When you were added to my newsletter group I promised you stories and commentary about finance, travel and everyday life experiences. I promised no politics or religion. I guess the trouble that began in Minneapolis last week falls under the category of everyday life experiences.
A few people responded with some well-reasoned comments, from their point of view, on the social unrest. Some might think this borders on the political. I will say this. This is as close to “political” as I will get. I have no interest in refereeing political stuff.
My next message to you is going to be one of the most important things I will share on the subject of finance. You’re not going to want to miss that one. To the person who “gets it” and more importantly can “implement it” the financial rewards can be significant.
Finally, at the end of this post, you will find one of my more interesting travel essays. This one is from Argentina. When you read this story you will know that I’m not smart enough to make this stuff up! Just click on the link and you’ll feel like you went to Argentina yourself.
And the readers respond…..
I agree income inequality is a huge issue for our country, and of course, Covid-19 just exacerbates the problem.
The most likely predictor for well a person will do economically during their life is the zip code in which they were born. Research has shown this numerous times. So if someone is born to parents who live in an affluent area, that person is likely to do well financially. Conversely, for the kid born in the ghetto or projects, their economic prospects are dim.
Clearly, there are exceptions. I think both you and I are proof. If I recall correctly, you grew up in humble surroundings. My dad was a hard-working carpenter, but we didn’t have much money; we never took a family vacation. We were never hungry, but we never had any luxuries either. But I didn’t grow up in the ghetto or projects, and I don’t think you did either.
“The rich just get richer” has been true for some time, but it’s well out of control now. Decades ago the super-wealthy were taxed at 90%, and the economy boomed, but that taxation obviously has changed drastically. The billionaires in this country control a shocking percentage of the wealth, and their share is growing exponentially. We need to have a progressive tax system again, not the regressive one we have currently.
Our current system is not sustainable. I hope we get it fixed so the social unrest you discussed won’t get completely out of control.
Thanks for being willing to discuss topics that make some people uncomfortable.
Your messaging is doing fine Randy! It is nice to have a forum where this can be discussed. I agree that social unrest is on the rise. The wealth gap (you did not use those words) does concern me and feeds this. The looting and violence we now see is less about Floyd than the media suggests. To the degree this thing began with racism (debatable but possible true) racism has been made worse by the actions of those concerns but few think about that. I feel the reason drug cartels rule the land in Mexico is due to the weakness in enforcement. I feel the expansive violence now in our city streets could be quickly squelched by firm intolerance by our police and national guard. They would love to get it under control but they lack support from government above them. That said, I do believe we need to do something about the wealth gap. Pouring more money into the communities that suffer the most is not the cure and will be less popular now that the recipient communities have chosen to burn things down. Family structure and cultural change from within the affected communities will make a difference. BET’s founder Robert Johnson’s call for $14 trillion in reparations won’t and just adds fuel to the social unrest. Keep telling someone they are the victim and how unfair things are and they will act accordingly. It’s starts from childhood. Will they be raised to see the value of an education and raise themselves out of poverty or will they turn to the streets to be like the last generation? To get real specific, men who abandon their children and move on to the next mate rather than stick around to raise the first batch well are a large part of the problem. Drug dealing, murders, theft, and gangster behavior is rooted in poor parenting not lacking opportunity. Too few are working on the real problem. Many are working on ain’t it shame and reparations. Thanks for the opportunity to speak out.
Randy. I remember my youngest son and his mother having a discussion thirty years ago when he was in high school. My son was a pretty good athlete and had a lot of black friends through sports. He had a special bond with his mom and they would talk about a lot of social stuff. They were talking about race, people and where the world was headed and my son’s view was that he thought some day we’d all be one color like light tan. With the racial issues we continue to have I’m wondering if race will be an issue until we are all the same color?
Funny thing… shortly after this “unrest” started, I actually DID think of your write up that you refer to. Sadly, I believe you are 100% correct here. This separation or gap between “the have’s” and “have not’s” to the point of people not having the basics to live on… will cause them to do what previously would have been unimaginable things. I try to be an optimistic realist in situations, and this one is a tough one.
It was good to see you on the recital zoom the other day. Just a quick note to say 1) I think your write up is a very good assessment of the real risks of leaving people at risk of truly having nothing. I’ve never been truly without options but I’ve worked with people who were very near that and the reality is they are just trying to stay alive. Like you said- doesn’t do much food to debate their life choices at that point. 2) while there’s been a lot of unrest related to Covid restrictions (and I think some pent up angst from that is playing into this for a number of the trouble maker rioters riding on the coattails of the protests) I think there’s largely something related but different at play here. We see a lot of people saying “you’re not going to get what you want by rioting” but what we sometimes fault to recognize is that there are large swaths of the population in the US who feel their lives aren’t valued and are in fact at risk because of race. Whether or not we agree with that assessment is irrelevant. You’ve got people who feel they are genuinely fighting for their lives. I’m not in a good position to talk race. I’ve never been impacted negatively by mine once. But I can understand feeling unheard and at risk. So, I think you’re pretty much hitting the nail on the head, though I view it through a slightly different lens. Ultimately when you have people who feel they have nothing to lose, you can’t really expect them to follow decorum or procedure to effectuate change. I think we are seeing that right now.
Anyway – thank you for the food for thought. It’s always good to read some other opinions on this stuff and you’ve got some good thoughts that inspire more thinking here.
It seems as if my international trips yield the most unusual people encounters. I made a trackchasing trip to Argentina in 2009. You’re not going to want to miss the stories when I encountered the three Catholic nuns….or the Englishman who was living in Argentina but was heading to Brazil…. or the night I was riding in a taxi at high speeds down the rain-slicked streets of Buenos Aires with a female Russian lawyer in the back seat with me. By the way for those folks who have never met me or my wife, Carol, the woman in the photo above is not Carol….and we were in Argentina in a romantic setting and who knew? Yep. I never know how my trips will turn out….I just know they will be unusual.