Upward and Onward

Upward and Onward

September 05, 2023

UPWARD AND ONWARD

We want everyone to have the idea of being about to build financial independence for themselves. It’s exciting to be able to live and get to enjoy the journey. Without the ability to move up, we are just asking for anarchy.

Where we’re missing out

Preparing children to succeed: In the book Tight Rope authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn talk about why having books available at home or through visits to the library is important for helping kids get ready to succeed in school.

Kristof gives a perfect example of his story ---- coming out of a dusty farm land where his family had many books on the shelves versus other neighbors’ families who did not. We need to invest in Headstart and other programs that help young people succeed in school and engage the parents to encourage learning.

We can reduce the prison population and drug problems by having people who are prepared to use scientific reasoning, language and literacy to create and find opportunities. We’re losing the war on drugs. People are falling into drugs and Fentanyl without the self-confidence they need to make positive choices.

This drug problem stems from the lack of programs that put children on the right path. Parents who want to work, or have to work, need childcare yet it is often cost-prohibitive. Programs like Headstart (aka early childhood learning knowledge centers (ECLKC)) can help support parents and are proven* to help children stay on the education path, reduce teenage pregnancy, make higher earnings, and commit fewer crimes. This provides better outcomes for generations to come.

We need to give children the confidence and self-esteem to know that they are enough. As I learned from Brene Brown, the opposite of scarcity is not abundance. It is enough. Most people live an ordinary life that is excellent and there is nothing wrong with that. We can then get involved with making positive changes.

Union jobs: These jobs have gone away, and where does that leave people to make a living? In Tight Rope, Kristoff tells of a person who ends up making meth when union jobs were not available. Children end up in a world where they do not have access to a union job (that paid a living wage) that their parents had.

I witnessed this when I was growing up. When I graduated high school, I took the path of going into the military because there were no union jobs in the large log mill where I lived. The revenue and related jobs disappeared as raw materials were no longer allowed to be shipped out of Oregon and the county, Douglas County, did not make the shift to manufacturing value-added products. Without the timber receipts, the area has become nearly a ghost town. The people who are there are hanging on to jobs that do not really lead to financial independence.

Progressive tax system:

In his book Capital, Thomas Picketty walks through the history of money and capitalism, demonstrating how England and France led the way on economic development, starting the progressive tax system before the United States. United States adopted a similar taxation system in 1862 under President Lincoln.

While the progressive system works, we are failing to direct tax dollars to invest in education and healthcare.

Education

We need to consider standardizing education across the United States instead of state-led programs that are falling short. Unfortunately, each state has raced to the bottom in order to attract business. For example, in 1995 under Measure 5, Oregon gutted the education system, reducing teachers and aids in the classroom while raising class size. The state has fallen severely in the ranking for reading, writing and math. This is not an uncommon story across the U.S.

Healthcare system

We are failing our country with our healthcare system. If you don’t have to worry about health insurance, you are more likely to be an entrepreneur. With over 33 million small businesses in the U.S,, entrepreneurs are the backbone of the United States. The Small Business Association reports that small businesses employ 61.7 million Americans. This number could be even higher if we had healthcare for all.

Climate change:

We need to keep the climate habitable for people. This third rock from the sun will still be around for billions of years, but we need to keep the dials turned down so the planet stays habitable. We’ve just experienced the hottest temperatures ever this summer. If we can be good stewards of this planet, then, maybe we can in good conscience go forward in inhabiting other planets as well. Let’s take care of Earth first.

Integrity in Media

Are you getting your news from a balanced source? It is in the middle, or does it skew far left or right? How reliable is the information you are receiving? Is it misinformation or reality? Know where your information is coming from and hold others accountable for whether or not they are telling the truth. You can look up your sources of information here: Interactive Media Bias Chart.

You can explore the methodology on how they score each outlet. They also have analysts and don’t rely on one person’s rating. They offer transparency and are accountable to themselves.

Integrity in media matters because one of the core principles of a democratic society is free speech. It is important to be able to express opinions and back them up with facts. We need reliable information to be able to do this.

By adding healthcare, education and preparation for our children, reinstating union jobs, and using our tax system to direct investment to a more equitable system for the majority, we can go upward and onward.


*https://www.brookings.edu/articles/does-head-start-work-the-debate-over-the-head-start-impact-study-explained/