Long-term Thinking, Indeed

Long-term thinking is a great idea! We should try it!

The funny thing about long-term thinking is that it only does you any good if you are actually thinking.

In my recent blogpost I was lambasted as a socialist. Let me be clear. I do not want us all standing in breadlines, or taking money from the wealthy and giving it to the less-wealthy or subsidizing stupidity. These are nothing more than talking points.

Our problem is not that our property taxes are going up because of the evil, greedy jerks who happen to teach our children. Our problem is that we have a lack-of-jobs. Not a jobs crisis, a complete lack of jobs. A crisis implies a temporary situation, and our lack of jobs is anything but temporary.

One employee can accomplish now in 40 hours what it used to take an entire team to complete. As employers are paid for productivity (profits up!) and employees are paid for time (wages down), where do you think that leaves the regular people?

It leaves us totally screwed. Jobs are not coming back. Those of us who are lucky enough to still have a job are clinging to it with both hands, knowing it won’t last forever.

You don’t even have to take my word for it. Check out this recent article on Forbes. The focus is on Generation Y, but the message applies to us all. Employees are a thing of the past.

Small businesses are doing no better than employees, by the way, so don’t look at them to save us. They don’t get the same cost savings as big business, and can’t afford to offer the same low prices as big business either. This leaves the consumer in a position where we know small business is the backbone of our economy, but, for our own viability, we can’t shop small business for our basic needs.

There is a reason you don’t hear your national politicians talking about jobs, except to blame it on the other guy. It’s because they can’t offer a solution. There is no solution. No one can force big business to hire employees they don’t need, or force distributors to charge small business less.

So when I talk about things like eminent domain, compost, solar panels and yes, even the darn chickens, it’s because I am trying to find solutions that will make us viable as a community into the future. Shop local, live local, produce local.

Cutting teacher pay might give us a delay on our tax bills going up, but that’s all it does. Our kids are going to need to be sharp to make it in the decades to come, so wouldn’t it be better to cut costs other than their education?

The reason every little cost of living increase stings so much is NOT because teachers are paid too much. It’s because you are paid too little. And that is not going to change. So go ahead, cut teacher pay. It’s not going to help you. As long as you are counting on the economy to turn around, nothing you do will help you. Once you accept that the economy as we know it has fundamentally changed, you might realize that doing the same things we have always done is not going to provide any relief.  

So yes, let’s think in the long term. But let’s not have a myopic focus on each and every group that we feel is getting it too good. We need to focus on real, long-term solutions to our problems, rather than focus on what to slap a band-aid on.

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Kate Bennett September 13, 2012 at 02:34 PM
I more meant that we always try to cut spending, but uising the same old tried and true tricks. If we did something like solar panels, at least we would be trying something new. It's been years that we (as a society) have been cutting pay, and this time it's teachers. I just don't think it's going to help if we keep doing it.
Kate Bennett September 13, 2012 at 02:36 PM
I don't see the cheap labor running out, unless there is some kind of global labor movement. If China decides it wants better pay, the manufacturers can just move their sweatshops elsewhere. It's sad but true.
Kate Bennett September 13, 2012 at 02:37 PM
I think solar would be great! Job creating, planet saving, clean energy producing. What's not to love?! However, I am not sure I agree that American corporations are sitting on their cash, waiting for the fog to clear in DC. I think they are sitting on their cash because they don't want to spend it.
Kate Bennett September 13, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Well, there kind of is a shortage of money, as it's all sitting in the hands of a few. Productivity is only a wealth creator for those who already have it. For those of us who makes wages, productivity doesn't do us much good. If we could find a way to get credit opened up a bit for small businesses, people with great ideas might be able to start business.
Kate Bennett September 13, 2012 at 02:48 PM
I am not sure I agree with the immigration piece, but certainly both parties are to blame for our economy. While I would love to chuck Bush under the bus on this one, I can't ignore Clinton repealing Glass-Steagal, or Reagan starting the whole trickle down myth. Each administration in my lifetime has added one more piece of the problem.


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