Tagged: reform

Cynical about Political Cynicism

I have grown weary of whiny journalists and pundits who have such a limited understanding of history and narrow appreciation of things in this country that have worked and worked very well.

Point One: wholesale political changeover equals waste in terms of training new politicos to do a job that takes (by my own estimation) at least a year to acclimate into (and that’s if all you plan to do is be an ideological rubber stamp for the national party). Cynical about my cynicism? If you think that being an elected leader is so easy – then get going and be one. I spent one year as the elected president of our  school PTL; a school with only 150 kids. It was almost a full-time job holding meetings, balancing budgets, soothing feelings, negotiating policy and working out compromises. Doing a job like that at the Congressional level should be a million times more difficult. If it isn’t, something is wrong.

Next point, I’ve grown weary of the cynicism of “the other side.” This country has a 200+ year heritage of working out differences; people who are willing to compromise their ideologies for the sake of good statesmanship. The fact that this country has stood for 200+ years with representative governance should be seen as something of a modern-day miracle. So when “the other side” claims that “the other side” is turning the country to ruin, something is wrong. Strong partisanship never produces good governance.

Final point, there isn’t a road made in this country that wasn’t paid by taxes. There isn’t a single inch of our distributed networks (telephone, electricity, water) that doesn’t owe its existence to taxes. All of our public infrastructure – first responders, schools, military services, et al – are paid for with taxes. Our society is wholly and completely supported by the will of the people to pay taxes.

Until somebody comes up with a better way to valuate effort and commoditize resources without money, then we’re stuck with taxes. True, some federal institutions are enormously inefficient, but that’s where the will of the people comes in. Elect professionals who can look beyond partisanship and ideologies – and we will solve problems.

No cynicism needed. -HP

About: Ray Wyman, Jr is a freelance writer and content creator. Visit LinkedIN or Raywyman.com for more information.

Make Detroit our new China

OC METRO> UCI’s Policano: Make Detroit our new China.

Difficult times breed novel ideas. I like Policano’s idea of sourcing work back to the American industrial center. But not just manufacturing jobs, I think new incentives could drive a whole range of services back in-country with two benefits:

ONE: obviously, we get more people back to work.

TWO: increase tax revenues.

It’s time to push the envelope folks. – HP

About: Ray Wyman, Jr is a freelance writer and content creator. Visit LinkedIN or Raywyman.com for more information.

Free-market Reality for the “Creative Class”

The devastating downturn in the writing market has gotten worse.

The need for speed has quickened the flight from quality. Writers have seen their pay reduced from $1.00 a word to a paltry 13 cents! And all in the space of the last five years. That’s one of the reasons I have left the journalism field.

And, as it turns out, writers have a lot in common with photographers. graphic designers, illustrators, architects, musicians – practically anyone involved in the creative commercial arts. The main culprit: after the Great Recession, ridiculously low-cost foreign competition via the Internet.

The Los Angeles Times published this story by James Rainey.  The main thrust of the article is the observation that the Internet is indeed driving the world together, but in so doing it has obliterated the economic underpinnings that “once allowed the creative class to make a living.”

Rainey quotes Jaron Lanier, a computer programmer, UC Berkeley scholar and onetime champion of the Internet “freebie culture”:

The dominant tech culture says everyone should just give away their content and their expertise… Then they are supposed to make money later through personal appearances, or selling T-shirts or whatever. That doesn’t really help the photographer or the graphic artist who is trying to make a living right now.

Not all fields are affected the same way and talented freelancers, armed with established business networks and portfolios, are still managing to eke out a living, but I wouldn’t want to be just staring out just now – not in THIS market.

Rainey concludes that the underlying rise “good enough” within all aspects of our society may be the worst aspect of this trend.

The chief executive of one of America’s biggest newspaper chains told me a couple of years ago he feared readers would accept this “culture of good enough” as much as anything, not noticing the difference between blog slop and thoroughly vetted news and analysis.

I disagree. The cheap copywriter or designer in India will never replace a professional who can walk up to your doorstep and learn your business. I can name entrepreneurs who have taken that route and wound up replacing almost everything. Maybe “good enough” is fine for the concept business short on funding. But entrepreneurs who are serious about their success don’t cut corners on their communications. 

Since 2007, I’ve seen a total collapse of traditional freelance work for writers. There are so many of us (especially writers), and with outsourcing so strong, there are so few jobs left.

I’ve rediscovered specialization. I have developed a few specialty niches for myself – the ‘one-man-show’, pre-IPO projects, funded startups, packaged services – and they’ve helped. I’m even going after the accredited public relations (APR) designation to bolster my credentials.

The way I see it, here in this free-market world, we have two choices: we can curl up and die or we can adapt. From that point of view, I really do not see how things have really changed all that much. -HP

Source: For photographers and graphic artists, not a pretty picture out there – latimes.com

About: Ray Wyman, Jr is a freelance writer and content creator. Visit LinkedIN or Raywyman.com for more information.

On the quiet, the US is legalising marijuana – Times Online

On the quiet, the US is legalising marijuana – Times Online.

I just read this article and commented elsewhere that the problem with the American “War on Drugs” was that it was more about controlling people than actually trying to control access. The only accomplishment was waste: billions of dollars and millions of lives. At some point, we must stop and seek out better ways to manage the American craving for marijuana.

I have always been a proponent of licensing pot sales and to use the money to fund diversion and vocational development programs for primary and secondary school kids. Others have suggested that taxes from pot sales alone could offer significant funding for health care. The bottom line is that the continued prohibition of this WEED makes about as much sense as the Prohibition of alcohol – and the result has been about the same.

Moreover, it seems unnecessarily cruel to keep this valuable herb away from people who could really benefit from its use. I know that there are people out there who are dubious about the medicinal qualities of marijuana, but I know from personal experience (my brother and my mother) that chemo patients find measurable and sustained relief from their disease and treatments. Several peer-reviewed medical studies seem to also bear this claim out.

Time for a change, folks. -HP

About: Ray Wyman, Jr is a freelance writer and content creator. Visit LinkedIN or Raywyman.com for more information.