Saturday, May 26, 2018

Populism



The politics in the US have become sort of entertainment rather than actual policy. Trump became president by various means and the public certainly was manipulated with simple messages that were easy to grasp. Perhaps he even intended to Make America great again. But Puerto Rico is still without a working electrical grid and many Puerto Ricans are living in motels in Florida paid by some funds. A strong president would have got the funds and a clean contract to fix it by now. Even the first contractor was awarded the job by party loyalty and donations to the party.

Trump's unifying theme of "foreigners" allows him to mess with anything that deals with jobs and goods from abroad, such as tariffs.

But there really is no plan. Republicans are using Trump to achieve tax cuts and are just laying low to get through the November elections. After that they may want to go ahead with cutting more Big Government, funds to healthcare and so on.

Frank Thomas has scolded Democrats of elitism. We do not represent the working classes anymore. They share much of the "guns babies and Jesus" principles with Republicans. That includes patriotism, respect for the law and military. The white evangelicals will stand up for the national anthem and will even block Netflix for making a deal with Obama. Recently there was a book by Yascha Mounk where the author seems to have neglected the hundred year old history of populism. But indeed, the current trend of nationalism and populism does seem to have only right wing ideology. Brexit and Trump are cut from the same cloth.

Frank: By “populism” Yascha Mounk means the species of nasty rightwing politics associated with Trump and various European bad guys such as the leaders of Hungary and Poland. He uses the word as a kind of synonym for racist tyranny, and in his account populist politicians are villainous in ways that go beyond the profession’s conventions. Populists, he informs us, tell lies.

The populists of the 1800s and early 1900s were much more leftist once upon a time, but still white Christians and were involved with religion and even the Scopes "monkey trial."

Looking at this from the outside, my friend from Australia sums it up:

To me, it is completely about the loss of any serious, thought-out ideology (whether left or right) or policies which have a rational goal of improving people's lives, and a reliance on purely following (and sometimes creating) uninformed public opinion to capture the democratic vote. It is the cynical politics of the advertising executive...

Things like healthcare are simply not an issue to people that have jobs and insurance. Why should they want to give Obamacare to those "liberals in the cities" who do not want to work? Never mind that most small employers, such as a hair cutting franchise of a fast food franchise, do not provide insurance to full time employees.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

A PR Problem: What Does Government Do?

In our 2016 election, there were all kinds of elements at work, but underneath it all is a long-term distrust of the federal government. The government uses regulations to control industries and tells people what to do. The states are allowed some of these functions, as people tend to know people on school boards, natural resource and water districts, utilities etc. The people do see the need to decide where the power line goes.

We are facing issues of climate and water and food. The favoritism of new solutions over old ones is seen as corruption. Supporting old ways (burning coal) is not. I have convinced several people that tar sands is a bad product, but when I turn to climate issues, they dismiss it as “I don’t feel it’s any warmer.”

We had a governor’s race a few years back. The guy that wanted to be governor bought his way in. His solutions were not solutions, just standard Republican policy. Taxes, school vouchers, NRA support. His main claim seemed to be “my opponent is a Democrat!” A rural community development program run by that Democrat seemed to be working, then federal funding disappeared. His fault! And Governor is of course Pro-Life! Republicans are never pro-future-of-the-planet, though that would seem to be tied up with that life.

Water issues are important to people West of Iowa and Missouri. The plains states all have futures dependent on water and climate change. Water is something that is under local control. People from both parties and each county get involved. Ranching is done where there is not enough water to grow crops, though some special crops are grown where the climate and studies allow it, such as sugar beets.



Climate change is Al Gore and “all those East coast liberals.” Yet, Iowa has capitalized on wind power, where the others further West have not. Some of that has to do with power needs locally. The one definite advantage of coal is that big cities have rail and you can transport coal to most cities. Rural areas seem to use electrical power from the nearest major city, but there are plants that support a number of towns of 10-20 thousand population.

Also, one sparsely populated state has made use of wind power: “The state of South Dakota is a leader in the U.S. in wind power generation with over 30.4% of the state's electricity generation coming from wind in 2015. South Dakota has 583 turbines with a total capacity of 977 megawatts (MW) of wind generation capacity.” (Wikipedia).

Our governor is not interested. He has taken coal money and NRA money. The counties with enough population would all benefit from wind power tax money. The energy generated in a county can be taxed there, as well as the property. Even Trump era tariffs would not hurt it as they do solar power (panels are made in China). The massive parts of windmills are made in the US. We have cities that are willing to ignore the governor and will build wind farms if a company moving to the area requires it. Wind power has some fluctuations, so we will actually need to invent better ways of storing power.

The electrical grid is wider for the same number of customers supported compared to traditional plants. Also, distances of greater than 20km (from where the wind is) currently are difficult to handle for the low voltage generated. To put it another way, immense amounts of power generated by coal power stations can immediately be transformed to very high voltage near the plant. Normal power plants and the transmission at higher voltage will carry power over 400km. The handling of power substations and transformers will no doubt be improved.

Investing in wind turbines alone is sometimes a problem. Germany had a problem of producing “too much power”. The interaction with coal plants are not optimized.  New, better grids are being built, but states and countries will need to decide to pay for those. As it is, wind power is reaching many communities already. In the US, the leading states (% power by wind) are:

Iowa (36.6%)
South Dakota (30.3%)
Kansas (29.6%)
Oklahoma (25.1%)
North Dakota (21.5%)

Those areas certainly include much of the windy prairie. Our one major wind farm with 400 wind turbines does not rank well with those but is generating a lot of income: $2.6 million in property tax revenue to the the county.

If you wish to look at a map of the major wind farms and a list of the power generated, here is the Wikipedia link. 

All power plants are listed in Wikipedia as well. We have both coal and nuclear, and as we have a public utility setup, the state owns the plants. The operation of them can be handed over by contract to companies. As the state owns the plants, the most conservative politicians will insist on burning coal as long as possible. There is still no limit in coal supply, compared to other fuels.

Our governor has a cheap solution. No investment needed: let’s not build anything at all. It is not part of his agenda. Others blame red tape in the process investors must undertake in our state.


Saturday, March 24, 2018

Guns and America, a Turning Point?

Some states have already taken gun control measures, as much as they can within the law. This may not be such a quick event as it was years ago in the UK, when hand guns were banned. But you have to start somewhere.

But, this week, protests across the country have definitely made the NRA more unpopular. Yound people spoke out.


These were high school students that organized a protest that 1000-1500 attended. This in a college town where there may be a bit more "radical" or Democrat element than the average city in the middle of the land.

This does look like a tipping point in politics. Even Republicans may not be as easily bought off by the NRA from now on.

The 2018 elections will show more of what is going to happen. The era of Trump may be just a couple of years.

One must keep in mind that American politics swings back and forth. So progress takes place, but it may be two steps forward, one step back.

State level politics may be even more difficult to swing to gun control. Our governor is a firm NRA supporter. The job was pretty much bought with his own money added to NRA money. The death penalty was a big item as well. He wanted to keep it and apparently slightly over half also do.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Free Trade




Trump has said a lot of things. He made a lot of promises and a lot of them blamed “foreigners.” Aside from Trump, it seems a worthwhile to actually look at how free trade works. The economists will tell Trump that what he seems to be wanting to do cannot be done. It was not even clear how his or his helpers’ thought process worked until this week. Recently they stated:

”Mr. Trump has repeatedly said he would pull the U.S. out of NAFTA if the partner countries don’t agree on a new version with mechanisms designed to balance trade in the bloc. The Trump administration is seeking to update the original labor provisions with stronger rules aimed at lifting the salaries of Mexican manufacturing workers, whom many U.S. officials blame for taking American factory jobs.”

Before we leave Trump, it must be pointed out that his advisers have indeed found something Trump can do without Congress: Trump is imposing the tariffs under a provision of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 that allows the president to do so for reasons of national security. That rationale has rarely been used, trade experts said, and it could lead other countries to cite their own national security to restrict imports of U.S.-made products.

Trade agreement deal with goods. They list goods that are traded and they can list some crops that the signing parties want to exclude from trade agreements. They do not include minimum wage. You cannot raise minimum wage in Mexico with trade agreements. You can demand them to do it and threaten to pull out if they don’t. The other thing is trade balance. We basically sell some high end products to Mexico and then we export food or animal feed. We have comparatively more land than other developed countries. The buying and selling does not balance out between two partners and does not even balance if you look at it world-wide. We can only use money to carry out these transactions. Somebody ends up owing money to some other group at the end of the year. It is similar to government spending. Who do we owe money to in out national debt? It could be foreign banks, government or it could even be American citizens buying bonds.

Nevertheless, these are complex issues that are not even possible to control by trade agreements. Economists tend to blame the cheap producers: “On the other hand, Joseph Stiglitz points out that countries running surpluses exert a "negative externality" on trading partners, and pose a threat to global prosperity, far more than those in deficit.” Economists also are not terribly worried about long term effects. One thing it can affect is a country’s GDP which can eventually have negative effects: “Exports directly increase and imports directly reduce a nation's balance of trade (i.e. net exports). A trade surplus is a positive net balance of trade, and a trade deficit is a negative net balance of trade. Due to the balance of trade being explicitly added to the calculation of the nation's gross domestic product using the expenditure method of calculating gross domestic product (i.e. GDP), trade surpluses are contributions and trade deficits are "drags" upon their nation's GDP.(Wikipedia).”

Between the US and the EU, trade agreements have not been completed. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, with the aim of promoting trade and multilateral economic growth.

The United States imposes a 2.5-percent tariff on cars assembled in Europe and a 25-percent tariff on European-built vans and pickup trucks. Europe imposes a 10-percent tariff on U.S.-built cars.

The United States had a $22.3 billion automotive vehicle and parts trade deficit with Germany in 2017 and a $7 billion deficit with the United Kingdom, according to U.S. government data.

The tariffs may change but the deficits will not.

All it really does is allow cheaper imported goods to be bought by citizens living in both countries as there is no tariff.

Postscript:
Trump can be so confusing. He claimed he wanted better trade deals. He did not want ANY trade deals. Hr simply wanted to put up tariffs country by country, then use this as some kind of leverage. Typical rich guy negotiating. Use your size to force deals:

The 14 months since Trump stomped into the White House have been a different kind of raw for the Japanese establishment—and increasingly unappetizing for a government that prizes strong U.S. ties above any other relationship.

Dating back to the 1980s, Trump was among America’s most vocal Japan critics. In 1989, the real estate mogul said Japan “systematically sucked the blood out of America” and called for a 20 percent tariff on all its goods. On the campaign trail, candidate Trump called for Japan to pay more for Washington’s security blanket (weapons).

And so it goes, on and on. Some few countries get preferred status.



Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Facts Matter


I debate things on the net with a couple of conservatives. Mostly to keep up my language skills. I need to read and write in two languages. It is not worth my time otherwise.

These people see things through politics. Therefore science, global warming, EPA and vaccinations, those are things corrupted by the government, according to them. They might understand electrician work and auto repair, but those are things you can confirm with your own hands.

Looking a little deeper into this, it is actually a way of thinking about everything for these three or four guys, none of whom ever did research of any sort, science or otherwise. One is a businessman. Looking at a news item, the business person looks at it as a way to make profit. He wants to buy, sell invest. The product could be highly technical. If the work is about a technical innovation or a solution that requires R&D, the person is not interested.

They can vote, that is clear, but they cannot influence the outcome or the applications of science and technology in any way. Environmental issues only concern them if they can "feel" them. (A rise in temperature of 1C over 100 years cannot be felt by a person. Only a slight increase of warm days in your area). A cell phone is only interesting as a tool and looking at best plans for X number of people in Y areas. The device is looked at for price, features and is picked the next time by trial and error. Does the Samsung have a better battery, and do I need to bother learning to use it after the iPhone?

The way the phone works, the way the internet works, all that is irrelevant. Cost is all. If he is not going to write or mess with settings on software, pick the easiest software to use.

Global warming? It's not warmer here, I am cold right now. The ice caps have not melted yet. There is no desire to understand. Because politicians are involved. They fix all with taxes. No tax for me, don't spend my money investing in wind. There is plenty of coal. Also he read an article where the earth was cooling. Plus we were going to run out of gas. But these did not happen! Science was wrong! In this sort of ”casual” interest in matters of science, the actual facts are buried and only the headlines stay in memory. The TRUTH that the layman demands of science is not a foolproof truth, but often a well developed field has those truths. A lesser field, like climate science in 1975, had merely good guesses. It was in fact one paper that claimed an ice age coming. The main body of workers in the field did not see it as a reliable paper. The evidence was very little.

People have their areas of expertise where they act with confidence. Science only matters as a tool. The guy above, the lawyer, the local head of the Fed Ex unit. They have as little interest in science as possible. Possibly they will read a few articles if a health issue comes up. Even there, the wins and losses are calculated. Do I want to pay for dental implants or just get dentures?

Though they have slightly more life experience, their attitude to things they cannot influence is no different from teens in high school asking "why do I need to know that?" Modern life as consumers is pretty much that. After you have kids, daily chores are more important to do than teach your kid about simultaneous equations or ideal gas laws. even if you did remember them from high school. I rarely had use for the ideal gas law in the chemical industry, but I was still able to teach it to one teen at the age of 15-16. It is because it was withing my expertise. Still, even in science, we know more and more about less and less. There are few generalists left. The high school science teacher may be one.

In the same manner as science, these people also reject all of sociology. It is of no interest to them to learn about guns laws, bike traffic in Amsterdam or any item they are unlikely to have to ever try. Politics outside of our country does not exist. Foreigners are only noted for trouble caused. All data collected with government funding is "fake" to many a layman.

Back to the science. I can't really imagine politics smearing any real science. I had two colleagues that continuously argued pretty much about everything. That did not prevent them writing a paper together on research that we all were assigned to do at the time.

If you still insist that science is wrong, there is a book you can look at, which does sort out the areas where science has been less than certain and sometimes wrong:

"Ben Goldacre has made a point of exposing quack doctors and nutritionists, bogus credentialing programs, and biased scientific studies. He has also taken the media to task for its willingness to throw facts and proof out the window."  Book: 

Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks published 2010 by Ben Goldacre.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Janesville, Wisconsin

The recent book by Amy Goldstein looks at American poverty close up. Janesville is a town where GM shut down a plant. Home of Paul Ryan. The county, unlike Wisconsin, went for both Obama and later Hillary. It did not even back Paul Ryan when he ran for vice president with Mitt Romney. The book looks at several families close up for 5-10 years.



The book can easily be read by anyone (Democrat, Republican, independent), as it does not really focus on politicians, other than highlighting their failures. Republicans in Wisconsin have consistently turned away federal money to help those in need. The jobs created came slowly to Janesville. No politicians were able to influence GM.

The review of the book in Amazon that got the most comments brought up NAFTA and free trade.  The topic is a favorite of nationalists and Trump supporters and also some Democrats. The nationalists have apparently believed Trump in that they they think free trade agreements favor foreigners. They do not have much to do with manufacture jobs. If your goods are too expensive to sell in low wage countries, you must sell them at home or in Europe. Protectionism is a thing of the past, it is not going to come back.

[Added free trade note] Free trade agreements between countries allow free trade, that is clear. What they do is eliminate import taxes. Neither party pays a tax. You have to export something to Mexico, for example, to get a benefit from it. No giant SUVs from Janesville are ever going to Mexico. But we do in fact gain from free trade. We export a lot of food to Asian countries, particularly Japan, as they can no longer raise all their food. If a country wants to keep growing some crops locally, like rice in Japan, those products are then left out of the free trade agreement. The free trade agreements are essentially lists of goods not covered by the agreement. You can be protectionist about some goods and still benefit from trade.

Back to the book. The book focuses on families barely getting by. One dad laid off from the GM plant has endless short term jobs. He ends up in the end driving a fork lift in a warehouse near Madison, an hour away. No more 25-30 dollar per hour auto worker wage. Warehouses and distribution centers also move into Janesville. One drug company with very perishable products moves in, as Janesville is a short drive from O'Hare from where the drugs are shipped by air freight.

Teenagers are working two or three jobs to bring in family income. Curiously they then get fewer offers of college scholarship as the income is lumped towards family income. Three of the four working may get the 160 dollars worth food stamps a month, all four working low wage jobs is too much income. No food stamps. They are stuck paying a mortgage on their home as the home is not sellable. Those stuck in too small houses or renting when the recession came are luckier.

Over 4000 jobs were lost and the city remained a Democratic city and county. Part of this was due to the little help Republican politicians were able to offer. Neither did they bring jobs. Governor Scott Walker promised 250 000 jobs and never delivered. Yet the state legislature remains in Republican hands.

The book is in journalistic style. In the end is a set of tables that are more sociology than journalism. We find that training laid off auto workers in community college for two years did not get them more job offers. Finding a job directly after layoff was more successful. A few examples in the book got two women jobs at the prison.

All in all, this will be the future of many small cities. Bigger cities will escape a lot of this fate if they already are no longer dependent on manufacturing jobs. If your city is considering the "hosting" (tax breaks) of a company with 4000 possible jobs or three insurance companies with 500 jobs each, take the three companies. They are not likely to go bankrupt all at the same time.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Trump and the forgotten people: white men and other fringe types

The person of Trump seems to have collected behind him pretty much all the Alex Jones fans and all the right wing people who spend their spare time listening to AM radio. Or making Youtube rants. One divorced middle aged man I call the Red Pill and Blue Pill man. He is obsessed with women controlling men through sex. Many are discussing their pet issues on a website called Free Republic. Freepers they call themselves. It is the playground of people disgusted with minorities, feminists and political correctness. Conspiracies are all over the place:

The curious thing is, many Republicans thought these things as well. Women belong in the kitchen, abortion should be banned, illegal aliens are using up all our government benefits (they are not).

The issues are familiar to these groups and all Trump had to mention is some code words. The word American has entirely different meaning when Trump says it than when Obama said it. Brown skinned people are not necessarily included. Make America Great Again meant take all the special rights away from any fringe groups or minorities that are just like you or me but may get some special treatment such as when applying to college.

Aside from Democrats in general, the group aside from feminists that the Freepers oppose is Social Justice Warriors. Minorities and white people standing next to them trying to adjust prejudice and inequality. All the people marching against Trump this year.

Why do all this? How does it connect to right wing politics? "He speaks how I feel," said the voters that were polled after the election. Trump had to say all these things so that many right wing people on the fringe got angry enough to come and vote. They were willing to go with all that follows. Trump is a man who does not spend any time among these common people outside his rallies. But he gave them a voice. All that was secondary to political goals such as cutting taxes. The things Trump does always go with the bigger player. He favors corporations over workers, corporations over EPA and government agencies. Always Goliath over David. None of that matters. The poor white people will just go from working for one corporation to another. None of them are entrepreneurs other than the simplest and lowest earning  level of making cash from a business. Roofing contractors, lawn service. Those with no office, just a cell phone and an occasional accountant for help.

A minor point I will give to these simple rural and small town folk. The federal government is not very visible in many places in America. You go to a small town anywhere, and it is the state, city and county that take care of things. The US highway or the Interstate may be a hundred miles away. In this sense, they really do not see much benefit from the federal government. Unless you sign up for the military and then use the education credit later, you may not deal much with the government. But you pay federal tax.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Shithole Politics

From cuts to the EPA to discrimination of "foreigners" to outright insults, president Trump's era will be obviously titled Shithole Politics or some academic variant of this.

I am a little embarrassed to support a state that went for Trump as completely as it did. Yes, I know, dear neighbors, that most of you are Republicans. There are many positive things about your world view. You believe in a work ethic an support some good projects locally. But this president is not one of them. You got your tax cut. It is now time to dump him. Indicate to your senators and congressman (my city and rural counties are always Republican) that you no longer support the racist president and his divisive politics.

The two parties are ready to move on with DACA outside of Trump plans. Support them. The farmers in our state have expensive health plans and are losing rural hospitals. It is time for the federal government to take a role in health insurance. It can be Medicare and the actual care can remain in private hands. Big employers can remain in private plans and carry on as usual with the large insurance companies or self insured plans (with the insurance company merely as bookkeeper.) We have an aging baby boomer population as do all states. We need your help to get on with this. When the younger ones of you retire, there will be no plan and no money for Medicare at the current rate.

But, whatever else you do, do NOT vote for this man a second time. Leave the line blank.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Future of Food


Human beings need some 50g of protein a day. I eat a sandwich for lunch. It may have ham or turkey and a slice of cheese. The meat may weigh 50g but a lot of that is water, so the meat will have some 10g of protein and the cheese 5-7g as well.



The bread of the sandwich a few grams more. My breakfast is oatmeal and some berries (no protein, just vitamins). It will have some 6g of protein in a cup of oatmeal. If I have macaroni and cheese for dinner, I am close to getting my 50g. The point is, I did not need to eat steak or a burger. Most of my dinners have a little chicken, so I am safely in the 50g range. Americans eat an excess of protein, some 80g. The required protein is there for the amino acids that most of our tissue is made of. The additional amount is burned for energy, the same way starch (potatoes etc.) is.

For some people, it is important to eat vegetarian because of the CO2 emissions from raising animals. Live stock accounts for 15% of the CO2 we produce. For others, the concern is the millions eating poor food while we throw half of ours in the dumpster.
We are heading in the less animals more crops direction, since countries such as Japan and China no longer have the land area to feed their people (even if they eat only plants). Japan would have to be several times larger to feed their own. South Korea is in a similar situation, causing both to catch a lot of fish.

I live in a state with a small population and lots of farm land. The usual crops are soy beans and corn. Sandy soil areas are used for ranching, as it makes no sense to grow food crops where the water just drains quickly through the sand. But even there, some sugar beets are grown. Exports from the state are animal feed, meat and processed corn products such as fructose and corn oil. More than a hundred years ago the farmer had to feed himself and the neighboring towns, so wheat was initially grown in the Eastern part, the part that had enough rain. However, with climate change, the areas able to grow wheat will move North.  No plans are in place to replace corn with other crops, and indeed the food and feed industry dictates what the farmer grows. Possibly vast areas of the central states will have drought and some new science will be needed to help grow the crops, with corn moving to the central Midwest states. Beans and vegetables will grow in the winter season as climate warms. No studies on food (not feed) crops have been done for our state.

Processed food has a challenge in coming up with vegetarian dishes. I’ve sampled some at Target, but many seem to be lacking in strong flavor. We are used to salty and fatty foods. Mexican dishes can have more spicy flavor. The main line of processed food is stuck on advertising the product as “made with real…” labels, whether it is butter or cream of meat. Vegetarian foods are seen as a cheap imitation of “real” food. Pizza is a good as we get at making food in such a way, and even there cheese is a dairy product. No tofu-cheese had been invented yet. My skills would let me make food from scratch if I had at least cheese. Olives, peppers and mushrooms make fine toppings. The bread of the pizza still has the chewy taste we like from meat and the like. I look forward to getting at lest a bacon made from plant products, but I’ll pass on so called “veggie burgers.”

So, what are we eating now and the rest of the century? It seems to be stage moving away from beef and pork to chicken and turkey. The birds are fed the corn and soybeans we know so well to grow. Our state has some poultry exports and still the beef to japan. There the meat is eaten in small portions added to a rice dish. The average Japanese eats 2/3 of the calories and American does.

One thing we’ve most recently is that there is no need to take the fat out of food. Food distributors loved the low-fat foods for various reasons. They have longer shelf life, as fat is one part that spoils with time. But vegetable oil does no harm to a normal person, it is calories exactly in the same way starch is. If you eat excess starchy foods, the body converts it to fat for storage anyway.

Politically, the grass roots movement is getting some traction is producing locally and distributing locally. But it is a big fight, and large urban centers need to be fed by the big food corporations. Even growing locally is a challenge in the Trump era:

Trump has almost 100% record of siding with the bigger player, corporation vs faremer etc. in any fight.
A headline claims: Donald Trump Has Sold Out Family Farmers

"Trump claims he’s “fighting for our farmers,” but his policies mainly benefit agribusiness."
https://www.thenation.com/article/donald-trump-has-sold-out-family-farmers/


Friday, December 22, 2017

An American Problem

Many Amerians, up to 50%, think government is either not helpful for them, or totally evil. many do not even know exactly what it does. An example can shed light on the two parties and their voters reacting to a familiar situation.

A man is working a minimum wage job, he has some skills in some area now, but only a high school diploma. He loses his job. He has a wife and two kids, one is two weeks old. He applies for a night/early morning shift at Target to load shelves or unload the truck three times weekly. The Target survey asks him all kinds of team work oriented questions, usually in an on-line survey. They flag him as a conspiracy nut.

The Democrats want to help. Need funds for counselors, therapy, rehab. Get this man back to a minimum wage job. They want to help! They need funds and professionals.

The Republicans want to help too. He should not be singled out. Everybody is paranoid now, the government is left wing CONSPIRACY! The man is right. Give him more guns, have him talk to the Christian pastor and give him the Constitution and Bible to read. No cost to government. No unemployment benefits past 8 weeks. He can get some job doing work outdoors! All those guys are the same and hate government, he will be in good company!

And since no counselors are needed, cut that university funding too, leave a few shrinks for the liberal elite for private use.


It may sound exaggerated, but this is exactly how things go here. The working poor rely on friends, neighbors and relatives for a safety net. One book claims this is the main reason working class people are reluctant to move. They would have to pay for services at the new location, whereas they can each pitch in and help out in their spare time and also barter for skilled jobs such as minor home repairs. Many can replace their own roof with a few friends. In contrast, people with college degrees have national networks of friends, so they have help getting those out of town jobs. And they can afford to pay for daycare and other services.

The Trump voters in the working class may be racists, but they see the help going to refugees and other immigrants as unfair. Those people get help from the government for a short term, helping them settle. The working poor have to figure these things out without that help.

It is of course understandable that people who do not care for the government do not want any of their services coming from the government. Yet they still want things like healthcare. Both Obamacare and Medicare are a compromise. The service is coming from private hospitals and doctors. Only the insurance is regulated by the government. With private insurance, it still adds a chunk to the healthcare bill, since there are two sets of people fighting to give or deny the care to the patient holding the policy. This is totally unproductive work. Only malpractice should be left to courts and lawyers.

The country is divided. The educated elite benefit from the government. Some even work for the government. Yet all those agencies have failed to explain to uninterested citizens why it is needed. The benefits of the EPA or FDA can't be seen till you remove them for a while.