“True job creators are middle class consumers…” Let the debate begin

I read an article a couple months ago that confirmed what already made sense to me about economics. The whole concept of ‘trickle down economics‘ is one that I have had a hard time with for a while. It didn’t seem to add up and it didn’t seem to be working in America or around the world lately. I came across this article:

Family net worth plummets nearly 40%

It was not in some small time magazine, it was from the Money portion of CNN’s website. Now the part that I found particularly interesting was that not everyone in America was losing their ‘net worth’ at the same rate. In fact, take a look at this small portion of the article:

Families in the top 10% of income actually saw their net worth increase over the period, rising from a median of $1.17 million in 2007 to $1.19 million in 2010.

Meanwhile, middle-class families who ranked in the 40th to 60th percentile of income earners reported that their median net worth fell from $92,300 to $65,900 over the same time period.

The net worth of the top 10% did not skyrocket while everyone else plummeted…but it did go up while the rest of the country was in a decline.

I planned on writing about this when I read that article, but I wanted to do some more research before I wrote anything. I have a lot of friends who are on both ends of this spectrum. I know people who have succeeded in business that are 100% behind the concept of trickle down economics. I also know people who have no money at all and have just assumed that the people they elected were right when they said the rich create jobs and should have lower taxes so they can create more jobs. I have friends who fit in different economic sections and don’t agree with trickle down economics.

Those of you who don’t agree with my conclusions, feel free to let me know why you don’t agree. Just remember to be civil and talk to me about facts. Do not just state what you think is right or wrong, tell me why you think that and how you came to that conclusion.

I’m not un-American for suggesting that trickle down economics is a lie and that making laws and regulations based on a flawed model will/have hurt this country. Don’t accuse me of being a socialist or a communist or anything like that. Just look at the facts and lets talk about it.

Recently a man named Nick Hanauer spoke to TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference. For those of you who don’t know Nick by name, he is a multi-millionaire venture capitalist from Seattle. The video of his talk is less than 6 minutes long and it is right here:

If you don’t have 6 minutes to spare I will give you the gest of what Nick is saying in his talk. He states that the rich don’t create jobs. Jobs are actually the last thing that a rich business owner wants to make. Jobs are created because of the demand from the middle class consumers. He says that our politicians and our policies have been based on faulty information and a false premise. Only consumers can set in motion a cycle of increased demand and hiring. “In this sense an ordinary consumer is more of a job creator than a capitalist…” He says a lot more and I don’t consider myself to be an expert, but he seems like someone that you (the reader) may take a bit more seriously when it comes to the way business works.

There was another video that I watched. This is the one that might ruffle even more feathers than the last one, and I’m pretty sure that most of you will not take the 80 minutes to watch this video. It was a video called ‘The One Percent.” It was created by a 27-year-old man who is the heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune. Here is the link:

In this video he is mainly focused on the growing “wealth gap” in America. The thing about both of these videos was that they were both made by people on the other side of the 1% from me. I’m not in the wealthy group, I grew up in the middle class. My parents owned their own home when I was born and my Dad made enough money so that my Mom was able to stay at home until I was in Jr. High. We weren’t rich, but we had enough to eat (even if a lot of it was grown in our garden) and we didn’t get upset when others had more than us. I’m not jealous of anyone who has made lots of money. I’m not saying that rich people are all terrible and we should take all their money and give it to people who don’t work.

I’m saying that right now in America we are trying to create jobs the wrong way. We are giving breaks and writing legislature to make it possible for venture capitalists and the rich to keep more of their money so they can create jobs. The problem is that they are not creating more jobs. Here are two more small bits of the transcript from Nick Hanauer:

[O]ur current policies are … upside down. When you have a tax system in which most of the exemptions and the lowest rates benefit the richest, all in the name of job creation, all that happens is that the rich get richer.

Since 1980, the share of income for the richest Americans has more than tripled while effective tax rates have declined by close to 50%.

If it were true that lower tax rates and more wealth for the wealthy would lead to more job creation, then today we would be drowning in jobs. And yet unemployment and under-employment is at record highs.

 

and this:

Anyone who’s ever run a business knows that hiring more people is a capitalist’s course of last resort, something we do only when increasing customer demand requires it. In this sense, calling ourselves job creators isn’t just inaccurate, it’s disingenuous.

Now is the part where you get to tell me what you think. I’m not saying I’m the one with all the answers or that I am a business genius…I’m just asking you to take a look. If you don’t agree, then we are still in the same place we were before. At least you know where people are coming from when they say they don’t agree with your views on trickle down economics.

You could live to be 100…do you want to?

Most of my posts lately seem to be because I read an article that got me thinking about a topic and I wanted to see what everyone else thought about it too. This one is more light hearted than the last few have been. Living to be 100. Hitting the century mark is always something I wanted to do. I read an article recently that gives me a better chance than some. It was “Autumn babies more likely to live to 100” and it says that because I was born in November I have a much better chance of reaching 100 than someone who was born in July. Why more 100 year old people were born in the Fall was something that they were not sure about, but the numbers speak for themselves.

My question to you is simply: do you want to live to be 100? I have been fortunate to have grandparents and great-grandparents that lived up into their 80’s and 90’s during my life. My grandpa right now is in his mid-80’s and still is more active than most of you who are reading this post! He goes fishing, hunting, plays golf and takes his girlfriend out to eat a lot. They cut and stack their own firewood and both keep gardens. So that is what I want to be like when I am in my 80’s and above. Do you want to still be around when you’re 100? What kind of life do you expect to have at that age? I’m just curious…because I don’t really plan on stopping until after I hit the century mark. Maybe that will change when I get older, I don’t know. For now I would like your opinion.

*I’m including the text from the article below for those of you who wanted to read it and are not going to click the link*

Are you actively planning a family? If so, take notice: The time of year your child is born has a scientifically measurable effect on how long he or she will live. While there may not be a magic potion to guarantee we’ll live to an old age (yet), according to new research out of the University of Chicago, simply timing your baby to be born in the fall greatly increases its odds of surviving past 100 years of age.

The study looked at data from 1,500 centenarians born between 1880 and 1895. The research showed that people born in September and November specifically seemed most likely to make it past 100 years of age. Fewer 100-year-olds were born in March, May, and July than the other months.

What accounts for the seasonal difference? The most popular hypothesis has to do with diseases: That is, having a baby catch the common cold very early in life may better help protect it from disease later in life. Seasonal hormone fluctuations could also have an impact, scientists say.

 

Redemptive Violence…what do you think?

I stumbled across a story that caught my attention yesterday. It was titled: “The Myth of Redemptive Violence

The reason this article caught my attention is two-fold. The first part is that I have asked questions about violence, war, capital punishment…etc. and to this point I have received very few answers that seems to fit my world view. My world view is obviously a mixture of my faith in Jesus and my life experiences. Those two together make for a world view that seems to rub some people the wrong way.

The second reason this article caught my attention was obviously the Aurora shooting. There is a lot being said about guns, gun control, violence and things like that in the days that have followed that senseless murder spree. I have read some stories about people who saved lives by laying down their own lives and I have heard other stories of courage under fire. Then there are those that are talking about the man on trial for the murders. I heard this shooting instantly turned into a political tool for both sides of the aisle. I read that it was a government conspiracy and I heard that it was a U.N. conspiracy. There is a lot of talk about what should and shouldn’t be happening when it comes to guns.

What I want you to do is to take a look at the article yourself and give me your opinion. Here is a part that stood out to me:

“…even in the face the evil that Jesus endured, he consistently challenged the myth of redemptive violence. He looked into the eyes of those killing him and called on God to forgive them. He loved his enemies and taught his disciples to do the same. He often said things like, “You’ve heard it said ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth‘… but I want to say there is a better way” and “You’ve heard it said, ‘love your friends and hate your enemies’ … but I tell you love those who hate you … do not repay evil with evil.'” He challenges the prevailing logic of his day, and of ours. He insisted that if we “pick up the sword we will die by the sword” — and we’ve learned that lesson all too well.”

 

If we are to love our neighbor as ourself and we are supposed to repay evil with good then how do we defend the current response to “evil” in the world? Where is the balance between saving lives (ending things like the holocaust) and starting a war that we have no business being involved in? Is there such a thing as “redemptive violence” or is it a myth as this article would suggest? I leave that for you to consider.

Conservatives vs. Liberals…who’s happier?

Pew Research Center in 2006 reported that conservative Republicans were 68 percent more likely than liberal Democrats to say they were “very happy” about their lives.”

I am a fan of being happy and I also like it when other people are happy too! I was on my lunch break today and I stumbled across an article that was simply titled, “Why Conservatives Are Happier Than Liberals”

Now that may not seem like a crazy title for an article if you are reading a Tea-Party website, but I found it on the New York Times website! It was listed as an ‘opinion’ article, but if you actually read it there is very little opinion in it. It lists facts and studies about happiness.

I appears that religion and marriage are two of the biggest keys to living a happy life. It is not money, possessions, education or job status that will make you happy. I know I have readers from all kinds of backgrounds, religious views, political views and social views. I’m not saying that YOU are not a happy person if you don’t fit into the box that this article says makes for happy people.

What I am saying is to consider this: “Fifty-two percent of married, religious, politically conservative people (with kids) are very happy — versus only 14 percent of single, secular, liberal people without kids.” This is surprising to me when I hear people talk around me or when I watch TV. It would seem like we are told that single liberals should be the happiest people on earth! They are the ones that don’t have to worry about getting their kids up in the morning, they can go sleep with whoever they want, they can party all night Saturday night and not have to feel bad about not getting up for church on Sunday. That would SEEM like what would be the case, but in actuality it is not.

So what do you do with information like this? What it does to me is remind me that appearances are not always what is really going on. Just because someone smiles and makes you think they are happy does not mean that they are truly happy. Also just because society tells you that you will be happy when you…whatever they are selling at the moment…you don’t have to believe them.

You can do whatever you want with this. I found it interesting and I thought you might find it interesting too.

Tragedy brings unity, Norwegians come together to sing

It is a touching scene described in an article HERE where 40,000 Norwegians joined together to sing “Children of the Rainbow” on Thursday. They all came together to sing this specific song to “get under the skin of admitted mass killer Anders Behring Breivik.”

He listed this song as an example of Marxist influence on Norwegian culture. There were a couple ladies who didn’t agree and so they started a Facebook event to have people come together and sing. They expected a few dozen people but ended up with an estimated 40,000! That is an awesome display of unity, even if singing a song to annoy someone seems like an interesting outlet for that unity.

It made me think of what happened here in the U.S. after 9/11. Everyone was holding hands, lighting candles, praying with and for each other.

There seems to be a built in part of the human spirit that will unite in times of tragedy…as long as the tragedy is close enough to home.

Do you remember earlier this year when the Kony 2012 phenomenon was sweeping the nation? I guess to some extent it is still going although it is no longer the headline that everyone is reading. That was something about that which made me pause and think. People in the U.S. were finally focused on at least one of the atrocities that happen every day around the world. Now I’m not sure what wearing the t-shirt   or sharing the video Kony 2012 actually is going to do to assist in making actual change, but to see everyone united for a cause that did not impact them directly was pretty awesome.

My only question is why does it take tragedy for people to look past their own lives and past their prejudice to unite together for the common good? Why is it that when things are going good we get consumed with ourselves and our lives. Think of the unity and community you felt after 9/11 and how different that is right now when people start talking about the upcoming elections or the state of the economy.

Can we change that? Can we cross the lines that we draw during the good times without having a tragedy? Thoughts?

‘The grass is always greener’ and other lies we believe

A few years ago I was walking through the airport on my way to my gate and I stopped at the gift shop. I usually bring a book to read but this time I didn’t so I walked up to the book section. I found one that immediately grabbed my attention. It was about a concept that I had never really thought about. What if we really did get all the things we wanted when we wanted them? Would that make us happy? The conclusion the writer came up with was no. The joy we find in life is from the things we go through every day that we didn’t think we were going to go through. I was going to buy the book, but it was a hardback copy and it was over priced (as everything is at the airport) so I just told myself I would buy it when I got home. I didn’t buy it. I have been looking for it ever since. The problem is that I don’t remember the name!

The reason I am bringing this story up right now is because of a discussion I had yesterday. On twitter a question was posed: “When I get what I want, will I want what I’ve got?”

My response to that was, “No. People want what they don’t have, the hunt is where the thrill exists.” I guess the problem with this is that I was not talking about myself, I was talking about people in general.

It made me stop and take a look at myself. Do I think that the grass is really greener on the other side of the fence? Am I only interested in the “hunt” and not on actually getting what I say I want. The conclusion I came to is sometimes. It freaked me out to think that I might be part of the group that is more interested in chasing things than in actually getting what I want, so I decided do some soul searching and some research.

According to everything I could find online it takes an income of $75,000 per year right now to be happy. I found multiple articles and studies that said this was the magic number and here is one of the articles: “How Much Money Makes You Happy?”

I don’t make $75,000 per year currently. At no point in my life have I made $75,000 per year up to this point. I am a happy guy. I really am happy. One of the things I found out in my research is that people stress about money a lot! I have seen that in the lives of friends and family. I am not really one to stress about money. I don’t need stuff. There is no bigger, better, nicer thing that I am saving my money to get. I am not running up credit cards so I can out-do my neighbors. That is just not who I am. I’m not saying that I am somehow the only person who is not materialistic and consumed with stuff. I know a lot of people who are less worried with what they have than they are in how much they can help someone else.

This all made me realize a few things. First off, there are a lot of people consumed with themselves and their own stuff. If the research that was done is correct than wow…we are really all about things in America today. I guess I knew that, but hadn’t thought about it in a while.

Another thing it made me realize is that there is so much more in life than just me and my stuff. When we get our eyes off of us and onto how we can make a difference we can change lives. There are people who change lives every day. People who do a lot more than me…and probably more than you too. I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty for having stuff. If you make over $75,000 then that is awesome for you!

My only question is will you help someone else or will you keep it just for you and yours? I find that helping people with what I have been given is way more rewarding and brings me more happiness than spending it on myself. I know I can’t be alone in that.

I know a guy who gives more than he takes. You may or may not agree with everything he says or exactly how he does what he does…but he helps people that others ignore. Take a second and consider helping him help others. If not him, find someone or something you believe in and make a difference. We can change the world for the better. We just have to get our eyes off of ourselves.

Go to http://www.theoneinc.org/ or click the picture below.