Update on the Debt Binge Being Perpetrated by Republicans

Today’s tweet by one of the investment world’s most respected economists:

This is what happens when a country elects a self-proclaimed “King of Debt” to the presidency.

Once again, Vera, I’m sorry for the mess my generation will be leaving yours. My generation adhered to the philosophy, “Live for today, don’t worry about tomorrow.”

At least your and your parents’ generations won’t be without any remedies. You can always slash the Social Security and Medicare programs.

The Paradox of Baseball

Saturday I attended my first professional baseball game in the last two years. The weather was perfect. The seats (first row along the first-base line) nearly so. It was a triple-A, not a major league game, but I was surprised by the quality of play. The star, who emptied the bases with his double to the base of the wall in right-center and drove in five of the six runs scored by our hometown team, the Indianapolis Indians, was a catcher who had just been sent down by the Pirates.

The game, which lasted about two and a half hours or more, confirmed for me what I already knew: there are few things in life that can be as boring and as exciting as a baseball game. Continue reading

How Will the Lack of Privacy Affect Your Life?

Your world, Vera, will be very different from mine. And I wonder what it will be like. Sometimes, I’m excited by the possibilities; sometimes, I fear the possibilities. One thing that concerns me the most if the utter lack of privacy you’ll encounter. And the power that puts in the hands of others, particularly, those who are intent on using power only for their own self interests. The glimpses we are already afforded into that world are disturbing. Continue reading

My Oh My, How Things Have Changed

(Thanks to Harry Stevens at Axios for the above chart.)

I’m still pissed at the way our Attorney General ripped our youth yesterday. So I thought it would be helpful to share some data on the ways life was so much easier for Mr. Sessions and me back in the day.

You’ll see how the cost of college has skyrocketed, Vera. And, yes, we are comparing apples to apples: all the numbers are inflation adjusted.

What isn’t shown here is the roughly $1.5 trillion of student-loan debt that our youth and others carry on their backs thanks to misguided policies emanating from Washington (both Republicans and Democrats).

You’ll see above how the median income hasn’t budged in all these years, despite the huge increases in education and health care expenses. How did we pull it off? By going deeply into debt. Which makes Sessions and his cronies happy, of course, because where some see debt others see profits.

People also have dealt with the economic headwinds by putting off marriage and buying a home. And more of our youth are living at home with their parents longer.

Yes, Mr. Sessions, let’s ridicule our youth. If we get everyone to focus on them, perhaps they won’t notice how you and your party are destroying the middle class so the wealthy can have an even larger share of the pie. Glutton!

I’m done venting now.

This Is Your Government, Young People

Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General of the United States of America (the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the land) and member of President Trump’s cabinet, lamented today that colleges are creating a “generation of sanctimonious, sensitive, supercilious snowflakes.”

Now, I can’t speak for all colleges or all college students; however, I was the president of one college and taught at another and that’s not been my experience. At all.

I long for the day Millennials turn out in force at our nation’s voting booths and toss these guys out of office. But if that doesn’t happen, then I suppose the disrespect and degradation will continue.

The bottom line is, this is your government, young people. If you don’t like it, change it.

The Art of Changing the Subject

President Trump has been criticized harshly over the past week because of his performance in Helsinki with Russian President Putin. So yesterday he tried his best to change the subject. By tweeting this:

Predictably, the pundits pounced.

The fact that the tweet came out of the blue and had nothing to do with anything matters not. It worked. He changed the subject. The focus. Twitter lit up, not about Russia or the president’s dismal performance but about this unrelated, contrived tweet.

Mr. Trump is a master at dictating the public discourse. He’s better at it than anyone I’ve ever seen. And from that we can learn, Vera. Continue reading

To Have Goals or Not, That Is the Question

It’s easy to meander through life. Life will take you along for the ride. You don’t have to have a plan or goals — your own, that is. Society will provide you with all the goals you require. And before you know it, the journey will come to an end. And you’ll have lived your life — the one life has dictated for you.

That may be good enough. It might even be great. Who’s to say? Only you, I suppose. And me.

I’m sitting here this morning wondering not only about my country’s goals but also about my personal goals. For what time I have remaining.

Right now I feel my country is pursuing the wrong goals. But, hey, that’s just my opinion. Obviously, many people have different ideas about what’s important and what we should be pursuing. I hope they’re right, but I have some serious reservations. I fear we’re in the process of making a bad situation worse. I hope I’m wrong.

In the meantime, I have my own matters to address. What are my goals? What do I want to get out of life? Continue reading

Is Social Media Good or Bad?

I’ve grown more concerned about the adverse effects of social media over the past year, resulting in my disengagement from Facebook and LinkedIn. And I’m flirting with the idea of disengaging from Twitter, too. I’ve opined on how I’d keep distance between social media and young children if I were of the age to have youngsters at home. And I worry about the online world you, Vera (my granddaughter), may encounter and all the ways others will try to manipulate you and sap you of your individuality and independent thought. And make your life worse. Which led me to Jaron Lanier’s new book, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now.

Lanier isn’t someone I can dismiss lightly. He’s a deep thinker. Highly intelligent. And concerned.

I won’t attempt to summarize Lanier’s arguments here. The book is a short, easy read for anyone who’s interested in the topic. But perhaps I can whet your appetite by listing Lanier’s 10 chapter headings:

  1. You are losing your free will
  2. Quitting social media is the most finely targeted way to resist the insanity of our times
  3. Social media is making you into an asshole
  4. Social media is undermining truth
  5. Social media is making what you say meaningless
  6. Social media is destroying your capacity for empathy
  7. Social media is making you unhappy
  8. Social media doesn’t want you to have economic dignity
  9. Social media is making politics impossible
  10. Social media hates your soul