by executive order. That absolutely must happen. Too many regulations put us in a straight jacket, under the guise of being for “our own good”.

    But there are two points you made that I think are extremely important. The first is the labeling situation. It’s become very common to hang labels on people who we don’t agree with. For example, call someone a racist or a homophobe, and it grants license to ignore anything that person says or believes. The labeler is guilty of everything he/she pins on the person being labeled, because the whole purpose of the label is to de-legitimize that person. The labeler then claims the moral high ground, when in fact he/she just crawled into the moral cesspool.

    The second point, and the one that’s more important is what you said about taking God and prayer out of everything. That’s been the reality of the past 50 years and it’s a very narrow position. What the anti-God crowd misses is that religion served as a unifier. We might disagree on social, economic, or political grounds, but a society that fears God will be more accepting of differences. It’s the “one nation under God” concept that’s fallen into disrepute. And of course, as a believer myself, I think it’s bad policy to tick off the Creator of the Universe.

    But back to earth, when you remove a societal pillar, like religion, and replace it with nothing but “I’m OK, you’re OK”, open hostility is what we’re getting. The problem is that there are so many people and groups out there with an ax to grind that they’re taking advantage of the lack of higher standards to “stand up against injustice” in any way they see fit, even if it degenerates into hatred, violence, and degrading of the people they don’t agree with. We aren’t a better society for it, and the current trends are pointing toward a darker future.

    Interestingly, that group also has a label all their own, Social Justice Warriors, but I’m pretty sure it’s one they wear with pride. What they miss is that those who seek justice at all costs can easily become the greater evil. That was one of the major points of the play “Les Miserables”, in the character of Javert.

    As it says in the Bible, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7). If people could grasp that concept, in spite of themselves, things would be going better.

  3. It was a Blue Wave. And one of the core founding principles of this country is separation of church and state. Can’t wait until 2020!

  4. Hi Irene – I’d call it more of a Blue ripple than a Blue Wave. When put in historic context, it didn’t come close to the projected “most important off year election” of (fill in the time frame).

  5. Even though there was a better voter turnout for the latest election, the majority of the ones who came out were newbie voters, who were under the illusion that their single vote makes a difference. After having spent the day as a poll worker, explaining procedures ( how to mark the ballot properly and walking them through the physical placement of the ballot into the voting machine), I found that most voters don’t have enough knowledge about candidates and their actual performance in the position. People mostly vote by the public opinion ( social media),and the comments posted, which totally ignore key issues like this article talks about.
    I have an app on my phone called Nextdoor which connects people to things happening in the neighborhood. Various local politicians have commented on this in direct answer to a question that effects the neighborhood. The answers are not always soothing with fake responses but actual answers to the questions that explain why. Something you don’t always get when you try to email other elected officials,whose staff either sends out a form response or totally ignores the comments because one is not a high paid patron or voicing an alternative position to their public policy.
    It is great that we’re seeing more involvement in the political system but old habits take awhile to change. I am going to give the example of Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez a total newbie to Congress who has no idea what to do but thinks rhetoric is the solution to everything. (Very pro-Socialism illusionist). The one thing, she brought up lately is complaining about unaffordable housing for elected officials because she is expecting to be supplemented for this cost. This just emphasizes the lack of apathy for whom she represents, even though they are under the illusion she cares. But reactions to her statements have caused a ripple of responses from those who think rationally about the economics of politicians expecting to be supported fully financially for all costs without delivering results helpful for those they represent. She comes from an area that has high housing costs plus has an unknown living arrangement. ( we are not sure if she has ever fully been responsible for all living expenses). But she talks the good talk with no viable solutions. (Like this personal “housing “crisis). Things like this is what our politicians worry about, rather than actual working to make positive changes for all. The gullible ones will not see these details because it is not talked about. Even Bernie with his multiple houses won’t tell you where he got the money but he wants to spend our money.
    Just like Kevin advices us to be independent in our lives, we can’t do it by swallowing verbatim the situation we live in and allowing politicians to spend frivolously our money while being tight-fisted about their benefits. Whatever they get, should be the same as everyone else and they know it but don’t want to economize to achieve this.

  6. Hi Maria Rose – You’re getting at the core of the political situation in the country. The politicians don’t have any policies to fix what’s broken, nor do they care to have them. The safe choice is to appeal to emotions, and leave concrete plans out. After all, if you don’t say anything definite, you can’t be blamed for taking a stand that might be controversial. The politicians know this, and they all do it. Even Trump with his promises to bring back manufacturing and building the wall (across the Mexican border). Both ideas are unworkable, but they play to the Pax Americana crowd, who want to bring the country back to island nation status, as if that could even work. The Dems blast off about fairness, which is an even more vague concept, but people fall for it. It’s one of those words/platforms that can’t ever be analyzed critically, or even articulated because it’s completely subjective (we all have our own ideas what fairness means). And who will take a stand against fairness, I mean it’s a good thing right? Just like peace, freedom and full employment. Everyone supports those concepts in principle, but each is meaningless without a specific plan.

    But the public falls for the vague emotional plays, and doesn’t look for specifics or plans. It’s all about how a candidate or party makes the voter feel. We’re circling the drain because people would rather be played emotionally than to actually vote rationally. And of course, I’m over-stepping here, because we don’t really have any politicians who will allow themselves to be evaluated rationally.

    I love what Mark Twain said about voting – If voting made a difference, they wouldn’t let us do it. And he said that well over 100 years ago. You’d have to wonder how he would modify that statement to fit today’s media-focused politicians, or if he even could.

    It also reminds me of what a history professor I had in college said, “People get what they deserve, which isn’t exactly what they want.” I think we’re seeing that play out, but no one wants to admit to it.

  7. Hi Kevin. I have nothing more to add other than what has already been said so well by others. But I do love your Mark Twain and your professor’s comments. I’ll have to remember those. I try my best to take care of my family and myself, I think for myself, and I mind my own business. I don’t follow any particular political party, and I vote for the person I believe is best qualified. I also do not follow any specific religion, although I am a very spiritual person who finds great comfort in nature more so than any church. I mean no disrespect to anyone elses’ beliefs. Kindness, honesty, and credibility are virtues that can be found in any political party or religion, but, sadly, are not always there. Again, another well-researched article.

  8. Thanks Bev. You’ve hit on some important points yourself. A lot of the problem is that one group of people think the better way is to make the world a better place by improving the world around them. Another group thinks the better way is to compel others to do “the right things” to make the world a better place. The second group is getting increasingly hostile about the lack of cooperation from the first group, and I think that’s where a lot of the tension and conflict is coming from. Politically, careers are made by warming up to the second group, which seems only to throw more fuel on the fire. That’s why I’m not optimistic about how this all turns out. We’ve reached a point where it’s now almost impossible to fix one problem without creating a disruption somewhere else. But the “fixers” don’t really care about the disruption, and only focus on fixing what they think is broken.

    Put another way, the world would be a much better place if we’d all mind our own business, respect other people’s space, and stop thinking we can fix everything. All this fixing is what’s causing the problems, because of the unforeseen consequence of the fixes. You can only put so many patched on a broken gadget before it’s ready for the scrap heap. But too many people think we’re just one more patch away from salvation. If only it were that easy.

  9. I loved your post and all of the replies. It is very telling and honest, especially the one that thought there was a “blue wave”. It sounds like a CNN parrot to me. I am one of those that voted for Obama in 2008 and, after my son was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, I learned how inept and corrupt Obama really was, so I did not vote for him in 2012. I hated everything he did to this country, including the racial division, the likes we haven’t seen in decades. More important to me, though, was his ROE (rules of engagement), which put my son and all who were deployed in grave danger.

    I did vote for Trump in 2016. Why? Because I wanted the “hope and change” that was promise by Obama but never came to fruition. I wanted someone who was not the status quo and I certainly did not want Hillary Clinton! Like you, I don’t like everything he says and does, but I believe he is fighting against so many dark forces that he will never be able to turn this country around, as most people (it seems) are convinced that he is evil and sexist and blah blah blah, and they lump all of his supporters into that category as well. It seems that the deep state is ruling this country and negating anything that Trump tries to do while the division gets worse and worse. I agree with you. If something doesn’t change soon, we are doomed. The Middle Class have had it with carrying the weight of this country on our shoulders while open borders is pushed for by Democrats. Something has got to give.

    Finally, I agree that once God was taken out of our great country, we went spinning out of control with political correctness and horrific crime. I pray, literally, that someone runs in 2020 who can unify and heal our country, but I fear that this person would face the same obstacles as Trump. God bless America.

  10. Hi Linda – I wish I believed someone might come along in 2020 and clean up this mess. But that’s the problem, the mess is beyond one man or woman. Meanwhile, any “fixes” only seem to make things worse. Case in point: Obamacare. Case in point #2: the security state. Notice how all this bad/violent stuff is happening, and they can’t stop it even while snooping on the whole county? The government has become unmanageable, which is a scary thought, but that’s our reality. Honestly, if a democrat could fix most of this I’d vote for him or her. But I don’t see it coming out of either party. It’s much easier for the politicians to stick with emotional generalities than to take on a system they know is broken and completely impervious to real reform.

    That’s another reason all this hostility mystifies me. Why get hostile over something neither side can or will fix? I think it’s now illusion that people are wedded to, not reality. There’s NO fix for that one!

    Back around 1974, when you could actually believe the news, Harry Reasoner offered a commentary on the Watergate issue. He said “When you have a county in which 51% of the population believe in UFOs, but only 27% believe the president is going a good job, you may need a new president, but you almost certainly need new citizenry.” I think he was on to something, something even more relevant today.

  11. There’s no way for things to get better in the US. It doesn’t matter who’s in charge or who promises what.
    Our country was built on cheap resources, cheap labor and exploiting 3rd world countries. All that is gone now. Without the constant economic growth, our way of living can’t continue. Just paying the pensions promised to everyone and health care costs will do us in.
    The rhetoric and accusations from our “leaders” is to cover the lack of solutioms they have for our downfall. They are just fighting over the remaining scraps.
    If any one of them actually told people the sacrifices needed to turn things around, they would be gone on the next election.
    People think the prosperity and growth of the last 200 years is the normal way of human life. It was really just a special time where knowledge, technology and politics came together to create great wealth for the chosen few countries.
    It ain’t coming back,folks. The next genetation will live at a lower standard than us.

  12. I completely agree Ric and I hope I’ve made those points clear in the article. There are no solutions, and that’s the foundational issue. I believe the politicians know this, so they try to distract us with theater and meaningless issues to keep us from focusing on the real problems, which they’re clueless to fix. And you’re also right about those things that made us great are no longer there.

    The fear is if they can’t find ways to grow the economy at least nominally, the whole engine stalls out. Pensions, the stock market, housing, social security, government budgets, the military, the debt pyramid – they’re all entirely dependent on continued economic growth by any means. As bad as things seem right now, they may be pretty good compared to what’s coming. I’m really worried about the 20s, when I believe the S— will hit the fan for real. The last two downturns were just warning shots, but nothing’s been fundamentally fixed since. I think the politicians know it. They’re relying on the Federal Reserve to keep it all going, because they have no economic policy or direction.

    I didn’t vote in this last election because I promised myself I won’t vote until I see candidates telling us what we’re going to have to give up for a better future. You can’t make progress without paying for it one way or another, and any politician who doesn’t convey that reality is another fantasy candidate and not worthy of our votes. It’s like starting a career or a business, or investing – you’re going to have to give something up to get something better, and expose yourself to risks along the way. As the saying goes, there’s no free lunch. To promise or imply otherwise is outright deception.

  13. Great Article as usual, the blue wave was even less than you make it out to be. 35 sitting house republican senators did not run for reelection, the most since 1930, and since the incumbent usually wins an election, the republicans could probably have keep both the house and senate.

    What I think is the problem is the main stream media. Never in the history of America has the press been so hateful and tells so many lies. The news has turned into opinion and is no longer just reporting. Some people are still smart enough to see this, others think there was a blue wave. If Trumps says something against the ACA he hates women and children, if Trump says something about illegal emigration, he is a racist. Never before has the press been so negative. I think I heard that somewhere around 80% of all press is negative towards Trump. Could you just imaging how great our country would be today if the press show just 1/2 the respect they showed to Obama and that crook Hilary. I bet Trump would show respect back if they did.

    Throw in Hollywood where late night comedians have become news anchors given the same respect as Walter Cronkite and how every awards show and TV program has turned into a “hate trump” show and if they do not give a hate show, like the country music award show, then the Hollywood elitist run out and chastise them for not hating Trump.

    What really astounds me is the absolute hypocrisy the left and media is showing. Almost every single thing Trump has done was done or said by another democratic president within the last 30 years, yet when Trump does it the media and left elitist scream and cry like Trump has risen from hell to take over the world. All our problems did not start in 2016 yet for some reason the left sure is acting like they did.

    As far as God and religion goes, thank the left for ruining that as well. I do not mean any disrespect to you or any of you left leaning religious readers, but how a religious person can vote for the party that systematically removed and caused so much hate towards your most sacred belief is beyond me.

  14. Hi Rick – I’m sympathetic toward Trump for all the reasons you’ve spelled out. On instinct, I resist whatever central message the mainstream media conveys. Since November of 2016, entire media and entertainment careers have been built on anti-Trump hysteria, which has my radar on high gear. Michelle Wolf is Exhibit A. I’d never heard of her, until she roasted Trump at that presidential dinner last spring. I checked her out on Wikipedia, and that roast is pretty much all she’s known for. She even got her own show out of it. It only ran a few episodes because it was terrible, because she really isn’t even good at what she does. Rachel Maddow is another example. But the mainstream media and the entertainment industry are birds of a feather, and they circle the wagons. They’ve been getting ever more political ever since Watergate, but they’ve been ramping up the intensity.

    When I go though the News Belt on Comcast, I’m sickened by all the stories attacking Trump, as if nothing else is happening or matters. It’s all talking heads giving commentary that’s being packaged as news. There was even a blurb on Yahoo a couple of days ago pinning the blame for the California wildfires on Trump. I mean, are there any adults left in the room???

    My biggest fear, and why I’m so pessimistic about the future is that what we’re witnessing is nothing short of the death of the truth. A society can’t survive without it, but we think we can. Our technology, phony money system, and the infinite number of distractions are making us think we can pull this off. I know most people are non-believers, but in the Book of Joel (and other books as well), there are stern warnings about the outcome of turning from God. I think that’s exactly what’s playing out, and why things are getting gradually worse.

    We can choose to ignore this, but the results speak for themselves, and we can’t change the outcome. I think the times are a wake up call for believers, and for all those who are sitting on the fence of faith.

    That position may sound silly to most, but not nearly as silly as the circus act we’ve devolved into. But thanks to the distractions, most people are looking in the wrong direction.

  15. Government as a whole does not work at any level. The less of it the better off the people are. The less interference in every aspect of life the better.
    Private enterprise and a free market our what made us work. Not a regulated nanny state where the government is suppose to fix and have all the answers.

    It was never suppose to be what it is now. The founding fathers knew that. Yes, economies crash. If it was not for FDR and his policies the depression would have lasted probably about three years. Crashes weed out bad investment and set things back on the right course.

    My point is like everyone else, it will never be fixed. It is impossible to fix with a bloated and out of control government. Government was never suppose to be the fixer or have answers.
    How the hell can Donald Trump or anybody have a clue what people need or want on a daily basis. How can they regulate the economy when they are not part of it.
    When you sit in the ivory tower you have no concept or clue how things in the real world work. How can you?

    One other thing bothers me here. Why do people insist in saying Trump was a good business man? He was horrible. He basically bankrupted Atlantic city. He ran his businesses into the ground with debt.
    Many contractors who worked on the Taj lost their businesses because he never paid them. Families we’re destroyed because of that.
    I happen to know a guy who turned down working on Trump tower just last year. He’s a highly skilled wood worker. When I asked him why he said, they never pay. Everybody knows that. Or if they do it takes a year or more to collect what’s owed.

    My point is no matter who’s in the white house makes zero difference. Both parties are a joke. I have not voted in twenty years and will never vote again, ever.

    Government has ruined America. They are the problem. Not the solution.
    The only real answer is for it to dissolve. Go back to being a very small non obtrusive entity. That solves disputes with a federal court and provides defense of the country against being attacked. That’s all it should be for. If that happened people and private business would have it fixed. We would make our own stuff again. Allow people to start and run businesses without all the regulation and taxes. You would see a hugely prosperous nation for all. Not just the top 1 percent but for all.

    This country has been gutted from the top down. Nobody sees it though. They keep voting like it matters. Keep waiting for the president to fix it, really?

    Like you said above Kevin, we get what we deserve.

  16. I didn’t say we get what we deserve, Tim, my college history professor did (just to set the record straight!). I agree on Trump, he’s not close to my first choice as a true reformer. But then nobody is. The problem with big government is inherent to all bureaucracies: their twin missions are to survive and expand. The bigness problem is throughout our economy too. The bigger institutions get, the weaker we become. A small number of large companies can control both prices and wages, by agreeing to cooperate with each other.

    I think that’s what’s happening. It’s why we pay more for services in the US (like healthcare, internet and cell phone services) than other countries. That’s why I keep emphasizing on this site that we need to become more entrepreneurial and provide alternatives. I realize that’s hard in the economy and legal environments as they’re now constructed. But another aspect of bureaucracies is that they eventually get so fat and unproductive that they blow up. We need to be ready for what’s on the other side of that implosion. That means creating our own jobs, and to the extent possible, our own products and services. For example, have you noticed that independent restaurants are usually better than the big chains?

    I forget who it was that said “you can’t separate economic power and freedom from political power and freedom – if you lose economic power and freedom, you lose political freedom”. I’m paraphrasing of course, but it’s an excellent observation. Once the masses started relying on big companies, education and government, we began to lose economic freedom. So the loss of political freedom shouldn’t be a surprise. The only way to regain political control is by creating economic control. If this were a nation of farmers and shopkeepers, it wouldn’t ever have gotten this bad. And if it did, the pitchforks and torches would have come out.

    That’s the part about “people getting what they deserve” I think my professor was getting at. Things never fall apart “just because”. It happens because people start looking for the easy way out. This is the planet Earth, and there is no easy way. That’s what really needs to be taught in schools and spoken by the politicians. Everything else is just a fantasy to tickle the ears.

  17. It’s well noted throughout history. When the system of money is corrupted the country usually implodes on itself.
    It plunges the country and its people into caucus. Look at what’s happening now in South America and the border of Mexico. Why are those people fleeing? Because their country has plummeted into mayhem. That’s the course their government put them on. Of course they have the parachute’s the regular people don’t. They have to run for their lives.
    It’s always the so called fixers or autorities that plunge things into destruction but spin it to blame some other force. Terrorism, racisism etc etc. We the idiot john Q public blame each other because we don’t know better.
    Anyway, my take is we don’t need government period. We never have. We have been brianwashed into thinking we do.

  18. I don’t agree we don’t need government, but we need about 70-80% less than we now have. The US grew to become the largest and most competative economy in the world on minimalist government. It was well suited to a nation of immigrants and the children and grandchildren of immigrants, to thrive in a minimally governed nation. They were usually fleeing from countries that were over-governed, which is also why so many were also oppressed. One goes hand in hand with the other. We’re now the exact opposite of the model that worked so well for 200 years. But since it wasn’t perfect, the social justice crowd decided we needed to flush out the imperfections at any cost, and now we’re caught in a matrix of regulations, laws and taxes.

  19. You’re still looking for someone to blame, which does nothing to solve the problem. I believe we have to start with ourselves. GE, United Technologies,Ford and now GM are either breaking up or downsizing in this so-called economic growth surge. Plenty of jobs now but you need 2 or 3 of them to keep up with everything Madison Avenue says you gotta have.
    I have done all I can to minimize my spending. No car, share housing costs with my daughter while suppying child care for my grandson. We shop as many local and regional stores as possible. I don’t buy anything besides food unless I think about it for a week or so.
    I also take advantage of all the government services that I can qualify for. Parks, libraries and public transportation save me a lot of momey. I own nothing and owe nothing. I haven’t paid taxes for 4 years because I don’t make enough money. But life is pretty good right now.
    The average working person can’t win playing the old game of working 50 years and saving all you can and hoping your investments don’t let you down.
    We have neen conditioned to be our own worst enemy.

  20. I don’t think we’re looking for someone to blame as much as we’re trying to make sense out of a very big picture situation that makes increasingly less sense. I personally don’t think there’s someone out there who’s going to run in 2020 and make it all better. Nor do I think either party is going to get religion and sober up.

    But you make a good point. One of the errors many of us are making is trying to keep up (whatever that means anymore). What we really need to do is to find ways to live on a lot less money. That, in combination with finding more efficient ways to make a living are our best hope on a personal level. Also, keeping adequate savings, and staying out of debt. The idea is to be mobile, flexible, creative and liquid at all times.

    I try to practice all of these qualities. I’m not a “stuff person” so I can live with very little. I save as much as I can, and if I do borrow money I pay it back way ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, we’re four adults sharing two cars. My kids pay board and I run my business out of my house, while my wife works here in town. Yet I feel like we’re very comfortable, and in a lot of ways, living better than most.

    What we really need to focus on is lowering our expectations, mainly divesting ourselves of the TV version of what used to be middle class. In truth, you can really be comfortable at just about any level, as long as you reconcile your mind to what ever level that is. I’ve known a few people who live(d) only one or two steps above a homeless person, but were happier than the crowd in the McMansions.

  21. I agree with every post above, especially the last one by Ric Pau. If we all went back to our roots and lived with family, for family, and not for things and vacations, we’d all be better off and less dependent on money and government. That GM is laying off workers is appalling seeing that they received a bailout not so long ago, while I sit here and watch my retirement account steadily decline as the market gets shaky once again. If the American people would come together and stand up to all of the government corruption and dirty politicians, perhaps we can rise up against the monster the government has become, but too many willl be afraid to stand up (or continue to where blinders) or do without, so we know that will never happen. You’re all right—there is no person that can change this…except ourselves.

  22. Hi Linda – I agree the emphasis has to be at the individual level. Government isn’t going to fix itself, and we’re not going to vote in an improved version. Much like the latter days of the Roman Empire, we’re going to have to live with less dependence on the System. We’re all too busy living our lives to march on the capitol and demand change. Then there’ll be groups marching from the other direction demanding their benefits be protected. It will end in stalemate. There’s no alternative to running our own games now. Whatever will happen with the System is whatever will happen. But that doesn’t mean we have to be perpetual victims.

  23. I’m honestly amazed anybody still listens or cares about politics.
    I’m honestly amazed that people think these parties matter. That one is better than the other.
    Other than the entertainment factor of stupidity why would anybody listen to any of them.
    The job has become a laughing stock. We used to get some of the smartest people now it is a race to the bottom.
    Who’s gonna run in two years for the Democratic party? Who’s out there?

    How come people still care or thinks it matters.
    I’d love to hear some responses
    Why do you think it matters?

  24. You’re right, Tim, it doesn’t matter, because no matter who is voted in, they will continue to status quo of corruption and deception and continue taking our tax money for their own selfish interests. However, we do need to start holding our elected representataives responsible for their total lack of action on our behalf, and voting is the only way to do that. How else can we have a voice? I can’t believe that we have to let this country nosedive into oblivion by ignoring everything that is happening politically.

  25. But it has, you vote I assume. Most people I know vote.
    All you describe above has happened with you voting
    We had a guy here in this area who won reelection and he is under federal inditmient for stock fraud.
    How does this happen?
    Elections are bought. Votes are the window dressing to make us sheep feel like we have a voice

  26. Tim I really think the rational thing now is NOT to vote. By voting we’re rubber stamping a system that no longer serves the people. Some say that’s pacifism, or even un-Patriotic. But from a human standpoint, the most rational action is to remove ourselves from a system that isn’t working. We can’t make government go away, but we can and should minimize our dependence on it. That’s the message I always hope to convey with this blog. We can’t control the big picture any more, but we can control what we do at the individual and local level. That’s where the emphasis needs to be. Besides, but not voting, we eventually create a large enough group to make room for a third party.

  27. I think one of the things that is getting in Trump’s way is Trump himself. I hear news from the left which is anti-Trump and from the right which is pro-Trump. In our little local newspaper, the Bedford Bulletin, the conservative commentator, who is pro-Trump and wouldn’t vote for a Democrat if you held a gun to his head, said he thinks Trump’s accomplishments are not acknowledged because his communication style alienates so many people, even many of his supporters. I agree. If Trump could hold off on the impulsive tweeting and monitor his mouth a bit, people might see what he has done that is good for the country. His angry and boasting style is not helping the cause of civility in our discourse. For example, his prison reform ideas have some merit but they get lost in all the media circus, part of which he is enabling.
    In addition, his musical chairs style of managing administration staff and officials leaves a bit to be desired. I can’t imagine any sane person wanting to work in such a volatile environment.
    As to regulations, it depends which regulations you want to end: I think some industries such as banking and the markets and consumer rights need good, tight regulation in favor of consumers.

  28. Hi Mary – On regulations, I think one of the important issues is that regulation often excludes competition. It’s not that banks oppose regulation because in most cases it protects their monopoly. There’s too much of that, and that’s what needs to change. When regulation protects the big participants it’s gone in the wrong direction. That said I’m not opposed to all regulation, but there’s simply too much and it’s seldom doing the job everyone’s been led to believe it is. Pharmaceuticals are another example, but I don’t want to detour into that one.

    But back to Trump. I totally agree, he’s his own worst enemy. But he’s got that combination of NYC boldness and antagonism, that works well on the streets of NYC, but doesn’t translate well outside. The other issue is Trump himself. He behaves like a high school sophomore with a rich daddy. He’s reckless, and uses bad judgement in the people he surrounds himself with.

    I mean, think about bringing that Omarosa character into the WH from the Apprentice. She was trouble on the show (if anyone saw her antagonism toward Janet Jackson, probably because Jackson had her pegged from the very beginning), then she leaves the WH and writes a tell-all about Trump, including recordings. That blew over probably because she isn’t a credible figure, but a social climber. But he’s surrounded himself with this kind of narcissistic personality type. That said, he does have good instincts for what the country needs, and for how to deal with the media. But his nationalist rhetoric and agenda – though it plays well with the extreme right – isn’t helping the country in the world as it’s now operating.

  29. Kevin,
    Thanks for writing this article. I understand your reluctance to write about politics but we need unbiased and thought-provoking articles such as this one.
    You may take some heat from some segments of our society but I think most of the people reading your article will get the message.
    I am now well past retirement age and have witnessed the continued deterioration of the political system along with the safeguards put into place by our founding fathers. Along with this, we are moving away from the moral values that are needed for a society to survive. It seems that more and more people are seeking self-gratification with little concern about anything else. I do have great hope, I follow many individuals and organizations that are working diligently to bring about positive changes in this country and worldwide.

  30. Hi Jerry – I hope you’re right about those looking to bring about positive change. But the problem is that they’re marginalized by the media and the extremists who can’t fathom there might be a better way. They drown them out, or put the hater label on them. Anyone who wants to bring about change is accused of starving children and throwing grandma out on the street. I’ve seen it again and again.

    But I’m glad to hear people are working in that direction. A grass roots movement is the only way forward. It won’t come from the top down, because the top has a natural interest in preserving the status quo. That’s why we all need to gradually make ourselves more independent of the System. Not dropping out wholesale, because that will only making things worse (that living off the grid thing is highly over-rated and counter productive). But if we could reduce our dependence, we’ll see clear to bring about real change.

    In my lifetime what I’ve witnessed is the immaturing of America. 70 year olds acting like 40 year olds, 40 year olds acting like teenagers, and so on. It’s all about denying reality, as if we’re living in some sort of Kardashian never-never land. Parents can’t raise their kids when they want to BE their kids. I think that’s why everything is so kid-friendly today, and why kids are being coddled to their own detriment. My wife refers to it as “babies raising babies”, and that can’t end well. But we see it in everything. In politics people want to believe in the Tooth Fairy, so they vote based on emotions, rather than logic. Until we reverse that, I see us continuing to slide.

  31. I’ve never voted and never intend to…….like the 100 PLUS million citizens who have determined dream peddling politicians frequently exhibit the integrity of organized crime. However, as a former IRS employee, class plaintiff and whistle blower (employee of 12 largest bank at the time) I’m looking forward to endless investigations of Trump and his unethical clan. It is truly embarrassing for this nation to have a habitual liar with the impulse control of a toddler at the helm.

  32. I’d agree with you George, but we can say the same of a lot of politicians. They’re a different breed, and there’s usually more BS in their backgrounds than is commonly known. It’s only when a politician rises to the presidency that anyone becomes properly suspicious. As a friend of mine said about both Trump and Hillary, “You don’t reach that level without stepping over some dead bodies”. If we really want to drain the swamp we can start by investigating all politicians of both parties. I believe we’d be stunned by what would turn up. To move up the chain, these people have to make deals with the Devil and keep affiliations with unsavory people. Ever notice how no politician is ever elected because of their platform anymore, if they even articulate one? It’s as if the secret to getting elected is to avoid generating conflict with the greatest number of people, which keeps them stuck in neutral, and making alliances to move forward.

    By the way I LOVE your description of “dream peddling politicians”, it’s right on the money and captures the whole problem. It’s why I’m done voting.

  33. It’s been said throughout US History. Back in the Rockefeller days that him, JP Morgan and Carniege got together and bought their man the Presidency. Same way the rumors always were that the Irish mob put JFK in the whitehouse.
    Big business or corporations spend tirelessly getting their choice into office.

    It’s never been about the people. Votes do not matter. We have seen how many times now where the person who wins the popular vote still looses.

    The Clinton’s had so many skeletons in their closet. It’s nothing new. We do not matter.
    That’s why I stopped voting twenty years ago. If you go back and read some US history almost right from the founding fathers the system became corrupt almost right away.

    Even the early presidents were huge deal cutters.

  34. I think politics can’t help but be corrupt. The mistake we’ve made is being too trusting. Since we know (or should know) that politics and power corrupts, the goal SHOULD have been to continue with minimal government. Vox Day once wrote that the governments/systems in the US, Britain, Italy and Mexico are all corrupt. But the difference is that the Italian and the Mexican know about the corruption, and work to protect themselves and minimize the interference. By contrast the American and the Briton pretend corruption is the exception and the government/system is basically good, and cooperate/go along at their own peril, preferring to believe the pleasant fantasy to the uncomfortable reality.

    Not to beat the point to death, but once again that’s why I think we need to extricate ourselves from the system to the degree we can, short of going off the grid. We can do that by keeping expenses low, staying out of debt, emphasizing skills and self-employment, and having sufficient savings. We also need to emphasize close bonds with family, friends, neighbors, businesses, and the local community. The more we’ve collectively strayed from those concepts, the more we’ve surrendered personal sovereignty to the system, with the expectation we’ll be cared for. You don’t weaken a system by becoming more dependent on it.

    I know you’re already doing these things Tim. And speaking for myself, even though we have less freedom than ever, I feel more free than I ever have in my life. It’s amazing what you can do just by making a series of small changes in direction over the long-term. As Tony Robins said, “Most people over-estimate what they can do in a year, but under-estimate what they can do in a decade.” That’s a compelling reason to flesh out a ten year plan to reduce our dependence on the System, which will increase our personal independence.

    Politicians will play the games they have been for centuries and it won’t get better. But we don’t have to become victims of those games. We have more control than we think, albeit not absolute control.

    It helps when you believe in a Higher Power, because you realize that here is not all there is, and you can dare to aspire to something beyond the usual parameters, and trust you’ll get help along the way. That’s worked incredibly for me. Every time I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone and done something “crazy” I’ve gotten help from unexpected sources – and too many times for it to be coincidence. This is dismissed too easily today. The death of faith is killing this country. It’s putting us into this box where we feel trapped in the matrix.

    You know I love inspirational quotes, so here’s another one from the Eagles (“Already Gone“)…“So often times it happens, that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key.”

  35. Totally agree.
    That basically how I live life.

    I hope by these blogs that people would wake up and do the same. I really hate to comment on the government. I don’t pay attention to the daily nonsense of Washington.
    Not to insult anybody but when I see people still defending a party or thinking voting matters it means to me they still believe. They still think it can be fixed.

    There still waiting for some white knight to come in a fix it. The very institution is corrupt. It always will be. That’s the nature of the beast.

    I do believe their are well meaning people who do run for office. Who think they can be different but once they get into the belly of the beast it consumes them and they give up and go along or they quit.

  36. Agreed. It’s a false hope. Better to build your hope in things you can control and abandon the fantasy. As I say, if enough people stop voting it clears the way for a third party that may offer hope. The Reps and Dems are only obsessed with holding onto power, and have no real interest in helping the masses. By not voting, we actually are voting – with a vote of No Confidence. If enough of us become “disaffected”, new options may open up. Rubber stamping the status quo is Einstein’s definition of insanity – doing the same thing again and again, each time expecting a different result.

  37. So going along these lines, I have to wonder something else and would love everyone’s input: is Wall Street, and hence our IRA’s and 401k’s, just as corrupt and totally influenced by these dirty politicians and corrupt corporations? I do believe it is and can’t imagine how so many of us are going to survive without that money for retirement. They already stole our social security funds, so how long before the retirement funds disappear as well?

  38. Hi Linda – I think that connection is inevitable. None of these mega companies/financial institutions have been able to get as big as they are without some sort of strong government connection. It’s just not the way the economy works any more. For example, most of these companies have grown by eating up smaller competitors. They could never do that without the blessing of some government agency(ies). So yes, there is a connection.

    But that’s both good and bad. The bad part is these companies may not be as strong and dynamic as we like to think. But the good news is that if they’re propped up by the state, they’re also protected to a large measure. This is going to sound conflicted, but they’ll be worth investing in until they aren’t. No one can know when that will happen. One of the things I’m concerned with is that we have the stock market hovering at around 25,000 on the Dow, but major companies like GM and GE are slipping on a banana peel.

    That said, it’s always important to diversify. Meaning you can’t have all or most of your money invested in stocks. This market makes no sense. There’s weakness all over the place, even in the so-called FAANG stocks (the “can’t miss” ones), but still the markets are elevated. It should make us suspicious just based on life’s experience. The problem is you can’t not invest, otherwise you’ll eventually suffer for it. But it’s best to be conservative, especially in this market. We’ve had two crashes in less than 20 years, and that by itself demands caution.

    I’m no expert in this area, but I have a lot of opinions that have mostly been wrong for the better part of the past 10 years. How’s that for guidance??? (???)

  39. Good question, Linda. I would like to have a discussion on that as well. Perhaps Kevin could do a post on it. I’m watching my 401k do a cliff dive these past weeks. It’s frightening.

  40. Hi Bev – This is probably an outstanding time to have some alternative investments. Tim has a lot of experience in that arena? Tim, care to step up and offer some advice on what you like? My suggestion is to hold a lot of cash, but that’s not really a strategy.

  41. Oh boy, I would love to comment on this but there’s not enough time in the day.

    Cheap money at zero percent interest have allowed alot of these big businesses to borrow and buy back there stock causing it to rise. The coanues themselves are not getting better their getting worse but it’s hidden with rising stock prices.
    I could type for days on that question. Lol

  42. My point is, I’m not sure any of it is real. 25,000 Kevin. I can see it going back at least half.
    It makes no sense. Netflix loses millions but their stock keep rising.

    I believe its a completely fraudulent market.

  43. I’ve heard and read the same thing, and have my own suspicions. The real economy is flat on it’s back, there’s little in the way of organic growth, yet we’ve seen this multi-year rise in financial assets. It’s often said that Wall Street has detached itself from Main Street, which I agree with. But I think what’s happening on Main Street eventually wins out. The problem is this financial levitation regime has been going on for so long it’s made believers even out of the skeptics. But I’m not betting my future on it, that’s for sure.

    What investments do you like Tim? I plan to be a buyer after the grand house-cleaning that’s sure to come. I’d rather buy in on the back end of this run up than the front. I think a lot of good people are going to get burned, just like the last two crashes. The current shakiness may go away for a while, but the factors that are causing it won’t. Which will win out, manipulation or reality? So far, manipulation has been doing an impressive job.

  44. Bev & Linda – Your questions about the impact of politics on investments and retirement bring up a point I often emphasize, which is that all this stuff is connected. You’re both sensing the same thing. I guess it is true, that great minds think alike 😉

  45. Thank you for the thoughtful article Kevin. Personally, while I respect the right of others to believe and practice their faith(s), I have always found more of a feeling of mystery and wonder in the natural world than I ever have in any religion.

    My own perception is that much of the disunity in this country is not only that most of us are fighting over a piece of a shrinking pie (except for the top one percent, who are doing very well, thank you very much!) and I agree that the good times are not coming back, I also believe that much of the conflict stems from there really being more than one America.

    This country is composed of such disparate groups – some of whom truly have been marginalized and victimized with the resulting festering wounds – that I think that it can be hard sometimes to relate to each other’s experiences or view ourselves as one nation or people, particularly from the perception of someone from one of the marginalized groups.

    I do see that there are a lot of people fighting about who gets to be the biggest victim, along with individuals/politicians doing all they can in the media, on social media and other places to inflame these tensions in our society rather than solve them. (Unless by ‘solve’ you mean to destroy those that don’t fall into lockstep with the so-called progressive interpretation of every issue) but, still, there are legitimate grievances as well.

    I used to live in Chicago where every week dozens of people – including children – are shot and sometimes killed in the crossfire between gangs on the southside of the city (ironically enough where Barack Obama got his start as a community activist.) The shootings continue unabated to this day. And I worked with a young woman from Kentucky a few years ago and she told me that half her graduating class was unemployed and addicted to painkillers – how does that even happen?

    Apologies if I sound self righteous or as if I am lecturing – I really don’t mean it that way and know that many people reading this feel the same way and probably know more about it than I do. The sadness of it just strikes me sometimes and while I make no claims to any great expertise or understanding of all the complicated issues involved, I do know there are a lot of clever people with degrees and knowledge of those communities who do have it and yet nothing ever changes. (And that’s not to be disrespectful of the good work that I’m sure some people are doing in those communities.)

    I know people need to help themselves but they also need the tools with which to do it – education, access to healthy food and healthcare, safe sidewalks where they can walk with their children and so on…I would gladly pay more taxes and I’m sure others feel the same, if it made a genuine difference and helped other Americans to improve their lives in the long-term. And, who knows, if people didn’t feel so forgotten it might, eventually, begin to heal the chasms in this country!

    While I feel sorry for poor people from Honduras or wherever, frankly, I care about other Americans and what is happening in this country more. And if some foaming at the mouth ‘progressive’ doesn’t like it, I actually see it as a badge of common sense!

    Also, I do believe that voting is important – not because I believe in any politician as an individual and expect him/her to save us but because whoever is in power nominates or has the power to influence which justices are nominated to the Supreme Court and the decisions that Court makes do actually have impact on individual lives in ways both small and large.

    The only problem is both sides are just so awful! I told myself that when the time comes I will just vote for the side that I believe would do the least damage but I truly can’t figure out which that is!

  46. Your last paragraph says it all Suzy – exactly who is the lesser of the two evils? There was a time when that may have been a rational voting position, but not any more. But I want to get back to your point about there being more than one America. My fear here is that there aren’t two, or five, or 10, or 20 or even 100, but roughly 330 million Americas. That may sound like a wild exaggeration, but what you said about everyone fighting for a share of a shrinking pie is the driving force. It’s now every man and woman (and often child) for themselves. Everyone’s trying to vote for/support “who will help me most/hurt me least”. I even think the victim quagmire is people trying to get sympathy amid the confusion. There are no central national platforms to rally behind, we’re all left to our own devices.

    Bigger picture though, it may be that existing institutions are breaking down and not being replaced. That’s pretty obvious with the Big Three – faith, family and community. Since those three have all but evaporated, people are wandering around with no sense of identity, connection or hope. It’s become a battle for the financial swag, to get “my share”. That’s a cold hearted way for a society to function.

    Unfortunately, this can get a lot worse than any of us think. I’ve been reading and contemplating in the past year or so the potential for the end of the nation state. 20 years go I would have considered that to be highly unlikely. But today, in addition to the societal decay and the “me first (and only)” movement, international borders are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Governments are making frantic efforts to protect their borders, but it’s not working in any constructive sense.

    We now have global migration due to over-population and the masses in the desperately poor countries flocking to the rich countries. That’s only likely to increase as global pressures mount. But then we have widespread international travel. In 2017, one out of every six people on the planet traveled to a different country, and tourism is widely promoted for economic gain. Then we have the internet and electronic money. It’s enabling money and business to go global, making it impossible to control and retain. I read somewhere that the US Fortune 500 companies make over 50% of their net revenues from overseas sales. That gives them a loyalty to no country. Meanwhile people are moving money across markets and borders in an instant, and routinely doing business with foreign concerns (including yours truly).

    None of this is uncommon any more, but it’s making the borders increasingly irrelevant. The problem is that we’re still early in that transformation, so while some are benefiting, more are being displaced by it. It’s similar to how the Industrial Revolution disrupted farming and local communities, causing millions to migrate to urban areas and factory jobs, only this shift seems more pervasive and global in scope.

    The politicians don’t know what to do about this, or how to make it better. All they can do is dream peddle (thank you George Kowal, perfect description!), and hope it all holds together. Most people don’t realize this, but both the White House and Congress have largely abandoned economic issues, and turned the job of managing the economy over to the Federal Reserve. And all they can do is manipulate interest rates and increase the money supply. This is almost certainly why most of the growth in the economy (if you want to call it that) has been in the financial sector, at the expense of everything else (except education, law enforcement, military, healthcare and government in general, all of which are protected sectors, but my suspicion is that eventually all those sectors will be hit as the pie continues to shrink. They’re just the higher ground of the moment).

    Politicians need borders to have any power. Without them, they’re wandering generalities looking for a constituency. A close-to-the-ground analogy might be a homeowner. With a definite property size, enforced by a fence, he has absolute control. But if the property lines can’t be enforced, he has little control even in his own castle. My wife and I have often lamented how much less control we had over raising our kids than our parents did. There are a lot more outside influences today, making it extremely difficult to raise your kids a certain way.

    I realize none of that is encouraging, but this it the place and time we inhabit, and we need to be aware of what’s happening, and flexible enough to not only live within it, but also to thrive to the degree that’s possible. It would be nice to say the Problem is immigration, or globalization, or corruption, or foreign enemies. It’s all those things, and a lot more. For that reason, we can’t micro-focus on particular issues, but rather focus on the bigger picture trends. Those are uncertain because they’re still evolving.

    Boy, can I get on a soapbox or what???

  47. If you’re investing in the stock market, you may as well be voting also. Both aid and condone the problems we have. Mayne a house in a well- researched area would be good. Make it as energy independant as possible without drawing attention. My big investment recently has been my health. No money involved but lots of time and work!
    Next has been trying to remember and relearn the skills my parents and granparents took for granted. Canning, cooking, sewing and carpentry. Knowledge is one thing they can never take, tax or put fees on. Not talking about an MBA or master’s degree. Skills that your neighbors wiil need and you can get many different customers for. Repairing a light switch for a good dinner was one of my better ones recently!
    Also investing time and effort into your family and friends. The family unit has always been the cornerstone of human civilization and will remain so no matter what our government does to try and destroy it. The idea of paying money to put Mom and Dad in senior living while paying outrageous day care costs for your kids is nuts!
    But it does keep you working hard paying taxes keeps you too tired and busy to care what the governmemt is doing.

  48. Ric Pau, once again, you are dead on correct! We are trying to eat healthy and staying away from restaurants and grocery store food as much as possible. Eggs come from a friend with chickens, produce from a local farmer’s market, etc. We can’t afford the outrageous health insurance premiums of today ($1,500/mo with $15,000 deductible!) and would rather put that money away into our own pockets to pay for future healthcare. Like you said, when possible, stay home and take care of each other–no day care (most are horrific) and no elder care. Barter with friends and neighbors. Not only are you better off financially, you are building an amazing family/friend unit that support each other unlike any government can offer.

    My favorite sentence from your post: “The family unit has always been the cornerstone of human civilization and will remain so no matter what our government does to try and destroy it.”

    One more thought: I’ve noticed that no matter what rhetoric the crooked politicians and disgusting mainstream media are trying to push down our throats, when I go out into the world, I am met with kindness, compassion, caring and smiles, no matter the race or religion. We need to keep our eyes open to our surroundings and keep them closed when it comes to the MSM. Most people are in the same position that we are and we need to remember that and leave the judging and political correctness at the door. Rather than thinking there is more than one America, hold on to the one amazing country that started so long ago and don’t let this corrupt government take that away from us. God Bless America!

  49. “…when I go out into the world, I am met with kindness, compassion, caring and smiles…” – I’m not going to say that happens all the time, but it does happen a lot more than the MSM and a lot of the skeptics would have us believe. I’m pretty social as a general rule, and what I find is that if you’re kind and open to others, even strangers, you’re usually pleasantly surprised. We’re so gripped with fear that everyone is either an ax murderer or someone looking to get something from us that we walk around in a suit of protective armor, and with a look on our faces that screams “GO AWAY”. If that’s what we do, we’re going to get exactly what the MSM says we will, so dare to be different.

    Are there risks to opening up to people? Certainly. But that’s always been true. For my own part, I prefer to be more trusting and take my chances. I like a more open life better than a paranoid one. As well, we all need people, and more of them in our lives, not fewer. We can’t do that if we’re living in fear, and I refuse to operate that way. I accept that I’m not going to live forever, but I fully intend to live my life to the fullest with as much time as I’ve been blessed to have. I don’t want any regrets when my time comes. That scares me more than living in a cocoon.

  50. Good comment, Ric. Giving me a lot to think about. Would you expand further on some of you statements. They go along with Kevin’s emphasis on self-sufficiency as much as possible. What did you mean about not drawing attention to your energy-independent house? Why is that? And I agree with your last two paragraphs about senior care and day care and the exorbitant costs of both, all while you’re killing yourself to pay more taxes and too tired to care. Kevin, perhaps you can elaborate. And I like your soapbox.

  51. Bev, I’ll elaborate on my point, but I too would like to hear more from Ric.

    When we fall into the trap of thinking we need all these costly props in our lives, we’re driven to always make more money. That results in more taxes, more stress, higher expectations (than what the world can deliver), and degraded health. Yes, maximize income, but don’t be obsessed. Focus instead on living a life with fewer perceived needs, and enjoy what’s right in front of you. Happiness never comes from stuff, it comes from enjoying your life. And you don’t need a fortune to do that.

    We take day or weekend trips around New England, eat out from time to time, take in a movie or a play, or a minor league baseball or hockey game. I walk every morning, and go to the gym a couple times a week. We do a lot of cooking at home, enjoy time with family, and our faith. We also celebrate the work we do (very important!). Apart from that, if we’re saving money and staying out of debt, we’re heading in the right direction, and there’s plenty of reason for hope. And I think when you focus on those things right in front of you in that way, and keep your life simple, you don’t worry as much about all this other nonsense. That’s my story.

    I write about the big picture problems because although I focus mostly on my own life, I want to be aware of what’s really happening, with no illusions. Of course, that’s easier to do when you tune out the mainsteam media, culture and politicians. And a funny thing begins to happen – you begin to realize it’s all pure BS anyway. So many people in our culture have become actors, who don’t even do what they tell us to do, and live lives that are inconsistent with what they preach. That’s what we have to get away from, and at the same time, to be aware is happening. It’s all about finding peace and purpose in a turbulent world.

  52. I love reading all the comments, and have much “food for thought”. Kevin, I just want to agree with those above who asked about an article on 401K and Ira’s/investing. I think it would be very helpful. As far as voting, I never thought about the points you brought up, and will definitely think further on that. One of the reasons I do continue to vote, is for the person that nominates a Supreme Court Justice. I think there can be a lesser of two evils, although these days it can be tough because of all the corruption as people above have noted. I have to back off from politics every so often, as I find myself starting to get very upset, and it clouds the way I feel about things. In terms of faith, I always wonder how a person with no faith beliefs finds solace in this world? Thank you for your articles, they are very thought provoking!

  53. Boy, this post has really struck a nerve, Kevin!
    What I mean about not drawing attention is if things do go south, if people know yours is the place to keep warm and get a meal, where will they go? Dont be the one home with bright lights shining when the power is out!
    Im beginning to think the people that will be valuable are the refugees trying to get here, illegally or not. They have experience in losing everything and learning to live by their wits. They can teach us some things.
    One other thing I think would help is every ballot that list candidates for office should also have the choice of “None of the Above”. That way you really could vote them out.

  54. LA – I’ll mull over the 401k article idea. The problem is I have no solid ideas right now, and I don’t like to give my thoughts when they’re so vague. One bit of advice I will give though is that this market and economy are very long in the tooth, and there are few investment bargains available. Nothing is cheap, and that’s the time to be cautious. For example, look at how Bitcoin has crashed. It was up over $17,000, but now it’s down to like $3,700. That’s an 80% fall. That’s the more likely outcome when valuations are too high.

  55. Thank you to everyone for expanding on your thoughts. I’ve always felt guilty if I didn’t vote, allowing others to shame me, so to speak. Done with that now, too. While we live pretty simply, I’m always interested in others’ views and how they are doing the same. Gotta run, but thanks again to everyone.

  56. I’m not trying to say that we focus only on the uncomfortable histories and differences between us, without trying to connect through kindness and shared humanity with others. If that is how it came across, then I did not express myself very well.

    I just do believe, looking at how the country is ripping itself apart and how there are so many that obviously feel disaffected, that it is also important to accept that differences in history and perspective do matter.

    Just as a personal example, I was reading an article about some kids who decided to organize a fifties themed party. I immediately thought to myself how much fun it would be and imagined the poodle skirt I would wear if I were going and so on… I mean, the fifties were great, weren’t they?

    The economy was booming, mom was at home baking apple pie, all the kids were bopping at the sock hop, the Fonz was there being cool – it was awesome! Good times.

    And then one of the women asked a black woman what she was wearing to the party and the black woman said ‘uh, nothing, the fifties were not a great time for my people.’

    It brought me up short – her reality had honestly never occurred to me. And it came to me that, yes, it would be hard to relate to the idea of America being great during a time that I knew that if I had been alive and black, I would have been forced to sit at that back of the bus or use a separate bathroom or whatever. And this black woman probably has parents or grandparents that are still alive today.

    That is what I meant by there being different Americas. I don’t mean it to blame, shame, bash or denigrate those kids dancing around at the sock hop (or anyone else) but rather to acknowledge – if only to myself – that people do have different histories and experiences and not acknowledging it does not make it go away. As someone who does love this country and feel deeply invested in it, that is not a pleasant thing for me to admit to myself.

    Even though things have changed immeasurably since then (though you wouldn’t think so to listen to some), it’s just my opinion (and no one has to agree with it) that it’s a mistake, if we are trying to heal the wounds of this country,not to take these things into account.

    Anyway, I’ll stop now. Thank you Kevin for allowing this dialogue – if this were others blogs, we’d be hurling puerile insults at each other by now!

  57. Actually Suzy, I was agreeing with what your wrote, but maybe taking it a few steps further. But I’d like to add that while, yes, history has been very different from one race to another, there are also vast differences within people groups. For example, if you’re black and you grew up in a stable black community in the 1950s, your experience would be very different from another black person who grew up in an urban neighborhood, with a lot of drugs, crime, broken homes and multi-generational cycles in any of those directions. I’ve always admired how some in the black community have a degree of family and community attachment that doesn’t exist in the white community.

    As well, the 50s weren’t kind to all white people either. Look at whites in Appalachia and the rural South. Did you know part of the reason the interstate highway system was created was to integrate the South into the rest of the country? It was developing along very different economic and social lines than the rest of the country. And it wasn’t kind to gays, or anyone who was different, because conformity was expected/required. It could also have been a difficult time for white ethics. My family lineage is Italian, and I can tell you that back in the 50s, and even in the 60s and 70s, people of Italian descent didn’t live in the same neighborhoods as prosperous other whites. And I’ve heard plenty of stories in the same direction from Jews.

    The reality is that the unity of the 1950s was always 50% myth, 50% reality. But to some degree, the differences in the population groups are getting worse. Today we have even more races, due to immigration, and the gap between rich and poor is taking on third world proportions, while some pretend we’re all equal. I see us pulling apart more than ever. We can’t even rally around basic concepts like healthcare.

  58. If we all let everything effect how we deal with life, we all would overly anxious about everything. I am assuming that those of us reading and commenting on this blog come from all walks of life and many different areas geographically. But we all have one thing in common, we are people living our lives, trying to get along with our neighbors and find the best life possible. Some of us, are excellent entrepreneurs, some of us are great commenters verbally, some of us are great thinkers, etc., and some of us are just plain old Joe”s just plodding along, not happy entirely but satisfied with current status because it covers the essentials. We all dream of a better life, but that life doesn’t necessarily include more money and items that we really don’t need either.
    What has happened to our country has occurred because of the blending of so many different cultures with all vying for supremacy over the other instead of blending ideas. Historically, since the 1840s, the mass immigration groups coming to the United States have not been those with a solid financial status but a strong will to become self-supported. But here in the United States, we had those willing to exhort these newer immigrants for a cheaper form of labor, hereby allowing wages of others to fall. Those who became rich on these schemes became the “nobility” of the United States because of their “made” status riches. This group considers themselves the know-it-alls for change or maintenance of the current status. Unfortunately, the generations that follow from the original entrepreneur who made the fortune no longer feel the need to “help” others because they consider their right to have. Hence we have the Walmart type enterprises, who have no compulsion to better working conditions globally if that would affect their profit gain.
    How does us regular Joes battle this injustice/inequality? First by not spending our hard earned money frivolously. I become very Scrooge-like during the days from Thanksgiving through the day after New Year’s Day. Every scammer and thief is having a ball this period of time and I am not going to share. I spend the time revising my budget and noting where I slipped up. I don’t blame the authorities for my failing to notice the cost changes. As for politicians making decisions that affect me personally, I join in with the complainers but the decisions were made long before they were made public. We have two upcoming costs increasing coming–the MTA (local transportation agency) is raising fares, but they had announced this years ago as the method to pay for much-needed upgrades to the system, which people forget about (how to pay for things). The second cost increase has to do with an environmental issue (blame the people who don’t decrease their impact and litter everywhere), we will be shortly paying 5 cents a bag for plastic bags to encourage the use of re-cycling/re-usable bags. Great idea, but this cost will be least beneficial to lower income who don’t have the money to buy those re-cycling/re-usable bags which cost the minimum of 99 cents. Lucky for me I have a stockpile of them and only need to remember to bring them with me. Again this cost was hinted out years ago but no one reacted or lessened their impact.
    We need to look to history to see how the path ahead will fall and plan our futures to be least affected. Change is coming, we just need to be prepared as everyone has suggested.

  59. I’m glad you brought up the 1800s Maria Rose because it’s the direct opposite of today. Back then, there were no income taxes, few regulations, high immigration levels, and no one was trying to close the borders. We also had very stable gold and silver backed money, so prices were predictable, and even gradually declining. It’s the exact opposite of today. Now it’s true, that environment favored the wealthy. But most of those millions of immigrants were living better than they had in Europe and within only about 25-30 years. And by and large, their children thrived.

    The statistics are showing immigrants today are still succeeding. But the tax and regulatory burden, plus perpetually rising costs are strangling the middle class. The immigrants may be better off in some ways because they’re used to adversity, and this is still better than where they came from. Which in this time, is more likely the third world, than Europe, where the standards of living were higher, but people left because of a lack of opportunity.

    Plus in the 1800s there were still plenty of resources and land, which is no longer true. America is now finding it very difficult to compete on a more level playing field. So we’re dealing with a lot of complications that didn’t exist before. And of course, anyone who’s in the “Haves” class, wants to make sure they hold on to what they have. It’s one thing when an immature nation (as the US was in the 1800s) exploits it’s lower classes, we can write that off to ignorance. But in a mature society and economy like today, it’s downright predatory. I don’t know how we fix that, or even if we can. The ruling political class now governs as if the masses don’t exist.

  60. Kevin, I agree with much you say – I know life isn’t perfect for anyone. I heard comments about my own ethnic group while I was growing up although I can’t, in my own mind, compare it to what other groups have had to face.

    And I do actually agree with you that much of what we face is about even bigger issues over which we have little or no control, including overpopulation and its consequences. I guess I just don’t like to admit it although I’m aware that ignoring the tide of history doesn’t stop it.

    It does floor me that most of the overpopulation deniers (and you only have to do a quick Google search to find them) focus only on the practical issues involved – they claim the Earth can produce enough food, water, decent jobs, etc., to support billions more and that to say anything else is some sort of ‘hysteria’ perpetrated by those who hate people (or even babies)!

    Even if the claims of the almost infinite bounty of the Earth were true (and I’m dubious), it completely ignores the fact that having increasing numbers of people with differing values, goals, cultures and/or lifestyles, etc. pressed closer and closer together without the space to retreat either physically (increasingly) or psychologically when they feel they, or their way of life is being threatened (which, in some cases, is actually true), is not a good thing in the long term – in fact, it’s a powder keg.

    We are social beings and have probably done amazingly well, all things considered. But there are limits and the way things are going, it seems we (meaning humanity as a whole) is going to discover just what those limits are.

    Anyway, thanks again. Please, keep up the good work!

  61. Not to beat the over-population theme to death, but even though humanity has done an outstanding job of managing the explosion (population doubling in less than 50 years), there’s abundant evidence we’re now straining resources. Just consider all the genetically modified food. It’s being modified to increase crop yields and animal protein volume. Then look at energy. We’re not getting into alternatives because the world has plenty of fossil fuels. And then there’s water. What used to be a third world problem, is now increasingly an issue in the US and other western countries. (Just do some research into the Midwest acquafier, it’s scary!)

    We may want to be optimistic about the future, and a lot of it’s based on science producing miracles, but we can eventually reach a point where there simply isn’t enough to go around. As the population grows, we’re getting closer to that point. And that circles back to where there are no simple solutions, and why politicians and the media prefer to divert us, rather than attempt workable solutions. I mean, they’re trying to whip up hysteria over global warming, but there are any number of more threatening and more documentable problems that are mostly being ignored. And as you say, we do seem to increasingly be stepping on each other’s toes with increasing frequency.

    What I really appreciate about these comment threads is that unlike a lot of the public debates that focus on Problem X, we’re also considering the implications of Problems Y, Z, R, Q, L, etc. You probably can’t fix one without causing a negative outcome with one or more of the others. For example, let’s say we “solve” immigration, by closing western borders to third world immigrants. Yay us. But what happens when those host countries start to experience pandemics or open warfare from over-crowding? It will affect us at least as much. Once again, thought provoking, but no easy answers.

  62. Kevin, I am glad you are bringing up the over population problem. I have been talking about that for years and almost no one listens. Our world has limited natural resources and limited space. The “First World” countries like the U.S.A. and Europe, use more than their share per capita, much of it spent to expand our economy by producing more and more goods. Imagine the impact on our world if the very populous’Third World’ and developing nations started consuming goods at the rate of the average middle class American. It would be devastating to our natural resources.
    Many of the populations that are expanding so rapidly are among the poorest. In the U.S., that tends to be the case. Middle class and wealthy folks tend to practice family planning and can afford birth control options.
    Another factor in population expansion is hard line religious fundamentalism and those religions attitude towards birth control. Many of the burgeoning immigrant populations belong to such religions: Roman Catholic, fundamentalist Muslim and fundamentalist Evangelical Christians. I know it said in the Bible to go be fruitful and multiply. But that was said eons ago, when the population was sparse and needed to increase. I think some people were behind the door when common sense and logic were handed out. That includes idiotic reality TV shows featuring brood mare moms whose sole reason
    for living seems to be having as many babies as humanly possible in the shortest period of time.
    Although I do not favor a Chinese style mandatory limit on kids per couple, I do believe that over population and its implications needs to enter into the national conversation. People seem afraid to broach the topic.

  63. Hi Mary – The Chinese system of limiting children is being routinely exceeded. What’s more, it’s easier to do that in developed countries, where the populations are growing only slowly, and sometime reversing. The problem is the 3rd word countries. There’s no way to enforce limitations, so the problem continues.

    I used to be in the camp who believed that science and technology would ultimately overcome the problems of over-population, but I’ve seen too much. Here in New England, there are serious problems with over-fishing in the Gulf of Maine, which is one of the richest fishing grounds in the country. Cod stocks in the North Sea have fallen off, forcing reliance on other fish for fish and chips and other popular dishes. Meanwhile, oil companies are exploring oil and gas well off-shore, in Siberia, and in the Arctic. They wouldn’t be doing that if there was “plenty of energy”.

    I’m not saying this is the prime source of our troubles in America, but it’s an underlying problem that won’t go away. And we can’t fix it beyond our borders. Increasingly, we can’t stop it even within the borders.

    But that’s my whole point. The problems are getting bigger, and all politicians can do is make impossible promises and play on emotions because they don’t know what to do either. And wanting to be optimistic about the future, we want to believe them. No liar is ever effective unless the people he or she is lying to want to be told something other than the truth.

    We have to face reality, and deal with it as it is. The perceived option to believe the fluff is failing.

  64. The main problem that I have with our government political representatives is their tendencies to lean into the popular view of the moment without really thinking of future effects. (That let our children take care of the problem that needs to be solved now thinking). Any educated person knows what it means to describe third world conditions. I never understood why we spend so many funds out of the country and ignore the problems of poverty here and I am not just referring to the problems of Appalachia.
    Without trying to be offensive, at the present time, we need to do something to not turn the United States into a third world, which means we need to get more of the population here educated with skills to be self-sufficient without needing help. Hence the negative reactions to a massive caravan massing at our southern border after passing through multiple countries to get here. Is Mexico that bad to live in? I did some research and found part of the problem of why so many people are flocking here ( not to live permanently but temporally while leeching our resources) is the easy entry and lack of follow-up to the visa program. I could deal with refugees escaping conditions but not the criminal elements who are sneaking in. ( Go read about Pablo Escabor and his “enterprise”). By education, I mean to encourage people to think and react positively to situations around them even if it means doing things physically like using hands to do a job as not everything is done with technology. Either that or create a way for technology to do it, but with fewer hands-on jobs, what do people do to earn a living? I certainly don’t want to have a Fahrenheit 451 future.

  65. In theory what you’re proposing is exactly what’s needed. In reality, it won’t ever happen. The government/politicians aren’t interested in encouraging or developing self-sufficiency. Power comes from making more people dependent on the state. And since those who work in the state don’t understand self-sufficiency, or see why it might be necessary, they won’t be able to teach it, or even create constructive programs to implement it. Do you ever notice how the answer to every problem is always to create another government program to redistribute money? That’s what they know how to do, and it’s part of the bread and circuses they think will keep the people fat, happy and lazy – and passive. You win a lot of votes and support with that strategy. And as much as we may hate to admit it, it’s working superbly.

    Propose a way to enable people to learn how to earn money, and you’re starving children and throwing grandma out on the street. Propose a government give-away, and you’re considered high-minded and good natured. As if it’s cruel to teach anyone how to work and actually expect them to do it.

    We all have good ideas, but they’ll never come up in Congress. What works in the real world makes no sense there. It’s been that way for years, so we have to suppose it’s that way for a reason, even if we can’t fathom what it is. I’d volunteer however that while we center proposals on self-reliance and accomplishment, those in power center there’s on keeping and extending power. As Carolyn Austin Fitts said, Government will never willingly give up power. She said that in response to a man who asked if it was possible to bring about change by voting in different people. It’s tragically sad, but empirically true. Power is its own reward, and the eternal goal even after it’s been acquired.

  66. Government will not solve our issues. All they can do is pit us against one another by blaming anyone but the staus quo. This also keeps us from organizing enough to be a big enough force for them to worry about.

    There are a lot more resources to go around in the world. There are not enough for 5% of the world population (US) to use 25% of them, while using a gallon of fresh water to flush one quart of pee, or have 6 paved parking spaces for each car while frantically building new sewers to handle the runoff.

    Most of the poor in the US still have color television and a cell phone. The kids that qualify for SNAP benefits are the ones getting free lunch and breakfast at school. The conditions on other countries don’t have to be that bad for people to want to come to the land of the free ride. They want their fair share!

    The government can’t save you but you can cushion fall if you want.

  67. Please explain the difference between “fair share” and “free benefits “ ride as I who have never “ qualified “ as poor enough to get don’t understand why there’s an idea that either version that it is best to mooch off someone else.
    I have a feeling that most of us here, earn our money by doing some kind of work to support ourselves and would share with others if we had spare but would rather not have to support someone who doesn’t make any effort to better themselves. Hence the negativity about abuse in the public welfare program which is undergoing a needed revision to include working at least 80 hours a month by those classified as able-bodied.
    With any topic discussed here, the biggest issue is that we all want transparency upfront. We can’t exist on therories we need absolutes. Like promises by politicians, we want real answers and expect less impact on our money.
    Take that new very young Congresswoman from New York who just announced via her social media that her new healthcare costs was much cheaper than what she had to pay as a waitress. People failed to get the point that healthcare can be made cheaper but it means somewhere else the cost is passed on to. I know that most people are “concentrating on the events surrounding the death of former President Bush , so they just totally ignored this little tidbit mentioned about how our elected officials have a lower cost more comphrensive healthcare plan than us regular Joes, which they got by allowing excessive cost to be passed on to taxpayers.
    Resources are a limited supply despite any argument made. We can’t just take without any giveback. What we are doing here in discussion is making a version of the buck stops here statement. Because of our differences, we may not see it all the same way.
    I see as a stand to prevent third world conditions from becoming the United States. I don’t see any options to move elsewhere ( with the exception of space) where conditions are better. I may not agree with everything but I find ways to make life better by complaining and finding the best option. Words only work with positive actions. Because this new Congresswoman is an example of how the younger generation thinks the world should be, I am following ( not agreeing with) her path in politics to find a common understanding.
    This is what we do here, talk and listen and discuss.

  68. I think the basic problem is that socialism – the idea that society should pay for whatever we need – has been steadily creeping into our culture for at least the past 50 years. The problem is the way socialism is taught and portrayed, which is as if it’s somehow free. It’s only free to the person on the receiving end. To the person on the paying end, it’s prohibitively expensive. So the basic idea is to make sure there are always more recipients than payors. The ruse is working. And it’s also wearing away at the productive base. That’s how we’re drifting toward third world status.

    Everybody wants all these wonderful plans and regulations, but they have on vague ideas how much it will cost, who will pay, and what negative effects will be generated. Pure and simple, the national mindset, by and large, has sunk into fantasy. It’s no wonder politicians peddle dreams rather than specifics. The population wants to hear nothing but.

  69. I can only work to stay stable without loss with the way things are progressing. Without resorting to aggressive behavior which serves no one, I try to passively progress and discuss topics with my millennial children, who don’t follow the mindset of most. Sometimes we need to fail to succeed.

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