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.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Missing The Mark - we need fewer laws, not more

I believe our Constitution is being attacked and very few are coming to its defense.

The state of Indiana recently passed a law, Senate Bill 101 of the 2015 General Assembly (AKA The Religious Freedom Restoration Act), for the purpose of “prohibit[ing] a governmental entity from substantially burdening a person's exercise of religion.” To pass this law and to achieve its objectives the Indiana legislative body substantially altered the definition of “persons”, which I believe if allowed to stand could severely erode everyone’s freedoms.

Sadly, only those in the LGBT community are being defended and understandably so. This community was arguably targeted with the passage of this law. As such, this community of people should be defended, not as a group, but as a part of America, which is why I believe the national discourse misses the mark.  

Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) states in Section 7 that a “"person" includes … a partnership, a limited liability company, a corporation, a company, a firm, a society, a joint-stock company, an unincorporated association, or another entity.”

Our Constitution mentions “person” 22 times.  I believe our founders intended “person” to mean a human being.  Once we start defining person other than with that simple definition, a human being starts to lose his or her freedoms, which can be very damaging to our country and may lead us “to dissolve the political bands which have connected [us] with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle [us], a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that [we] should declare the causes which impel [us] to the separation.

“[As such] We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

 What we need is not more laws, but fewer and that is the mark for which we should strive.