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Sunday, December 29, 2013

15 Big Wishes for 2014

In no particular order, for no particular reason.

  1. Free Speech.  That people will stop confusing a right to free speech with a right to employment.  The constitution guarantees one, not the other.  This applies equally to mock hillbillies and MSNBC commentators.
  2. Budgets.  That governments will learn to live within their means.  This entails not spending more than they take in.  This means not borrowing money to cover payroll.
  3. Schools.  That schools will focus on academic education, which should be their core, central mission.  Sports have a place in our society, but not when they take resources away from education.  In an era of tight budgets, too many school districts have outdated text books but boy, they do have nice football uniforms.  Many (especially in NEPA) are oblivious to the concept of "bread and circuses".
  4. Politicians.  That politicians will decide to devote more time to listening to constituents and less time being greased by lobbyists and campaign donors.  If you believe that free speech = campaign contributions, then you also accept the notion that some folks (those who give the most) have a right to more speech than others.  Anyone care to argue that point?
  5. Talk Radio.  That national political talk radio slowly withers away and dies.  Too many people confuse a radio "act" for a "reality".  For the record I do like local talk radio, even when I disagree with the slant of the particular host.  Giving local folks a chance to voice opinions is a positive thing.
  6. Congress.  That Congress does its job.  Period.  Pointing fingers at people you disagree with and saying (figuratively) "You Suck!" helps no one, improves nothing and simply justifies the 9% approval rating that Congress currently enjoys.
  7. Local Media.  That local media will devote more time and energy to examining why NEPA has chronically had the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania.  There are reasons for this, but yet no one is really talking loudly enough about them, let alone doing something about it.  That's cause for alarm.  Media can help change that, if they want to.  
  8. North Korea.  That someone does something about the Hermit Kingdom.  It is a pox on humanity that this place even exists.  The bloated, obese leader lording of a country full of emaciated people who look like Walking Dead extras is just wrong on so many levels.
  9. Religious Leaders.  That they have less authority in secular society.  All societies.  All religions.  It seems to me that religion has a place in forming the conscience, but once it gets into the public policy realm it almost always ends up badly.  Think Iran now and countless other examples throughout history.
  10. Parents.  That parents spend more time reading to their children.  Growing up I loved it when my mother would read to us.  This a gift that costs almost nothing but continues to give for decades.
  11. The Pennsylvania Legislature.  That the Legislature does two things:  Get the State the heck out of the retail liquor business (a state government shouldn't be in any retail business, period) and gets smaller.  Government in Pennsylvania is too big and it spends too much money.
  12. President Obama.  That he tells the truth, all the time.   I get it, most Presidents are flexible with the truth, but I think Mr Obama has taken the concept a bit too far with the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act.
  13. Heroes.  That we, as a society, stop labeling people as heroes simply because of their job.  To really be a hero, you need to do something heroic; it's never part of a job description.  Simply being an athlete...or a firefighter...or a policeman...or a solider...doesn't automatically make you a hero.  When we label entire vocations heroes we greatly diminish the definition of the very word and those who have been heroic in the past.
  14. Financial Services Industry.  That the industry focuses on customers and the greater good that helping people achieve long term goals provides to society.  This would be instead of simply chasing a constantly higher ROE.  The business of business is business, but businesses also exists in a larger society, to which they are also accountable.
  15. _________ Special Interest Group.  That they all grow thicker skins.  This includes the NRA (of which I am not a member), the Human Rights Campaign (of which I am a member) and countless others.  There are too many people finding offense in too many areas all too often.  Life is too short to be constantly listening for someone to offend your group/tribe/sensibilities/religion/sexuality/region/point of view.  When you actively shop for offense, you will always guaranteed to find it.  Who needs more of that?

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