How the Government Actually Does Budgeting

There is goodwill and homework type budgeting which includes doing homework on all the things the government does and understanding the more mental work put in by the top, the more efficient the government will run.  Resources are allocated according to need and understanding.  Appreciation is given to the necessary stress the government puts on society to ensure we are accountable to each other and the world.  It is not the government but human innovation and values that increase the size of government.

There is also emotional budgeting focusing on temptation….giving as much money to convenience (tax cuts), over funding pride, power, and security (military, other security) and defunding vulnerable diplomacy, and accountability and stress (regulators), and cynicism to any force of goodwill (safety net, foreign aid).  You score “wins” by taking money from these small entities and avoid large budget items that require courage.

Forward thinking companies make an extra effort to hear all ideas, accept risk and failure, and protect the pride of those that think different, but our congress is an institution of high pride fear with many seeking to take down anyone that may argue for change or resources or tell us what we need to hear.

Correcting for 40 Years of Under Taxing and War

To be blunt a correction needs to be made for what has happened over the last 40 years.  We need to deter this cycle from occurring for the next 40 years.  The promises of increased growth to pay for these tax cuts never came true and the fortunes created as a result of these tax cuts are not just.  The debt that has incurred never went to some foreign entity we now owe our labor too; it went to the top of the income ladder.  We have yet to seriously address tax issues to the increased efforts in the middle east which have cost $6.4 trillion according to the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs “United States Budgetary Costs   and Obligations of Post-9/11 Wars through FY2020: $6.4        Trillion.” [8]

If for example if we took $5 Trillion of the $36 Trillion in net worth of the 1%, we wouldn’t force them to sell things and crash markets.  Their most liquid assets would just go to our treasury.  Their stocks, bonds, and real estate would be assets of the treasury.  US treasury bonds would obviously just be zeroed out.  The treasury can manage the assets as it sees fit from there. 

Invoice Coming Due

  • Reagan Tax Cuts $7.1 Trillion
  • Clinton Discount $-1.9 Trillion
  • Bush Tax Cuts $2.1 Trillion
  • Middle East Wars $6.4 Trillion
  • Wall Street Bailout $0.7 Trillion
  • Trump Corporate Tax Cuts: Tab Ongoing

US Debt Clock

  • $23 Trillion in January 2020 (prior to coronavirus)
  • $187k per taxpayer?
  • …depends on how much you think the 1% owe from their $36 trillion in assets

Alternatively, if we actually collected all the taxes owed to the treasury each year and the tax gap was 0 instead of ~2-3% of GDP, the debt would be near 0… 2-3% x 40 years is 80-120% of GDP.

Better rules need to be put in place for government borrowing at federal, state and local levels since it is an obvious temptation and laws and rules are meant to combat temptations.

Wrongs of the Last 10 Years in Budgeting

The problem with just cutting taxes is it’s a slow wealth transfer.  It takes time to take the government’s money so they got a little smarter in 2017 with cutting the corporate tax rates.  Just like selling a business or some revenue stream you get an instant pay out.  Where do rich people put their money? A lot of it in public or private companies. By taking a ~$200 Billion revenue stream away from the treasury companies are able to take home 79 cents on the dollar vs 65 cents, an increase of (79-65)/65 = 21.5% so now your company has 21.5% more profits without doing any work and they are all worth 21.5% more!

Everyone enjoyed the stock market going up over 30% in 2017 leading to Trillions in private profits. Unfortunately, the companies have already appreciated in value, the cake has been eaten and that cut doesn’t help stocks go up in the future.  Just a $200 Billion hole in tax revenue remains.  Trends in US Unemployment didn’t change after the tax cut.

Unemployment Trends Remained Unchanged After the Tax Cut.  The downward trend was mostly because interest rates were set near 0 after the housing crisis.

  • Donald Trump “I think we can go to 4,5, even 6%” (2017 comment on GDP Growth from the tax bill)

……2 Years Later……

  • Federal Open Market Committee projects 2% GDP Growth in 2020 and 1.9% in 2021 as of September 2019, below historical averages (before correction for the coronavirus).

The Story

It begins with holding America hostage during the last 6 years of a democratic president

  • Shutdown the government
  • Use debt ceiling to hold an enemy party president hostage
  • Convince the public both sides are to blame
  • Crank government cynacim up to 11
  • Courage/work to discuss pay fors
  • Honest discussion of where the debt came from

Then you need to change the congressional rules for taxing by implementing dynamic scoring which says the economy will grow (we will work harder) if corporations get tax cuts.

Then go for the cookie jar once in power

  • The central item of the tax cuts and jobs act is to take a $200 billion revenue stream (decrease corporate taxes from 35% to 21%) away from the treasury and into corporations (like selling a business you trade a revenue stream for a one time payout), artificially increasing their profits and delivering a massive 1 time bump in stock prices.
  • Corporate executive pay and buybacks skyrocket.  Economic growth not so much.  The federal open market committee predicted 2% GDP growth for 2020 and 1.9% for 2021 in the fall of 2019 (before correction for the coronavirus).

Try to pay for it by going after healthcare

  • The American Health Care Act Fails to Pass by One Vote (2017)

Don’t share anything with your base

  • Individual tax cuts fade out and become tax increases by 2027
  • Corporate tax cuts are permanent

Spite the blue states if possible

  • State and Local tax deduction capped at 10k hurting high tax (dense population) states

What do you do after raking in trillions you didn’t lift a finger for? Complain on the taxes on these gains of course

After your stocks/bonds/real estate go up from corporate tax cuts you pay capital gains tax on them when you sell them.

  • “To Keep the Economy Growing, Index Capital Gains to Inflation” – Article by Ted Cruz, Grover Norquist
  • “There is a sore spot” on capital gains – Ryan Ellis
  • “Tax Cuts 2.0”

Over 80% of capital gains tax cuts go to the 1%.

Try to get rid of estate taxes to ensure rich estates rule for generations to come

  • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the exemption for large estates to over $20 million in untaxed estate income for couples

Put millionaires on the honor system for taxes

  • Audits of millionaires are down 80% since 2011 (tea party takes over congress) and in line with the audit rate of the poor

(from ProPublica analysis of IRS data)

  • The tax gap (uncollected taxes) is estimated to be over $500 Billion per year

(According the IRS analysis of 2008-2010 tax receipts in 2019 dollars)

Give mega corporations tax breaks on overseas cash hordes

“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act creates a historic opportunity for American companies to bring capital back home from overseas to invest in our domestic economy and create jobs for hardworking Americans” – Steven Mnuchin (Treasury Secretary)

  • Tax on overseas earnings decreased to 15.5% on cash or cash equivalents and 8% on the remainder
  • In 2004 President George W. Bush allowed corporate cash hordes back with a low tax rate of around 5.25%
  • Corporations are well trained now to horde overseas cash and wait for the next republican takeover to cash out

Relish in the positive asset “Business News”

(For a year anyway)

Then decide you are going to grade yourself based on how the stock market does as a result of taking money from the treasury

Steve Mnuchin: We “absolutely” view the stock market as a report card (US Treasury Secretary)

A+

Priority List

  • Long Term Thinking
  • Middle Class Incomes
  • Increase Economic Output
  • Short term asset pumps ü
  • Take credit for existing unemployment trends ü

Ignore Reality

If you lose in 2020 Rinse and Repeat

References

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Databases, Tables & Calculators by Subject. (SEAS) Unemployment Rate. More Formatting Options. All years, All time periods. https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000. Accessed June 20, 2020. (Numbered 3 in figure above)

Image References

United States GDP and Unemployment History

The growth of the gross domestic product (GDP) minus inflation or Real GDP is a good indicator of the growth of the economy.  Asset prices are not the economy.  Debt is not the economy. The hard work of producing goods and services is.  The combined efforts of everyone’s physical labor and brains improve the quality of life year after year.  Does that mean it is always desirable to grow the economy at any cost? No, we may desire less work or different work for quality of life or refrain from some production due to environmental impact.

As safety net programs have been implemented, presidents have changed, environmental and safety regulations implemented, and healthcare improved, the economy has not changed drastically.  As long as the incentive to work hard the next day is still there the government has a lot of leverage and say on what our values are.

There is little evidence to say people work harder or less when taxes go up or down.  Tax laws pick winners and losers or we can add leverage to the national debt in exchange for higher individual net worth.

The other big statistic is jobs.  People don’t like threats to their jobs, but that threat is far greater from a dynamic capitalistic system than from government activity.  Most job losses are gained elsewhere as humanity developed better transportation, the electricity grid, more tourism, the computer, the internet and so on.  Unemployment has fluctuated very little with regulations, taxes, and safety net programs.

The .com, housing, and now the coronavirus have all spiked unemployment.  In the cases of .com and housing the economy was positioned around a certain asset and then that asset wasn’t what we thought it was.  In time the economy adapts.

The federal reserve has a lot of power over unemployment based on how it sets interest rates.  Though there is a lag as businesses have access to more money and then decide to hire.  The reason for higher interest rates is to control inflation.  Exceptions are usually asset bubbles like in 2000 and 2008.  The economy repositions naturally in time.

People will continue to want to trade each other for food, health care, housing, things etc…there is nothing to fear on the economy falling off some cliff as long as the government is empowered to save the day if needed.  The economy has transformed itself through many technological innovations, wars, infrastructure initiatives with maintaining consistent growth.  Economic growth mostly comes from productivity growth, improving processes, developing technology etc. Once a new technology is developed or a manufacturing process is improved, we don’t lose that ability, we work on the next one.  This is not to say asset bubbles can’t happen, but asset prices aren’t the economy.  When an asset isn’t worth what we thought it was (.com and housing bubbles) that industry loses jobs but in time the slack is picked up.

The economy is our ability to produce goods and services tomorrow to satisfy our needs.  Assets are things that can be traded in for goods and services.  In truth, if everyone owns a lot of assets, it puts a strain on labor that needs to work to support those trading in assets for labor.  They also have to do more work to buy anything.  There is always the temptation for us to create asset bubbles but it wouldn’t hinder our ability to take care of each other.  The government can always create demand, deficit spend or print money. 

“Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Globalism / Protectionism / Diplomacy / Peace

Peace is hard work.  It is great to say you want peace but what does it take?  There are naturally discussions among countries and disputes over resources, territory, religion, economic systems that make it hard to have peace.

The Internal Struggle

The major problem with diplomacy is the ability of each country to sell caring about the world, vulnerability and effort, to its own people and against those that would try to usurp them internally using “us first” and “winning” type language.  The art of diplomacy, having frank discussions and maintaining respect is an art that is somewhat well understood, but can fall apart from internal pressure.

Value Diplomacy or Tribal (Us vs Them)?

Value diplomacy is creating a culture of agreed upon values upon which the players or tribes agree to.  Combating aggression, helping those that need help, global sustainability are some of the values countries come together on.

Tribal diplomacy is about the pride of the tribe.  You want to protect the pride of your tribe from any insecurity and you want to win for your tribe by imperialism, winning every deal, and creating a need for spite around every disagreement.  In any resource disagreement the other side is on its own.

There is a temptation to use nationalism, racism, religion, economic system etc. to divide and make another tribe the enemy.  To ascend the hierarchy in your tribe by putting your identity in vilifying the different and unfamiliar.  You unite your tribe around the enemy.

Value diplomacy is central to peace but it requires brainwork and courage.  Other countries might call you a hypocrite and point out wrongs in your history.  You might get trolled from the insecure. You are creating insecurity among those you are calling to behave and you can’t make it about us vs them but always about the values.  Countries may actually prefer a protectionist policy from another that makes it us vs them vs a well-constructed moral argument that makes it about values and drives insecurity about their policies.

Globalism / Protectionism

We are all part of groups or tribes from your family, to your work, to your community, to sports teams you cheer for.  In politics we can visualize our political reality as groups within groups.

#1 > Family > Community > Region > Country (where armies are) > Earth / Humanity

Protectionism – doing whatever is self-serving for your group and ignoring the at large collective.  A culture of self-serving doesn’t stop at the smaller group, it stops at everyone looking out for #1.

Globalism / Collectivism – each smaller group is a supporter of the larger group.  The larger group is expected to both help the smaller groups when they are in need as well as ask of the smaller group when the larger group or others are in need.

What kind of world does each mentality lead to?  Do we want to create a culture of coming together in the face of fear or splintering?  What kind of unity is it really to bond with another group over a common enemy but if there is any resource dispute with that group you go for each other’s heads?

Some use the term globalist as slander, but in truth most of those willing to give for earth / humanity are of the same mind as those willing to give for country or community. 

In moral conflicts globalists are the aggressor.  Standing up to aggression, environmental causes, human rights, refugees.  In pride, tribal, or resource conflicts protectionists are the aggressor such as wars over religious/economic beliefs, oil, or revenge.  The protectionists during WWII were strictly isolationists (no desire to save the world from aggression) until the United States was attacked at pearl harbor.

In a true hour of need we should not look to the allies we have made that push up our pride and play to our fears with us.  It is those countries telling us to behave ourselves and that stand for hard values that may be there.

Globalism begets globalism, protectionism begets protectionism

This is not to say a country shouldn’t stand for its own interests, just like in your family you stand for yourself of course, but it is a culture of mental engagement and goodwill.

Countries with transparency into their decision making with active debates and elections will be trusted more than those with a concentration of power, a one party system, a dictator that don’t expose themselves to the vulnerability of public discourse.

Image Reference

Shutterstock: ChristianChan

Giving Hope to What We Can’t See

We all interact and see interactions of people willing to act in goodwill with people they can see.  If you know somebody’s story, see their face, you are more apt to help them.  If they look familiar to you, worship the same religion, abide by the culture you will be more giving.  A service industry worker will do better receiving tips than a flat pay.  If someone in your life is struggling you may help them based on their needs and abilities.

But in society we also need to give hope to those we can’t see.  Humanity is generally good at helping those within its own village but when natural economic conditions segregate society, dealing with forced goodwill (taxes), or dealing with goodwill outside the circle of the army (other countries) goodwill is not as easy to come by but it is still important.

Every year the United States government spends more than charities do on goodwill including Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment, housing etc.  It also subsidizes charitable giving.  This doesn’t include Social Security or Medicare because those are just more dignified ways of taking for our seniors than everyone doing it privately and everyone may benefit from these programs. 

It is impossible to tell everyone’s story and it can be easy to create cynicism about forced goodwill but what kind of culture and society does hope to the bottom create or cynicism to the bottom?  How meaningful is cherry-picking or otherwise creating cynical stories about government goodwill?  Is it realistic that voluntary goodwill can plug all the needed holes alone?

The government does a lot of heavy lifting on goodwill and charities fill in the cracks, together this goodwill is an important part of who we are, our soul, and what we wish the country to stand for.

For alongside our famous individualism, there’s another ingredient in the American saga. A belief that we’re all connected as one people.

If there is a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child. If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for their prescription drugs, and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandparent. If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.

It is that fundamental belief, it is that fundamental belief, I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams and yet still come together as one American family.

For alongside our famous individualism, there’s another ingredient in the American saga. A belief that we’re all connected as one people.

E pluribus unum. Out of many, one.

President Barack Obama (2004 Convention Speech)

Image Reference

Adobe Stock / Ipopba

Pulling Society Toward Goodwill

Getting people to use their brains to associate positive aspects of society with doing the right thing.

Humility – looking past the initial dagger to one’s pride and seeing the bigger picture.

Caring / Love – don’t exist without accepting others and ourselves own faults.  A judgeless relationship.

Hope – taking the vulnerable or hard work position when faced with unknowns such as doing something new, relationships, dreaming, safety net.

Joy – a group putting in work or giving into hope and having it come to fruition.  Accepting one another.

Engaging – doing brainwork to understand where each other is coming from and acting in goodwill.

Sportsmanship – we like to compete for earned pride but we also protect the opponent’s pride.  Games of pride make us feel alive but they should all exist under some moral fabric.

Working Pride – pride that comes from hard work, accomplishing something over time.

Education – putting in brainwork to accept the right answer over the temptation.

Respect / Manners – putting in work to raise society up and away from crudeness, grumpiness, boys club etc.

Courage / Honor / Integrity – facing fear for the collective, overcome convenience and toward doing the right thing.  Honor doesn’t exist in a society that refuses to accept shame.

General Work – putting ourselves to work (viewed as attractive) to avoid making hell at the expense of others, unattractive laziness, gossip, judging.  Even in biblical times there are warnings of undesirable outcomes from idleness and gossiping.  With communication now at hyper speed, news everywhere and social media everywhere it doesn’t lead us to putting our best foot forward always.

Energy – The end of slavery, the environmental movement, civil rights, women’s right to vote, 40 hour work weeks, worker safety, a progressive tax system, food stamps etc. do not happen by themselves.  They are made to happen.  It takes both energy in the form of activism, free speech, political movements and a good clear message and educating others on what you want to change.

“Things don’t happen, they are made to happen”

John F. Kennedy

The key to a successful society is to not let our emotions control us.  In many cases we have to use our own moral compass to overwrite an initial fear, convenient answer, or desire to avoid a problem.  Like a defiant child maturing and realizing some of the joys that can be had in buying into the work needed to be a contributing member of the family or team, there is no reason we can’t move past this phase into something more hopeful, more joyful.  A group united in its enemies of compassion and foreignness is not a group worth existing in.

Image Reference

Shutterstock: STILLFX

Pulling Society Away from Goodwill

Some of the ways we as a society are divided and pulled away from goodwill, purpose, harmony and joy:

Note that in politics the reason and the strategy are different.  For example, slander is a strategy not a motive.  Using crowds and creating energy can be viewed as a strategy for any reason. Suppressing dissenting voices can be a strategy of any regime in power whether it believes its end goals are good or bad.  Pride, convenience, and fear are both strategies and motives.  For example, if you are mostly motivated by convenience (tax cuts) but you need votes, you might play up an immigration fear as a strategy or insecurity in foreign affairs.  Voter suppression, gerrymandering congressional districts and playing games with court seats are all strategies.

Greed – Seeking pride and convenience through monetary means at the expense of the ecosystem, seeking security (fear avoidance) at the expense of actual security (society).

Convince others society isn’t selfless / compassionate – if society isn’t viewed as selfless it will convince us to not be a fool and look out for ourselves as well.

Immigration Fears – you want to sell fear to pull society away from compassion voting without inconveniencing your group.  One suitable fear is immigration.

Strong on crime – creating fear around something complex (crime and rehabilitation) to get votes.

Economic fears – using the economy or jobs as a fear creator without supplying proper brainwork.

Bringing others down to your level – if you feel you and your group are engaging in something you are not supposed to, you want everyone involved to make you feel more secure.

Avoiding Accountability – never putting yourself in the brainwork, vulnerability position.  Always having a fall person.

Pride over Principles – Turning your political reality away from principles and into “winning” for your tribe. Being a country of principles should be an inspiring reality.  The human heart drives peace but the brain is the peacemaker.  If you chose the self-serving non vulnerable solution for every disagreement and forsake the brain, never-ending war is inevitable.

To owe or to be owed? – it can feel insecure to feel like we owe someone a debt.  That we owe something for the society we are given.  Some will use terms like “taxpayer” to sell an idea of being owed.  The idea of me and my boys are wronged anytime the government does something of goodwill is attractive to some.  A military draft is a great ask of a country upon a family.  Using the tax system to plug a hole so someone can put food on the table isn’t. Those actually in need rarely use an entitled tone.

“A full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Associating Wealth Absolutely with Work – We view work in a positive light and laziness in a negative light.  That doesn’t mean all wealth is worked equally hard for or that we should give up on all of those that need a hand up, or those that need help aren’t willing to work hard in the right environment.  This mindset is oversimplifying and attempts to remove our obligations to those in need.  For example, an Ayn Rand novel.

Stubbornness / Avoiding Necessary Change – change requires overcoming the fear of the unknown, the inconvenience of brainwork, and overcoming pride that an existing behavior needs changed.

Strongmen/Insecurity – Our insecurity in foreign affairs leads us to be attracted to those promising wins and strength in the face of any foreign disagreement, trade negotiation, disputed territory etc.  We want to see scowls, tough talk, and simple answers in our diplomacy over respect, understanding problems and a will for all countries to be successful.  Giving in to this leads to cold wars, trade wars, actual wars, etc.  Diplomacy is an imperfect art but its greatest adversary is the internal struggle from each country to empower it.  Any decision to have your group put in some effort for those outside the group requires vulnerability which the temptation is to avoid.

Electing the strongman doesn’t lead to freedom…quite the opposite.

  1. Elect strongman selling pride, fear, and protection from insecurity
  2. Be afraid of strongman and avoid brainwork/vulnerability, do whatever he says
  3. No morality around to save anyone by way of compassion
  4. His excuses are the law, the actual law doesn’t matter
  5. Dictatorship

Under taxing – it is very hard to have a quality discussion on the federal budget or taxes.  How can you be knowledgeable about the entire budget?  It is also quite foreign in that much of it is misunderstood by the public and controlled by people foreign to us.  Likewise, its effect on the economy is not well understood.  This leads to many picking the most cynical and convenient outcome and using words like common sense, stick within its means, intuitive etc. 

Group Supremacy – It can be attractive to be told you are special and you can be part of a group not burdened by morality or homework and win against groups you choose to dehumanize.  Nationalism, gangs, Enron cultures in business are ways you might achieve pride for yourself at the expense of the greater good.

Cynicism – The message in cynicism is you are a fool if you believe the answer is effort, work, hope, understanding, mental engagement.  The fiscal conservative message is largely based on this notion of being cynical around either the safety net, federal institution efficiency, or resources going outside the group without putting much, if any work into understanding the situation.

Spinning Words and Literature – taking a word or literature that has a positive or negative view from society and giving it another definition without giving the definition.  Family, support the troops, Christianity, patriotism.  In normal discussions these mean giving but not in always in politics.  Freedom and liberty can mean freedom from hierarchical oppression or freedom from moral obligations.  Being told what to do in either case creates the same feeling right?

Personal Takedowns – it can be much easier to take down the individual making the inconvenient argument than to go after the argument itself.  Political questions by nature involve uncertainty such as healthcare, foreign policy, safety net effectiveness.  Once you demonize the people of the day standing for idealism you then use their names as slander, as something to defeat.  Focusing on gaffes or perceived gaffes instead of ideas.

“I understood the infamous spiritual terror which this movement exerts, particular on the bourgeoisie, which is neither morally nor mentally equal to such attacks; at a given sign it unleashes a veritable barrage of lies and slanders against whatever adversary seems most dangerous, until the nerves of the attacked persons break down….This is a tactic based on precise calculation of all human weaknesses, and its result will lead to success with almost mathematical certainty.”

Adolf Hitler

Other Methods – These were used in Hitler’s 1939 speech in response to FDR asking if 31 surrounding countries are under threat prior to the start of WWII or general techniques the Nazis used in annexing territory prior to armed conflict. He is certainly not the only bad actor to use these techniques.

  • Calling goodwill a hypocrite (US revolution, Indians, Civil War)
  • Doesn’t goodwill have better things to do?
  • My group has been wronged. (Treaty of Versailles after WWI)
  • Intimidate the groups you want to bully and ask them if they feel threatened. (Hitler writes all the countries under threat and “asks” them if they feel threatened.)
  • Make agreements you have no intent to keep and blame the other side when you want to break them.
  • Taking over territory is “liberating” it.
  • Germany is coming in to protect the Germans in the area from getting bullied in stories you make up.

Prejudice – definition: preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

Another definition: Pick the emotionally attractive solution without engaging the brain, usually to avoid problems, avoid fear, avoid change, rebellion against authority, to give into the strongman, or pick the self-serving solution.

Prejudice exists in some form around many tribal belief systems but some of the belief systems themselves were created with prejudice and some were not.  Some morality systems are based on giving and some are not.

Tribalism multiplies temptation or goodwill

  • If it is hard to act in goodwill and not with pride it is harder to ask your tribe to do the same.
  • Once you are in a group that justifies immorality in favor for pride it is hard to stop that snowball.
  • Work or courage for the group is contagious and can bring joy.
  • Honor systems can be effective and warm one’s heart.

Image Reference

Shutterstock: Lightspring

How We Are Divided

We have to come to grips with what the world is.  The world is not divided over differing philosophies or different views. The only way to properly frame and simplify our political reality is through the human conscience.

The Right Thing

  • Values/Brainwork before Pride/Convenience/Fear
  • Defined by caring
  • Sustainability
  • Pull each other up
  • Economy for all
  • Protect the vulnerable
  • World Perspective
  • No enemies, Mend Fences
  • Peace
  • Hope
  • Share in Joy
  • Forgive
  • Stand up to International Aggression
  • Courage

Political Temptation

  • Prisoners of Pride/Convenience/Fear
  • Unquestioned loyalty to chief pride seller/protector
  • Defined by enemies
  • Fear of Foreign
  • Fear of Change
  • Defiance to Moral Authority
  • Do Gooder Hate
  • Avoid Vulnerability
  • Avoid Problems
  • Kiss up, kick down
  • Cynicism
  • Under-taxing
  • Joy/utopia is undesirable (requires vulnerability and brainwork), focus on us > them
  • Exploit weaker groups
  • Against standing up to other aggressor groups

It may not feel good to have an authority tell you to behave and contribute, and it may be tempting to go with those that offer easy answers, convince you of your native importance, and protection from the unfamiliar, but this is a dark road.

If we can convince the world to be value driven, we will be able to live in peace, to make sure the basic needs of all are met and avoid desperation/violence.  If we do not have the strength and courage to stand up for these values then those attracted by easy answers will steer us toward unsustainable futures, asset bubbles, cold wars, ignoring problems that shouldn’t be ignored, and dehumanizing those who shouldn’t be dehumanized.

Our subconscious, our gut, our intuition is really a bunch of shortcuts we have developed over our evolution to circumvent hard brainwork.  Many of these shortcuts serve pride, convenience and fear.  Some serve compassion, pattern following and logic.  Just because you feel good or bad about something doesn’t mean you have to obey that feeling. Sometimes we have to use our brains to overwrite that emotion. In our politics we have to do the hard brainwork.  If you wish to persuade others or create art look to understand the subconscious.

It is better to refer to our political system as empowering values or temptation as opposed to trying to create any us vs them.  It isn’t so much one group vs another group but a fight going on in everyone’s mind.  It can be more persuasive to create a picture of the world and a picture of possible futures than to tell others to behave themselves.

3rd parties are ever trying to enter into the two-party system but that is a bastardized situation.  You want this temptation over here but morality over here.  When you empower temptation, you empower all the temptations in a two party system. 

Not the Enemy

  • Different Nations
  • Different Races
  • Different Religions
  • Different Lifestyles

Also Not the Enemy

  • Cares about the Environment
  • Cares about other Countries
  • Cares about the Vulnerable
  • Cares about Pay Fors (Taxes)
  • Your mom telling you to clean your room

Stand up to

  • Those abusing you or others to their own benefit

While some may think the solution to our partisan divide is to get together and hash it out, this belies the fundamental nature of what is.  Tribalism combined with temptation will seldom subject itself to the vulnerability needed in a compromise.  Many in that mindset would rather spite goodwill and the entire group than compromise.

In order to bring down partisanship we have to be assertive with the aggressor and our values.  That requires being disagreeable at times, making others feel insecure because you have to, and taking on the resulting spite. Silencing those standing for what is right will not end conflict.  When it is apparent society wishes for “the right thing” partisanship will fall.

How to end arguments / partisanship

  • Tell the 2 parties to stop and work it out
  • Think about why the confrontation occurred
  • Be assertive with the aggressor and your values

The principle argument of this work is

  1. Our politics is split along the human sense of right and wrong
  2. The right thing is desirable

It may be more attractive to align with those seeking pride for you, or sit in the middle and have both sides cater to you, but the right thing to do is align with the people trying to do the right thing and ask yourself how you can help.

Image Reference

Shutterstock – Nerthuz

Standing for What’s Right

There are many ways to give back to society, from working a job, to raising a family to helping the community, to donating time and money to various causes.  You can risk your life as a police officer, firefighter, or in the military. One very important way for us to give back is to stand up for our values when temptation tries to bring them down.  This can be a tough discussion with a family member over an addiction or behavior, it can be asking your group to put in some effort for some just cause, and it manifests in the partisan divide we live in, fighting for what is right against those that will seek to put out your light the moment you turn it on.

Being a moral authority can be anything from encouraging others to eat healthy, be active, to sustainability, to needed tax increases, to preventing forest fires, to not littering, saving the rainforest, prevent poaching, to treating others with respect.  Partaking in any of these risks backlash.  Human beings protect their pride with anger, cynicism, and put downs.

When society lacks strong figures standing for what’s right it falls for dictators, pride, protectionism, and a politics controlled by pride and fear and not by collective goodwill.  Positive forces in politics are about brainwork, respect, values, and standing for values in the face of spite.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Image Reference

United States National Park Service