‘There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show’

The Wire creator David Simon in Baltimore

This article by David Simon is very, very good. Read it. Discuss it. Take action.

Contrast: ’20 Things the Rich Do Everyday’ from Tom Corley and Dave Ramsey.


Inequality (or: Freeloaders Will Be the New Peasants)

Late last night, I wrote a draft of a possible talk on inequality. (I have not given the talk and might change topics.)

I have thought and written about inequality recently.

On May 5, I wrote (but never published) this on the topic:

Freeloaders Will Be the New Peasants

Everything is connected.

More drug addicts means more government services, which fosters an atmosphere of laziness and dependency, which, in turn, fosters drug use—inertia and dependency being the defining characteristics of drug addiction.

Lazy people need government assistance and increasing government assistance means increasing taxes and national debt, which depress the economy, pushing more people toward poverty, which fosters laziness.

Compounding that is our increasing dependence on technology will result in a decrease in self-reliance.

Furthermore, allowing drug use (as more states have done) will result in more drug users, which will result in more poverty and crime, which will result in a greater need for government intervention, which will result in more people dependent on the government, which will strangle independence and initiative in individuals. Which will result in more people demanding government assistance. The middle class will be swallowed up.

Everything is connected.

Soon, America will resemble the very society from which America was the escape and revolt.

We talk about how bad the economy is, in America and worldwide. And a lot of people have lost jobs, or had their pay or hours cut. A lot countries are broke. However, more millionaires and billionaires were created last year than ever before. It is not that the economy is bad. It is that it is different.

There is a typical path to success. Of course, there are exceptions to the typical path, but the path to success usually looks the same: work hard in school, go to college, work even harder there, then work enthusiastically and harder than the average person.

Here is my concern:

It seems there will be greater numbers of people needing greater amounts of assistance from the government. There will be more and more freeloaders in America in the future. And who is gonna pick up the tab? The rich? Will the government borrow more money to pay for the increase in social services that will not be funded by taxes (because the freeloaders do not pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits)?

Greater numbers of poor people mean that the rich are left to bear greater and greater percentage and amount of the financial burden of paying for social services. And the rich aren’t gonna like that. What will they seek in return?

And the poor, the drug addicts, the unfocused, the lazy really have no grounds upon which to demand services. What do they contributed to society or economy?

So we will end up with what is essentially a feudal economy. There will be people with all the money and property and vehicles of economy (businesses), and there will be people with literally nothing: no property, no money, nothing that contributes to the larger economy. The second group will serve the first group. Just like in feudal societies, or in Downton Abbey.

Some might predict that America would turn hard to socialism before inequality reached a crisis state. But I don’t see America’s wealthy going for that. So it will not happen.

Maybe it is nothing to be concerned about. It seemed to work fine all the other times in history that that economic system was in effect… which has been more often than not. This has been the most common economic system throughout human history.

Then, tonight, on Marketplace, was this story:

UPDATE: The morning after this post, The Verge posts a story on an absolutely terrifying new drug… that is being used by the poor.

Everything is connected.

What Have You Written Lately?

Here are my most recent written posts:

13-18 are important years

13-18 are important years. You have to obsess about what interests you during those years.

Always doing what you’re told doesn’t equal success. We want/need people asserting themselves.

Do not slip into un-living, or stalling (which means having tedious responsibilities and putting them off by wasting time). Not only does that kill dreams and potential, but you will miss out on real living.

Fulfill your responsibilities or fulfill your goals.

One part of real living is enjoying sports (and enjoying life!) but giving up any dream to play professionally. Statistically, you don’t have a chance of becoming a professional athlete, and there are more important things you can do with your time.

From birth, you have been sold a fiction that sports matter, and that you can easily become a famous, professional athlete.

Some numbers:

Total number of people 18 and over in America: approx. 240,000,000

teachers (K-12) 7,500,000 1 in 32 3.1% 94
retail salespeople 4,500,000 1 in 53 2% 57
nurses 2,750,000 1 in 87 1.1% 34
truck drivers 1,600,000 1 in 150 0.7% 20
medical doctors 1,000,000 1 in 240 0.4% 12
police officers 800,000 1 in 300 0.3% 10
graphic designers 300,000 1 in 800 0.1% 4
professional athletes 19,000 1 in 12,700 0.008% 0** (1 by year 2034)

* Number of West Salem High graduates: ~ 3,000
** As of 2013, there is a West grad in the NFL!

Forget About Money

If money is your thing (like Rockefeller: “Money was my destiny.”), then get good with money. Otherwise, forget about money and instead obsess over your interests and strengths.

The numbers:

  • There are 425 billionaires in America.
  • There are 3 million millionaires in America.
  • There are 315 million total people.

…which means:

  • There is 1 billionaire for every 741,000 people.
  • There is 1 millionaire for every 105 people.

…which means:

  • No one from West Salem High will ever be a billionaire. (If West graduates 300 students each year, statistically it would take 2,470 years to produce a billionaire. The whole state of Oregon has only ever produced one billionaire. A billionaire is a “Captain of Industry”, which means: a major player in a major industry. Typically, those industries are: oil, mining, real estate, finance, and technology. Typically, billionaires began working in their industry as teens.)
  • Every WSHS graduating class will (eventually) produce three millionaires. (Look around. Find 105 peers. Are you harder-working, more focused, and luckier than all those? Then you are the one, Neo.)

Follow your bliss.

And don’t let money or professional sports cause you to stall.