Breaking Takes by Al Sikes

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Socialism at Its Worst

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro in speaking to his supporters said “I went to the future and came back, and I saw that everything turned out fine.” Amusing and horrifying. Venezuela has suffered innumerable hardships under his despotic rule and he has run out of pledges affixed to a measurable future. Perhaps this will hasten his departure. When political leaders encapsulate themselves in a forward to the future capsule there is a need for a rocket stage that takes them to Mars where their stupidity will not find people.

Capitalism at Its Best

Jack Bogle died last week. Essentially he invented index funds and sold them to millions who profited from broad stock diversity while enjoying drastically lower transactional costs. Bogle himself was a tireless advocate for his investment approach and lived a relatively modest lifestyle. Thank you, for this contribution to your country. When investment is efficient and productive, capitalism has more friends.

Gridlock

Gridlock is the word; it attaches to polarization, most think. Indeed polarization often results in teeth-baring gridlock. But gridlock can also be associated with goals that are emotionally appealing but illogical.

It is now chanted on the left: “Medicare for All”. What does that mean? Medicare insureds begin paying for this benefit at the start of their work life and decades later begin to enjoy the benefits. It is now projected that the Medicare Trust Fund will run out of money by 2026. In short, it will need increasing allocations from current tax revenues to pay for claims. Is there anybody on the east side of the Potomac who might develop a rational future for US healthcare?

In our country of immigrants we have a President who pillories immigrants without articulating missional and operational alternatives. A subset of his base attacks him yelling amnesty over and over regardless of the details. He shrinks—some leadership.

I could of course go on—indeed maybe I will for another minute of your time. Elites are in love with a carbon tax. Those who live hand-to-mouth wonder where the additional money is going to come from to pay more for their home and automobile energy needs. If you think a carbon tax makes political sense, take a look at France where the Yellow Jackets revolt was first triggered by new carbon taxes.

My suggestion; work on the supply side. If the electric automobile, for example, is our future then alternative fuels to produce more electricity are essential. But, solar and wind solely are not up to the task. Incentivize next generation nuclear power plants. And in the course of our fuel transition, incentivize carbon recapture technologies on a worldwide basis because fossil fuels worldwide will dominate for at least another generation.

Football

I am not a devoted NFL fan, but do watch some games played by my favorite teams. As my emotions took a seat in front of our living room TV last Sunday, I was treated to the Saints defeat by the Rams because of the most outrageous oversight perhaps in NFL history. If you are at all interested, you know what I am talking about. The NFL had much of America glued to their screens; they had four extraordinary football teams competing, yet seemed to have chosen some officials that would be hard put to make a good blizzard at a Dairy Queen. Too harsh, maybe, but I was rooting for the Saints.

Beyond the officiating, we have the puzzle of the over-time rules in which a flip of the coin determines who first receives the kick-off. If that team scores a touchdown they win. In the AFC game between the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots, led by brilliant quarterbacks, it was clear that the coin toss winner would have a big advantage. Characteristic of over-time, both teams are tired. The offense initiates and the defense reacts; the latter is at a significant disadvantage.

I remember playing sandlot football; we had more logical rules.

Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al recently published Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books. 

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