Category Archives: Success

The Details Matter

What advances a society? Seriously, can you answer that question? I believe many people will answer those questions with answers that are more subjective rather than objective. Furthermore there a lot of people, who curiously refer to themselves as liberal or progressive, who want anyone with a different opinion to sit down, be quiet, or in some expressed extremist view point, simply die.

I’ve watched a few videos lately from Dave Rubin. A man that describes himself as liberal, homosexual (gay if you prefer), but feeling left behind in the rapidly changing quick sand of social values. He deliberately invites guests on his podcasts who he knows are outspoken and often not normally someone from the left would share many opinions.

Rather than trying to bring his guests on, give them a few minutes to answer loaded questions, then spend most of the time talking over them with language implying his own moral superiority, he gives them a platform, asks them to clarify what they think about current topics, and never spends wasted moments bashing their ideas. In fact, he does what I think are some of the primary keys to advancing a society; respect the other person, listen to their ideas, learn more about the topic, and enhance what you think you might know. His fresh approach isn’t about proving who’s the smartest person in the room, and never shouting the other person down.

What I’ve witnessed through social media is mostly unproductive, and at times, worse than if the medium never existed. Choosing to interact, but demanding yours is the only way to think, is a form of narcissism.

Loneliness expressed by conservative students on college campuses.

A False Economy of Minimums

stack of money

Value of money

I saw another post on raising the minimum wage, and thought, I could either ignore it or take the time to explain what it means in a larger sense. (see the background article thru this link)

I think it’s necessary for each of us take a moment, if this topic is of interest, and understand some common ground.

Generally speaking, there are some things which we may find in agreement.

1 – Minimum wage isn’t a comfortable wage. It means living without a lot of things we’ve come to expect, such as a comfortable, safe place to live, decent food, heat, lights, transportation. A person can eek out a living, maybe better if shared with other family members or reliable wage earning roommates, but it’s still a constant challenge to live on a minimum wage.

2 – Minimum wage shouldn’t be something permanent. It’s usually considered a starting point for entry-level jobs requiring a minimum of skill. For some, it means just showing up and doing the minimum to keep the job. That’s the problem though, if a worker does only the minimum so they don’t get fired, but doesn’t take on added tasks which enhance their abilities / skills, they may end up staying at that level for most of their working life. A government may change it, but it’s always a poor income.

Ancient Egyptian literature - Horus

Money = trade substitute

Basic concepts of money

Money is merely a modern form of trade. In the past people would trade commodities which they valued against something the needed or wanted. The simple examples; you trapped fur-bearing animals for a living, you would trade their pelts for something you thought was valuable, like wheat, sugar or tobacco. Now don’t get lost on the morality of trapping animals, it’s merely a discussion point.

As societies developed, the need to find a useful substitute for trade spawned the need for coins and later currency. Instead of trading sacks of flour, animals, or pelts, people began to equate a specified amount of currency for each item. If you didn’t make, grow, or trap something, but provided a service / labor, currency became an easier way of setting a value for that time.

Here’s where people, who desire things to be altered to their way of thinking, misunderstand the concept of a minimum wage. Minimum wage is just as arbitrary of a concept as the value of a large polished diamond. We can say, a diamond shouldn’t cost that much, and a minimum wage should be a lot more. In the end, setting a price through a government law, doesn’t really alter it. Diamonds will still cost a lot, and minimum skills will earn a minimum wage. It’s a perceived value of each commodity.

If you raise the minimum wage through federal law, everything will start to adjust based on the perceived value. Review the history of the minimum wage from 1955 – 2015.

Let’s look at these items in 1950
The average family income: $3,300
The average car cost: $1,510
The median home price: $7,354
A standard American car could be purchased within a range of $1,339 to $2,262 depending on the model.

1950
Home price / income = 2.2
Car cost / income = .45

Fast forward to 2014
The average family income: $51,017
The average car cost: $31,252
The median home price: $188,900

2014
Home price / income = 3.7
Car cost / income = .61

Without trying to accommodate all the tuition ranges for an elite college, lets take a look at the University of Pennsylvania for undergraduate programs comparing 1950 to 2013-2014

In 1950, the annual tuition was ~ $600
In 2014 it was > $40,000 per year.

1950 Tuition / income = .18
2014 Tuition / income = .79

This upward trend was due to people demanding more for the same things. I’ve read many articles describing how much better the minimum wage was in 1950 or ‘60 vs. its earning power today, but all of these editorialized explanations fail to understand consumer fundamentals, we want more income & lower prices for goods & services. Inflation has increased the cost but our arbitrary demands haven’t changed economic realities. We pushed for cheaper goods at our local retailer, which was answered with offshore manufacturing. We want higher minimum wage, but the market adjusts, and everything costs more, while fewer people are in the work force.

An attorney may charge $350 to $1000 per hour. You or I didn’t set that price, however people are paying it. A server at a fast food restaurant may get minimum wage, but we we don’t want to pay $10 to $12 for an order of fries. Things will adjust based on how much we’re willing to pay, but in the end, it’s not that we’re really getting more, it’s all adjustable prices associated with commodities or services.

No matter what people pay for minimum wage, all other prices adjust, too. Inflationary costs rise disproportionately, as a result the low wage earner is back to the same problem, inadequate income for the cost of living. Worse still, retirees are really hurt because their fixed incomes and savings don’t adjust, and they become even more impoverished with rising prices.

What’s the solution? The solution for many is the same formula that I and millions of other discovered decades ago, minimum wage isn’t enough. You must learn skills that place you in a higher income bracket. Even many college graduates learned the hard way, a bachelor’s degree in history, art, or social science, may cost about the same as engineering or business, but the income ranges are quite different.

gold bullion

Our value is in what we do

The best choice, and the one that provides greater value to any person who wants to earn more, don’t wait on the government to provide a better standard of living. The marketplace will automatically change prices with a rise in minimums. Choose your options which provide a higher income. This is something you can control, not the government.

I Want This – Not That

Mike on Honda Shadow 1100
I want to wake up in a world that recognizes there are a lot more important things in life than huddled around our electronic devices, and looks forward:

  • More to life than 100+ Video & Audio Entertainment channels
  • Quits complaining about politics and is willing to select candidates based on proven accomplishments not public relations sound bites.
  • Understands in order to demand integrity of their leaders must also find integrity within themselves.
  • Chooses to vote for people as individuals, not because they belong to a specific party.
  • There’s a lot more to life than a 24/7 news cycle and that the sky isn’t falling because for the most part, there are a lot more good people just doing their jobs, taking care of kids, the infirm and protecting us, than all the bad stuff you see and hear on the news.
  • More to life than being popular on social media.
  • Stops living in constant fear of objects owned by millions but used wrongly by a very small percentage of people.
  • Stops blaming religions, ethnic groups, age groups, genders, for problems, and start to examine what’s going on in your life, group, religion, political party, that’s not working toward self-improvement.
  • Learns there’s nothing free in this world and anyone that tries to convince you otherwise is selling something, and in the long run that something always ends up costing more than you bargained.
  • Demands people of both political party’s stop blaming each other and working toward common solutions.
  • Learns that vows of life long commitment mean just that, and if you aren’t prepared to take the bad with the good, then don’t choose that one, find someone else, or no one at all.
  • Finds ways to be thankful for what we have, not what we don’t have.

—  Have a mutually beneficial, and kind day — 

Columbia_river_Vancouver_bridge