WE often here discuss critical infrastructure, its creation, operation, protection, and impacts. We seldom hear as much about investments in the people of any given nation-state and the long term impact of doing that investment or not doing it. My premise of course is that in any final accounting people are the real resource of any nation-state.
And disclosure–father was a trained Social Worker–who ran the Veterans Administration social services program for over two decades. So perhaps that shaped my world views and personal views.
Some investments in social capital are pretty obvious like training and education. Health care perhaps less obvious but equally important. Some are tied to MAZLOV’s hierarchy of needs. In the rural blue collar area in which I live it is largely a depression economically. No jobs for the 25-45’s outside of the military, teaching, law enforcement.
So what will be the real impact of the long term down turn in the economy and destruction of middle class jobs and lifestyles?
Failure to offshore both labor norms, and environmental standards, together with other related issues makes the off–shoring of manufacturing make it appear that costs of good sold are lower and thereby impacting sales domestically.
Often the political debate revolves around individual skill, education and initiative as opposed to unwarranted social services and funding of help to the aged or other groups through health care or financial services. Few politicians are willing to do the hard work of understanding what makes individuals or even demographic groups more or less likely to succeed personally and in the end contribute more to the countries greatest needs.
Staying productive as long as you can is clearly an individual battle in many ways. But society by its norms and attitudes and investments can help individuals of any age to succeed. But two things have to happen first both politically and economically!
First, self-dealing and corruption by and of politicians and others must be more carefully policed. Second, theft and gambling as lifestyles and professions must be policed also. Few American banks have any real business plan anymore which is why ultimately it will be understood that the nation does not need the banksters and hedge funds. Mitt Romney is in reality just a dressed up asset stripper and probably would reinforce the Republicans efforts to strip the commons of its purposes and wealth for private gain. Gingrich is just another corrupt politician. But President Obama has not taken steps to protect public investments either. The Economist magazine this weeks suggests that the
USA is over regulated and stupidly regulated. In fact so little regulation is underway of any kind good or bad, wise or stupid, that it is almost laughable. The Administrative State created in the Depression by Judge Kennishaw “Mountain” Landis and others using rules rather than adjudication to created better governance is now turned largely into an adversary process as time consuming as adjudication and with results equally uncertain.
Reforms will not become effective with any rapidity but here are ten to start with for the USA:
1.Funding of K-12 education should not be through the property tax but based on state wide taxation. k-12 is underfunded by about 40%. And pay of class room teachers should be scaled higher generally than school administrators.
2. The nonprofit sector must be more thoroughly policed. Largely policed by federal granting and withholding of tax exempt status this is not enough. Salaries of officers and directors of nonprofits must be strictly limited and employment of close relations prohibited. Over 10% of GDP is in the non-profit sector. And over 70% of all corporations in the USA use or misuse nontaxable entities to shield themselves legally from federal and state taxes.
3. The medical profession should be subjected to federal regulations and standards.
4. Lawyers should be prohibited by statute from investing in their clients businesses.
5. Lobbying should be subject to stricter regulation and disclosure with former elected officials subject to a five year ban on being paid to lobby in a broadly defined way.
6. The 8-9000 politically influenced federal positions should be reduced.
7. Veterans Preference should be limited to the enlisted ranks and Company Grade officers serving less that 20 years of creditable service.
8. Judicial selections should be made to higher courts only after a decade of service at the trial level.
9. Colleges and universities that have revenues exceeding 50% from student loans should not be accredited except for specialized training programs.10.
10. All public research should have the results made public unless appropriately classified on National Security grounds.
Well that is it for some starters.