Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Smacking Down Greed Left And Right

Posting to my friends' Facebook walls is a great way to amuse myself and show off my intellect.  I've stirred up some emotional reactions from  people I thought were worldly and mature.  The discount rate I now apply to the collective intellect of humanity is approaching 100% because at some point human stupidity reaches an event horizon and collapses in on itself.

My friends' opinions from the left and right of the political spectrum are almost mirror images of each other and have a common denominator:  greed.  No one wants to give up access to an entitlement funded by unmentioned third parties.

The Left is predictable.  "I want free health care / cell phones / food stamps!  I want bailouts for my blue-collar industry!  I want unlimited immigration so non-citizens can all have government benefits!"  Nobody wants to see the all-in costs of limitless welfare checks for the indigent and unassimilated.

The Right is also unsurprising.  "I want to live where I want and drive where I please!  I ignore environmental costs because socialists want to take my property away from me!"  Nobody wants to see the all-in costs of suburban sprawl, excess infrastructure, and environmental damage from an economy based on hydrocarbon transportation fuels.

Neither wing of the American body politic wants to touch tax deductions or middle class entitlements.  Everyone wants Social Security checks and Medicare guarantees.  Everyone wants to write off their home mortgage payments and charitable deductions against their gross income.  Everyone wants low interest rates on student loans.  Everyone wants government subsidies for energy, trade, agriculture, and everything else.

NPR's Morning Edition had a story earlier this week on two Congressional Representatives - one Democrat, one Republican - who toured the country touting income tax reform.  People were fine with the abstract concept of fewer deductions and lower rates until they learned they would give up their own favorite deductions.  That means there is no consensus for change.  It also means the next financial crisis will force a change and the political fallout will be ahistorical.

I will not count on the good sense of the American people to find a solution to the country's unfunded entitlements, fiscal imbalance, financial system fragility, and unsustainable suburban infrastructure.  The human brain is wired to make decisions without analysis, and to perform analysis without information.  I must be a genetic freak because I proceed from information to analysis to decisions using multiple methods and I leave room at the end for further adaptation.  I have always believed that I am the next step in human evolution and my friends' reactions to my thinking are proof.  This is why it's so easy for me to smack down human greed.