Sea Change….

Although nautical in nature, this idiom refers to philosophies and credos that undergo some sort of metamorphosis or distinct change of direction. The cognoscenti would rather call them paradigm shifts in today’s vernacular, but I think you get the idea. 

I have written many times of how painful change can be. We are creatures of habit and comfort in knowing this is the way things are supposed to be. The COVID monster has thrown us for a loop but I feel it is just symbolic or even a distraction from what’s really going on. 

I hate subtlety and the latest blurring of the line between equality and equity is particularly galling. Up to this point in our fair nation we have at least striven for equality. We should all have the same status, rights and opportunities. Bumpy as the road is we have slowly but surely fine tuned what it means to be equal. There is a long way to go and many are impatient and they should be. There is a similar crowd that says we have gone too far. 

Equity is whole other thing. Equity allocates resources differently. You are poorer, slower, sicker, less imaginative than others because of your surroundings. We want to change that and reallocate resources to ensure your success. 

The difference between equality and equity must be emphasized. Although both promote fairness, equality achieves this through treating everyone the same regardless of need, while equity achieves this through treating people differently dependent on need. However, this different treatment may be the key to reaching equality, but not always. There are some that want success to be guaranteed. 

All this is well and good but the results of the Great Society of LBJ tells us differently. Despite trillions of dollars over 50 years, we have lowered the poverty rate from around 20% to 10%.That sounds good but it was accomplished by raising Social Security so the gains were for those over 65.  The pandemic has brought big bucks into the debate once more.  I am not as much against giving the money as to how it is distributed and accounted for. We have not been good at this. 

Education has been proven to be the ticket out of lower classes. Several years ago I was involved in a program called Tri County Scholarship. We took an abandoned Catholic High School in beautiful downtown Paterson, NJ. This was a tough area to say the least. We stressed commitment and discipline. There were no entrance exams so we did not cherry pick. Sister Gloria ran a tight ship but that did not mean we were not open to all faiths.

It cost us $2500 to educate a child at a time when the state was spending $11,000. Public school’s attendance was around 65% and ours was 100%. We graduated 90% into some form of higher education and they were coming in at 33%. Every child had to pay at least $5 in tuition and the money had to be brought to school by the parent. 

Why were we successful? For the same reason schools like this throughout the country today are succeeding today. We won their hearts and minds over to a concept of striving to be better and taking incredible confidence going forward at its accomplishment. Everyone wore uniforms which gave them a sense of pride. Today that is  considered an act of tyranny. 

We are changing today. No longer are we to be competitive because that does not give everyone a fair chance. Discourse and true questioning are not allowed. We want everybody to be the same and think the exact same way. We forgive student debt. We forgive your rent and your mortgage payments. You don’t have to have any responsibility because we are going to make it all work for you in some magical way. 

Don’t get smug on the right. There has been a gravy train and you know it. You have made the top tiers so impenetrable that the hoi polloi can only wish from afar at your cult like status. We cite the here and there success stories but only consider the Ivies and top MBA mills as appropriate supply chains. The disparity between the worker bees and El Jefes salaries is obscene. 

How does this all tie together? In all areas it has become about me. Rich and poor. Black and white. We decry violence but each side finds some sort of rationalization in burning Federal buildings or storming the US Capitol. Send those SOB’s back to Mexico or Central America and let the wait them wait their turn while others want to take down every border control station. Each one can justify their narrative by citing this poll or statistic. 

We have created a fantasy world. We watched as royals cried victim. The suits of corporate America will tell you how hard they worked. So have others. Many cry poverty but have a new SUV in the garage or a big screen in every room. I watched on TV as a Mercedes pulled up to a food bank. Seriously? Everyone dreams of winning the lottery….or at least getting a check from the government. This can’t turn out well. 

In a radically changing world we need an efficient and caring government. The COVID chaos has shown a lot of flaws. In industry we need compassionate managers who will recognize people for their talents and not necessarily their CV. We need a work force that wants to work and create a pride in achievement like we had at Tri County. Each and every one of us has to figure out how to help someone besides ourselves. 

Sure this is altruistic and heady stuff. Tell me if I am wrong? Whether you are a billionaire or impoverished I will give you the benefit of the doubt. Get some skin in the game. There is a sea change and if we don’t get it right there is a good chance of being swept overboard. Unfortunately I don’t see a lot of lifeboats on the horizon. 

As always 

Ted The Great 

Factoids:

Women earn 81% of what men do for doing the same job. 

The pay gap between top executives and workers continues to be wide. Since 1978, CEO compensation rose 1,007.5% for CEOs, compared with 11.9% for average workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute. In comparative terms, CEOs now make 278 times the average worker. In 1978 it was approximately 30 times.

Very high earners are up 339%

19% of the US population received government assistance in 2020. That is about 59 million people. 

The US spends 11.6% of public spending on education. The international norm is 15% 

We spend on average $12,612 on K-12 . 

New York state spends $24,000. 

Colorado spends $12,200 

Utah spends $7600.

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One thought on “Sea Change….

  1. Ted The equity-equality debate is a slam dunk for me. Yet it rages. Now, if I have this right, student loans to blacks will be forgiven @ 120pc. That’s right. It’s a reparation. So much for equity. Think it’s in the so called COVID relief bill. Yikes. So it goes, as Yosarian says in Catch 22 every time someone dies. Where’s this great land going? Am depressed for my grands. You friendly emigrant.

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