Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

You Didn’t See That Trump Voter Coming.

November 15, 2016

This place has changed for good
Your economic theory said it would
It’s hard for us to understand
We can’t give up our jobs the way we should

“We Work the Black Seam” – Sting


You didn’t see him. He blindsided you. You didn’t catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of your eye. You couldn’t feel his presence every time you traveled past the shadowlands of the Rust Belt, or through those rural counties you had to tolerate while you drove to some place where the sun still shines. You couldn’t hear his heavy breathing, seething at the realities that were descending upon his disintegrating existence.

You didn’t notice that Trump voter, that 50-year-old former tool-and-die maker with 25 years of experience.

That 50-something tool-and-die maker knows how to cut metal to a thousandth of an inch, knows how to set up a job blindfolded. His job was taken over by some kid who is the victim of a dysfunctional education system, willing to take half the salary; little matter his inexperience cut productivity of the position in half.

Or more likely, that tool-and-die maker saw his job shipped overseas, all in the name of free trade and globalization. The tool-and-die makers in Southeast Asia work for a fifth of what that American tool-and-die maker earned. Why should that American keep his job, unless he’s willing to accept a fifth of what he made last year?

You were hoping that tool-and-die maker would simply drop into a deep crevice somewhere, and he was supposed to accept life in that crevice, because that was the way of “free trade,” of “globalization.”

In fact, “free trade” has little to do with the trade of goods, and more to do with American corporations finding overseas sources of the lowest-cost labor. But the tool-and-die maker hears the phrase “free trade,” and his hatred of this misnomer grows, exponentially.


A Faded Conservative’s Call for a Social Net

June 27, 2013

I do not consider myself a conservative, at least, not in the contemporary understanding of that term in 21st century America. Nor, for that matter, do I consider myself a liberal, progressive, or libertarian; again, not in the way these terms are generally understood today. This has done me no favors, as those unfamiliar with my writings tend to pigeonhole my politics as quickly as possible into one of these categories. In this age of microwave attention spans, I have to assume this is the norm and live with the consequences.

Nevertheless, when a piece of writing catches my attention in the manner the one below did, I like to pass it on, no matter the conclusions to which a reader may jump. And in the following essay, conclusion jumping will come easy, since the title of this work by August Heckscher II holds the word “conservative” in it. Those on the left will immediately write it off and never read it, and those on the right will be angered by its message, having been pulled into this essay on miscalculated assumptions.

But for those who labor to read the essay, it will be worth the time. The conservative mindset represented here, in post-World War II America, has almost vanished. It is inconceivable for me to consider any of the conservatives operating in the public forum today as standing behind Heckscher’s sentiments towards conservatism. That is why I felt it important to post this work, to keep alive, in a paltry manner, a conservatism that quickly became a relic of the past when Richard Nixon entered the White House and Ronald Reagan forever banished such thinking from the Republican Party, making room for the rise of neo-conservatism, an evolution of American conservatism that distorts-beyond-recognition the viewpoints presented here.

August Heckscher II (1913-1997) was an American intellectual, historian, and administrator. He served as President John F. Kennedy’s Special Consultant on the Arts from 1962 to 1963 (the White House’s first cultural adviser), as well New York City Mayor John Lindsay’s Parks Commissioner in 1967, amongst other highlights in a wide-ranging career and life. His obituary can be found here.

This essay originally appeared in Confluence in 1953, a journal that lasted for only seven volumes in the 1950s (Trivial Pursuit: Henry Kissinger edited Confluence while at Harvard).

The Imaginative Conservative first made the text available here, and I found this copy here.

Many thanks to Emilio, over at LinkedIn, for bringing this to my attention. I, working alone, admit to having added the emphases throughout the text. I hope you enjoy it.


Financial Suicide – Privatizing Social Security

November 20, 2012

The clatter is starting up again over the privatization of Social Security. With this plan, the individual gets to decide how to invest their Social Security funds, something akin to a public 401k program. The bulk of this new-found investing activity, however, will go towards Wall Street and the stock exchanges.

The idea of being able to select one’s own investments sounds all well and good, but Americans may want to start asking themselves just what is at stake. In fact, if you’re investing in stocks, stock-driven mutual funds or a 401k, you stand no better chance in redeeming these investments at retirement from a privatized Social Security plan as you do from an increasingly at-risk public Social Security plan. (more…)

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