This I Believe…

Source: John Pavlovitz – Stuff That Need To Be Said

John Pavlovitz continues to inspire me as a blogger, an American, and a Christian. I can’t imagine being as productive a blogger as he is! I often struggle to find the words to adequately express my feeling whereas he seems to do it effortlessly. This post is about his words above.

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Two Birds With One Stone (aka Think Big)

I love thinking at the macro level. I guess my attitude is “think big or go home”. We have a lot of problems in this country that desperately need solutions. It would be great if one solution could solve multiple problems. That is what this post is about.

The Problems

Problem No. 1 – Teachers aren’t paid enough.

Most everyone agrees that teachers, especially those at the primary and secondary levels need to be paid more. One solution is to make the school year longer but I don’t think the teachers’ union would willingly go along with that. Is there another way to solve this problem?

Problem No. 2 – There are too many lawyers

We are a nation of lawyers. We have more lawyer in the US than the rest of the world. That is a major problem, especially with their promises of getting you a lot of money with little effort on your part. They used to call these guys “ambulance chasers” but since that now seems a noble part of the profession, I’m sure it has another name. Another problem here is that most of those folks in Congress are lawyers. We need fewer lawyers in the country and especially in Congress. Is there another way to solve this problem?

Problem No. 3 – There are not enough Doctors.

With all us Baby Boomers getting old now we need more doctors in this country. The problem is critical especially in rural areas. Because they can generally make much more money in urban areas they just don’t want to put out their shingle in smaller towns. Is there another way to solve this problem?

Problem No. 4 – Our Economic Ladder Is Completely Out of Balance.

How can a ladder that is so top heavy even stay up? The very fat cats on the very top rung of the ladder have as much money as those of us on the ladder. We gotta do something about that before the ladder comes crushing around the rest of us. Is there another way to solve this problem?

The Solution

Here is the drum roll….

Drastically Change How We Are Taxed.

Changing our tax system could solve all of these problems. Here is how:

  1. Let’s put a flat tax on everyone with additional adjustments layered on top of that. Let’s say 12%. I know you are thinking that is way too low, but wait for it…
  2. Remove all exemptions and make all income the same. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, it is income. No more capital gains loopholes, no more subsidizing religious organizations who have morphed more into political ones. Make the exemptions so simple that no loopholes at all are possible
  3. Add a tax adjustment that is occupation specific. I’ll leave it up to the bean counters to come up with the exact numbers, including the base rate above, but will give you magnitude examples here:

Special Adjustments

Teachers at the primary and secondary level-6%
Teachers at college level-2%
Lawyers+25%
Doctors in rural areas+5%
Doctors in Urban areas+15%
Income from inherited wealth+30%
Income from… (fill in the blank)

You get the idea. This plan would go a long way in solving all four problems identified here. Let’s make it a true capitalistic system of supply and demand.

But I also like Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax idea of putting an annual tax percentage on inherited estates based on the value inherited.

You Don’t What You Don’t Know

There are some people in this world who are just not opened to the possibility that they don’t know everything about everything. It’s interesting to note that mentality was one of the primary causes of “Early Middle Ages”, otherwise known a the “Dark Ages” between the years 500-1000. Basically, the church, which pretty much ruled the world after the fall of the Roman Empire, declared that everything God intends us to know has already been learned. This basically halted all scientific exploration as well as philosophical studies for a five hundred year period. Yeah, the church was that powerful!

Getting back to today’s “I already know everything” people, global warming can’t be true because they don’t believe it. In other words, if something is too complicated then it’s fake. They too often look for that single “silver bullet” that will cure everything. Everything that can’t be solved with gut feeling or a silver bullet just isn’t solvable to them.

Even if they are not formally educated on the subject they consider themselves to be “street smart” and that is all that matters to them. Many of this category likely make up the MAGA base.

In reality, the more knowledgeable you are the more you realize how much you don’t know. That brings to mind something I learned in my only philosophy course in college. The graphic below illustrates the concept.

The Extent of Knowledge

Just think of the box as the extent of knowledge available to you. The top left corner is what you know. The little box inside that box are the things you think you know but aren’t true. Then comes the bigger box of what you know you don’t know. And finally, there is what you don’t even know that you don’t know. Don’t think of the above as being to scale. In reality, the “what you don’t know you don’t know” will fill a football stadium!

Since I found so many neat illustrations I will leave this post with a few of them.

Getting back to the guy who thinks he is an expert on everything (you know who I am talking about), we must realize that he actually doesn’t know much of anything at all and a big majority of what he thinks he knows is wrong. But, the sad part of all of this is that those MAGA followers are even worse than he is, as they unquestionably believe him!

The Ultimate Freedom

This sounds like a pretty grandiose title, I hope the post lives up to it. 🙂 I’m going to clue you in on what I found the ultimate freedom to be. It took me almost seven decades to find it. At first, it seemed more like a prison than freedom but I have found that misconceived view to be the case in more circumstances than I care to remember.

The ultimate freedom was cloaked in darkness when I first came upon it. It just didn’t look like freedom at first glance. Ok, the wait is over I will now tell you what the ultimate freedom is. Ultimate freedom is when you no longer have to do something just to create money.

Now I guess I have to explain my personal circumstances in order to support my dark pre-story.

I left the corporate world at fifty-five. After I got my thirty years in and was eligible for a full pension, my corporate division was sold to a Chinese company. We were told that nothing would change, but of course, within six months massive layoffs started. Within a year 95% were gone, including me.

All my life I had lived pretty frugally so I had enough resources along with the fixed pension and future social security payments to be able to live without any additional income. But, as is often the case, I refused to understand what that freedom could give me. It would be several years later before I fully realized what was in front of me.

When I finally went into the full retirement mode six years after leaving the corporate world, the idea of having total control of my time absolutely scared me. The main reason for that is that I didn’t do the work required to really appreciate what I had. Instead, I languished around as pretty much a couch potato for a couple of years feeling sorry for myself and the self-imposed boredom that followed.

Finally, I got it through my head to actually use this ultimate freedom. I finally started doing some things that I had only dreamed about up to then. One was to be a frequent volunteer at a local soup kitchen. Another was to start a blog about my view of the world. I had always enjoyed writing and now I could do whatever I wanted with that skill. Other things would eventually fall in place, but it was not until a few months ago that I decided to try and take my ultimate freedom to a whole other level.

I actually spent the time thinking and dreaming of what I could now do that wasn’t really possible before. That brought up a lot of hidden, or maybe unrealized goals that need to be further pursued. Finally, when 2019 dawned I decided to bring up yet another blog, this one dedicated to creativity. I am now about forty-seven days into this year-long project of becoming a more creative person. If this sort of thing appeals to you, I would like to invite you to come along on my journey. I think we can both learn if we do this together. Click on the CrackingCreativity logo in the right column here to join the fun.

How about you, what is your definition of Ultimate Freedom?