The Superficial and the Real
Pick a Side, Just Don’t Think
Our political system is binary, and both sides are more extreme than reasonable. There seems little patience for the “reasonable middle” where ideas can be nuanced, refined, and the complexity of public policy understood. Instead, our leaders are superficial and guide policy with slogans, not thought. People like AOC and Sanders are caricatures, influential yet ignorant and superficial, forming policies while clueless about what it takes to realistically solve even their most critical issues.
They have great ideas on how to distribute wealth but no ideas on how wealth is actually created. Their perspective is to take existing wealth and distribute it to others instead of developing an engine to help more people create wealth. An example of this kind of dysfunctional policy can be found in resource-rich African nations. Instead of building industries using the abundant natural resources present as inputs generating real businesses, those resources are simply gathered and distributed — either to efficient businesses in other countries or among governmental cronies to their Swiss bank accounts. Either way, this attitude is disastrous for an economy ultimately. Wealth is created, and policies should free up the ability to create wealth within appropriate legal restrictions.
Let’s Race to The Floor, Who Needs Stairs?
Whatever the minimum wage, no one wants minimum wage. Making the bottom slightly more palatable is not a good policy. The issue is not “Walmart pays minimum wage… and therefore, the minimum wage should be increased for those workers.” The issue is “why is the only job available to you a minimum wage job at Walmart?” What went wrong? Well, the answer seems so simple it’s becoming a cliché, but any reasonable compensation comes from jobs with at least some degree of skill and training. There is no other solution. Education seems like the silver bullet that is been convening from the shelf for a long time, and everyone recognizes it’s there, but no one seems to be willing to use it in any meaningful way. Greater access to education and training is the only real solution. Solving this problem solves many other problems. People who earn more income contribute more to society in many ways, and it creates a virtuous economic cycle for the community and the nation. It allows us resources to reinvest in education and increase the benefits of training and learning. This is how income is generated, and if you want to raise wages, there is no other economically viable solution.
Keep Printing and Distributing — What Could Go Wrong?
Print and distribute! This is the least economically viable solution. Taking a static resource and spreading it around only diminishes that resource. Ultimately, the economy will have the benefit of taking the last dollar from anyone who generates dollars, and nothing will be left to distribute. Wealth is created not distributed. We need a wealth creation engine, not a wealth distribution engine. Encouraging the pursuit of economic opportunity is the only realistic policy.
There are world-beating companies being constrained by our own policy proposals. Somehow, success is unpalatable and unctuous. However, we see the free market functioning in many other aspects of our economy, and we find those uneven outcomes perfectly acceptable. In the sports world, we understand that talent is distinctive, and more valuable participants receive more value for their participation. That’s straightforward and obvious. However, when applied to the business world, an uneven outcome is somehow considered a bad thing when it is unavoidable. There are Lebron James’ in the business world. Superstars and ordinary performers play the same game and are rewarded differently. That’s the way the world works. It is “winner take all” or at least its “winner takes most.” This is the inevitable result of competition. It is competition that creates efficiency, innovation, economic growth, and a substantial increase in the quality of life. Compromising this compromises the quality of everyone’s lives, not just the material benefit of the few we deem as “winners.”
Yes, People Win the Lottery. It’s Good for Everyone.
Business success can be compared to a lottery, although success rarely happens by chance as it does in the lottery. But a successful lottery needs a big jackpot, attracting many participants but won by few. Without the big prize, there will be enough participants supplying enough capital to enable the large jackpot as well as sufficient leftover capital to make the lottery worthwhile in the first place. It’s simple and obvious until we get to the business world. However, in private industry it is the same — innovation and economic growth require many contributors and few winners. It is not reprehensible; it assures an economy succeeds. Encouraging more participants by enabling more rewards, not less enhances economic growth and is a greater engine of overall prosperity. On top of that, the competitive nature of technology and other innovative industries assures that multitudes of winners change places as well continues to be created. Slowly growth and material gain down because somehow the rewards seem to be “enough” lack a fundamental understanding of what is really going on. Many more people benefit if there are more rewards, even if the bulk of those rewards go to a few. It encourages risk, innovative thought, and enhances competition which also creates the virtuous cycle of more advancement, refinement, efficiency, and better products and services.
Business policy and criticism from people who’ve never known what it’s like to launch a business, run it successfully, meet challenges, and perhaps even failure will almost always lead to misguided and bad policy. There is an enormous difference between someone who’s had to meet payroll and everyone else, especially bureaucrats and administrators. The enormous responsibility of meeting a payroll, where your employees are depending on success in order to live their lives, clarifies risk and success meaningfully. Without this, no one has any idea what they’re talking about, usually generating disastrous policy because they have no frame of reference of what really goes on within a business, and what success, and even failure, looks like. The scars from business bring unique wisdom
You Are Just Sugared Water, Only You Taste Bad.
One last problem is that policymakers have subjugated thought and reasonableness for superficial branding and simplistic slogans, usually sounding good but actually meaningless. Representatives and journalists have morphed into media stars. A brand and a slogan. Humanity, nuance, and objectivity are gone. All are now just like Coca-Cola — selling a lifestyle and an aspiration when all you really are is meaningless sugared water causing heart disease and other illnesses. Not only do you not contribute to the quality of anyone’s life, but you can also destroy it under the guise of “selling happiness.” Leadership has become junk food.