This week, when the National Urban League took Nike (NYSE:NKE) to task for its $350 LeBron X sneaker, it talked about the company being insensitive to the plight of some Americas.
Wow, that is beyond a crazy cop out. I don't get how makers of inanimate objects like guns and sneakers get the blame for dumb decisions by actual human beings. There are a lot of people in the country that can afford $350 sneakers, although many got that money by being frugal enough to never buy $350 sneakers.
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Be that as it may, when will this blame game stop? When will people be held to account?
I can hardly stand another four years of victimization. The ultimate goal is to punish success and excuse laziness all in the name of social justice. It will destroy the country. If someone wants what I have, they better be ready to give up things like vacation and lunch breaks. If you want my money, you better be ready to read and learn every single day.
Taking from people that earned to give to others that didn't is the same line of logic as guys sitting in the joint for hitting an old lady over the head with a brick at an ATM. If some mother buys her kid the new Nike sneakers, and they can't pay the rent, she's the bad person. On the flip side, the same people that hate Nike also hate Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), where sneakers could be bought with enough money to pay the rent and grab a couple bags of groceries.
But, this line of thinking is spreading and is becoming more dangerous.
I happen to be a big fan of the work from Pew Research Center so was kind of disheartened when they took the Occupy/White House view of a recent survey on the so-called middle class.
In a report titled "Fewer, Poorer, Gloomier...The Lost Decade of the Middle Class", Pew points out the awful job of turning this economy around, but missed a few silver linings.
The Pew report is valuable for its insights, but for me the biggest is the one that speaks in direct opposition to the cover title. It should have been titled "Upward Mobility Alters Middle Class- But More Work Has to be Done."
Make no mistake; the notion that the same people stay rich and the same stay poor is a terrible and deliberate misconception. Amazingly, 67% of the middle class in the survey agreed that "most people who want to get ahead can make it if they are willing to work hard" versus 29% who think "hard work and determination are no guarantee of success for most people."
There is one guarantee, however, and it’s if you don't make your own destiny it will not be the best it could be and most of the blame will have to go to the person in the mirror.
Looking at the Pew data, the difference in the so-called middle class now and back in 1971 is 10 percentage points. Of that total, 6% are represented in the upper class while only 4% are reflected in the lower class. So, prosperity actually improved the basket of the middle class.
When it comes to blame for this shift in the middle class, all the work from the bully pulpit and mainstream media has worked like a charm. Congress gets blamed the most, followed by banks, while the bottom of the list is the person in charge for the last three and half years, and the person in the mirror. It's so hard for people to admit they could have done things differently. But, anyone working on an auto assembly line had a minimum of a decade's notice that their jobs were in trouble from competition and robots (I'm surprised they didn't make the list).
Is there a single industry that's suffered where there wasn't advanced warnings? That being said, if you knew your job would be obsolete in 10 years would you begin learning a new trade? Or, would you demand more money from your employer, milking the situation until the bitter end?
There is no doubt Americans need to have a chance to make more money and that only happens with free market policies that focus on growth. But, people can help themselves and must take greater responsibility for where they are in life.
Megatron and Joe Six Pack
The NFL season is approaching soon and I'm pumped to see how the rookie players do, if Cam can take it up a notch and for Calvin Johnson to set records and redefine the wide receiver position. Johnson is also known as Megatron for many reasons including his robotic like presence, his persistence and his intensity. This year you could also add because of his wallet.
Calling it a "tremendous blessing" Johnson signed the highest contract in NFL history, $132 million for eight years. A contract like that puts Johnson in the top one percent of the top 1%. But, it also illustrates the greatness of America and the bogus way data is articulated to the public.
Let's take Johnson, born in Newman, Ga., in 1985 and Joe Six Pack, born the same day in Detroit. Let's assume their families were in the bottom 10% of earnings in the nation at that time. Joe Six Pack makes $45,000 after getting a raise of $2,000 last year. In the narrative of President Obama, Joe Six Pack, who never misses a home game for the Lions, should get a piece of Johnson's contract. According to the world of share-the-wealth, Johnson gets 99.8% of the combined earnings between himself and Joe Six Pack so it means something is wrong.
It has to be racism, banker greed or a Republican plot. Maybe there will be a rule for Johnson to give up money for each touchdown.
Rich people can lose it all and poor people can have it all. We all move up and down, and should be moving up more. But let's not cap all dreams at that middle-class level.