Race Relations And The Starting Point

Progress should be celebrated, along with the recognition that more needs to be done. I am a white male and 50 years ago I was 17 and living in Flint, Michigan near the “black border”. I just graduated from a Catholic high school that was on the black side of the border. The students were 95% white.

Part of the reason for the nation being stuck where we are when it comes to our perspective of current equality of the races is our reference point. For many whites the starting point is 60 years ago when television started to open our eyes to the cruelty being perpetrated on blacks through segregation and physical harm. I vividly remember watching the national news on television with my Mom as she was crying as students were water hosed and beaten by policeman to prevent them from attending a segregated high school in Arkansas.

While looking at the progress this country has made regarding racial equality and acceptance it is easy to arrive at a different conclusion if your starting point is different. As a white man my stating point was 1954. For many blacks the starting point is centuries ago.

1954 was where segregation for me became a reality. Blacks have a better sense of history. My guess is they were taught about the history of how blacks were treated going back before the country was founded to when members of their race were forced to leave their native land and work as slaves for white plantation owners and others. They were not treated as human but rather as property to be owned and disposed of in a manner the their owner saw fit.

I use to think Black History being taught in college was a waste of time and money and an opportunity to get an easy grade for black stdents. Now I think it would be a good thing for society if more white students took some of these classes. Both races need a better perspective of how each of us see our past.

Role of Government: How Large & How Active?

“Do It Right, Or Don’t Do It At All.”
There is a divide in America between those who want a smaller government and those who want a more active, and thus larger, government. The issue is what is governments role. This will dictate the size of government.and spending
The Preamble of the Constitution says:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

There is little debate that the role of government includes assuring domestic peace and providing an army for defence against foreign tyranny. The quarrel between liberals and conservatives centers around how large should our military be and what to include in defining general welfare. The dispute is in the center, with the extremes being a small contingent of the American people.
The moderate liberal and conservative does not want government to take anymore of their income and distribute it to others in the form of welfare programs.  They also want to curtail borrowing. When liberals say we should help the needy, they are suggesting the help come from someone else. The middle class conservative is unwilling to have government take any additional wealth of theirs for the needy.
We need to go through the complete budgeting process outlined below.
  1. We must define what is meant by “general welfare” as referred to in the Constitution.
  2. We must decide whether the nation still has special obligations to our black citizens as a result of allowing slavery for almost 100 years and discrimination far beyond that.
  3. We must decide whether government has a role in protecting small business from big oligopolies that destroy free markets and jobs.
  4. We must review all departments, agencies and programs and cut back or eliminate any that are not warranted.
This will not be easy and there will be disagreement; however, it must be done. We do not have unlimited resources. Further, the answer to many of the issues will be subjective rather than objective. I cannot recall any department, agency or program created by government that was eliminated. There must be some; however, there are not many. Surely there is allot of fat to cut. Here is an outline to do that.
Simultaneous with the above process our current and next years budget needs to be reviewed and developed. Many opportunities to reduce expenses will be glaring and agreed on before clearly defining what we mean by general welfare. Thees cuts must be made immediately.
Over the last half century our budgeting process was to first determine what we wanted to do and then figure out where we get the money to do it. This is backwards and needs to Change and here is a good approach.
  1. Calculate projected revenues for the fiscal year
  2. Calculate projected expenditures for the fiscal year, including any pay-down of existing debt.
  3. Do one of the following
    • If expenditures exceed revenues, ascertain what expenditures to cut.
    • If revenues exceed expenditures, decide what to do with revenues.
Washington focuses on new laws and it is weak on implementation.  No company would exist very long if its senior executives created a plan but had no means of controlling and reporting on the implementation of the plan on a continuing basis.
Roger Wagoner, former CEO of GM, must be tempted to call all member of Congress to Detroit and have them explain how they got into this mess. No Congressman would be allowed to fly a government jet to the meeting.
There will be some reading this who will say “hogwash”. We should just start cutting where we can without understanding what is trying to be accomplished. That would be an unfortunate approach; however, that is exactly what we are telling these 12 individuals to do.  The results will be a mess.