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There is a great article on Forbes that came across my LinkedIn news feed this week discussing how the $15 minimum wage is really just a booby prize for the American worker.  I was going to make today’s post be all about that article because it is really good.  Read it here.

Instead, I’m going to discuss what I think happens when Joel Kotkin’s analysis gets ignored and a national $15/hour minimum wage takes hold.  Then I’m going to discuss what I have told my children, my nieces and nephews, and any other young person who has asked for my advice for how they should approach their future.

I have often said that doubling the minimum wage (MW) is a panacea that will not have the desired effect on the people it is meant to help.  While its intent is to raise the standard of living for a class of people who don’t have the skills to compete in the current economy, the increased minimum wage will simply re-calibrate the American economy to a higher overall price point and once again leave these people in the same, if not worse, rut.   It will probably be worse because jobs that weren’t worth automating will now become worth the cost so there will be fewer jobs for which those folks can compete.  See this post from 2014 and this recent post.  In essence, the $15 MW is an economy-funded social safety net.  America is now running an Information Age economy.  The underlying problem is that the Industrial Age skills of the minimum wage labor pool don’t translate into jobs in the Information Age.

There is another group of people who will be similarly affected.  These are the people having minimal Information Age skills who are earning wages in the $15 – $20 per hour range.  This is effectively the American Information Age Minimum Wage (AIAMW) as set by the market.  Why is it set at this rate?  It is here because the pool of workers with requisite skills is small enough and the pool of jobs requiring these skills is large enough to set the price in this range.  By the way, the output from these workers must be sold at a profit so the wage rate can’t get too high.  Also, these workers aren’t just competing with their neighbors in (name your American city) for work.  They are competing with workers in India, Vietnam, and Russia.  Those foreign workers would work for less pay (on a USD basis) because their economies are set at such a rate where AIAMW allows them to live quite well above their neighbors. So in effect, the AIAMW is just the US Dollar (USD) exchange rate for a Global Information Age Minimum Wage (GIAMW) in a global Information Age economy.  That means that the buying power of the current AIAMW class will be degraded to be the same as the buying power of the MW class.

We have already experienced the effects of the GIAMW with the incredible volume of information technology off-shore outsourcing.  I have worked with American software companies that have development shops in each of the aforementioned countries. These developers are very good at developing systems.  What they are not very good at is figuring out what systems to write and identifying the American problems to be solved.  The bad news is that they are getting better at this because US Immigration policy allows them to send people here to learn our businesses (and our problems) and then develop solutions for them in their shops back home.  Our immigration policy reflects the skills shortage of the American workforce to fill Information Age jobs.

We have this gap in the number of American Information Age jobs available and the number of American workers with the skills to fill them for several reasons.  First, the aging Baby Boomer workforce that filled the industrial jobs in the 1960s and 1970s don’t have the educational background to cope.  Most of these folks went to work right out of high school or when they got out of the armed services.  At the time, these were really good jobs that looked like they would be careers.  The problem for these folks was that their jobs left them before they were ready to leave their jobs and they either wouldn’t or couldn’t learn the skills required for the new jobs in the new age.  Frankly, these people listened to politicians who offered band-aid solutions or otherwise told them what they wanted to hear.  They self-selected themselves into the labor pool unskilled for the new age.

The second reason was that many of those Boomers who did go on to higher education decided to major in disciplines that are not valued by the Information Economy. The 1960s and 1970s were the time of liberal expansion of social programs as the new Liberals took over the political and educational establishments.  Many people majored in disciplines that allowed them to either help other people in non-technical ways (e.g. social work, psychology) or in things they just found interesting (e.g. archaeology, paleontology) but really weren’t in demand by a free-market economy. The fact that both types of jobs these workers filled needed to be funded by third parties (e.g. taxpayers, donors, educational institutions) who would not expect economic return kept their wages down because there is only so much money available from those sources.  It appears that only a minority of the Boomers pursued disciplines that translated into the Information Age.  And by the way, those people created the Information Age when they created the Internet, the personal computer, and the software that turned data into information to become assets.

This minimal matriculation into Information Age disciplines seems to have carried through the X, Y, and Millennial generations.  It seems we have far more college graduates who’ve used their educations to either self-actualize or just party than we have that can participate in this economy. The fact that over half of the American workforce doesn’t make enough to pay federal income taxes tells everything we need to know.  It’s not the fault of the economy, it’s a lack of preparation for most of them.   And they have a crushing student debt load to show for their (lack of) efforts.  This forces them to work rather than go get the educations they should have pursued the first time.  That the current generation of college students needs “safe places” and can’t deal with what they consider to be “mean people” illustrates that they may not even have the capacity to participate in the new economy. The outcome is that America is still producing workers with Industrial Age skills who will compete with an ever growing labor pool for an ever shrinking pool of Industrial Age jobs.  Unless there is an artificial wage floor imposed (e.g. $15 MW), these people would be looking at working for basically nothing as inflation, population growth, and regulation drive prices upward.  They would effectively become serfs.

When I was a kid, during family gatherings my grandfather would make my brothers, my cousins, and me stand on a chair and recite a poem or talk about something we had done. He would pay us a quarter (big money in the 1960s) when we did so.  When I got older and discussed the memory with him, he told me that his aim was to train each of us to be comfortable interacting with people and talking in front of them.  He told me that I could always earn a living if I could do that.  It was the basic skill of a salesman.  While that was a great skill to learn, today’s eCommerce world makes that a slightly less valuable skill for many people.  People make good livings on eBay and Etsy without ever talking to a soul.

The skill that was in demand then and still in demand now is the ability to solve problems. Everyone has problems and the ability to solve those problems in an economically advantageous way is the means to economic freedom and full participation in this new Information Age.  The Information Age is the spawn of advanced problem solving.

So here is my advice…

Get an education that helps you develop problem-solving skills.  Your education does not have to be in a STEM discipline.  In fact, I wrote a post last year about Walter Isaacson’s book, The Innovators, that supports a more liberal curriculum in our schools. I have a child who earned a communications degree and she does just fine because she uses her skills to solve communications and messaging problems.  I have another child who became world-ranked on Tactics Arena, an online strategy game website that made him solve strategic problems in order to win games.  We allowed him to play computer games because of the way they developed his problem-solving skills.  We’ll soon see how that translates into the real world. As an aside, Halo and Call of Duty are not realistic problem-solving skill-developing game environments.

Learn a business.  The solutions to most problems that need to be solved are constrained by the context in which they are found.  You need to know and understand the context.  A communications professional probably can’t write a Java program and a Java programmer probably shouldn’t write a press release for their employer who is having to defend some crisis situation.  But the communications professional needs to understand what their employer/client does so they can write an effective message and the Java programmer needs to understand how his program fits into the business so he doesn’t need to ask a question of a subject-matter expert every time he wants to write a line of code.  Both need to understand what they are doing before they apply their skills of knowing how to do it.  My first employer out of college, a man who owned a small accounting firm in southern Indiana, told me the best thing I ever learned outside of what my parents and grandparents taught me.  He said, “Those who know how will always work for those who know why.”  You have to learn the business in order to know why.

Expect to start at the bottom.  I was twenty-nine when I graduated from college. I took an entry-level programming/consulting job because the only thing I knew how to do was write code and solve problems. I didn’t know any business except for my prior career in the automotive aftermarket and I was done with that.  The only way I could get started in a second career was to start over. So I did.  In the case of my kids, they are just starting out.  Same rules apply.

Never stop learning.  This new Information Age is so fast and so dynamic that you must always keep learning to keep up.  Technology is measured in dog years (1 calendar year = 7 technology years).  Your past technical education is now woefully out-of-date.  Only your problem-solving skills are transferable but you can’t solve problems if you can’t overcome the tools constraint of your business environment.  C and Pascal were the hot programming languages when I got out of school.  There’s not a lot of that going on today and what is going on is very niche or local to a market.  I had to learn Java, PHP, and C# in order to find programming work.  Those have mostly been supplanted by even newer programming languages. Most of my work today is about defining the solutions to problems and being the subject-matter expert that the programmers consult.  I learned those problem-solving skills many years ago. But I do have to understand the current tool set used to implement the solutions.

So there it is…my advice for how to cope with the next catastrophe brought on us by well-meaning politicians who are trying to solve problems when they have no problem-solving skills or knowledge of the real problem context.  They only know that their problem is to get re-elected and so they offer us band-aids and safety nets as solutions.  Their futures and their safety nets are already in place.

 

Every debate has its winners and losers.  The minimum wage debate is no different. However, unless you really think about it, you will not chose the correct side because it is not obvious.

According to this article published in The Guardian and republished by MSN, the state of Oregon has now passed a state law mandating an increase in their minimum wage rate. According to the article, fourteen states have now mandated increases to their minimum wage.  The trend seems to be around $15.00 per hour by 2018.  They are all blue states.

Oregon has structured a tiered system with workers in Portland reaping the bounty of $14.75 for each hour that they labor.  This is up from the $9.25 per hour mandate that already made Oregon a beacon of light in the darkness of the minimum wage fight.  This means that the annual income for a 40 hour per week minimum wage worker in Oregon will increase from $19,240 to $30,680.  That means these Oregonians have an extra $11,440 to push back into the Beaver state economy.  Right?

Wrong!

In addition to the unintended consequences of this unilateral move by a state or local government that I chronicled here when Seattle did a similar thing back in the summer of 2014 (BTW, McVending machines are starting to show up as predicted), there is another reality for these recipients of legislative pandering.  These poor folks (yes, they’re still poor) are about to run into the federal tax tables. You see, Congress has to tax people in all fifty states using the same tables; they can’t have a set of rates for the fourteen enlightened states and another set for the thirty-six Luddites.  Therefore, Oregonians and their brothers and sisters in the other blue states are going to start looking like affluent middle-class taxpayers to the IRS when compared to the minimum wage earners in the lower thirty-six.

For the uninitiated, middle-class wage earners actually pay federal income taxes.  There will be no earned income credits to redistribute wealth to them. The federal inflation indexing won’t advance the tax bracket floors fast enough to absorb the jolt imposed on the system by Oregon.  The Congress will not be able to make adjustments to cushion the taxation blow.

These newly-minted middle-classers will join the 52% of Americans who actually pay for the privilege of being US.  That’s a good thing for the country because it will increase tax revenues at the federal level.  That is, if my other predictions made in 2014 don’t come true and the economies of these enlightened states stay healthy allowing these folks to remain employed.  We’ll see…

What does that mean?

It means that people who live in Portland, Oregon who make the new minimum wage will begin to pay taxes they never paid before.  This comes out of their take-home pay increase.  Just as the tax tables can’t change to accommodate Oregonians, neither can the ACA eligibility thresholds and premium assistance rates. The federal public assistance thresholds will remain intact making Oregonians less eligible than they were before. Things Oregonians could afford before, they may not be able to afford in the future given their upgrade in economic status.  So, for now we’ll say the federal government is the winner because revenue increases without them doing any work and public assistance expenses can be pushed down to the truly needy and unemployable. At least in those fourteen blue states.

So what to do?

Since the federal government can’t help, it will be up to the state government to provide the assistance required to keep these folks whole.  Oregon already has the highest state tax rates in the country.  Every new middle-classer will be immediately thrown into the 9% marginal rate bracket on all income over $8400.  They will get to deduct their new federal income taxes paid from their state incomes but it’s going to take more than that.  I predict that Oregon will have to increase their ceiling on their 5% and 7% brackets and probably increase their top bracket rate to make up the difference.  The people in that top bracket are the same people who will have been mandated to increase the wages of their minimum wage employees and then the wages for all their other employees who were at that rate and don’t view themselves as having minimum-wage skills.

I’ll bet they will be ecstatic!

I am a big fan of the programming found on the History and H2 channels.  Unfortunately, A&E Networks has decided to reprogram H2 into something else and I won’t be watching.  Too bad for me.

What I really liked about H2 was their various series exploring the Bible and the lives of people found in the pages of the Bible.  I always watched as they tried to find the “real truth” about the stories told within.  The programs were always entertaining but never even attempted to discuss the obvious question…”What if it really happened the way it’s written?”

Why is it that modern man is unable to wrap his head around the possibility that there is a being who is not bound by our time and space because he created our time and space?  Why is it that modern man considers the ancients to be so stupid?  Why does modern man think that it’s all mythology and mind control?  Why does modern man expect that such a being would act in ways that make sense to them?  Why doesn’t modern man believe in sin and a final accountability?

I think we should start with answering the last question.  Modern man has embraced sin and is scared to death that there may be a final accountability.  But he doesn’t want to change because sin is fun.  Therefore, modern man uses his intellect and imagination to create an alternate reality that includes no sin and no accountability because it includes no God.   He looks at the physical universe, makes observations, and builds a different narrative.  He describes a new story for how the universe came to be while ignoring that even the simplistic formula he uses to explain things has a huge discontinuity at the point time (t) equals zero.  Time t=0 is the beginning.  Why is it unfathomable that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”?   That certainly could explain what happened at the discontinuity.  It’s unfathomable because modern man is afraid of someone having that kind of power.  Modern man is afraid because someone like that could demand accountability even in an afterlife.

I am tickled when people question the existence of God by asking, “If God is so good and so great, why is there so much suffering in the world?”  My answer – Sinful Man.  God has told us how we should life together in harmony.  Those instructions are written in the Bible.  We all know there are ten such instructions, commandments really.   Do you realize that there are an additional 603 instructions?  Probably not, unless you were raised in the Jewish faith.  Those are written in the book of Exodus after chapter twenty and in the book of Leviticus.  There are also remedies for getting back to right with God in those passages.  Does every remedy make sense to modern man when taken at face value?  No.  But, if you know anything about the stories in the Bible because you’ve actually read them, you know that God asks people to do things that seem strange.  However doing those things, no matter how strange, results in healing.  Why?  Because the person was obedient to God.  It’s about obedience triggering the reward of healing from God.  The most straight forward example of this is found in 2Kings 5:1-15.  Read the story of Naaman.  So, it’s not that burning meat and grain , sprinkling bird blood, or dipping in a river have magical or medicinal powers.  It’s about obedience and when we don’t live as God intended, we cause pain and suffering to ourselves and those around us.   It’s been that way since the very first couple. When we disobey, we suffer.  When we obey, He renews us.

So is the Bible about controlling people?  Not really.  It is about defining sin and activities that are contrary to a full and happy life.  There are people who take what the Bible teaches and try to use that information to control other people.  But that happens with other teachings including the teachings of modern man.  Try to inject the possibility of God in a secular setting and you will be escorted from the premises because most people don’t want to hear it.  If that’s not control, I have no other definition that works.

Why does modern man consider the ancients to be stupid?  The ancients lived at a time when the presence of God in the garden of Eden was not so distant a memory as it is now.  If the Exodus account happened as written, then Moses and the children of Israel saw for themselves the power of that supreme being and his ability to alter the physical space in which they lived.  The silliest expression calling the stories in the Bible superstitions is the relegation of Jesus of Nazareth’s resurrection to a more near-death experience.  Folks, the Romans knew how to carry out capital punishment.  If they aimed to kill Jesus, he was  physically and mentally dead.  The Romans had a strict code of conduct for their soldiers.  If they were supposed to guard a tomb to prevent a body from being stolen, they guarded the tomb with zeal because failure would result in a similarly painful dead for them.  The Romans knew what they were doing.  The fact that Jesus’ body was missing meant that it had to occur from within the sealed tomb.

So given this evidence, why can’t modern man wrap his head around a being like God?  Why does modern man go so far to try and explain him away?  I think man is afraid to be confronted over his sin by a supreme judge.  Therefore, man tries his best to delude himself that there is no supreme judge that’s going to convict him.  That might work for this life, but that strategy is woefully lacking for an afterlife.  You might think you can shake you finger at God like He’s some boogey man under your bed but He will have the last word.  How do I know there’s an afterlife?  Jesus died and rose to life again.  He had to be somewhere during the interim. There are people who were his contemporaries who saw him alive after His crucifixion and died horrible deaths themselves because they refused to recant their testimonies.   We even know their names because they are written down in the New Testament in the Bible. And other contemporaneous writings.

So if you’re still reading at this point and still vehemently disagree with me, I defer to you that right.  But I offer this essay as a means to better inform your opinion because what they call science is really just another opinion and you probably don’t have a firm understanding of that either.  Since you don’t understand what is being done in astrophysics or astronomy, you are taking  on faith the word of those who do.  But they don’t understand either because they are still adjusting their findings, fiddling with their equations, and making more observations.

Since modern man is still trying to home in on an alternate narrative, why don’t you take the time to consider the narrative that has stood for three thousand years?   Why don’t you read the Bible for yourself and consider, “What if it really happened that way?”

 

I ran across a story today from The Fiscal Times explaining  a very good reason why those working class people are supporting Donald Trump.  Read it here.

The best way to solve a problem, especially a nagging problem, is to find and correct its root cause.   The Fiscal Times article identifies several of the root causes for today’s income gap and points out that Trump is the only candidate discussing a treatment for the root cause malady.  All other candidates refuse to address the real issues and hence discuss treatments of symptoms that may otherwise be detrimental to the patient.

According to the article, there are two issues providing the root cause of the problem…liberal immigration policy and the export of jobs to other countries.

Liberal immigration policies allow increased competition for low-skilled jobs.  Walk into your local fast food restaurant and most of the back counter workers don’t speak English as their first language.    The sheer number of them in the workforce marketplace drives the supply up and hence the price to hire a worker down.  It’s just economics folks.    Trump’s view to limit these immigrants and deport all illegals would create a new equilibrium wage at a higher level at best and add mor legal citizens and residents to the workforce at last. This is far fairer and more sustainable than a federal mandate to raise wages conflicting with policies that expand the workforce numbers when citizens can’t find jobs.  The H-1B “guest worker” program keeps ages down in the higher skilled professions.

Remember Ross Perot back in 1992 saying in response to the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA), “That big sucking sound you’ll hear?  That will be your jobs heading to Mexico.”   Turns out that it wasn’t just Mexico getting our jobs.  It was China, India, Ireland, and Vietnam, too.  And who signed NAFTA into law?  None other than Bill Clinton.  Do you really think Hillary wants to undo that?  Not a chance!  In fact, the very people contributing to her campaign are the very people on Wall Street who benefit from NAFTA.  Trump says that NAFTA is bad for th country and he’d work to make it unprofitable for companies to offshore their work and still do business in the US market.

It looks to me like Donald Trump is addressing income inequality at the root cause level.  It also looks like those teanderthals, as the Liberals like to call them, aren’t as dumb as the political establishment wants us to think.  They’re not racists and idiots, they’re problem solvers looking to install a fixer.

A couple of posts came across my Facebook Newsfeed yesterday.  The first was a post from rawstory.com about Donald Trump and his desire to be measured in response to pressure from CNN State of the Union reporter, Jake Tapper, to disavow an endorsement from David Dukes of the KKK.  The second was an Internet meme with a quote from a famous Russian author.

The first post caught my eye not for the primary story but for the comment left by a person I know from high school and liked by someone on my Friends list.  This person said,”Beyond outrageous! This guy doesn’t even deserve citizenship let alone become president.”  Really?  You would strip a man of his citizenship because he won’t say when put of the spot that he disavows an endorsement?  An endorsement he didn’t even seek?  What happened to freedom of thought? What happened to freedom of expression? What happened to the freedom to make up your own mind in your own time?  What happened to tolerance of an opposing view?

The Internet meme was about two slots below this one.  It quoted Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

“It is a universal law–Intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education.  An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.”

It must be karma.  I guess that explains the first post.

There are two adages in warfare that are timeless and true.

“When your opponent is hurting himself, stay out of his way” and “Your opponent is not your friend”.

The Left’s preoccupation with the GOP Presidential Nomination race shows that they don’t understand either.

To the first point…

If the Republican nomination candidates are so bad, why don’t you just stand back and let one of them be nominated? Certainly, the Democratic nominee would be an obviously superior presidential choice and the electorate would vote that way. Certainly no liberal-thinking voter would vote for these guys, right? Certainly the independent electorate would see the clear choice and vote your way. Or are they worried that their candidate would not be so superior and would lose to any Republican strongly supported by the conservative and independent voters? Is this really about the angst in the Democratic party over their weak and wounded candidates?

Now to the second point…

Democrats are full and free with advice for what Republicans should do. Thus far, the GOP has been steadfast in ignoring this “advice” and are letting the primaries play out. That doesn’t prevent the Democrats from offering it though. Maybe they should concentrate more on advising their candidates to be more likeable and more forth coming. There are plenty of skeletons and a huge lack of clarity about both of their candidates.

I know this is advice from your adversay, but I’m just reciprocating the good will.

Gawd, I love Facebook.  I love to watch the wacky stuff that floats though on my Newsfeed.  I have Friends at both ends of the political spectrum.  I like the Liberal end the best because they are most entertaining and the most clueless. These are the people who lecture the rest of us about what we should believe and what we should do. They tell Christians how they should exercise their faith even though most of them don’t own a Bible and most of those who do have never read it cover-to-cover.  They are the practitioners of “do what I say, not what I do.”

How do I support this stance?  Let’s look at some empirical evidence…

The real estate database company, Movoto, did a little study of the “snobbiest” mid-sized communities.  Here are the criteria they used:

  • median home price (the higher, the better)
  • percent of the population with a college degree (the higher, the better)
  • country clubs per capita
  • private school per capita
  • performing arts per capita
  • art galleries per capita
  • how many fast-food chains a city had (the fewer, the better)

 

So, let’s interpret Movoto’s definition of snob.  It appears a snob is affluent (e.g. expensive home, lots of disposable income), highly educated, and only associates with people of similar means and interests.  They are very selective about the education of their children and really want to shield them from undesirables at school and at play.  They also don’t want to interact with poor people since there is no place for poor people to work and eat in their communities.  Although they might allow poor people to clean their houses and their yards.  Maybe they’ll feed them if they use the back door and eat in the kitchen.

This really sounds like a line from the song “Signs” by the Five Man Electrical Band.

“You can’t even watch.  No, you can’t eat. You ain’t supposed to be here.

The sign says, You got to have a membership card to get inside.”

UGH!

And what are the ten most snobby mid-sized communities in the Movoto study?  Here they are:

  • Pasadena, California
  • Thousand Oaks, California
  • Alexandria, Virginia
  • Naperville, Illinois
  • Santa Rosa, California
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Glendale, California
  • Sunnyvale, California
  • Fullerton, California
  • Eugene, Oregon

 

What else do these bastions of snobbery have in common?  The voters in each community are reliably Democratic.  It’s not even close.  I would imagine that the next ten communities in the ranking vote the same way too.

So when these paragons of virtue preach at us to open our borders to all, they mean for these poor immigrants to live with those poor Republicans down in Texas and Arizona.  Those working poor who desperately need to have their pay doubled live in Fresno and Effingham.  So do the business owners and customers who have to foot the bill.  Those terrorists who slip through might shoot up Fort Hood and Bakersfield but they need to stay the hell out of Pasadena.  There’s nothing there for them anyway including a job.

Back to the Facebook feed.  The Comments section was full of residents in the particular town where my Friend lives celebrating their snobbiness.  Apparently being a snob (and a hypocrite) is something to celebrate.

 

We have become a nation of hyphenated groups.  No one understands the idea of being an American anymore.  It seems everyone wants to qualify their american-ness with some nationality, religiousity, ethnicity, or preference.  Perhaps this is why we have the violent outbreaks that seem to have become the norm rather than the exception.  Perhaps we have become so splintered and narrow in our political and societal beliefs that we don’t consider other people to be partners in this great country of ours anymore.  Why does everyone need their own brand?

The over-arching Liberal agenda is to eliminate nationalism.  In their view, nationalism is the cause of strife and war in this world.  This principle became highly developed in the first half of the 20th century as imperial Germany and Austria and then Fascist Germany and its Axis allies created tensions and then wars that affected the entire world.  In both cases, an internal feeling of national superiority lead to the populace supporting aggressive actions and then wars.

In both wars, the force that caused the demise of the aggressors was the United States and our American exceptionalism spirit.  We then became the police force and peace keepers for the world.  But those roles led to a fear on the liberal side that America would become too caught up in itself and become just another problem with which the rest of the world would  have to deal.  Many countries and groups appear to have the view that this has actually occurred.

The best way to counter nationalism is to make sure the citizenry is incapable of uniting.  People cannot unite when they are consistently divided into groups that then claim their own exceptionalism and demand their own rights.  Our government does a great job of categorizing us by going out of its way to legally define our differences and then assigning specific rights to those who appear most aggrieved.  This plays right into the liberal Democratic party’s strategy to build a majority from a coalition of minorities.  Just consider this everytime the federal non-discrimination laws are amended with a new classification.  Those remaining on the outside of the now protected groups are by definition “less protected” or “unprotected” and become resentful and perhaps even violent.  The liberals gloss over this eroding of their rights by defining these people as “privileged” and “evil” and set out to remove those remaining rights they have that could lead them to act out their frustrations.  This is exactly what the German Fascists did to the Jews in the 1930s.

I just finished reading Water Isaacson’s The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks created the Digital Revolution.  This post is not a review of the book although the book is very, very good.  It is instead a call to educators and those who run primary and secondary schools to read this book so they can understand what their mission really is.

Steve Jobs, co-founder and legendary CEO of Apple, ended all of his presentations with the same slide.  It depicted an intersection of two streets and their sign post.  The streets were Technology and Liberal Arts.  Jobs told people that Apple built its products using the fusion of both disciplines.  It seems to have been a great formula.

Isaacson profiles the people who built the digital revolution starting at the beginning with Ada Lovelace who was the daughter of Lord Bryon the poet.  Her mother was a mathematician (in the early 1800s no less!).  Ada worrked with Charles Babagge who conceived the first computer and she wrote what is considered the first computer program.  She also wrote of the uses for the Babagge machine that foretold of what we take for granted today.  She was able to use the reasoning skills she inherited from her poet father to conceive of ideas that never even occured to Babbage the engineer and inventor.

Isaacson always points out the Liberal Arts skills of each person who made a contribution to the Digital Reolution.  He also points out how those who had only half the necessary skill set ( exclusively technical or liberal arts) struggled to have a lasting impact or any impact at all.

The point is that we desperately need our schools to continue teaching our children to be whole people.  We cannot exclude music and art or other classical themes in order to deliver STEM.  Nor can we eliminate sports and choirs that teach our children to collaborate and problem solve in groups.  Without music, without art, without philosophy, these childrem wind up just as dumb as the computers they try to build and use.

Perhaps the greatest mind ever to grace western civilization, Leonardo DaVinci, was both an artist and an engineer.  We continue to marvel at the things he conceived in his mind and rendered to parchment and canvas.  We should continue to model our own children’s eduction after his.  Walter Isaacson has written the manifesto for doing just that.

Democrats demonize the Koch brothers for the money they spend on Republican politics. Republicans accuse the Democrats of being owned by big Labor and environmentalists. Matt Bai writes on Yahoo! that it’s the Internet allowing the little people to have a big voice. Meanwhile, Washington gets nothing done.

You know what? It’s not the money, it’s the participation of the electorate. Specifically, it’s the lack of participation by the majority of the electorate.

When only the shrill vote, their shrills are louder because politicians rightly pander to the people who get them elected. Everyone else needs to understand that a career politician does not care for anyone who did not vote for them. She does not care for the issues that concern people who did not vote for her. He barely cares about the issues that concern his party’s leadership if those issue aren’t aligned with the concerns of those who voted for him.

The Media, main stream and fringe, eggs this on because they claim to reveal the conscience of the electorate, small though it may be. The most worthless poll in media is the People’s Opinion of Congress. The People have a low opinion of everyone else’s representation. Their’s is fine, all three of them. The problem is that each voter can only effect the standing of those three; their two senators and one representative. Complaining about some other senator or representative is just an act of futility because the people they represent (that also small minority) are quite happy to keep sending them back to Washington.

There is only one way to fix what’s going on in Washington. That is for the eligible voters of this country to exercise their rights to vote in any and every election. Doing so, turns the shrill scream of the minority into the loud voice of the majority. This strips the shrill of their ability to prove to any candidate that they are the reason he won. When the majority swamps the shrill, the politicians will be beholding to the true will of the People.

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