It takes only two things to keep people in chains:
The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders.
People’s actions are based on motive. Sometimes the motive seems clear and rational. Sometimes the motive is hard to spot, and may even appear to be counter-productive.
But consciously or subconsciously, logical or illogical, productive or not, there always is a motive.
Further, motives are interrelated. The motives in America affect the motives elsewhere, and your motives affect my motives, and everything connects.
Here is a story about how and why some motives connect to seemingly unrelated issues, for instance how “Gap Psychology” connects to the debt ceiling, directly and also in a round-about way.
We’ve spoken of Gap Psychology before, at:
Why you believe the Gap Psychology Con Job, and Why Are You So Suprised, and Why Reducing Crime Does Not Require Fighting Crime, and Gap Psychology and the Big Lie.
Briefly, Gap Psychology describes the near universal desire to distance oneself from those below us on the income/wealth/power totem pole, and to come closer to those above us.
Imagine you are elected CEO of a company. You wish to fill several positions, among which are: Chief Financial Officer, Sales Manager, and Production Manager.
In your interviews of candidates, which qualifications do you consider most important? For example, Chief Financial Officer: Will you look for someone with a strong accounting background, or will you hire a close pal, who thinks accounting is a waste of time?
For Sales Manager, will you prefer a seasoned salesperson, or will you hire your brother’s wife, who thinks selling is an immoral intrusion on people’s prerogatives?
For Factory Manager, would you prefer someone who has a strong record of installing labor-saving, money-saving production systems, or will you employ your neighbor who hates machines because he thinks they take jobs from working people, so he prefers to eliminate all machinery from your factories?
The answers to these questions all are based on an implied motive, that your most important goal is to make the company succeed.
But what if that is not your real motive? What if your motive is something completely different? What if your primary motive is to be loved, admired, even envied and considered a “big shot” by your family and friends?
In that case, you might hire your family and friends, even when seemingly more qualified people are available. It happens often in business. And when it happens, the results usually are not optimal, because unqualified employees adversely affect the company’s results and the morale of its employees.
And in that case, not only have you failed in your leadership, but in short order, you no longer will receive the love and admiration you coveted.
I ask the questions because of an article I just read on the NPR website:
President Trump’s nomination of his former Iowa campaign manager, Sam Clovis, for the post is raising concern in the scientific community and beyond about the politicization of science policy in the Trump administration.
Among the concerns: Clovis isn’t a scientist. He holds a doctorate, but it’s in public administration and not a scientific discipline.
“Frankly, I’m appalled,” says Brenda Brink, a member of the Iowa Farmers Union, “because he’s not made any bones about being a scientist and yet he’s been appointed to this position where he’s elevated to the level of a scientist.”
That is not all that is controversial about Clovis. As reported by CNN, he used to run a blog on which he wrote racially charged posts, once related being gay with pedophilia and questioned whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States.
What does the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) do? Here is what its website says:
The Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) was established in accordance with the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 to provide strategic coordination of the science that informs the Department’s and the Federal government’s decisions, policies and regulations that impact all aspects of U.S. food and agriculture and related landscapes and communities.
OCS advises USDA’s Chief Scientist and the Secretary of Agriculture in the following areas of science:
- Agricultural Systems and Technology
- Animal Health and Production, and Animal Products
- Plant Health and Production, and Plant Products
- Renewable Energy, Natural Resources, and Environment
- Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health
- Agricultural Economics and Rural Communities
If you were hiring someone to be the Chief Scientist, some of the things you might expect to find on a résumé are knowledge and experience in: Science, systems, technology, health, production, energy, environment, food safety, and/or economics.
Employing your former campaign manager, a racial bigot and non-scientist, may not be the best choice to head the USDA’s Office of Chief Scientist if your goal is to “make America great, again,”
But it might be perfect if your motive is to satisfy your ego by undoing everything your predecessor has done, i.e. by widening the Gap between you and the former President.
Or, consider Scott Pruitt, Trump’s administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. One would think the mission of the EPA is to . . . well, to protect the environment. It is what the agency says on its own website:
The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment.
EPA’s purpose is to ensure that:
- all Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work;
- national efforts to reduce environmental risk are based on the best available scientific information;
- federal laws protecting human health and the environment are enforced fairly and effectively;
- environmental protection is an integral consideration in U.S. policies concerning natural resources, human health, economic growth, energy, transportation, agriculture, industry, and international trade, and these factors are similarly considered in establishing environmental policy;
- all parts of society — communities, individuals, businesses, and state, local and tribal governments — have access to accurate information sufficient to effectively participate in managing human health and environmental risks;
- environmental protection contributes to making our communities and ecosystems diverse, sustainable and economically productive; and
- the United States plays a leadership role in working with other nations to protect the global environment.
Based on the above, you might believe the mission of the agency is to: “Protect human health and the environment, access to accurate information, and play a leadership role in protecting the global environment.”
But President Trump appointed a former Oklahoma attorney general who built his career suing the E.P.A., and whose LinkedIn profile still describes him as “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda,”
Mr. Pruitt has made it clear that he sees his mission to be dismantling the agency’s policies — and even portions of the institution itself.
But as he works to roll back regulations, close offices and eliminate staff at the agency charged with protecting the nation’s environment and public health, Mr. Pruitt is taking extraordinary measures to conceal his actions, according to interviews with more than 20 current and former agency employees.
Mr. Pruitt has taken aim at an agency whose policies have been developed and enforced by thousands of the E.P.A.’s career scientists and policy experts, many of whom work in the same building.
“There’s a feeling of paranoia in the agency — employees feel like there’s been a hostile takeover and the guy in charge is treating them like enemies,” said Christopher Sellers, an expert in environmental history at Stony Brook University.
His aides recently asked career employees to make major changes in a rule regulating water quality in the United States — without any records of the changes they were being ordered to make.
And the E.P.A. under Mr. Pruitt has moved to curb certain public information, shutting down data collection of emissions from oil and gas companies, and taking down more than 1,900 agency webpages on topics like climate change.
William D. Ruckelshaus, who served as E.P.A. director under two Republican presidents and once wrote a memo directing agency employees to operate “in a fishbowl,” said such secrecy is antithetical to the mission of the agency.
“Reforming the regulatory system would be a good thing if there were an honest, open process,” he said. “But it appears that what is happening now is taking a meat ax to the protections of public health and environment and then hiding it.”
Something will happen like (the water poisoning in) Flint Michigan, and the public can’t get any information about what happened or why,” he said.
Mr. Pruitt’s efforts to undo a major water protection rule are one example of his moves to quickly and stealthily dismantle regulations.
The rule, known as Waters of the United States, and enacted by the Obama administration, was designed to take existing federal protections on large water bodies such as the Chesapeake Bay and Mississippi River and expand them to include the wetlands and small tributaries that flow into those larger waters.
The original estimate concluded that the water protections would indeed come at an economic cost to those groups — between $236 million and $465 million annually.
But it also concluded, in an 87-page analysis, that the economic benefits of preventing water pollution would be greater: between $555 million and $572 million.
As Mr. Pruitt prepared a proposal to reverse the rule, E.P.A. employees were told by his deputies to produce a new analysis of the rule — one that stripped away the half-billion-dollar economic benefits associated with protecting wetlands.
“On June 13, my economists were verbally told to produce a new study that changed the wetlands benefit,” said Elizabeth Southerland, who retired last month from a 30-year career at the E.P.A., most recently as a senior official in the agency’s water office.
Ms. Southerland and other experts in federal rule-making said such a sudden shift was highly unusual — particularly since studies that estimate the economic impact of regulations can take months or even years to produce, and are often accompanied by reams of paperwork documenting the process.
In short, when President Trump examined résumés, he chose the man who wished to destroy the protective agency he was supposed to lead.
Or, consider Tom Price, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who has voted to repeal ACA (Obamacare) and has opted for massive cuts to Medicaid, while pretending otherwise.
Or consider Ben Carson, Trump’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). That agency’s stated mission is to:
“Create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination, and transform the way HUD does business.”
Yes, improve the quality of life, but apparently not too much. Got to keep them folks down.
Don’t Make Housing for the Poor Too Cozy, Carson Warns.
By Yamiche Alcindor, May 3, 2017
When Mr. Carson assumed the helm of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, he had no government experience, no political experience beyond a failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination and no burning desire to run a major federal bureaucracy.
But his views on poverty alleviation were tough-minded and well-known. As he toured facilities for the poor in Ohio last week, Mr. Carson nodded, plainly happy, as officials explained how they had stacked dozens of bunk beds inside a homeless shelter and purposefully did not provide televisions.
And then there is Rick Perry, the U.S. Secretary of Energy, who has no knowledge of the agency’s mission. (“The mission of the Energy Department is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions).
He famously forgot he wanted to abolish the Department, and now has apologized for that.
Recently, in perfect obedience to an anti-science administration, Perry defended the administration’s desire to eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, which supports research into new energy. technologies.
The list goes on and on. A Secretary of State having no political or foreign policy experience, a Secretary of Education who wishes to take funds from public education, a Secretary of the Interior who: “Wishes to rescind safety regulations on fracking, loosen safety rules on underwater drilling, allow coal mining on public lands, and opposes controlling emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from oil and gas wells.”
Why does President Trump appoint so many people whose personal motivations are opposed to the public protection missions of the agencies they were appointed to lead.
Why does he not want to protect the populace who need government protection?
This is where motive meets reality.
Donald Trump is a rich man. His friends are rich. He empathizes with the rich. They all are glad to be rich, and those who didn’t simply inherit their riches worked hard to become rich.
“Rich” is not an absolute, it is a comparative. If everyone had the same, no one would be rich. For you to be rich, someone else must be poorer. That means, there must be a “Gap,” or really, Gaps between various levels of income/wealth/power.
The people who worked to become rich actually worked to widen the Gap between them and those “below” them, and to narrow the Gaps above them. The wider the Gaps below, the richer they are.
Thus, for the 1% to become richer, as nearly all wish to do, it is necessary to widen the Gap below, and that is accomplished either by making more or by forcing the 99% to have less.
Gap Psychology is a powerful motivator. It is why some wear diamonds rather than moissanite (which is almost as hard as diamonds is more brilliant, and sparkles in more colors). It is why some buy mansions rather than mere houses or apartments.
It is why some give enough to charity so that their names will appear on hospital and school buildings, and it is why some charities publish lists of donors and the amount they gave.
It is why some go to high-end restaurants when their taste buds crave a Big Mac and why some attend the President’s ball at the White House, though they hate dances.
And it is why President Trump appoints people, who by their actions, will reduce the income/wealth/power of the 99%.
He already has favored plans to cut the healthcare of the less fortunate. He already has announced programs that negatively will affect poor immigrants, but have no effect on rich immigrants.
Soon he will present tax “reform” plans that will widen the Gap between the rich and the rest. When he excuses the Nazis, KKK, and white supremacists, he knows that bigotry causes more hardships among the poor than among the rich. Bigotry widens the Gap.
Trump wishes to deport the 800 thousand children known familiarly as “dreamers.” This will devastate many families. My guess: None of these families are rich.
The “debt ceiling” is an attempt to justify reductions in social benefits to the 99%, while also justifying increases in FICA as “necessary to ‘save’ Social Security.”
Virtually everything the right-wing, and to a lesser extent, the left does contains the ulterior motive of widening the Gap. If Trump merely ruins America for the 99%, he has made himself and his rich family and friends richer. That is his primary motive.
Whenever you are informed of any proposed government program, ask yourself one simple question: “Will this widen the Gap between the rich and the rest?”
There is no faster or better way to evaluate your government representation.
Then vote accordingly.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the have-mores and the have-less.
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.
Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich can afford better health care than can the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE A MONTHLY ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA (similar to Social Security for All) (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB (Economic Bonus)) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012
Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONE Five reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefitting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE FEDERAL TAXES ON BUSINESS
Businesses are dollar-transferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the federal government (the later having no use for those dollars). Any tax on businesses reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all business taxes reduce your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and business taxes would be a good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.