From South of Left Field: Definite Problems by Jimmie Galbreath


“People with definite plans and definite expectations have definite problems.” My Dad drove me crazy with this little gem in my early years. I still have no idea where he got it. Somehow today it seems appropriate to our fractured nation.

The internet abounds with funny, comforting little memes suggesting simplistic solutions to issues that are interconnected and complex. Build a wall, ban gays, kill someone with bombs or drones, $15 minimum wage, the simple solutions go on and on. Like a child’s mobile no one part can actually be touched without every part moving as a result. Not that leaving it alone means nothing changes, everything changes as time passes.

We live in a complex ‘system’ that changes over time. No company, no government, no economy and certainly no society is ever unchanging. Even religion changes over time. Otherwise, the Crusades, witch trials and the Inquisition would still be with us. When an imbalance in our ‘system’ rises to the point of becoming a definite problem such as police violence, mass shootings, income inequality, lack of medical care and so on the social discourse settles onto some simple solution or particular plan. These definite plans come with a definite expectation of quick resolution that is seldom met.

Let me paint a picture and see if it makes sense to you. A stable ‘system’ would have the wealthy (corporate) and general population both exerting a fairly balanced influence on the government. The government should function to regulate the opposing desires of wealth concentration on the corporate/wealthy side and a reasonable standard of living on the population side. A good measure of whether this balance exists is the degree of income inequality. After all, more income for a few equals less income for the many. If in fact jobs are being created for the betterment of the many then we should see balanced income growth with all income levels increasing about the same.

Houston, we have a definite problem. Looking at these charts, it is apparent that since about 1980 increases in income have been largely confined to the upper 20% and the rest of us have been losing income. Now comes the definite expectation, the belief that the answer to this starts with an increase in the minimum wage. Folks I hate to point this out but the minimum wage is not why the increases in income are going to the top 20%. Government guides income increase through the tax codes, not the minimum wage! This doesn’t mean the higher minimum wage is a bad idea; it means it doesn’t do anything to address the actual problem.

Here’s another definite expectation, the belief that this can or will be addressed by one of the two existing political parties. The truth is that the tax codes and laws that have tilted the ‘system’ to favor those already wealthy were enacted by these two parties. Like everyone in a capitalist economy, the Parties work for money. That is why the Democrats push for the $15 minimum wage and the Republicans push for tax breaks for business. These things don’t change the cause of the ever increasing inequality; it is just a pretense at change that has no real impact.

The existing political parties are graveyards of popular political movements from both the right and left. Don’t believe it? Ask the Tea Party where the ACA repeal is. Watch as the Democratic Party slowly tries to absorb the Bernie folks and smother them in useless quibbling and ineffective goals like the minimum wage. All the while the wealthy grow ever richer, and we grow ever poorer. The function of the Republican and Democratic Parties is to smother popular will and continue to empower the upper class. The ONLY tool left to us other than open violent revolt is our vote.

So long as we continue to vote for the same old people and same old Parties we will get the same old results. It is insanity to expect anything different. Until the angry and disaffected finally begin to vote and refuse to vote for anyone with an (R) or (D) behind their name nothing is going to change. Think the Green, Independent or Libertarian is a nut? Look at the graph again. Look at our current President. A new Party is needed, one that does not have an existing bureaucracy which is paid by the wealthy and serves to smother the popular will.

The race is on, conditions are not and will not improve so long as the Republican and Democratic Parties have the power. Wealth demands ever more wealth and will rely on the police and military to control us. Over 1,000 citizens a year are already dying under the guns of the Police. That is more than any other country on earth! We have more citizens in prison than any other country in the world and the second highest incarceration rate in the world. These things are not accidents; they are the result of desperation and oppression in a population whose standard of living is falling.

The only way to shake the foundations and hopefully usher in real change is to reject the Republican and Democratic parties completely, shatter them and throw open the doors to new blood. Take risks, seek the people who will enact law and tax code to suppress excessive wealth and rebalance the life of all Americans. If we want America to be Great again, we must create an environment that allows Americans to become Great again. Let’s level the playing field.

Jimmie Galbreath is a retired Engineer originally from a small family owned a dairy farm in Jefferson County, MS. He earned a B.S in Petroleum Engineering from MS State University, accumulating 20 years Nuclear experience at Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station and Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Station. Along the way, he worked as a roustabout on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, served three years active service as a Quartermaster Officer in the US Army, Supervised brick kilns first in MS than in Atlanta GA and whatever else it took to skin the cat. He now lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.


Letters to Editor

  1. mark dellacqua says:

    If you trace from 11/9/16 [ the day after Trump win ] to this present date [ 8/9/17 ], you will see that the stock market has posted numbers like no other time in US history during the past 40 years. The Dow has posted record numbers three times during the past month, and the unemployment rate is below 5%. These facts are easily verifiable despite most media outlets refusing to report it. This is only after 8+ months of Trump trying to create a business friendly atmosphere where everyone benefits.

    The reason why you never saw economic growth during the previous eight years was that Barak Obama had no real economic policy other than increased taxes and turning the EPA over to the radical left where through government regulations American businesses could no longer be competitive. Next on the Trump agenda is tax-reform which is long overdue if you want a thriving economy because you can’t tax your way into prosperity. Many US-based businesses left a long time ago because of the high corporate tax rate, and their profits are now sitting in a foreign bank which benefits no one here in the US. The author in the above piece states “seek people who will enact law and tax code to suppress excessive wealth and rebalance the life of Americans.”

    First and foremost, that statement is the foundational principle that drives socialism, today the politically correct term is “wealth redistribution” Secondly, who gets to define what exactly “excessive wealth” is and who gets to decide where the money that is taken [ stolen ] from the “excessively rich” is redistributed? That’s right, someone from the government. Actually what the author is promoting is something that has been around for years [ centuries ], but there isn’t one case where it was implemented with any degree of success. Name me a period in history where it happened. You can’t.

    The other problem with socialism is that it suppresses the desire to achieve greatness. What would be the incentive for people like Henry Ford and Bill Gates if the government could step in at any time they deemed necessary and say “your excessively rich, we want 40% of everything that you have worked for.” If you live in the United States, then the playing field is level, and it’s because of that fact that many people have gone on to achieve financial wealth. A level playing field doesn’t guarantee that everyone will achieve wealth, but it does guarantee that every American still can pursue it without the fear of someone from the government wanting to steal the fruits of their hard work and sacrifice. The trouble with socialism is that in the end, you will run out of other people’s money. Then what do you do?

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