Skip to main content

Posts

Raisins and the Scrum

Like many, I have heard time and again how troubling Donald Trump’s presidency has been. I hear a lot of allegations about his serial dishonesty, poor diplomacy, dangerous impulsivity, and general boorishness. While I have defended Mr. Trump based upon a number of accomplishments that I deem to be significant, it was recently that l realized that I’d be a Trump booster even without those accomplishments. There is indeed an overarching reason and it relates to the raisin business, or any business for that matter.
Last week I flew cross country sitting next to a very intelligent writer of comedy. Of course, without having to ask I knew he despised President Trump, or at least his presidency. I was not wrong. During our conversation, well past the “Trump” part, he recounted a conversation he once had with a man who made his living in the raisin business, and that as a comedian he had initially found that to be funny. But as they talked more, he realized that there was nothing funny about …
Recent posts

President Trump is Right: Access to the US Economy is a Privilege

One of President Trump’s more controversial policy moves has been related to international trade.  He possesses two views that prior administrations failed to appreciate. In the first place, he grasps the concept of fairness – insisting that if we open up our economy for unfettered access by a foreign nation that this action must be reciprocated in kind by that nation. While this concept seems so obvious, for some unimaginable reason prior administrations never enforced this fairness doctrine and today’s legions of Trump haters deride him for it. In the second, President Trump understands that the U.S. economy is unique in the world for its primacy and that allowing another nation to access that economy is a huge benefit, even a gift, that ought only to be granted thoughtfully and to those nations who have clearly identified themselves as being deserving. 
That second point is a bit more nuanced and deserves some further exploration. America is the nation of consumer spending. There ar…

God is with Me and I Shall Not Fear

This is my favorite line in my daily morning prayers. I love it because I have come to understand that fear is what undermines our lives - leading us to make bad decisions and poor choices. When we find the strength to overcome our fear, we position ourselves for fulfillment and even occasional greatness. 

Of course, given our inherent frailty as humans, fear is a natural and logical state. We’re born fragile and dependent, a state which doesn’t change too much throughout adulthood. Our lives seem to be random, relationships between input and outcome are often unclear, and the very purpose of our lives is mostly a complete mystery. Most troubling is the issue of death and what it really means beyond the obvious unceremonious end, which is most often a painful one. Given this, it should be no surprise at all that most of our decisions are made from a position of fear and weakness. 

I’ve observed that nothing good comes from when we make our choices in life based upon fear. Most obviously…

Faith: The Lesson of Passover

When most people think of Passover they think of a story of liberation. Indeed, this is a central part of the story, as the Jewish slaves in Egypt were freed through a series of unimaginable miracles.

Change is Coming

I sense the winds of change beginning to gather strength and I anticipate that the coming decade will bring with it a new economic reality and, importantly, a new way of thinking about wealth and the valuing of material success. I can vaguely recall the 1960’s and 1970’s when the disparity between wealthy and average seemed to be much less obvious. That was a time when even the wealthiest went out of their way to blend in. It was a time when public displays of wealth were frowned upon and when Jesus’ teachings about how difficult it would be for the wealthy to enter heaven (like a camel passing through the eye of a needle) was broadly taught. It was a time largely without private planes, multiple second homes, and massive mansions. It was a time with far less societal envy and much lower levels of indebtedness. It was a time when working-class people could afford to live decently. I grew up in just such a home, and while we had no luxuries at all we enjoyed a very nice life.

The Appeal of Socialism Examined

The political system that we all label “Socialism,” which I might define as one in which government displaces much of the private sector in providing for its citizens (healthcare, education, banking, resources, etc.) and controls the pricing for whatever is left to the private sector to administer, has never once succeeded in its stated objective of equitable distribution of resources and opportunities. In fact, it has always exacerbated the divide between rich and poor and has always led to depressing poverty for the masses. At the same time, free-market capitalism has raised the level of quality of life for most people, and in almost every single instance. And yet today, in the U.S. and elsewhere, we find that large segments of society favor socialism and distrust capitalism. And this is true even as our hemispheric neighbor Venezuela has experienced a complete collapse thanks to the 20-year pursuit of a socialist agenda. It begs the question of how this could be? Does anyone want t…

Too Many People and Too Few Jobs

For some reason that I cannot really fathom even in these Orwellian days, no one seems willing to mention that there is a massive problem for the world’s economy and all its inhabitants. The global population has surged since I was born 57 years ago while technology has been hard at work obliterating jobs. And this process of job destruction is just now picking up steam.