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Eat the Middle class... they don't work out

What is really going on in America...

Read the full thing... it's worth it.

Full Disclosures: I hold dual citizenship with Canada, I have voted Libretarian, Democrat, and Reblican in presidential elections. I would have voted Perot too if given the chance. I have lived in 9 states in all parts of the country- Rural, Suburban, and Urban. I am college educated and have been both poor and middle class as an adult, and both when growing up with my family. Lastly, while I am not from Caucasus, my complexion won't get me any federal grants for school- so there's that.

Summary: America is soft; The United States has scaled to the point of being ungovernable; Two Party Systems don't work; Technology really has changed things; The REAL issues are things that no one is talking about;

The top joke on reddit 11pm November 8, 2016:

The 2016 Presidential election. (no punchline needed)

As I write this most major cities in the United States have some form of protest going on. Most towns in central Kansas are sleeping peacefully. The suburbs, with our dying middle class, are watching TV, rather than working to improve their lives. Topic of the day:

Donald Trump's triumphant victory over America.

Don't worry... it's not going to be that kind of article .

Hats off to Donald. He managed to win an election that he himself was convinced was rigged less than a week before it happened and he did it with fewer general votes than his opponent. In my opinion that's a hell of a win.

However, this election will be unforgettable for the single resonating fact that it proves America is no longer free (a veteran grumbles in the background). How is America no longer free you ask? ... simply put, our choices no longer matter. Let me ask you, have you ever heard this:

You have to vote for either a republican candidate or a democratic candidate, or else you are throwing your vote away.

I'm sorry if I offend you by believing that my vote means something but it's mine, and I will exercise my freedom to vote for whoever I want. Personally, I happen to believe that my actions in this world matter...

But I will go ahead and acquiesce to the majority view- I will agree... my vote probably doesn't matter, and you know what? That might actually a problem that no one wants to talk about in America- one that we actually need to fix.

No Choice, means No Freedom, which is No Bueno.

So if we're going to step back and figure out why we were voting between Ramsay Bolton, and Cersei Lannister on November 8th 2016.... maybe we should be asking what the f*#k they were doing on the ballot in the first place?

Someone a while ago referred to Donald Trump as a Post Tortoise. I think it fits.... The referrence is to West Texas. Sometimes you'll be driving down the road and you'll see a tortoise on top of a post. You ask yourself: How did he get up there? The Tortoise has no clue how he got up there. He doesn't want to be up there, and frankly, all of us think it has to be some sort of joke that he's up on a post. Not that Hillary is really any different... with the notable exception that she wanted the presidency.

What they both have in common, more than any of the other thing is that they arrived on the ballot not because we thought that they were good leaders, but because we didn't want the other people for various reasons. I like to think of this as the political version of the dilbert principle .

Why is this happening you ask?

Simple answer: The two party system.

It's the shitty adult version of musical chairs where everyone has a boner. There are only a handful of countries in the world that have a two party system- most of them are places that a college educated adult can't pick out on a map (and certainly not Gary Johnson).

The two party system works in boolean logic. True or False. One or the other.

Now this is all good and fine if someone asks you a question like: should a sandwich cost $1 billion dollars? The only problem is that political issues are typically questions of complexity. They can be spectoral questions, or multivariate, or even temporal confounding variant questions -not that your average politician knows what each of those means.

Two party systems force you into a corner. You are forced to take positions that you don't want to hopefully get things that you do want. Do you want lower taxes or do you think bigotry is a bad thing? If you notice, logically these two things have literally nothing to do with each other. Yet somehow you probably immediately knew which party was the former and the later in that question.

This is why my father identifies as a "Social Liberal, fiscal conservative" but was convinced to vote for Donald Trump. He knew he needed to do something (rock), but he didn't have enough choices to get closer to what he actually wants (hard place) . In the end a decision is made- in this case trashing some of his ideals in the process. In my opinion that is not freedom.

As an example, let me rephrase an issue in a way that you are unable to do with a two party system:

Do you want lower taxes or do you really want more value for the tax money that you spend?

[ I've joked with my friends that I would suffer an 80% tax rate so long as I was given free rent in the nicest house, got to drive a tesla, free 5-star meals, and only had to work an 4-hour week- I hear Canada might be able to make it happen with all the expat money coming in ]

Only a person that has no understanding of money would ask for lower taxes. Money is relative. If you lower taxes... but raise inflation... and lower wages, the lower taxes don't mean anything.

Basically, this is why two party systems don't work in big countries. You will always make a trade off with voting for representatives - but better results are more plausable with more choices.

The absolutely crucial part of that statement is "Big Countries".

One of the other problems with this presidential election is that America might be struggling to acknowledge what it is now.

We might have actually grown out of our political system.

1776: population roughly 2.5 million. 2016: Population 300+ million.

All things considered, we are doing pretty well... you know minus, trillions in debt, terrorism, ever increasing racial tensions, a decaying middle class, and so on. I could stuff a bunch of facts in here (and might on a different day), but the blunt truth is that America used to set the curve for all of those cool world stats and now we are joining all the other countries heading towards things being "pretty good" but not "really good".

While I'm not 100% convinced that America's size has made it un-governable, it is certainly a major factor. Sorry, but somethings don't scale- and I'm becoming increasingly worried that freedom might be one of those things.

A really good analogy is what is call "technical debt" ... you can read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_debt ... loosely said for non-technical people, our government struggles to get stuff done because of the bureaucracy and laws that we created before now (feel free to read up on what "refactoring" is too). In a manner of speaking these laws get in our way.

It seems like we need "smaller pieces" to do a better job. Grandma's pasta sauce that cooks all day might be the best, but cooking all day isn't really a thing (its hard to spend 7 hours cooking a meal when you work 65 hours). The Flip side of course is Ragu, which my parents were probably stoked that they didn't have to cook all day for... now a days though, we want grandma's quality in the time it takes to make Ragu. To get production at that level of quality production runs need to be smaller, and take into account everything we learned from grandma and Ragu's manufacturing. This is analogous to the U.S.

I'm guessing the United States might be in a similar spot. What works for me, living on a beach in California DOES NOT work for the Guys in Tonganoxie KS. Which is okay. It's actually better than okay. It means that we're real people. But real people should have governments that serve them.

We used to be small, but now we are not. We used to lead the world, but now we do not. A lot of businesses know this truth- being big is a trade off for agility. Many times it is better being smaller, because you can do more with less. Historically this was the case with the US. Which brings me to the reason I think everyone is mostly pissed off about this election, and generally the state of the country:

The world changed. Most Americans have been slow to adapt, and we were hoping that someone in charge might have mentioned it.

Keywords here: "Most Americans" and "someone in charge". When we elect the people that are the "not-worst candidate", that have to go through several layers of people picking them as "not-worst", you don't get leaders. And these people in charge certainly aren't willing to give us bad news- Donald Trump included. Here's your heads up in case you weren't aware:

This technology thing, is actually a big deal.

I have yet to see anyone make mention of what I consider pretty plain facts at this point: An Industrial economy changed into a service based economy, which is now changing into an information based economy. Or in other words: Manufacturing changed into Retail in this country=> see pretty graphs and retail is now changing into automations and entertainment.

Meanwhile, everytime The Donald and Mrs. Clinton are arguing about how we are going to get manufacting jobs back, I can't help but think we might as well try and get the dodo bird back and horse drawn carriages too.

For some reason our politicians keep going back to the same playbook thinking that a game plan from 1930s America is going to help us fix whats broken with 2016 America. They barely had pennicilin at that point but we are supposed to use their pointers on how to handle an infrastructure of electric driverless cars or cancer fighting nano-tech?

In the 1950's playbook if we have more manufacturing jobs the middle class will expand and the country will be in a better place. That's also the depiction of "infrastructure"... which supposedly I'm told is loosely the "American" term for roads.

So let me recap: If we get manufacturing jobs back to the US our country will have that money back, and if we build up our infrastructure we will be able to accomplish commerce more efficiently. Do these two things and Americas middle class will bloom like frat boys around a keg of Coors light.

The problem about this narrative is that its a lie. "Historically" it would have been accurate, but 2016 is a very different world than the 1950s (or 80s... or 90s). Whether you are aware or not, manufacturing has actually started coming back to the United States more numbers! ... but theres another hidden trend that is quietly going on that the politicians don't want you to pick up on. Companies are getting rid of their offshore manufacturing not to bring "Jobs" back here... but to get rid of human beings in their process all together. We have started to automate the jobs away completely.

These two pictures:



Trump won't talk about it. Hillary won't talk about it. The only person that I know of that has mentioned it was Barack Obama and it was extremely brief Story . Fact is those middle class manufacturing jobs that Trump/ Hillary are promising- those jobs are gone.

In fact some of the key issues in this election actually have some weird talking points that no one seems to keep bringing up:

  1. Illegal immigration is a good thing, because it is an indicator that our country is prosperous at that moment.
  2. ...and similarly, Illegal immigration is primarily a side effect of the fact that we still verify identity with paper documentation (social security cards, drivers license, passport, birth certificates, etc - old technology and bad security). Go to cryptographic/ digital Identification no more illegal aliens working american jobs.
  3. Manufacturing Jobs are never coming back because of automation
  4. ObamaCare, built a bunch of "infrastructure" (not roads though) to accomplish their goal. Repealing the affordable care act will technically be more expensive than either improving or leaving the current system.
  5. Taxes are primarily not an issue of percentages and money paid... they are an issue of reporting what the money is being used on, and making sure that we aren't spending money on stupid shit like: flakes wastebook details

And the "infrastructure" everyone is concerned about - why are we worried about roads? Why are we not worried about high speed internet or getting more computing power in the hands of people that need it - that's the infrastructure that we need. Roads, Schools, and Government Buildings all need to change to reflect the need of the 21st century. And the reality is that the change will mostly be a reduction.

Jeezzz... We're going to need fewer roads, and buildings? This technology thing is totally messing everything up!

Answer: Yea, kinda. Even our politicians don't really understand whats happening.

That's why I'm kinda surprised that Donald Trump winning an election has everyone is freaking out. I mean aside from him being a complete piece of shit of a person, him and hillary are pretty much going after the same problems the wrong way.

"Let's create more jobs"

Donald: Let's bring back manufacuting jobs that don't exist anymore!

Hillary: Let's create new manufacturing and infrastructure jobs in old industries!

Sound pretty much like the same thing to me.

(but then again if you are actually concerned with the president elect being a complete piece of shit (more than your standard slimy career politician...cough... Hillary...cough) - yea there is actually a concern there.)

The media has spent the last 24 hours trying to explain why the country elected Donald Trump- trying to come up with a logical reason of why real human beings would actually vote for the guy.

You can actually make up whatever reasons you want and they will probably fit. Truth is, nobody used logic when they were voting for Donald Trump. You could certainly use logic to NOT vote for Hillary, but this country's decision to vote The Donald in was totally an emotional response.

But an emotional response to what?

Immigrants stealing our jobs!?? Nope.

Obamacare? Nope.

Environmental Stuff? Nah

We're freaking out cause things are getting worse for normal Americans and we don't know why...

Why are things getting worse for normal americans?

Sorry. no sound bytes on this one... its actually a complex answer because there are a lot of reasons why America is getting worse for normal Americans. But "with a gun to my head" if I needed to say it in one sentence:

America has gotten soft.

We haven't continue to be better than everyone else at the same rate that we've done the rest of our history. Think about all of our "issues" for half of a second... Most of them could be solved by just being that much better that the rest of the world. "Better" of course is an amorphous term. So I'll just call it out:

Being "Better" in 2016 is being better at telling machines how to do work for us.

In a rediculiously gross generalization: Our lives in this country are literally getting worse because Americans don't want to learn difficult stuff.

This is the reason why people are worried about losing their jobs to illegal immigrants that have no skills, and don't even speak the same language.

So when I say America has gotten soft, its because hard work right now is learning difficult stuff. If you are tough, independent and hardworking in 2016 you go learn some stuff that is hard to learn.

It's not nerd work, or work that you can't do because "you did bad in school". This is the work that you get because your grandparent worked their asses off so that you don't have to work your ass off the same way.

In case you need more graphs. This is michigan stem versus non-stem income over the last 10 years. Notice a trend?

enegy graph

So you want to know why it feels like the United States is playing polo in a minefield?

It's because we are.

I don't think the United States is going to fall apart overnight, but with that being said:

They guy in control of our nuclear codes was the host of "The Celebrity Apprentice"

... AND he barely won out over a woman that wasn't smart enough to not get caught selling government secrets

... AND our only "non-criminal" realistic candidate was the CEO of a Marijuana Company

...AND somehow we still think that we are the greatest country in the world.

Republican or Democrat. Conservative or Liberal... these things don't really matter right now. People need to be worrying about themselves and America. Electing Donald Trump is nothing but a warning sign about the direction that this democracy is going.

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