Tuesday, June 11, 2024

272K jobs Added to the Economy and Unemployment Still Low 4% in May, 2024

 BEA indicates that jobs were up 272K and unemployment was relatively low at 4%. One should look at where these jobs rose and why they rose. It was a positive report in a mixed market where some info is positive and some is negative leaving most economists confused. Time will tell what the whole economy will do.

"Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 272,000 in May, and the unemployment rate changed little at 4.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment continued to trend up in several industries, led by health care; government; leisure and hospitality; and professional, scientific, and technical services."

Monday, June 10, 2024

The Hypothetical Feather Party Encourages Youth to Become More Politically Active

 According to the survey below it would appear there are a number of concerns of the youth and if given the right pathways these youngsters can change the face of elections. They are the largest most diverse generation the country has seen and they will need to compete in a world the Baby Boomers and some of Gen X may not have had to experience so their perspective is very different. Prior generations were in a prosperous time inherited from mechanical modernization from two World Wars and allowed their offspring to thrive. The young don't get an immediate boost from the work of our grandfathers/mothers. The Greatest Generation prior to Baby Boomers created a new way of living through grit and ingenuity during the Industrial Era to overcome global challenges. This generation will need to do it again in a Digital Era and further ensure the ship is (or continues) to be pointed true north on American values. 

You may read Youth are Interested in Politics But Lack Support

-55% (18-29) say country may not be on the right track. 

-76% of the young believe they can change the country.

-Half say they are informed about politics.

You will also notice from the survey what type of institutions they trust and where they get their information for decision making. As the Digital Era takes hold there will be lots of competing information and some will be accurate and some not but as a collective whole there will be many more ways of obtaining accurate news meaning that diversity of perspective is likely. With different news and ways of looking at things there will be new ideas and that is part of democracy's development. i.e. the universal democracy as the next stage.

Thus, it is their time to start making their wishes and desires more known through positive and helpful political engagement. Voting is where the rubber hits the road by providing support for good leaders and putting in place new leaders when needed (The HFP only asks for us to think but not necessarily come to a specific conclusion as that is left to the reader and their thought processes.). What we hope is that they think through all of their choices and decisions to ensure they help the most amount of people possible and keep the democracy strong, healthy, and rejuvenating with each new generation. When they are old in grey they may say that democracy thrives when everyone thinks beyond today to keep the torch bright to lighten our way.

For, example the young appear from different articles and polls more interested in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, learning, opportunity, their environment, small business, institutional integrity, diversity, technology, global warming, housing, jobs, personal debt, govt. deficit, geopolitical issues, extremism, political integrity, education, crime, justice integrity and corruption. If they feel strongly about some of these issues they can constructive ways of ensuring their needs are reflected as a whole in the political discussions. Support the good stuff and change the bad stuff. Each generation has a right to push for the things they want because it ensures the nation changes to the realities of an ever changing world and environment. It keeps us strong and a beacon of freedom.

The Hypothetical Feather Party is non-existence and is used for learning purposes only. It is meant to be a thought experiment on providing another lens in which to understand politics and raise awareness of the political process. It is about discussion and not necessarily create an opinion unless that opinion is based in part in science. It makes no distinction between parties and beliefs but does encourage critical thinking and thinking about the next generation's needs as a key aspect of modern leadership. Older generations have a responsibility of ensuring they are setting the stage for the young and sharing their values through being good stewards and examples. It is a process inherent in democracy. Where there are things to improve genuine leaders seek to improve them. The Importance of Democracy

"the cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy"John Dewey

Interesting Articles on Hypothetical Feather Party:

The Hypothetical Feather Party Would Encourage People to Think About Campaign Finance Reform

Thinking about Objective Institutional Reform

Will the Father Party Emerge?

Feather Party National Decision Making

Feather Party Critical Decision Making During Election

*The Hypothetical Feather Party is for learning purposes and is designed as a thought experiment on how a third party aligned to core American principles, logic, science, critical thinking and the next generation can improve national decision making. Please don't attack the Feather Party. We do not exist at this time in history. Its a discussion.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Delta County MI Commissioner Meeting (06/04/2024): Railroads, Solar Panels, Training, and Vet Mllage

 Lot of great things going on in Delta County MI. these days. Recently there has been a change in the board so there is some enthusiasm to do things in a new ways. It is fairly normal anytime there are new board members who want to showcase their skills and get some things don't on their checklist. Anyways.....as they go about making decisions we hope that everyone keeps the community in mind and what is in their long-term interests. Reject national politics and keep things as focused on as much of the root of our community/democracy as possible. Good jobs, good lives, good investment opportunities, good services, fun events/quality of life, safe streets, fiscally sound decisions, critical and strategic thinking, etc. so on and so forth are all part of good decision making and responsibilities. When one is in a leadership position well thought out opinions and flexibility in those opinions when new information comes forward that can help understand a situation or perspective. 

A few points:

-A commissioner discussed the Railroad Retire Group coming to Escanaba. A local business Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad Co. 50 employees and has openings for skilled trades. They also hire veterans that help make them contributors to our society. Let me say that bringing in groups that have connections to industry to see firsthand our local manufacturing and available facilities can help organically manage our local offerings to those who can reach people who make decisions and invest in those fields. Being strategic about trying to get some of these groups up here not only encourages tourism but could also impacts long term economic development by attracting related industries.

-Pinecrest retirement facility is looking for workers as well. US News Pinecrest Retirement Housing

-DTE is still interesting in solar power initiative. Seeks signature to get on ballot for a vote. In general, I support solar power to connect to enhance the power grid but some of this agreement can be swayed by the details. If the panels are going to provide power directly to local consumers to decrease our costs and create energy independence from rolling blackouts then it is two thumbs up. If it is improving the general grid alone then it is one thumb up. Aesthetics and size are likely to still be a discussion so that could require some flexibility. Not sure on the rest....

-Police and fire discussion on sharing. One idea is to take a local department and provide centralized training from there. That will help ensure each person has similar skills and they can cross coordinate between departments. Training together regularly will help create such symmetries even if not intended as people share ideas, tactics, ideas, members, etc. Economies of scale rise when experts can be brought in for multiple departments at once. I was also sort of thinking about the benefits of a local training center along with a youth and/or cadet course teaching the basics of fire safety and then use that for recruitment into local service. Anyway...its just an opinion I'm sure others have theirs. Perhaps there are State and Federal grants that would help. Facts and Opinions

-Vet Millage. Remember they served our country so let's not be cheap on them. Work with leaders to find ways to save money throughout the economy and create net positives. That would offset the costs of veterans millage. Just so we keep in mind the responsibility to always seek fiscal responsibility because organizations like this can be the beneficiaries of cost savings/service enhancements in other areas. 

-Improving the airport by adjusting size of planes. Anything we can do to bring in new business and even commercial shipping would be a good idea.

A couple of articles I found interesting. 

1.) Why Community Matters

2.)  Federal Reserve Community Development

3.  MSU Community Development

CEOs Made 200X What Workers Did Last Year [Research Poll]

 CEOs made 200 time more than what workers did last year according to the article. The good is that strong CEOs can command high wages and the bad is that there is greater disparity between the average and the top in society. Thus, we will need to think of ways to raise worker value and improve wages through broad based capitalism.  The goal being to encourage larger scale development of whole society in a world where globalization requires greater mass competitive positioning. 

Broad based meaning that a significant percentage of profits are funneled back into high potential innovative businesses, community initiatives that have net positive effects, infrastructure that improves transaction efficiencies, education/training, research, and other activities that raise the whole of society through economic fundamentals. Doing this naturally in a way that helps investors, entrepreneurs, and workers is a very big discussion that ranges from skill development to policy and investment vehicle creation (i.e. Delta County Hedge Fund as a possible example).

Some of the ways we can do that include, 

1.) Improve human capital, education and training. 

2.) Develop new and innovative products to ensure that the highest value products in the supply chain are produced domestically .

3.) Raise the earning power of workers with new technology that enhances creativity and productivity. 

4.) Encourage advanced manufacturing to update and ensure they pay workers well. 

5.) Support American companies that reinvest back into U.S. economy through encouraging small business, community development, infrastructure, and general human capital development.

6.) Got any thoughts of your own?

Article, CEOs made nearly 200 times what their workers got paid last year

The Research Poll, Equilar | Associated Press CEO Pay Study

Friday, June 7, 2024

The Value of Rejecting Hate and Supporting Justice

Hate can be against groups or individuals and can be fostered by deep seated insecurities from fear of others. When it is normalized and encouraged or protected it hints at deeper inappropriate values. The Different Forms of Hate. Where bigotry and bias lives and breeds it causes all types of problems not only for the victims but also for many others. As a type of moral cancer that infects souls it is important to make institutions and systems more immune to the impact and effect of toxic personalities and corruption. Protection of a concept called Justice is helpful to diverse nations that seek to thrive generation after generation. This article is meant to raise the idea of Justice as one central institution to shared communal living but stands by party, race, religion neutrality in societies that should see universal perceptions as central to social and national development.

Hate is a type of mask to hide the inner group members motivations in misusing their position to help themselves and their friends enrich off poor behaviors. Where the masks slips you often see a group logic that has a high probability of similar related poor behaviors in other venues. Hate aggression can be one data marker for additional issue (s). One might think of how data could lead to a statistically likelihood of corruption and produce a map of observed involved members. Such discovery occurs once you find a couple of connecting variables to form a pattern and then test that pattern to ensure it accurately is being reflected within the network. A leads to a predicted F.

The Theory of Mirrors

The Theory of Mirrors (there are very similar ideas and names for the type of theory) is sort of similar to, parts taken wholesale from, but a touch different than The Looking Glass Self. Basically as people act and react to a target based on specific stimuli they define themselves. This means their subconscious tells us who they are without their knowledge no matter how much they hide it. The theory is only semi tested but seems accurate. Metaphorically the reflective cue maker provides the canvas for others to paint on as groups or individuals. They splatter their thoughts and other brain trash into the interpretation.  Other theorists discovered most of the concept but it is sort of interesting to think of its possibilities and use for catching bad guys/gals; even if the legal structure sometimes protects and rewards such behaviors. (Symbolic Interactionists). The concept is based in the neural network firings and how they quickly interpret info and react to cues ☝️. While some of it is disheartening some things are impressively noble and positive. In this example no matter its outcomes the long term prospects are good for a much brighter tomorrow. Hate supporters can't derail development for long periods of time because on a deeper level even the perpetrators know its wrong and systems can't function at their optimum with serious disparities and discrepancies. A few years might make a big difference in perspective. The broom from sweeping things under the carpet is getting increasingly sticky with new data and technology that encourages transparent performance improvement. Game Theory 

A Hypothetical Example

Let me give you a hypothetical example for learning purposes only. A hate group mixed with some officials targeted a family to enrich off of them for racial (pick any), political (pick any) and religious reasons (pick any). They told the targets what they were going to do while engaging in trickery and then used coordinated threats and attempts at violence to force their social order, manipulate local legal officials, extort and cleans people from their community. One of the targets who earned their place in the country 10x told the perpetrators "no" and reminded them of their duties and oaths. They quickly rejected the sacrosanct values. The victim went further and reached out a helping hand to encourage them to choose wisely but attempts were further rebuffed and the hand slapped away. The targets choose the higher moral order and didn't care much what else others thought or what unchecked aggression against them would bring because the issue is bigger than this. Developing society requires the ability to push its development and stand for basic values. Because of corruption the 100+ group continued to escalate even though the targets were polite, positive, helpful but stayed firm on the constant violation of their boundaries. The more they held firm the further enraging key players within the network became. One of the targets became known as "The Bitch" even though he/she has a history of bravery against insurmountable odds in order to protect his/her nation and community. The subjectivity of blind nationalism was highlighted. Other community complaints came forward that indicated similar behaviors happened to others and corruption was further discovered to be a bigger issue. The inability to correct even with overwhelming evidence the most astonishing creating a type of immunity for crime. However, they realized the couldn't be as open and bold with their hate as before. Fearing being caught the "in group" members moved from overt aggression to the more subtle forms such as blocking employment, hate chatter, microaggressions, social media manipulation, creating toxicity, and other dehumanizing behaviors. They took pleasure in mocking our laws and the sacrifices of generations before who helped obtain such freedoms. Even the target has served his/her nation but was dehumanized to remind them of their lower place in society. A type of lawlessness with a lack of moral conscious.

The Underpinnings of the Example

Hate is driven by a need of belittling/dehumanizing others and when that is protected legally, politically, and socially there really isn't a back stop but opens up a much larger long term sociological issue. Thus this is why in this learning example the clan can move from overt aggressions to microaggressions and then back into aggression when the environment is again supportive of such behaviors (The environment and subtle social cues are important in created expectation). The legal, moral, political, social, economic issues, etc. set the stage and the actors used that. In this leaf vs. forest example perspective we see is that the environment and homogeneous ethnocentrism mixed with disturbed social influencers in the right positions put normally good people and officials in fear. Instead of reporting hate crimes they decided to be silent for self interests thereby meaning some adjustments will be needed to avoid this in the future.

The targets might be polite and competent but to the perpetrators they are seen as incompetent, lower than, of subvalue/second class citizens and shouldn't be allowed to live or work near them, and should have no protections under the law even if those protections are guaranteed by the Constitution. This would be a moral outrage situation that runs directly against our oaths and values as a people (I mean assuming if these things are still central to our existence). Thus we all have a stake as a collective togetherness in supporting the Constitution, our social contracts and the deeper meaning of justice. Makes no difference the party, race, religion, gender or other as the needs of the collective whole should be of higher importance than any individual part.  The  Neuro Basis of Hate

A 4th wave of hate in this example could be likely because of the difficult root problem of holding the perpetrators to account and reversing the damage they caused. The fear of upsetting the local clan which has an influence on local social and political life, was primary concern and made them silence people with their group narratives. The community and other victims may not be a priority as well so a reorientation to local institutional purpose may be needed. i.e. keeping the compass true north. Consistent unchecked hate and corruption is a type of system failure that includes recruitment, policies, culture, checks & balances, oath integrity, and values. All systems must stand for their values and while most do there are places where this may not always be true. Poor behaviors can be encouraged without the right type of leadership. When they don't, and there is no recourse it isn't a free pass but goes into the collective conscious of people and their blended perceptions between words and reality.

Two Anchored Outcomes

Let us say there are two possible outcomes to this brain teasers. Most situations would likely fall in between these extremes. Albeit even closer to the ideal because as a collective whole we understand the need of the greater purpose of existence and the important values that resonate with every person. 

1. Free Pass Extreme Worst: The technicalities of the law are more important than its spirit, the Constitution applies to only some, victims of past or future are dehumanized, a class of half citizens form not in lip service but in practical outcomes, freedom of speech and religion are not true freedoms, institution protects dysfunction and it grows thereby wasting taxpayer money, and institutional trust declines. Courts appear to feed the legal industry of attorneys making justice complex to support the more wealthy members of society who provide regular campaign donations. Some citizens are considered parasites and their rights can be swept away to benefit others in alignment with wrongs of the historic past. Wrongs are protected, they are not corrected when found wrong, mass apathy develops among some groups, human capital declines, and the nation gets weaker generation after generation. There is refusal to reform even though outcomes are questionable and new methods possible. A segregated society develops. This would be a situation no one would want except the most dark souls.

2. Accountability Extreme Best: The system lives up to its standards, holds to account perpetrators based on culpability, protects future and past victims, corrects the wrong, safe guards are put in place to better tackle corruption, entire institution moves up, perpetrators are rehabilitate and returned to society, all citizens are treated equal and a universal society is encouraged where freedom of speech and religion are valued. Courts seek to simplify and make connections to people and don't require attorneys to navigate them. Rich and poor are seen equal before the law. Laws are passed in the spirt of all societal members. Judges protect what is good, people, people value the system, they are highly engaged in keeping communities safe, human capital rises and the nation gets stronger generation after generation. Always seeking to improve to provide essential justice. Institutional trust rises and social cohesion grows. Human capital productivity rises because all citizens are working toward a greater purpose. All people are full citizens with endowed rights.

Even if we are doing 100% perfect (institution) we should seek 110% (the stakeholders). Keep looking over the horizon because there is good stuff over there if the ship is navigated well; the duties of leadership. Ensure that you don't fall into the trap of group think, dangerous bias and corruption by always asking questions when people tell you stories that don't seem to line up well. Our very futures may rely on our ability to think critically and solve problems as a people.

It's a party neutral article to help us think of the importance of liberty and our daily choices and responsibilities to encourage it. 🗽 

*This is a thought experiment on freedom of speech and religion. It is a hypothetical example for learning purposes only. Take with a grain of salt. Theoretical dribble so feel free to discard.

Porter and the "Competitive Advantages of Nations' [Cluster Theory Development]

Nations should continuously seek to gain competitive advantages and that occurs through the development of their industries to meet and exceed market expectations. When a nation can further its industrial development through the use of economic clusters it can often realize higher GDP growth rates. The study of clusters is an analysis of the economic environmental and organizational factors that lead to momentum for firms to adapt to those market needs. Market Need, Environment, Organizational Capacity, and Human Capital come together.

Michael E. Porter is from Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School and one of the leading theorists on clusters and economic development. While the type of cluster being proposed in this work is of a similar strain there are some differences between his and mine based on the way the theory has developed. However, you will find there are similarities and contributing factors so some of the work is based in part on aspects of his theoretical underpinnings.

Porter believed that the capacity for nations to push development is based on four broad attributes that constitute the "diamond" of national advantage,

1. Factor conditions

2. Demand conditions

3. Related and supporting industries

4. Firm strategy, structure, and rivalry (Porter, 1990, Para 1)

Companies must continuously update to increase operational and innovative sophistication if they expect to lead the global market with their products and services. The process of adaptation leads to consistent improvement. According to Porter putting competitive businesses in close geographic locations increases competition and in turn speeds innovation. As companies engage in domestic competition they also improve their competitiveness in comparison to foreign rivals. If lucky a cluster can block out other foreign market entries based on a cluster's unique advantages that would be difficult to copy.

Porter also believes that economic clusters are seen as a way to avoid inward focus and stagnation in growth. The ability to speed economic development with new products and services through improved competition leads to greater benefits to society. In the model I'm presenting it is believed that economic clusters not only innovate around market needs but also create long-tail adaption of products and services in the manufacturing and supply chains that optimize to feed such clusters. In turn, maximizing and improving infrastructure.

In my theory, these supply chains are seen as economic vines and that is a wider conception beyond business-specific purposes and into the human elements that also feed the fuller functioning of the system. The physical and digital aspects of business are often calculated in traditional economics but the soft side of human capital such as libraries, quality of life, contentment, politics, safety, discrimination, etc. have an impact on human choice and influence the health of a cluster.

In general, it is believed that government should support cluster development without necessarily being directly involved unless they have research and development objectives. For example, they may encourage international trade, product safety standards, deregulation, etc. One can see these as environmental factors that help encourage clusters to develop by using influencing factors like regulation, taxes, foreign/domestic policy, etc. Specifically, in this transactional cluster model, I'm proposing government and industry collaborate to spark a cluster, create rules for the cluster, and actively manage the environment for developmental success around key objectives.

The Transactional Rapid Innovation Cluster (TRIC) Model helps to encourage unique competencies that can contribute to solving defined problems through focused cluster creation or organic general development through environment enhancement. When focused cluster development occurs companies increase the pace of product creation through collaboration in the R &D development process. The advantage they gain is not only from the specific products they create but also the adaptations in their wider industrial base from patents and new products drawn from partnering with other industries.

Key Points:

-Michael E. Porter was a leading theorist on economic clusters and economic development.

-Porter believed four broad attributes lead to the "diamond" of national advantage. 

-The Transactional Rapid Innovation Cluster (TRIC) model is an offshoot branch of theory focused on pinpointed investment to solve defined market problems through R&D collaboration. 

-The Transactional Rapid Innovation Cluster (TRIC) model can be used to improve the economic and quality of life/social health of a community.

Porter, (March April 1990) The Competitive Advantage of Nations. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved. https://hbr.org/1990/03/the-competitive-advantage-of-nations.

Firefighters in Columbus Get Well Deserved Raise: A Few Ideas on Future Budgeting Opportunities

18.5% raise for firefighters in Columbus is a nice start to a wider fire fighter recruitment and retention problem. Firefighters Get Raise Columbus. Good news for them because firefighters earn this raise through taking risks. The demands are increasing and pay is stagnant. While there is a $103 million cost to the budget its not the fault of such firefighters nor is it a unique cost to only to some places. As with any challenge is the opportunity to try and find new paths.

Thus, we have to start thinking of budgeting long term and create a cushion because these types of services are vitally needed. We can't skimp them least they don't function at their optimum. There may be options to change things around to help but that should not impact total functionality. Sometimes changing the lens can provide new thoughts, ideas and solutions.

Most towns and government entities nationally are running the red line on budgets consistently. The goal should not be to spend but to invest to create net positives. Economic development and social development are connected from a total system perspective so as to help think of what city costs add long benefits and which ones are truly costs (scientists break them apart for analysis but they are connected). 

An Example of Possible Net Positives

Taking that extra step to think about return on investment allows for finding and thinking about new opportunities with old costs. A quick not well thought out example. You need more firefighters and recruitment is low and budgets are limited. You create a cadet program that can take on some of the roles, reduce costs, etc. by partnering the fire department with youth programs paid by the state, organizations, other businesses, etc. The program helps develop new talent and helps teens find a path the chaos of their lives (Yes as a society we have responsibilities here even if it doesn't fit well on a balance sheet.). This program teaches basic civil values, teamwork, fire prevention, character development, encourages educational excellence and is a fertile recruitment grounds for highschool juniors and seniors that might want to join the fire department. Perhaps it could be a place business may want to recruit from as well because the training prepares young people for gainful employment in  through broad skills. A certificate of completion is provided once someone gets through the program they can provide to potential employers (I can think of a fire dept. in rural MI that might contribute further to the community with such a program.).

 Its not a perfect idea but you get the point about thinking about parity and reducing total costs overall while maximizing the societal benefit of that budget. In this example you might help improve 1. firefighter recruitment, 2. fire prevention knowledge, 3. youth grooming, 4. reduce costs through parity, 5. help local businesses, and 6. Improve local business function through human capital development. From a societal level it provides an opportunity for people to learn skills on how to advance thereby improving social mobility throughout ones life. Heck the fire department may be able to hire a few more people for these programs based on an increased budget that saves total cost and raises value to the community. Its just an example so feel free to beat it up or branch out your own thoughts. If leaders start thinking along these or other lines on nearly all budgeting decisions they are likely to find all types of duel efficiencies improving performance and reducing costs while improving output. 

Maybe in a couple of years 10% savings while improving return on investment value to society can be realized. We just don't think of government having profits and costs in terms of quality of life and economic development.

Sorry...I'm rambling. Happy to see them get put up to speed on pay. 

How much are Firefighters Paid?

The average annual pay according to the BEA is about $55K making it not the best paid occupation. BEA Firefighters Employment 2019  But there are other perks that include benefits, a sense of duty, and a connection to other people. Everyone love firefighters because they bring good into the world!