Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Grasping at Straws

I have been remiss in not commenting in this forum the legal battles surrounding the most recent decennial redistricting, which remain ongoing after four plus years. On December 6, 2011 I was quoted by the Tampa Bay Times as saying “I would say [the Senate redistricting committee] did not listen to the voters and I’m quite displeased. If anything, [US Congressional District 5, formerly 3] looks more gerrymandered than before. 

Arguably, the League of Women Voters (LoWV) has taken the lead to hold the Senate redistricting committee accountable.  As a result of the LoWV’s tireless efforts, the FL Supreme Court recently stated the maps most be withdrawn to follow the letter of law as it pertains to the Fair District Amendments that were overwhelmingly passed by Florida voters in 2010. Why the FL Supreme Court did not make this ruling the first time is unknown to me, but now that the maps are being redrawn once again to meet the law, Corrine Brown, not surprisingly, disapproves. Last week she filed a Federal lawsuit claiming that the potentially new district violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act; however, today she withdrew from the lawsuit, but I suspect she may eventually rejoin the lawsuit or file a new once once the new maps are approved.

What Ms. Brown ignores or just does not know is that voters in her district (at least per my analysis in 2012 of Duval County voting records) voted in favor and essentially in-line with all other voters for the Fair District Amendments; there was only a 15 bps (0.0015) difference. In others words, her constituents do not want gerrymandering either.

If she focused on the issues pertinent to voters then she would have nothing to worry about because I think the election of Barack Obama to two terms indicates that most people look past one’s skin color (even if Barack Obama may openly disagree) to focus on their qualifications and ability to resolve issues using critical thinking skills. Ms. Brown has been very fortunate the past two decades for not having more competition, but I believe that may change once the district she represents is redrawn.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Human Capital Development

It is quite apparent (or should be for most) that human capital development (HCD) is most needed in Florida Congressional District Five (FLCD-5).  If one were to read my prior posts pertaining to my walks and talks within the district then they may conclude that I have repeatedly pointed out the need for HCD even though I never mention the term specifically.

HCD is not just important to FLCD-5; it is also important to America and the world. I support this assertion with  the following anecdotal evidence from:
  1. My recent jury duty and
  2. Broad economic observations as its pertains to:
    • Quantitative easing (QE) and
    • Structural unemployment to which I can personnel attest.

 Jury Duty

Several months ago I performed a civic duty as a jurist in a domestic battery case.  Both the prosecution and defense agreed that the battery occurred; however the defense argued that the act was in self-defense.  As I listened to the testimony I thought that if the accused and the accuser had better problem solving skills (as a result of HCD) then a battery most likely would have never occurred, which would allowed everyone involved in the case (from immediate family members, to police officers, attorneys, court officials and jurists) to focus on value creating activities. 

I argue that if society focused on HCD then the need for law enforcement would be less.  I think both (policing & teaching) require money, but I ask, which one is better for society? It comes down to values and as I see it, we, as a society, as a nation, as a world, do not value HCD as much as we should…possibly because the benefits manifest themselves in the future and we have problems that we need to solve today. 

Broad Economic Observations

QE has arguably led to the sustained bull market in the face of light economic data – anemic GDP growth, low job participation rate and stagnant wages.  As a result of the Fed buying bonds, the capital that flowed into the market (to purportedly drive economic growth) led to the appreciation of all types of assets – most notably stocks.  Most people did not benefit from this appreciation as few people own stocks. The obvious beneficiaries are the wealthy.  The less obvious beneficiaries are those with pensions, which are arguably held by labor unions and local, state and federal government entities.  I consider the pensioners (not the wealthy) as the true beneficiaries of QE.  If we did not have such a dysfunctional government then our elected officials may have, should have produced legislation that would have improved our economy.  However, that would have meant coming up with an improved tax and spend legislation and a dealing with a whole host of issues, such as removing burdensome regulations that stifle innovations (& job creation).  Instead of buying bonds, we could have:
  1. Built new bridges to replace deteriorating ones,
  2. Built new K-12 schools,
  3. Incentivized companies to train/retrain workers for new professions, etc…

One should notice that the latter is HCD, which would ultimately result in new product development, increased employment, improved wages, etc…

Hopefully, I helped you see the value of HCD.  If so then I encourage you to share with family, friends, co-workers the value of HCD.  I believe as a society if we collectively promoted HCD then eventually our elected officials would craft legislation that would promote HCD. Not an easy task, but it most be done if we seek to enjoy our current freedoms and more that we may desire.