Signs of the Times #7: Security (Safety) vs. Privacy

Do you want security OR privacy? We can thank technology for forcing us to make a choice. Yes, I believe we must make a choice. Moreover, I believe that choice probably has been already made for us! I’m not just talking about Apple Computer hacking a cell phone to obtain potential security-actionable information for the FBI either. Citizens of the United States actually gave up privacy when the Social Security system was implemented. Now, let me sidetrack for a moment to say that I believe in the Social Security (SS) system. I’m not blaming SS for our current dilemma, however, the individual citizens’ privacy was forever breached because our Social Security number has been used as an IDENTIFICATION device and attached to all our medical, financial, work, and educational activities and situations.

Again I’ll ask the question: do you want security or privacy? If the answer to this question is not essential to our economy, I’d like to know what is! What a double-edge sword we have in the making with the Apple iPhone “unlocking” issue! I understand the positive and negative on both sides of this issue. I think they are BOTH right! The U.S. government needs to protect the security of our citizens, information “locked” on the cell phone could help in “securing” our national safety. On the other hand, Apple is correct that creating a “key” to unlock the captured cellphone used by the terrorists sets a precedence for use of such software in other situations by other entities (governments, military, police or even private citizens).

By the way, the Internet has also played into the demise of our privacy. The Internet “cloud” if it could be materialized, would probably look like the sands of the Mohave desert. Think of the data as grains of sand. Actually the “cloud” is a huge number of computer “farms” installed in non-descript buildings all over the world and these computers are all connected to each other.

So, I’m voting for safety and security. Privacy is a moot point at this stage of technological history, and technology is always advancing, and at a faster pace literally every day!


Signs of the Times #6: Peripheral Stuff

We have been hearing and reading for several decades that the United States is becoming (has become) a “service” economy. So, exactly what is a “service” economy? I turned as usual to the Investopedia website: “The portion of the economy that produces intangible goods. ” (

In other words: trucking, information, housekeeping, financial, and administrative activities, I think you are getting the idea. So in my head, I said, “Gee, all the peripheral stuff!”

So we don’t make the machine, we might buy the finished machine through a service entity (Amazon or Sears). We don’t make the motor that runs the machine that we buy through a service entity (Kohl’s or Macy’s). We don’t make the wiring or solder the circuits or install the “on-off” button on the motor of the machine that may be sold (actually IMPORTED) by our sales service entity (Amazon, Sears, Kohl’s or Macy’s). We don’t make the metal (steel, aluminum) that contains the motor that runs the machine that needs wiring or solder or the “on-off” button (if one even exists anymore on the design of the item!)… we work doing the “peripheral stuff.” That includes unloading the container from the ship coming from the country that is EXPORTing the goods to the U.S.

So when are we going to wake up to the fact that the service jobs are NOT going to pay the same amount of money that manufacturing jobs do. Pushing up the “minimum wage” to $15.00/hour is not the answer. Let’s define a “minimum wage” job… gee, they are jobs that are HISTORICALLY performed by UNskilled labor. That means, not highly-educated people. In the early years of fast food joints, high school students did many of the part-time jobs. The jobs were not meant for adults, especially the parent or household income-earner. Ironically, the success and growth let alone, increased prosperity of the middle-class and the housewife leaving the home and going to work, the dual-income household appearing on the scene, caused less pressure on teens to get a job after school. (This was not a universal phenomenon, I started working part-time at 16. There were middle-class (wealthier) families developing and there were families with two parents working but the dream to live a pleasant life was a constant “struggle.”

What I’m getting at is the money was in the making of stuff not just marketing or selling it. Funny thing, the appliance sales people at a retail store were paid a “commission” on their sales not a salary. In other words, you don’t sell it, you don’t get paid! Real estate was always based on a commission pay scheme. My dad worked at a shoe factory. He however was paid by “piece work.” In other words, he was paid by the number of pieces that he did. If he had a “bad” day, he obviously had a poorer paycheck. The rise of the unions in the United States were, in some ways, for good reasons, child labor laws, “living” wage, working conditions. Like other human endeavors, greed, power, and other avarice gets in the way.

I’m getting a bit off of my topic of “peripheral stuff.” The point I’ve been trying to make is that the U.S. now is all about the “peripheral stuff.” That’s why our standard of living has fallen. I do love a bargain as well as the next guy, but I also remember when “Made in United States” was a phrase of pride. Did Wal-Mart and the idea of “buy it cheaper” kill the American Dream? Did “prosperity” kill the American Dream? Heck, what is the “American Dream?” For those growing up in the 50’s, it was buying a house not renting one. Homes were a place to live in not “flip” after living in it for six months.

Well, American values have changed. The times change. The company General Electric had a motto “Progress is our most important product.” I found a bit of nostalgia about GE ( Funny thing about “progress”, it comes at a “price.” No one ever talks about the “price” of progress. I’m not against progress, I’m a product of progress just as everyone else. It’s the “pace of progress” and our human ability to adapt to an “ever accelerating” pace of progress that concerns me.

So, can a new President in 2017 reverse our “service economy” type jobs orientation? Can the U.S. become a manufacturing powerhouse again? Are some of us just being nostalgic, silly, ole Americans? Presidential want-a-bees Trump and Sanders are popular because they “voice” the thoughts and feelings of the “silent majority.” Complacency, prosperity, and yes progress have made the “silent majority what it “has become” …silent. We have progressed from an agrarian to an industrial to a information-age society. It’s the Age of Peripheral Stuff. Funny thing, I think 3-D printing will bring manufacturing back to the family garage and maybe a “corner” grocery store (remember those!) Since I’m full of “quotes” in this writing piece , here’s another: “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Signs of the Times #5: Presidential candidates economic platforms

I want to focus on the economic thinking of the current Presidential candidates since my blog writings are focused on economic issues. Obviously, there are other issues such as security, foreign affairs, and gun control. The candidates are NOT listed in any preferential order on my part. In fact, I’ve put them in alphabetical order.

It’s time to start looking at each candidate’s policies, issues, and view points. Please note, however, HOW each candidate chooses to present his/her approach to their presidential platform to us the citizen voter. Each candidate is presenting their views and preferences couched in a different way, some issues are combined under different “umbrellas” than other candidates.

My web links are NOT all-inclusive, please rummage around each candidate’s site for more information. Some candidates seem to have more detailed information on “economic related” issues, at my writing of this blog entry, than other candidates. So check back with the individual websites for future updates.

Incidentally, the Rubio and Kasich web links show up with graphics and quotes, not because I wanted to show them, but that’s the way that the “link” displays on your web page.

Jeb Bush

Ben Carson

Hillary Clinton

Ted Cruz

John Kasich

Creating Jobs and Strengthening the Economy

Marco Rubio

How Marco Will Help American Farmers and Ranchers Prosper

Marco Will Stand Up for Small Business Owners

What Marco Will Do for American Workers

How Marco Will Finally Get Washington Spending Under Control

How Marco Will Start Securing Our Border on Day One

This Is How We Create Jobs in the New American Century

Marco’s Plan to Restore Sanity and Restraint to Regulation: A National Regulatory Budget

It’s Time to Cut Off Sanctuary Cities

How Marco Will Boost the Sharing Economy

A Pro-Growth, Pro-Family Tax Plan for the New American Century

Bernie Sanders

Donald Trump