The Biggest Great Divide

The last post on perception is a lead-in to this post about a great divide. What are our perceptions of the future – not the far future but starting now until 2050? An emerging perception is that millennials (born 1981 – 1996) will live their lives on the fence between two very different social and economic cultures. They will bear the burden of financially supporting both offspring and elders; their own careers and roles in society will be tumultuously tossed about and fraught with uncertainty.

Millennials started their lives in an Adam Smith world (he married capitalism to reformation ethics) and will end it in an economic and social world beyond description today – though many futurists believe the concept of ‘job’ will be divorced from Adam Smith’s marriage; artificial intelligence will disrupt existing class perceptions; Planet Earth will play havoc with resources from Helium gas to the disappearance of vast stretches of dry land, to a shift in weather patterns that will collapse significant agricultural markets.

Progressive economists suggest if the economy isn’t soon redistributed from its advantages to oligarchs, the US may experience rebellion similar to that in other countries in the news today. Data tech corporations are so pervasive and so uncontrolled that a new retail culture may evolve with a US Congress of self-appointed data tech CEO’s and Jeff Bezos as President. (mariner speculates)

Presuming all these hotspots of change may happen, what is the core cultural issue? What will people experience day-to-day? What persistent event will cause foment and disorder as society rewrites itself?

Greater than identity politics, greater than economic imbalance, greater than global warming – it is the educated versus the uneducated; the elite versus the useless; those who can participate in society and those who can’t.

These perspectives are not new. Social philosophers and futurists have suggested this great divide since the 1970’s. But today it is a fresh subject in journals, magazines and online science sites. There are characteristics of the divide that exist today. For example, those who accept that the successful will be successful and others never will be are the same people who don’t believe in welfare, Medicare and Social Security. In other words, if a person hasn’t made it, they are not allowed to have any value in society – they are useless even to themselves.

The French term is ‘raison d’êtra’, which means reason to be or role in life or in personal terms, why am I here? The feeling of uselessness is a struggle often among retirees, young adults without links to society, and especially those who by their class and education are denied the right to succeed or interact with the participating members of society. Psychologists long have defined the emergence of gangs in destitute neighborhoods as a result of not being allowed to participate in society therefore they create their own role within their neighborhood.

Society is only a decade from the first waves of white collar job loss. It is a common statistic that artificial intelligence may eliminate from fifty to eighty percent of jobs across every discipline, every skill, and every function that constitutes the ‘common workforce’ today. It does not help that income for middle and lower income people already is suppressed and hasn’t kept up with inflation. Donald’s base, suffering job loss and massive reduction in salary, is a current example of a segment of workers that has fallen on hard times and claim they are forgotten in today’s economy. Indeed they are.

As the months roll by, the issue of joblessness and especially the denial of the right to pursue happiness, success, etc., otherwise known as a raison d’êtra, will reach a breaking point where violence may be the proletariat’s only option.

The federal government has no choice even given polarized parties, wealth-driven politics and the cost of global warming, but to address joblessness which may be at a level commensurate with Venezuela today. The tax code, ensconced for generations as a capitalistic friend, must be dismantled in order to accommodate a very large portion of the US population.

Already in today’s democratic campaign for president, Andrew Yang has proposed a minimum income supported by taxes. A monthly distribution to citizens, especially those shut out of social participation, may be one way of preventing violence and stabilizing feelings of personal worth.

In a recent post mariner suggested that a new concept of having a job was to create a self-managed job. This is a job that a person assumes on their own for the good of their society. A pure example of this is a member of mariner’s family who has taken it on himself to improve the bare space around the base of trees along the sidewalk; he plants flowers and attractive greenery. He is satisfactorily employed but has taken on a role to improve his neighborhood. In the future, this approach to raison d’êtra will be a major way of defining work – and – it will need to be a source of income as well.

Another example is mariner’s neighbor who has chosen to maintain the gravel alley for his block. Again, income was not involved but, given the idea of a monthly distribution from the government, many otherwise unemployed citizens will find roles to play that will, mariner suspects, greatly improve the civility that is in short supply today.

If artificial intelligence and the corporations that control it are brought under control; if the tax structure shuts down abusive wealth and redistributes economic participation to the proletariat; if new job growth can be harnessed to deal with global warming; if international cooperation can be modified to support the economics of sustainability – maybe there will be some fun moments learning a new culture and new economics.

Ancient Mariner

 

Perceptions

Mariner once heard a politician complain about the (liberal) New England states and that the fathers of our country should have just continued the forty-ninth parallel past the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean and left New England to Canada. This happened some fifteen or twenty years ago; even then mariner knew that the forty-ninth parallel crossed into the Atlantic at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River just south of Newfoundland. Self-perception, whether of one’s importance or one’s knowledge of facts, is not a good view of reality. A lesson for all of us; if we are to represent reality, it must be only after a fact check.

Mariner mentions this story because today perception, in whatever form it will take, has replaced reality in its entirety. One of the bad things about perception is that it is short lived. Whether the presumption was useful or not, it quickly becomes useless. It is difficult to step out of one’s perceptions and see reality. Often, one’s immediate perception distorts historical perspective or situational reality. Some examples:

֎ Often, citizens today interpret the US Constitution as if it were written for today’s Internet world and its rapid travel options and its ability to know what’s happening in Winner, South Dakota in seconds, but that perception wasn’t even in the fantasy world of politicians in 1789.

> The fathers of our nation, who suddenly had most of a large continent to manage and states that were suspicious of federal power and jealous of other states if they had more influence, had to manage the situation with nothing more than travel by horse carriage or letters carried in that same horse carriage. Further, enemy nations were present on the continent and wanted to control the new wealth to be had. Certainly the perceptions of today and the perceptions of 1789 are vastly different.

> A well-known perception is the right to bear arms. What else would the fathers recommend since there was no army large enough or transportable enough to police the continent? Authorize the citizenry to defend themselves. Mariner notes the use of the word ‘bear’ implying the right to fight rather than simply to ‘own.’ Over the eons of history, Congress should have recognized the dangers of allowing this militarily important measure to continue in the Constitution but it did not and today guns kill more people than cars or disease – disregarding the realities of 1789. Mariner will not prosecute this case here but wants to demonstrate clearly that perception is not reality.

> “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence. The phrase gives three examples of the “unalienable rights” which the Declaration says have been given to all humans by their creator, and which governments are created to protect. Even as the document was created that ideological perception did not reflect reality: African Americans and Native Americans are humans, too. This is an example of how a perception can be deliberately applied knowing full well it is just a perception that would not hold up to a fact check.

֎ Perception is a cousin to prejudice. In many cases perception simply will be a misrepresentation of reality whereas prejudice has a vindictive side to it. Today, in this time of identity politics, prejudice helps its cousin more often than not.

> Donald’s base is a good example. The serious issue of wage suppression and disappearance of profit sharing began during the Reagan administration and has been sustained as a national economic policy by political conservatives, typically the Republican Party. The base, largely disgruntled democrats, perceived that their government had abandoned them; it was the “establishment” that was not protecting them. Given that Hillary had political baggage, did not campaign for the labor class, and proposed an uninspiring image of the future, she became a target of a perception (aided by prejudice) that defeating her would be vindication. They chose an outsider with no record to defend, and who spoke in vindictive terms.

If only the electorate would check the facts. Unfortunately, both news media and social media have no interest in facts, just market share.

Ancient Mariner

 

Just so you know:

֎ A new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research says the cost of President Trump’s trade war has been paid almost entirely by American businesses and consumers, not China. Experts and economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Columbia University and Princeton said analysis of tax levies found “approximately 100 percent” of import taxes fell on Americans, despite the president’s assertion the country was “taxing the hell out of China.” Some of the implemented tariffs on Chinese goods are as high as 25 percent. [New York Times]

 

֎ Prices for hundreds of pharmaceuticals went up on New Year’s Day, though the increase was actually smaller than that of a year ago. Data analysis from software company Rx Savings Solutions found that more than 60 drug makers increased their prices on Wednesday by an average of 5.8 percent, following last year’s increase of 6.3 percent. Pfizer Inc. saw the largest average increase this year, raising prices by more than 9 percent on dozens of products. [The Wall Street Journal]

The nation’s inflation rate in 2019 was 1.79 percent!!

 

֎ — FTC chief threatens to drop the hammer: Chairman Joe Simons fired a shot across the bow of Facebook and Google, two tech titans that have faced historic fines from his agency in recent months — and warned that even tougher consequences are coming if the online giants don’t course-correct on privacy. “If they continue to do what they were doing in the past and violate the privacy laws, then they can expect that the repercussions will be even more severe,” he said during an afternoon one-on-one discussion. [Politico]

It’s about time! But zillions of dollars are at stake. Congress will have to jump in, presumably after the elections.

 

֎ Today’s polling in Iowa only weeks before the caucuses has Warren, Buttigieg and Biden virtually tied according to realpolitics.com and fivethirtyeight.com, two of mariner’s trusted sources.

Ancient Mariner

Do You Pay Taxes?

Mariner is certain that Donald does not want primary television coverage on the damage he is doing through his Cabinet and his Executive Orders. One area that may affect many of us is how Donald is stripping the tax laws. Thanks to the accountants who help mariner with his taxes, the following was sent to mariner via USPS. Changes that affect most taxpayers are cancellation of mortgage insurance and tuition deductions.

“On December 20th, President Trump signed into law the Secure Act, a funding bill that also included several tax ramifications. The legislation included the renewal of 34 expired or expiring provisions along with various healthcare tax repeals, changes for not-for-profit organizations, and changes for retirement savings among other provisions. A few highlights of the bill include:

Extenders

Extensions of the following expired or expiring credits through 2020:

New Markets Tax Credit

Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Credit (extended through 2022)

Alternative fuel and fuel mixture credit

Repeal of health insurance plans “Cadillac” tax.

Extension of the PCORI fee (excise tax) on self-insured health plans through 2029.

Section 179D deduction for Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings through 2020.

Energy Efficient Homes Tax Credit under Section 45L for homes produced before January 1, 2021.

Deduction for mortgage insurance premiums for 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Deduction for qualified tuition and fees deduction for 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Retirement Provisions

Repeal of maximum age for contributions to traditional IRA’s (previous age limit was 70.5).

Required minimum distributions start at age 72 instead of age 70.5 (not applicable for those that turned 70.5 before December 31, 2019).

Up to $5,000 can be distributed penalty-free for birth of child or adoption from IRA’s or defined contribution plans.

Non-spouse inherited IRA’s required to take distributions over 10 years instead of beneficiary’s lifetime. There is no requirement to take distributions during the first 9 years, rather, the account has to be emptied by the end of the 10th year.

Other Provisions

Kiddie tax reverts back to pre-TCJA and no longer uses trust tax rate tables. Applies to 2020 and future years but can be elected to apply to both 2018 and 2019.

Increase in various failure to file penalties for returns due after December 31, 2019.

Retroactive repeal of parking tax for tax-exempt organizations that provide transportation fringe benefits.

Up to $10,000 of 529 plan funds can be used to pay down student loans. The $10,000 is a lifetime limit per beneficiary.

What Was Not Included

The Secure Act does not address drafting errors made when the TCJA was signed into law. For example, the error related to the depreciable life of Qualified Improvement Property was not addressed.

The different effective dates for net operating loss deductions (NOL’s) was not updated. This may impact certain fiscal year taxpayers.”

If the reader is specifically impacted by these changes, it would be prudent to check out further detail.

Ancient Mariner

The New Economics

For the last post or two, mariner has been lamenting the human creature. A creature who foremost is selfish, then vain, grossly insufferable and narrow minded especially as seen by other creatures in the biosphere. There are more adjectives but the reader gets the point. If the reader is a human creature, do not discount one’s self; you are selfish, vain, grossly insufferable and narrow minded. Mariner speaks his mind in the name of his alter ego and mentor, the prophet Amos.
More abstractly, the societies that human creatures build are based on their inherent characteristics but formulated into a system of measure that illustrates their success at being human creatures. The measuring system is economics in its varying forms and philosophies. Very briefly but without jaundice, consider these behavioral definitions of various economic patterns:
Capitalism is parasitic. Profit is the end product of consumed biosphere – whether human or environmental. Profit is a visible measure of selfishness, vanity, oppressive behavior and narrow mindedness.
Socialism is less parasitic as long as defined territories guarantee that everyone is assured of being equally selfish, vain, grossly insufferable and narrow minded.
Communism is less parasitic in that it constrains the opportunity for just about everyone to be selfish, vain, grossly insufferable and narrow minded.
Corporatism is parasitic, a child of capitalism that has developed better skills at being selfish, vain, grossly insufferable and narrow minded.
There are other isms but by and large they are governmental variations applied to economics that promote selfishness, vanity, oppressive behavior and narrow mindedness. One thinks of authoritarianism, dictatorships, slavery, monarchies, militarism, plutocracy and oligarchy. Oh, about democracy: it’s a method of altering overly abusive practices between human creatures; it’s just like war but it takes several generations. Parasitic economics isn’t the focus.
Mariner is sorry to be redundant but again he references the Native American societies that existed for thousands of years across the North American continent – until white man appeared. The Indians may not be any less vain, selfish, etc. than white people but they had not mastered Mother Nature. Indians had not learned how to be parasites. As human creatures they still were bound by a quid pro quo with their ecosystem. What was their economic philosophy? Sustainability.
The tribal hunters were the ‘capitalists’ except that the profits taken from the environment were not owned by the hunters; the ‘gross domestic product’, if you will, was distributed to the entire tribe (That is not true today in white man’s world).The primary requirement was sustainability – not profit or possession or any of the other human creature adjectives. Indians could not dominate their environment; rather they had to survive within the constraints of their quid pro quo agreement. The first order of economic importance was sustaining the ecosystem. The Native American economic model worked for thousands of years. Dependence on the ecosystem held a cap on abusive selfishness, vanity, oppressive behavior and narrow mindedness, AKA parasitic behavior.
– – – –
Today, just a few decades past Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes, Karl Marx, Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, the planet itself has bought a seat at the economics table. New issues that aren’t focused on the human creature adjectives have come into play. Things like global warming, overpopulation, disappearing agriculture, scarcity of minerals and critical chemicals, depth of ecological sustainability, global extinction of important plants and animals and the chemistry of survivability itself.
Whether human creatures want to or not, it is time to settle with Mother Nature. The combination of parasitic behavior, planetary cycles, and shifting biosphere dependencies all will have serious impact on human creatures in the near future and in the far future.
The new rule for human economics is not parasitic behavior. It is sustainability as a member of the biosphere. Sustainability has no room for parasites.
Ancient Mariner

Examining Existence

The planet is embroiled in many confrontations. It has its own issues regarding its tendency to grow warmer and warmer; something Earth has been doing since the last ice age over twenty thousand years ago. Further, hominids have pitched in for the last 12,000 years, putting Earth on something akin to Cocaine. More on that later.

Earth, given its proximity to the Sun and carrying its own moon around, permits a certain pattern of life to exist. Hominids call it environment, ecosystem, life, nature, laws of physics and quantum mechanics. For the planet, though, the patterns of life are very much trial and error; Earth is indifferent to any intellectual perception that there is meaning to this randomness. Every evolutionary change is totally arbitrary.

This randomness is a characteristic of the entire universe, its stars, planets, moons and any order of nature that may exist in or among celestial reality. Consequently, all modifications to life are indifferent and may enhance an environment or may damage that environment. For example, recently an asteroid collided with the Earth in Mexico destroying ninety percent of life on the planet. On other occasions, volcanoes and earthquakes have stressed the environment to the point of having to start most of evolution over again. On the other hand, the assimilation of oceans of water placed on the planet allowed a supportive, temperate climate to emerge. Life was free to effortlessly experiment and has created a highly diversified environment.

The ethical premise of the universe and Earth is “what happens is what happens.” This applies to evolution in its entirety. In general, what keeps evolution going and surviving is, if mariner may borrow a politicized phrase, a quid pro quo arrangement between a species and its environment. A species takes from the environment to survive but also in the final analysis gives something back to the ecosystem. Overall there is a balance between species and environment.

If evolution is to be sustained, there is a need for predators. Many species in ignorance will over indulge their environment and breed to the point that nature becomes imbalanced; consider the cougar versus white tailed deer or the Peregrine falcon versus pigeons.

There is an exception: parasites. Parasites will consume an entire ecosystem even to the point it becomes fatal for the parasite. In the bacteria-virus world, parasites are common: the black plague, measles, sexually transmitted disease, ebola, etc. In the mammalian age, there are hominids.

– – – –

The ‘what happens is what happens’ phenomenon in this case is intelligence. Hominids are subject to the same quid pro quo as other mammals but after a while, intelligence learned how to break that deal between nature and the species. And by the time Homo sapiens sapiens evolved, brutalizing nature was an art form. Humans had become parasites of the planet’s environment. No aspect of nature was protected. Mining, chemical farming, destruction of large ecosystems like the Brazilian rain forest, and the extinction of 83 percent of the world’s species is de rigeuer. Atmospheric pollution took a back seat to profit – a classic parasitic move.

Elizabeth Kolbert, author of ‘The Sixth Extinction’, believes that Homo will bring about the global extinction of the mammalian age. Species are driven to extinction by simple but thorough intrusions into sensitive biospheres. A blatant example of parasitic behavior is to open the world’s largest surface mine and the largest oil drilling operation in Alaska – thereby wiping out the salmon that must use the same rivers to populate. As the reader reads this post, profiteering (AKA parasitic behavior) has moved to the bottom of the Earth’s oceans in search of new profits.

Mariner believes that the imminent recession in the world economy, the inability of governments around the world to find an ethical compass, and the disregard of individual citizens to take responsibility for the state of the planet, all may lead to a great collapse made more punitive by a planet on cocaine. How Homo and Earth’s creatures will recover is open to question.

If nothing else, vote to sustain the future, not to repair the past.

Ancient Mariner

 

For the Reader’s Information

A new study from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found a small one percent decrease in American retail drug prices in 2018 — the first decline in more than 40 years — but a significant jump in the cost per person for private health insurance. The study, which was published in the journal Health Affairs, says that last year health care spending overall grew by 4.6 percent to a total of $3.6 trillion, or an average of $11,172 per person. If citizens felt like they were spending more on out-of-pocket fees such as insurance deductibles and co-payments in 2018, those also increased last year by 2.8 percent, they were.

As a marker, US inflation grew by 1.8 percent in the twelve months ending in October 2019.

As suggested above, health care cost grew by 4.6 percent; additional cost per person for individuals grew at 2.8 percent.

Housing and rents grew by 2.39 percent.

Food inflation rose by 2.1 percent.

Note that the inflation rate of the above three items, representing many more similar conditions in other sectors, are all higher than the overall inflation rate of 1.8 percent. This relationship means that key ingredients in the life of a US citizen are becoming more expensive faster than the US average overall.

As far as income goes, hourly labor wages rose 1.2 percent, .6 percent lower than inflation.

On the other hand the New York Stock Exchange DOW grew by 20.25 percent.

In a phrase, the rich are still getting richer and the rest of the citizens are still getting poorer. The crisis is not being mitigated in any way by the federal government. Donald has exacerbated the impact by cutting back government services that help those in need. Mariner is critical that news outlets only show the low unemployment figure. In fact, the ratio between having a job and having fair wages to go with it is widening in a negative direction even while family living rises faster than inflation.

Historically speaking, these statistical relationships are moving rapidly. The ‘middle class bubble’, already broken by Donald’s rust belt base in the last election, faces another adjustment, likely more severe as housing, food, insurance, health services and lifestyle participation rise too quickly for the average citizen to keep up. It is the state of these inflation relationships that lead many economists to predict a serious recession in the near future.

These circumstances are not folly. Europe is ahead of the US by a few years. The result is Brexit, French populism, Spanish succession, and Mediterranean conflicts all the way to Turkey.

In South America, where governments are weaker and in several nations, dictatorships, it is no longer a recession, it is a collapse of an entire economy.

Take note: the 2020 election is a serious election that may set the future much better or much worse. It is more than Donald; it is taxes; it is guaranteed health services; it may even be a government stipend to every citizen to stem the increasing disparity; it is tax reform not unlike FDR invoked.

And there isn’t much time. Several economic thinkers set the crisis year around 2030.

– – – –

[DAILY KOS] We’ve got a message outside her Des Moines office today to make sure Iowans know that by “changes” Ernst means huge cuts to earned benefits!

Sen. @joniernst (R-IA) says that “A lot of changes need to be made” to Social Security “behind closed doors.”

Get rid of Reaganomics, turn the Senate Democratic.

Ancient Mariner

Comebacks for 12/1

A few comments were made by readers generally suggesting that the dissection of Republican versus Democrat into a list of separate issues still amounted to Republican versus Democrat.

֎ While it is true that the headings consistently were presented as republican first and democrat second, the variables that delineate the issues are not based on party. Each item requires very different amounts of time to be resolved, requires different modifications to government process, cultural modifications, cost, changes to the Constitution, disruption for business and taxation and even a public change in attitude and ethos. This is not a list that can easily be bundled into a party platform. Each party, given the entire list, could possibly break into different camps of acceptance; remember the Freedom Caucus, the libertarian wing of the Republican Party?

֎ South America? Where did that come from? Two variables dominate international coalitions: economic opportunity and geography. Both variables are in play at the same time. A visible example of both is China’s Belt and Road vision that unites every nation in Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Still, China sees many opportunities for economic development in Canada, Mexico, South America and the Pacific Rim – including Australia.

Might the US take advantage of geography in a similar manner? Does the reader remember there is a ‘Belt and Road’ that already exists in the Americas called the ‘Pan American Highway’ that runs from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego at the bottom of South America? This is not to suggest the US forget about economic markets and longtime allies; but geography cannot be ignored. What would be the strength of the US economy if Canada and Mexico were more dependent on China?

Shortsightedly, just yesterday Donald added punishing tariffs on Argentina and Brazil, two countries struggling economically. Donald isn’t shrewd enough to think of these tactics on his own; let’s start a conspiracy theory that Putin told him to do this. Oh well, South America can always turn to Russia for salvation. Remember that Putin sent a military unit and two nuclear bombers to Venezuela to protect dictator Nicolas Maduro and recently confirmed that he is willing to send more troops to the South American country to support the regime.

Didn’t the US learn its lesson with Cuba? Apparently not.

Mariner finds it entertaining that China’s Belt and Road is identical to the Interstate highway program approved by the Eisenhower administration (1953-61) and will have the same effect of merging interstate commerce.

֎ Two items, Restrictive doctrine v humanism and Public myth v existential pragmatism, are more in the hands of the public. These items are based on cultural standards set almost completely by social ethic.

Simply, the restrictive doctrine issue deals with the church’s application of religious ethics – having virtually nothing to do with political parties although there is a struggle keeping church and state apart. Not so simply, changes to cultural (as opposed to legislative) beliefs, i.e., guns, racism, work ethic, social accountability, and other myths that resist unification of a national identity, are very much a matter of reeducation and public willingness to subsume mythical influence into one-for-all ethics.

֎ Although this item isn’t part of the list, it is worth noting:

In September, Tennessee State Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield, BS, Lipscomb U.) declared that he wanted to eliminate higher education (presumably only for women, because of abortion) which would “end a liberal breeding ground” and save America. [DAILY KOS]

Thanks for reading.

Ancient Mariner

A Nasty Crossbreed: Communism and Capitalism

Communism – a political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned (Think Donald’s base, oligarchs, government and the proletariat in disarray; think data gathering corporations that know everything – even about each of us and that information is used to make billions of dollars without a penny owed directly to “the public.”)

Capitalism – an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. (Think corporatism and actually owning the government as well thereby eliminating government altogether).

The crossbreed is the worst of both ideologies: The public at large owns nothing, not even houses, automobiles or privacy. The end result is controlled classism with a socialistic flavor, citizens having no real say in anything, and continuous class war.

What follows are examples of crossbreeding.

֎ [NEWSY] The internet has revolutionized how donors behave. People now give more frequently and in smaller amounts than ever before. But every time you donate online, there’s a processing cost. A Newsy analysis, published in partnership with Politico, found that the small donor revolution has also helped direct millions of dollars to the middlemen that process donations. While it’s a matter of cents on the dollar, those pennies can add up fast. And in recent years, as small-dollar donations have ramped up, credit card processing costs have exploded.

Banks and data tech companies want in on everything and at the moment are getting what they want. Just today mariner received a ‘gift’ from Dish Network. The gift is a TV remote paired with Google’s voice recognition software. It won’t be installed. As to charitable donations online being skimmed by banks, mariner enjoys even more than usual covering that cost by writing a check to the charity and posting the donation through the Postal Service, with a wry smile while he does it.

Put in context the National Rifle Association (NRA), the fossil fuel industry, the government (owned by corporations), mega corporations like Amazon, Walmart, Google, Microsoft, AT&T, and other independent, do as they like multifunction, multinational corporations, and one realizes the citizenry has nothing to do or say about the US economy, its scruples or its original ‘freedom and justice for all’ myth.

Does the ‘public’ own anything? Does the ‘public’ share in GDP profits? Does the election process have any significant contribution?

Aside from citizens with enough excess resources to invest in capitalist ventures (Wall Street) or actually have enough assets to own a house not compromised by bank oversight, the citizenry is on a path to controlled communist social structures and little or no opportunity to share profit with capitalist corporations.

This is indeed a difficult circumstance for the general public. What makes the situation even worse is that the crossbreed feels no obligation to compensate for the global warming situation, environmental health, free medical support or anything else ‘free’ from the corporate-owned government, or the impact of automated intelligence (AI).

On the good side, it was an unusually warm, sunny day; mariner worked in his garden.

Ancient Mariner

 

Exciting Times Ahead

A new study uses artificial intelligence to find that jobs done by highly skilled workers are the most likely to be affected by AI. AI is likely to hit hardest at a combination of leading tech hubs and older manufacturing regions. Exposed are high-skill jobs like professional, scientific and technical services, information, finance and insurance. [CITYLAB] See:

https://www.citylab.com/life/2019/11/ai-skill-jobs-work-automation-brookings/602272/?utm_source=newsletter&silverid=%25%25RECIPIENT_ID%25%25&utm_campaign=citylab-daily-newsletter&utm_medium=email

As climate change, economic change and cultural change make disasters more severe, researchers say we can prepare by being informed, volunteering, and staying socially connected. The glue that provides survival and confidence even in the worst of times is not wealth or separatism, it is bonding with one another; it is sharing and caring; it is ‘having one another’s back.’ Daily life already is tumultuous but quickly financial and personal wellbeing will be challenged in ways that truly may interrupt life’s familiar traditions.

Generally speaking, there will be many jobless families; research shows job loss will grow to half the known jobs that exist today – by as soon as 2035. Further, weather patterns are shifting to a degree that agricultural economics around the world are in peril year by year; finally, even the American political dream is at risk as a dysfunctional government lies unprepared for a vastly different and burdensome situation. By 2050 and beyond, climate change will not help as millions of people around the planet lose their homes to sea rise.

There are many things citizens can do to prepare for a perfect storm of change. Foremost, every citizen must realize immediately that identity politics is deadly. Citizens must do a 180° turn and begin relating to others in supportive ways instead of with conflicting prejudice. It is a notable sensation to look at others through a sympathetic eye instead of an eye of judgment. Togetherness will be needed to survive tension as resistant as a tug-of-war.

There is one bright spot available: the Green New Deal (GND). Almost as exactly as FDR’s tax inversion and his WPA make-work projects pulled the US out of a deadly depression, GND will generate new jobs that don’t exist today. GND covers every definition of infrastructure from new bridges to new Internet to high speed trains to a new power grid and anything else the reader can imagine that needs to be invented, upgraded or implemented. GND will take at least a decade, most likely closer to two decades.

The problem is a republican-controlled US Senate. Speaking as clinically and as intellectually as possible, mariner suggests the Republican Party is the last vestige of a government from the previous century. There is no other way to say it. If the US will be prepared to assist its citizens, it cannot become so until an overturn of the US Senate and the conservative wing of red states. The first chance for this to happen is 2020. If the Senate is not overturned, the citizens must wait, as gathering cultural and economic storms swirl about, until 2024. (2024 is only eleven years before 2035.)

Even if the US Senate is overturned, there are so many inefficiencies, abuses to citizens and economic thievery that the government itself must be reformed. Mariner has pointed this out in many past posts; visit the politics archive if the reader is interested.

It would be a mistake to sit and wait for the government to morph itself into something useful. Unlike identity politics, racism, elitism and all the other self-important isms, sympathy and empathy can stretch a long way to accommodate hardships that aren’t anyone’s fault in particular but which cannot be ignored. Mariner suggests his standby – continuously look for opportunities to pass it forward; practice makes perfect.

Tithing fits in today’s situation. Imagine if everyone put 10% of their time into good works for neighbors, strangers and the needy. If everyone practiced this way, the cost of living through these times could be reduced by $billions! The alley behind mariner’s home is gravel. A neighbor has taken it upon himself to maintain the alley in excellent condition. Two things: bite one’s tongue painfully every time one has a judgmental thought and

Pass it forward.

Ancient Mariner

.