Capitalism Sucks for Everyone Except Capitalists

koch brothersCapitalism is an economic, social and political system where private individuals control a country’s trade and business.   Capitalism flourishes because it celebrates the worst of the human condition: greed, self-interest and ego.  It also recognizes the advantages of competition and market forces.   This leads to a great tension between what is good for the capitalist and what is good for everyone else and the country.

In the United States this tension has resolved in favor of the capitalist time and again.  Money talks.  As a result of the capitalist wanting to maximize profits for themselves, we get poor wages and often are forced to work in unsafe conditions; all while they plunder the land and resources of our country and pollute our air, land and water.

Average-American-Family-InfographicOf late, when workers try to organize or ask for a wage increase, the capitalist threatens to move their operations to another country.   In fact, hundreds of U.S. companies have moved, simply to maximize profit for themselves, all the while putting Americans out of work.   Clearly, what is good for the capitalist is not good for the country or its workforce.

So how is this resolved?

Socialism is not the answer, because giving the government control of business is a losing proposition.  Instead, we need to examine what socialism is trying to accomplish for workers, and find a way to protect our country and its workers within our democratic values.

This is where the tenets of the Pro American Party shine. They create stability and security in a system that currently has neither.   They also create an economic floor for workers that allow them the dignity of working and paying their own way in our society.   In so doing it creates the forces required to make business work in a way that is in the best interests of our country.    Importantly in this regard, it also protects businesses from unfair competition from abroad.  In short, the PAP protects workers, increases economic security, protects U.S. business and serves to unite the country.

I encourage you to read all 12 tenets that have been discussed to date, but in the meantime, here are some highlights of how the Pro American Party resolves the tension between the capitalist and the country.

employ Americans.jpgTenet #1 – Requires businesses who sell their products or services to Americans to employ Americans.  It also provides for a very low tax rate for those companies that comply, while punishing companies that do not.

Tenet #2 – Abolishes welfare, but creates guaranteed jobs at a fair wage. Abolishes corporate welfare, but reduces corporate taxes.  By guaranteeing a minimum wage of $12 an hour, it forces business to match that rate or be unable to attract workers.

Tenet #3 – Endorses the scientific method as a fair way to determine facts.   As per our constitution, does not endorse religion, but allows our citizens to believe in whatever God they choose.

Tenet #4 – Creates in-country production requirements for all products deemed to have a connection to national security.  This will bring manufacturing back to our country.

scalesTenet #5 – Establishes a requirement for a balanced budget and revises the tax system.  Changes the way budgets are established.

Tenet #6 – Ensures our military will remain the best in the world.

service to countryTenet #7 – Creates a requirement for all Americans to give 2 years of service to their country after graduating high school or reaching the age of 18.  There are many ways to complete this service requirement.  Once this service requirement is complete the recipient will be eligible for up to 2 years of free college or trade school education.  Those who complete their 2 years of education with at least a C average are then eligible for an additional two years of college without cost.

Tenet #8 – Requires the title of all laws passed by Congress to truly reflect their impact.   Creates a non-partisan group to evaluate all laws and to publish their findings prior to a law being enacted.

Tenet #9 – Creates a yearly survey of all businesses and determines the educational, vocational and other skill requirements of businesses and broadcasts that information to all school districts in the country.

Tenet #10 – Punishes businesses that pollute our environment.  Creates a fund, paid by business, to correct pollution problems.

Soldiers w RiflesTenet #11 – Protects our military veterans and their physical and emotional health.  Provides a higher hourly wage for all veterans…for the rest of their lives.  Provides additional death payments for the spouses/families of veterans who die in the line of duty.

Tenet #12 – Eliminates high crime/high unemployment areas by bringing together business and government resources.

 

 

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The Catch-22 Between Employment and Criminality

catch 22The relationship between criminality and employment is a “catch-22” situation. Communities known as high crime areas are also high in criminality. So employment would help lower the crime rate. But at the same time these communities are unattractive to investors because they are high crime areas, so no jobs will be created. And so the cycle continues.

This reciprocal relationship presents a difficult problem. Potential businesses are wary of such areas because both their property and personnel are at risk. Goods are likely to be stolen, the property may be damaged, employees could be assaulted and customers intimidated. If business is to be attracted to the area these conditions must be mitigated.

Business also has another concern, the potential pool of employees. This same geographic area may be filled with unemployed people, but do those same people have the skill-set to get and keep attractive jobs? You know, the type of jobs that pay well above minimum wage, offer a chance at promotion and provide a sense of purpose or accomplishment?

This is where the Pro American Party comes in: Tenet #12. “In areas of combined high crime and high unemployment the PAP believes there is a beneficial role for the Department Of Labor to assist that will be in the best interests of all Americans. The DOL will limit the risk to investors who create businesses in high crime areas by providing low cost insurance against theft and/or damage to their property or product. The DOL will also work with the business to determine the skill-set needed to be a successful employee and provide needed training to individuals living in the area.”

supply and demandThis type of intervention is necessary if we are to eliminate historically high crime areas and allow them to be transformed into cohesive neighborhoods where it is safe for both business and people to work and live.

This program will make supply-side economists happy because job training improves the attractiveness of individuals to employers. It will also be attractive to demand-side economists because it reduces the costs of employment borne by the employer.

The Pro American Party believes the strategy outlined above is a much stronger and less expensive option designed to increase employment than previously tried programs.  Back in 1992, HUD provided $168 million to fund ‘Moving to Opportunity;’ a test program to reduce unemployment and crime. With this idea HUD thought they would move residents in high crime areas out of the area and near areas where jobs existed. HUD did not expect (but I’d bet you already have)that this program met significant opposition from suburban residents afraid of the impact of poor minority families on their communities. Further, it was also a failure for the families that it wanted to move because they felt completely out of their element in new and unfamiliar neighborhoods.

poverty experience.pngMarrying economic opportunity to high crime areas, when accomplished, eliminates the isolation of high poverty neighborhoods from the legitimate job market. For the youth in the neighborhood, knowing legitimate jobs are available will increase their motivation to go to school. Once they can see a real connection between education and financial success high school becomes more attractive.  And of course, more attractive jobs means less crime.

A double win-win for them, their community, the businesses involved and the entire country.

Should Felons Be Able to Work?

hire a felonThe Pro American Party believes that all Americans deserve to be able to work. This is true whether they have a criminal record or not. The issue of criminality is a complex one and needs to be viewed from multiple lens. This post intends to examine some of the many  factors that cause persons to resort to criminality and will attempt to get you to agree that if we can change those factors we can reduce crime. Because of the complexity of this issue we will devote this post and two or three more posts to the topic before we move on.

scarlet letterRemember the book “The Scarlet Letter?” Without telling you, this book wrote about labeling theory. Labeling theory is the idea that once someone is labeled in a certain way, let’s say “felon” for instance, people will look at them that way forever.  In fact, even the person who has acquired the label will end up acting in accordance with the label given. Labeling theory predicts that those who think of themselves as felons will act as felons. Being turned down for a job because of their record, simply reinforces the ‘felon’ label and encourages them to act in the way that is expected of them. If you are a felon looking for work, but can’t find it and everyone tells you it is because of your criminal record…what is left? For many, committing a crime to get the money needed to survive seems the only choice. As an aside, for those young parents out there, if you want to help your children get a good start in life, begin calling them kind and thoughtful and sweet and smart.

It is our belief that our poorest communities suffer from labeling theory in that they come to expect deviant behaviors from their members and in time many come to believe that in themselves. If you live in a poor urban environment the chances of you ending up in prison go up significantly. scarlet letter quote.pngIt really could not be otherwise. One of the most important factors in determining whether someone gets involved in criminality is whether their friends are. If their friends are involved in a gang, they almost certainly will be too. And youth gangs are a big source of crime and most live in this environment. Add to that poverty, impulsiveness, drugs and a lack of proper parental oversight and the results will be stacked in your favor for producing a criminal time and again. Toss in a belief that school is a waste of time and you’ll really stack the deck in your favor.

An American anthropologist, Oscar Lewis, coined the term ‘culture of poverty’. According to Lewis the culture of poverty constitutes a “design for living” that is passed on from one generation to the next. Individuals feel marginalized, helpless and inferior, and adopt an attitude of living for the present. They are fatalistic. Families are characterized by high divorce rates, with mothers and children abandoned; they become matrifocal family, headed by women.poverty-cycle.jpg People adopting this culture of poverty do not participate in community life or join political parties; they make little use of banks, hospitals and the like. According to Lewis the culture of poverty perpetuates poverty: It “tends to perpetuate itself from generation to generation because of its effect on children. By the time slum children are aged six or seven, they have usually absorbed the basic values and attitudes of their subculture and are not psychologically geared to take full advantage of changing conditions or increased opportunities which may occur in their lifetime.”

Other researchers agree with Lewis and argue that the attitudes expressed by the culture of poverty are a reaction to low income and a lack of opportunity, so that if these causes would be removed, so would the culture of poverty.

hopeThis is where the Pro American Party’s tenet #2 comes in. Tenet #2 opens the door for full employment, health care and economic stability. For many it will be the first time in their lives that this opportunity will have presented itself. It is both our hope and belief that this opportunity, over time, will help to minimize the ‘culture of poverty’ because in addition to a job, it will allow hope for a brighter future to rise again.

Once the poorest among us see a glimmer of hope via a conventional lifestyle the realities holding together their subculture will subside. Once we see job stability, hope and opportunity  come together we will see e a reduction in crime.

A big reduction.

A National Police Academy? Is This a Power Grab By the Federal Government?

In our last post we talked about forming a group of stakeholders to help determine the types of training required at the National Police Academy. This group was comprised of law enforcement professionals, the public, and others, whom we called infrastructure. As the post ended we left it up to ‘leadership’ to merge all of the competing needs in this training in order to present a comprehensive training program. So, who is leadership?

There are two groups already in place that will provide the leadership and direction for this initiative. The first is the National Sheriffs’ Association. sheriffsassociation2They have been providing training and leadership in law enforcement circles since 1940. Their stated goal is to raise the level of professionalism in law enforcement, making them a perfect choice for this task. The NSA’s Center for Public Safety will take the lead in this effort.

The second is the International Association of Chiefs of Police. iacpFounded in 1893, the association’s goals are to advance the science and art of police services; to foster police cooperation and the exchange of information and experience among police administrators throughout the world; to bring about recruitment and training in the police profession of qualified persons; and to encourage adherence of all police officers to high professional standards of performance and conduct. Within the IACP, the Training and Professional Services Division will be the lead division.

Initially these two groups will provide 25 members to the leadership committee. The NSA will provide 15 members and the IACP will provide 10. The NSA has more selections in recognition that sheriff’s are the only elected law enforcement officials in our country. The group will elect a chair (from the NSA) and a vice-chair (from the IACP) who will then appoint the other leadership officers with the advice and consent of the remaining members.

Although this initiative will be led by the NSA and the IACP, funding will be provided by three federal agencies that already have a mandate to help law enforcement and our labor force. These agencies include the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Defense. Of note, the DoD has the responsibility of helping veterans find employment in civilian life when they separate from active duty.
Note: Although these agencies will provide funding, neither they nor the federal government will have any control or authority over the management and operation of the NPA.

no big governmentFor those of you with an understanding and knowledge of the origins of law enforcement in the United States you will know that unlike virtually any other country, our nation made a determination, from the very beginning, to have local control of their police forces. There is nothing in this initiative that would change that. Individual cities and departments can opt in or out of this training as they choose. This initiative is limited to training and in no way affects the control or authority over or of any department.

This initiative is designed to address common training needs across the country. It is not intended to eliminate the need for localized training. Even departments that send their recruits to the NPA might still need to provide training for local circumstances. Examples of individualized training needs might be for communities with a high number of immigrants or those that have critical infrastructure (e.g. water systems) that need to be protected.

Next post:  Why the NPA is good idea.

The Pro American Party Honors Our Military With Action, Not Just Words – Tenet #11

Soldiers w RiflesThose citizens who have chosen to enter the military will have exposed themselves to the dangers and horrors of war; perhaps the most meaningful way possible to honor our country.

This service will be recognized in three ways.  First, honorably discharged military members who served during peacetime who transition to non-military government jobs will receive one dollar an hour over the hourly fee of their cohorts for the rest of  their lives.

mil dog at funeralSecond, honorably discharged military members who served during a time of war who transition to non-military government jobs will receive three dollars an hour more than their cohorts, for the rest of their lives.

These extra payments are a meaningful way for a grateful nation to express its gratitude.

VAThe VA will continue to exist and will focus on finding ways to help veterans with PTSD and other service-related physical and mental injuries.

Veterans with combat-related injuries are free to use the VA or any other qualified medical or psychological professionals, based on preference or availability.

Monthly survivors benefits (Dependency Indemnity Compensation) will remain as currently provided.  However, as the third way to honor our veterans, a surviving spouse or dependent will now be authorized a $50,000 lump sum payment that will be remitted within 30 days of the date of death.

 

Making Math Meaningful – Really?? Tenet #9

 

sexy math

The Pro American Party presents Tenet #9:

“The Congress shall create a committee that surveys all U.S. businesses on a yearly basis for the purpose of determining the educational and technical skill needs within their work forces. These needs will be broadcast to all secondary and higher level schools, including private and technical schools so that programs can be created to meet those needs.”

We seek to answer the age old question: “Why do I need math?”

There are two primary goals for this tenet. First, we want to make sure schools are teaching those classes that will result in jobs for Americans. Second, we want to help parents when they have that inevitable discussion about why it is important for their children to learn math, history, geography, etc.

Let’s use math as an example.  The following is a copy of an article written by in Math Learning on August 14th, 2013

Lots of children dream big and we love that about them! Kids want to be sculptors, veterinarians, zoo keepers, pilots, baseball players, dancers — they are only limited by their imaginations. As parents and teachers, our job is to give kids the tools they need to realize these dreams. Math learning is one of those tools, as shown by our list of 7 cool jobs that require math.

Looking for ways to motivate your dreamer in math? You can encourage your child by talking about how a [insert dream job here] needs math in their job. Here are a few ideas to get you started!

These 7 cool jobs all require math learning

1. Animator

In animation, math and art go together like peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. Trigonometry helps rotate and move characters, while algebra creates the special effects to make images shine. Even artists have to pay attention in math class!

2. Game Designer

Designing board or video games is a cool job. Who wouldn’t want to playtest Candyland, Monopoly, or Clue? Every game designer needs to have a good grasp of game theory – a branch of applied mathematics. Aspiring video game programmers should also study trigonometry, physics, and calculus. Chances are, board game designers will need to know probability, even if they won’t be designing math games.

3. Robotics Engineer

Robotics engineers design, test, and maintain robots! It’s a growing industry and the employment outlook is sunny. Before you quit your day job and run off to design a house-cleaning robot, hit the math books. Most Robotics Engineers have a master’s or doctorate. According to the article, “Learn About Robots” robotics may be the most inter-disciplinary of engineering endeavors.

4. Roller Coaster Designer

Roller Coaster

As you ride a roller coaster through loops, dives, and dips, you’re busy wondering if you’re going to lose your lunch, not calculating velocity. But there are many different curves in a coaster and roller coaster engineers need to understand the mathematical properties of these curves, as well as physics, kinematics, and material strength. Like all cool jobs, roller coaster design is competitive — there are only 100 roller coaster design companies in the U.S.!

5. Jet Fighter Pilot

The thrilling life of a jet fighter pilot seems worlds away from the math classroom. Movies like “Top Gun,” show pilots streaking through the sky in futuristic birds, not calculating how much fuel they have left or figuring out the direction and speed of the wind. But pilots have to complete major math problems on the fly, and when they’re zipping through the air at 700 mph, math skills are life saving.

6. Sports Announcer

What is his batting average? How many bases has he stolen? When those sports personalities give the play-by-play, they have to pay attention to the numbers: percentages, player stats, the clock. And sports casting is done live, which means there’s no room for errors.

7. Professional Photographer

We think of shutterbugs as artists, not mathematicians. But professional photographers need mad math skills. They have to calculate depth of field, determine the correct film speed, shutter speed, aperture, and exposure — and more. And to capture the moment, they need to do it all in a matter of minutes. Who knew so much math went into one photograph?

– See more at: http://www.dreambox.com/blog/7-dream-jobs-that-require-math#sthash.44NV0J8Z.dpuf

 

For even more math-related jobs that kids will love, click on the following url: http://startingwright.cs.wright.edu/Teacher/ingut/21-seriously-cool-careers.pdf

 

 

 

Service to Country – It’s About Time – Tenet #7

old soldier-young soldier

The Pro American Party believes in service to our country. All American citizens MUST provide a minimum of two years of service to their country when they become of legal age. This shall begin at the age of 18 if not in school or if high school has been completed. Otherwise it will begin the summer after they graduate from high school.

washington service to country

This service can be in the military or any other community, county, state or federal position. Once this requirement has been met each citizen is entitled to two years of free college or technical school. Those who complete their AA or similar degree within two years with at least a C average are then entitled to an additional two years of free higher education or approved technical school at no additional expense. Exceptions to the 2-year service requirement shall only be made in the case of severe disability. Such persons, by definition, shall not be eligible for free education benefits.

In an earlier post we mentioned the idea of American Teenage Ambassadors.   As part of their service to country requirement any teenager can take part in a service assignment to a foreign country.    The type of service will be negotiated between the State Department and the host country.   Each assignment will be a minimum of 4 months in duration, although an individual can serve on multiple assignments if desired and the project is not completed.   We envision that the type of assignment will vary greatly based on the needs in the host country.   This service will allow our ambassadors to learn in detail about the peoples and cultures worldwide.   Given the great spirit of American youth, it is our belief that this service will reap long and sustainable rewards for generations.

Kennedy quote