Beyond the Cusp

May 8, 2012

Attacking the Rich-Poor Divide is American

We are hearing a large amount of political noise claiming that the rich are not paying their fair share when the reality is that the poor are paying absolutely no share and a fair number of them receive a tax refund when the reality is they paid no taxes in order to receive that refund. This scapegoating of the rich is both very American and at the same time very un-American. Baiting the poor by blaming the rich is a tempting morsel as it is the low hanging fruit on the political tree, the easy picking and thus often used by politicians to garner some easy votes. Those who choose this route are not taking the hard road or going into deep waters; they are taking the low road and coasting instead of offering the poor an honest American alternative. The American offer is rarely spoken about as a viable option by politicians as such an option does not require any politicians or even government participation. It actually works best when the government is so far from the action so as to not interfere or make the dream more difficult or impossible to reach. America has made more wealthy individuals rising from the ranks of the poor than any other country in recorded history. This has been the result of two major factors, the lack of an established class structure and a small government which has historically remained nonintrusive. The sixty-four thousand dollar question is whether this route is as readily available as it has been throughout American history.

All too often we are taught that the wealthy in history climbed to the top on the corpses of the poor employees who were under paid and worked under ruthless management and harsh conditions. When we hear about the sweatshops and the extremely low pay in college and high school history or economics courses we often take a biased view we are sold as factual. When we are told that workers who made the Ford Model T cars were paid under $75.00 per week and that the factory floor temperatures would reach into the 80 degree and higher in the summer and below freezing in the winter we recoil in horror, at least mentally. What we are not told is that they were well paid and factories did not have airconditioning and often the heat was inadequate in the winter not only in the factories, but in all the buildings of the era. Usually the heating was far more reliable than the nonexistent airconditioning. We also are not given any context for a reason. If we were given a scale representation where we were also informed that a modern worker paid the same level as those Ford workers would be in the most advanced factory of the age with the most modern methods and machinery and would be being paid almost double the going pay scale for factory workers on average. But, these horror stories we were told were occasionally very true. The coal mining stories about company stores and dangerous working conditions and violent union strikes put down by government troops actually are the truth, sadly. But, as a rule, many of the most famous entrepreneurs who made it to the very top did so by paying their workers well; treating them with the dignity they deserved, and changed the relationship between workers and management for the better and often the changes they introduced became permanent.

The sad reality of modern day America is that we are rapidly regulating ourselves into oblivion and stealing from the less fortunate the upward mobility which had been the norm for the first two centuries plus in the United States. Some politicians will blame the political culture in a vague reference and place the blame on too many regulations. They promise that if elected they will not pass any new regulations, and they really, really mean that. The truth be told, our Senators and Representatives do not discuss or pass any regulations and the President has never signed a regulation into existence. They write, debate, pass and sign legislation which establishes laws. These laws are often not well defined and have vague references to a desired goal and then state that some department or agency is assigned to flush out this legislation and invent the regulations which will be utilized to reach, enforce, and fully define the legislation making it actionable. This is the root of many of our societal problems as the exponential growth of the regulation universe has reached a point where it is inflating in size and numbers close to the speed of the initial moments of the formation of the universe. We have reached the point where we have entangled everybody with regulations beyond the ability of any normal person to even remember all of them and beyond the ability of enforcement to enforce the entirety of regulatory legalisms. President Obama has taken the regulatory strangulation to a new level and has actually appointed a Regulatory Czar whose singular function is to peruse old legislation and invent new regulations wherever and whenever he finds any new application which can be inferred. This person’s name is Cass Robert Sunstein, and he may be the most dangerous person in the entire government, let alone President Obama’s administration.

So, how do we go about releasing what was the magic formula which made America the greatest accomplishment for human dignity, opportunity, and freedom in the history of humankind. Unfortunately, it may be impossible to undo the damage we have perpetrated against our own society through over-regulation. The solution would appear to be simple, get rid of as many regulations as we can through a simple review method where we revoke any regulations which we find to be outdated, frivolous, or in some way lacking, deficient or unnecessary. But this is where we run into the real problem which perpetuates the volume of regulations. For every regulation there are departments and people, who either enforce, inspect, handle the paper generated, make the reports fulfilling a demand, or otherwise owe their employment to each and every regulation. To these people their regulation is the most vital and important piece of the government to the wellbeing of society which would crumble should that regulation be repealed, or they would lose their cushy job at the very least. We are in an age where the regulations have built a government that has gotten completely out of control and the out of control government will never allow us to reduce the number of regulations and pare down their numbers. That, my friends is the challenge going forward. Now, who wants to be the first to go forth and draw the ire and direct attacks of the regulators? We will need one who is without sin of the violation of any regulation at any point in their lives and have filled out every single required form and application in every step of their lives so they are unassailable to the enforcers. Does such a person exist, and if they do, would they be willing to brave the inspections of the regulators and their faceless hordes? All I can say is, “Not me!”

Beyond the Cusp

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