Live Long And Prosper

“Live long and prosper,” is a well-known greeting if you are a Trekkie. “Prosper and you will live longer,” for some this would be a better greeting to reflect these times. If you are an upper-middle-class or wealthy American, you realize how much truth is in this greeting. For the well-to-do, wealth and longevity is a part of the benefits package. Over the past few months, there have been studies published on wealth inequalities that perked my interest. Studies from Richard V Reeves, a senior fellow at Brooking and Raj Chetty, Professor of Economics at Harvard, are the major motivation for this rant. They discussed numerous points on why it is so hard to be successful in this country. There is wealth inequality, and something can be done to right the injustice. For this article, I will take on just three of the many solutions they suggested.

Reeves covered the geographical effects on health and income, and the hoarding of the benefits by the upper middle-class. Chetty had a lot to say about components that will improve your chances to move up the income ladder. He calls it income mobility.

What is the importance of geography on health and income? How long you live and how well you live that life depends on where you live. Where there are adequate health care facilities and professionals, longevity will increase. These follow the money. How much of an increase is a factor of income? More money results in a longer life. Nearly five years of increase life is reflected in the data. Individuals living in low-income areas have problems getting healthy foods and safe places for their children to play. They struggle more with health issues such as; obesity, blood pressure, and diabetes. They will not “Live long and prosper.”

Your zip code may be a reason for your health and income problems. Reeves have also identified another barrier to income equality. He detected that the upper middle-class hoard the opportunities available to move up in life. They limit access to the benefits through the discriminatory use of zoning laws, college entry, internship, and schooling.

Chetty’s study revealed that there are more opportunities for people to get out of poverty if they move to a higher income community.  He evaluated the results of the study “Move to Opportunity” for the US Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The study said by moving to a higher income area you can improve your income, education, marriage, and health. Trouble boys seem to fare better in a better neighborhood. None of this was unknown to the mothers and fathers trying to raise a family in a community plagued with drive-bys and junkies. Gentrification shows that some low-income neighborhoods are attractive and desirable. Chetty’s report calls for improvement in low-income areas to help those that do not want to leave their community of long standing.

My reason for this rant is to show that are many things that are used to deny you your share of the American pie. There many things we can do to fight the system. The right action will allow everyone to share the prosperity of this country; no matter who is in the White House. I don’t want tax cuts; I want tax reforms that limits deduct on mortgages to $300k. I want a minimum 25 % tax on all income above $500k. I want forgiveness of student debts beyond the average starting wages at graduation. I want the citizens to do congressional redistricting, not politicians. I want a mandatory single payer health insurance. These are the things I want so that I can “Live long and prosper.”

(The bibliography is included so that you can dig deeper and understand the games politicians play.)

Bibliography

Burtless, G. (2001, November 30). The rising longevity gap between rich and poor Americans | Brookings Institution. Retrieved June 9, 2017, from https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/the-rising-longevity-gap-between-rich-and-poor-americans/

Chetty, Raj, Improving Equality of Opportunity in America:  New Evidence and Policy Lessons. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2l–6CzrJ4A&list=UUvDvWKy-27H-PxCTYi5cyfA

Growing Disparities in Life Expectancy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/110th-congress-2007-2008/reports/04-17-lifeexpectancy_brief.pdf

Reeves, R. V. (2016, May 25). Dream Hoarders | Brookings Institution. Retrieved May 31, 2017, from https://www.brookings.edu/book/dream-hoarders/

The Price of Inequality. (2017, February 28). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Price_of_Inequality&oldid=767854839

Where Are The Good & Just Politicians

The judge is just. The minister is good. Can one person be good and just? Before you brush-off the possibility of someone holding positions as Judge and Minister being both good and just there are some that hold both positions. When decisions are require that they exercise goodness and justice; how are they to act? The question however is not about judges and ministers. The question is whether one can be good and just.

To administrate justice would in some circumstances negate goodness. A working definition of goodness should include moral excellence, kindness, and compassion. To define just should require one to be impartial, neutral, and fair. These definitions are properly expected of judges and ministers, but from politicians it appears that we must ignore who is good, just, and accept whoever is popular.

Politicians tell us that they will be good when they take office, but their past failed promises have not revealed that as true. What many have shown is they are greedy, selfish, and uncaring of those they represent. Once they are in office the power and influence corrupts their better nature. Goodness is a trait they quickly discard. They take the oath of office and become like hungry lions caring only for themselves. To find a politician that is representative of what Romans 13 calls “God’s minister… for good.” We the voters will have to look hard to find one.

Nations should show traits of goodness and justice. Those traits are exemplified in the way it treats the least among them. Our neighbors who seek citizenship should have a clear path to get it. They have lived beside us, shopped, worshiped, and obeyed the laws of the state. It is clear in the scriptures that we are to treat them as “one born here.” We should not detest the foreigner that lives among us, for we were once foreigner in this land.

Politicians, now is the time to give our immigrant neighbors the chance for citizenship. Let their children born here have all the full rights of a citizen. Elected officers everywhere, do what is good and just.

Applying The Brakes To Police Violence

Search any form of news delivery source, and you will find details on another killing of black people by the Police or law enforcement officer. The Police is killing, mostly African Americans. Follow this up with news of Protests and riots, Campaign Zero and Black Lives Matter, and more killing, where is the pause button to stop this mayhem. Why is so difficult to apply the brakes to all this killing?

Another study was in the news on this the closing days of 2015. Police have killed over a thousand people. The vast majority are African American males, with the studies also showing a rise in the killing of females. Collateral damage seems to be black children and elders. In Atlanta, Georgia, 100% of police killings are African Americans. A December 2015 report said, the police killed some forty-two people. There are still two 2 days left in 2015. How absurd is this in a city governed by African Americans. Whatever happened to the promise of a reduction in deaths from guns that were trotted across billboards during the city gun buyback program? Give us back our guns; we need them to protect us from the Police.

Right here in Georgia law enforcement officers are killing a great many people by shooting them in the back. How do citizens make the police accountable for the violence they are inflicting on those they are sworn to protect? Some say Citizen Review Boards. Others believe that a racially balance police force at the top and bottom will do the job. Both have merits and both can lose their effectiveness over time. Political squabbling, budgetary short-changing, and deficiency of data are weakening most efforts to establish effective police accountability policies.

What is the basis of this appalling violence? Is the problem a lack of personnel, supervision, equipment, funding, or training. Atlanta’s Mayor brags about the increase hiring of public safety officers. Yet, the local newspaper writes about the inability of the police department to hire enough officers as experienced officers leave the force. A shortage of trained officers is evident. But, what can be said when it is documented that some of the hired officers are not keeping up with training requirements. Their oversight could be grounds for the release of violent criminals. Why are they released; because an improperly certified police officer performed the arrest.

Training needs to be extended beyond weapon and physical restraining instruction. A low hanging fruit is training that will reduce the confrontational atmosphere when officers are involved. Teach them techniques on how to speak to people when they are called to high-tension situations.

Pay them well too. Increase the pensions and benefits for volunteering to reside in the city. Give them down payment assistance, no interest home improvement loans and exemption from city and county taxes. A way to pay for these benefits is to include a public safety tax or fee on all alcohol sold all ammunition, and all developments.

Going forward education, decent salaries, and more public oversight can do much to move the police from a combat posture to that of guardians.