© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. “If you want to understand any problem in America, you need to look at who profits from that problem, not at who suffers from that problem.” Dr. Amos Wilson
A comedian once said the hardest job in the world is to be a funeral director at a million-dollar funeral. Hard to look glum with the mourners. That’s the problem in our world. Many of the problems that plague us are so profitable to other people. We should look to see who profits from our misery.
Take poverty: if we just handed the money to the poor we would save money instead of the millions of poverty administrators who make a good living on the poverty bandwagon. It’s an industry unto itself where money is given from Washington to the states and the states employ workers in their state to carry out the aims of the program.
The War on Poverty is a fifty year jobs program for government workers. It has been wildly successful at spending money on the administration of programs and giving political power to people. Sadly, we have as much if not more poverty than when we started. But we are not looking at who profits.
Former president Ronald Reagan said, “We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.” Consider: who profits? First, politicians who promise to help those on welfare. Second, all of the government workers administering welfare.
Our country did not have a described drug problem until the end of prohibition when all of those in the legal areas were about to be thrown out of work because alcohol was once again legal. So they latched onto illegal drugs, slowly at first but it is an industry that is scared of legalizing these drugs because it would put them out of work.
They sanctimoniously claim they are just protecting us from ourselves but in reality if all drugs were legal and we treated drug use as a mental illness, the army of law enforcement officers would no longer be needed. So rather than look at who is injured by drugs, we know why we have the problem because of who profits from it.
Likewise, Congress spends much of its time talking about protecting us from bad Congressional decisions. Namely, we are upset when companies move off-shore but we don’t hold Congress accountable. Why should we? Because most companies would rather be in our country but the rules out of Washington leave them no choice but to leave.
Companies in the United States pay a thirty-five percent corporate tax. Their competitors for the same markets pay much less in corporate taxes in their countries. So our companies move to those countries. We know who suffers: American workers and our economy. Who profits? Congress who raises lots of money for themselves talking about the evil companies who leave.
But they left because of the actions of Congress. What is the chance that Congress will lower the corporate taxes and make it easier to do business in the United States? Exactly zero. There is no political money to be made doing what is right for Americans.
Our public education system has been administered to death with the mania for political accountability. The testing companies are profiting and so are the administrators but the students themselves lose in an environment of learn an answer, be tested on that answer, learn an answer, etc. There is so much profit that our poor students must suffer a lesser education to provide a huge profit to administrators and testing companies who of course provide political money.
The decisions that have lead us into this valley of stupid are made by elected officials who do not personally suffer for their stupidity and misaligned priorities. Every election the same solutions are offered and the citizens suffer so that the politicians can prosper.
Dr. Thomas Sowell said, “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”
What is worse is putting those decisions in the hands of people who profit by us suffering.