How to Contribute to Society: Note 1

This article.


What Supply and Demand Does NOT Address

“Supply and demand” is a common response to many economic discussions. However, it is only PART of the discussion. There are MANY MANY MANY factors at play. NOT JUST supply and demand.

Last night I had a great (though short) discussion  with a peer about political candidates and the economy. One of the topics (BRIEFLY) discussed was the unemployment/underemployment of college graduates. His solution was to reduce the number of college graduates because … you guessed it … supply and demand.

He is right. If we reduced the number of college graduates available for businesses to hire, businesses will have to offer the graduates available more. Yet, something nags at me. Something is screaming at me that this is a bad idea. Part of my peer’s argument was that if we continue to increase the number of college graduates, they will continue to get less and less because the supply would be greater than the demand. Thus, we should NOT make college more affordable and accessible for the masses.

Yet, something nags at me. Something is screaming at me that this is a bad idea. That something is all other causes and effects. Yes, one of the effects of having a large college educated population is reduced “reward” for that education. Yet, there is more to it.

Do you know what else is a result of having a large educated (college or otherwise) population? All the benefits of education. You have people making a better contribution to society and making it a better place. You have people making gadgets and gizmos. You have people increase the efficiency of operations. You have people using personal, group, or public resources to improve the environment. You have a happier society.

Increasing the education of the population may reduce the individual rewards, but it also increases the societal rewards. I recall hearing a comparison of today’s economy with yesteryear’s. The comparison goes something like the rich of yesteryear would be the poor of today.

That comparison reminds me of this discussion. A college education may not grant the same social-economic advantage as it did in yesteryear, but today’s society-economy is more advanced than yesteryear. Thus, progress and stuff.

In conclusion, supply and demand is not the entire answer. It is only part of the answer. What are other parts can you think of?

My imperative – my command – is to ….

My imperative – my command  is to work directly with individuals to help them overcome societal barriers by helping them find answers and increase their knowledge.

I seek to impact individuals or groups of individuals.

I am driven to ensure everyone has access to opportunity.

I uncover new information and develop insights.

It breaks my heart to know people go hungry. It breaks my heart to know that people sleep without shelter. It breaks my heart to know that people go without health care. What breaks my heart more is to hear people say that those people deserve it. No one deserves to be hungry. No one deserves to not have shelter. No one deserves to go without treatment. No one. Not the “good” people. Not the “bad” people. Not adults. Not children. No one deserves to be in poverty.

In the not too distant future no one will go hungry. No one will be without shelter. No one will be without healthcare. This is an idealized view of the near future. Some may say that this is unrealistic and unachievable. However, nothing is impossible if we work together to build the perfect society. What matters is not that we achieve this within our lifetime, but that we continuously work toward it.

Highways, Banks, & Congress

Congress to Eliminate Billions in Wall Street Subsidies to Fund Repair of Nation’s Highways by C Robert Gibson a Contributor of US Uncut

Lawmakers Weigh Cut in Fed Payout to Banks by Ryan Tracy a Reporter for The Wall Street Journal

A US Uncut article popped up on my Facebook discussing Congress possibly defunding banks to pay for the repair of US highways. This tickled my suspicious nerves. Of course, I had to look deeper into it. Then I found The Wall Street Journal’s article. This could actually be a thing.

Here is the problem with cutting the Fed dividend rate from 6% to 1.5%: Banks are counting on that 3.5% difference when creating short term (yearly) and long term budgets. So Janet Yellen is right, this does have unforeseen consequences. For many of them, Congress members are just diverting their eyes away. Some of the bigger banks could make up for the difference by not paying their execs HUGE bonuses, but not only will that not happen, the smaller banks don’t have that leeway.

I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I am all for requiring the rich to help keep this country great — or make it great again — by financing infrastructure directly and indirectly. On the other hand, a 3.5% drop in expected revenue/income/etc is a BIG drop to makeup.

As stated previously, the “big” banks have areas they could cut that would not affect their customers, clients, or the “average” American. These include: not remodeling the million dollar exec offices, lowering exec bonus, reducing “marketing” budgets for their largest clients (businesses spend money winning and dinning their clients, especially their big client. It is reasonable to assume banks do too), and much more. However, we can all assume that these reasonable adjustments will not be implemented. Instead, overage charges will increase, and loan terms will become less favorable and the “perks” will be reduced for the smaller clients.

Banks will react to this, they can’t not react. In the end, someone is going to be hurt, and I doubt it will be the wealthy.

Leading Employers: Local vs National

A few decades ago, GM was the largest employer in America — so I have been told and I am lazy and don’t want to look it up.
Today, Walmart is the largest employer in America — so I have been told and I am lazy and don’t want to look it up.

The problem that people propose is that when GM was the largest employer, people were paid well on average and the their was a large middle class. Since Walmart does not pay well on average, it is one of the causes of the decline in purchasing power of the middle class — among other issues.

My thought is this…. America is HUGE. Like super huge. Though I agree with the premise of this argument, there are additional factors at play. Yes, having a low wage employer dominate the job market does affect the quality of the middle class. That is on the macroeconomic scale. There is also the microeconomic scale.

You may or may not be aware that there are several magazines (FORBES being one of them) that publish on occasion Best/Worst Cities in America for Business/Middle Class/Whatever.

A single company is the leading employer in a nation because it has multiple locations. As the leading employer, its average wages does affect the national economy; however, that company is not necessarily the leading employer on a local level.

On a local scale, a manufacturer, bank, or other higher paying company may be the leading employer. Those companies have far fewer locations thus have far fewer employees than the nationally leading employer. This local leading employers have a greater impact on the economy.

During our fight reduce income inequality, we must identify our local leading employers and insure their feet are held to the fire too. This does not take from the social responsibilities for a company like Walmart.

Who is the leading employer in your area? What is their average wage?