Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Where Does Commitment Begin?

And are strong commitments presently possible, in an overall sense? What happens when governments and certain business interests insist on economic conditions for their personal enrichment, which are not conducive for a wide majority of citizens to maintain commitments and goals? Perhaps these seem like odd questions, but they matter in part due to reasoning on the part of upper income levels, regarding lower income levels.

All too often, the former don't fully recognize when they set up game boards which don't allow the latter to effectively participate. As a result, "twenty times" the patience might be required of a low income person, as the amount of patience required by someone with high income, to achieve a related outcome in monetary terms. The person who doesn't have to "purchase" patience quite as often, gets a stronger constitution to pass to the next generation. Yet if consumption possibilities were more broadly defined, the additional required patience to achieve lower income goal sets would not be necessary every single time!

Too many basic consumption requirements are defined on mid to high income terms. As a result, a missed single link can break an entire consumption chain which is needed as a combined set, in order for low income individuals to maintain responsibilities. Today the media overreacts to long term psychological effects, on the part of some who found success in poverty's wake by the skin of their teeth - such as sports figures in unfortunate moments of anger with family members. Buying patience too many times in a day is like drinking too many cups of coffee to stay alert - the effect only lasts so long. It's easy to assume that low income individuals have little patience, resolve or commitment, because one can find examples anywhere they look. Furthermore, impatience or broken patience becomes a logical end result, eventually.

Public dialogue has become somewhat odd in this regard. Recent struggles - particularly those regarding race, immigration and protectionism - surface in ways the media "forgets" are related to still lingering economic concerns. Even so, Washington elite became comfortable with economic circumstance at least a year ago. That's when they began to reason that all is well, hence it's time for everyone to "buck up" and take care of themselves. For instance, the Fed has dreamed of returning to normalcy, practically since the Great Recession began. Now, their earlier monetary commitments are finally coming to an end and "liftoff" is imminent. Normal NAIRU is the latest fad, hence anyone such as myself who remains concerned about lagging labor force participation rate is just a scoundrel, according to progressives such as Bill McBride.

Even so, political campaigns are digging for some government commitment "crumbs" to offer up to the population. The latest reasoning? Some conservatives are realizing that - oh my yes - success in life depends on one's ability to form strong and lasting commitments. This further seems to suggest tax breaks in particular for children whose families were "smart enough" to remain intact. God willing, maybe these incentives will nicely align and the pieces will fit...

Many lower income individuals are quite the same as anyone: they want to commit to life goals, for this is the most human of desires. But not everyone has the same degree of strength or good fortune, to respond to the way major consumption definitions are set by governments and special interests. How does one make long term commitments to goalposts which are purposely placed out of reach of everyone but the strong? And yet one is ultimately judged for the fact they fall short of the goal time and again. Where was the consideration, for the fact a singular societal goalpost might possibly have been unreasonable in the first place.

None of this is a matter of calculated tax tweaks and indignant calls for higher income levels. No tax tweak or income level is ever going to catch up with temptation on the part of governments and some businesses as well, to manipulate certain consumer definitions beyond reasonable hope for lower income levels. Every tax tweak, income increase and arbitrary consumer definition further enriches governments and their crony friends, even as these tactics further impoverish citizens. Will anyone really fool themselves into believing humankind can remain strong by encouraging environments purposely designed to remain out of reach of the weak? In a recent blog post, Adam Gurri wrote these words,
I don't think it's possible to have a good life without commitment. 
Indeed. Indeed. First, do no harm. Do no harm.

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