“It’s so much easier to suggest solutions when you don’t know too much about the problem.” Malcolm Forbes
Sage words from the most influential business journalist of all time. In an age that was much like the mindless green eyed envy of the progressivism of today, he courageously took a small and relatively obscure business journal he had inherited to become Forbes, the premiere business publication in America, with a sub caption famously known as the “Capitalist Tool.” With surgical skill the magazine eviscerated the business ethos of cronyism, the corrupt symbiosis with government.
It is no surprise that the vast majority of Americans are most concerned about inflation, whether it’s with food, energy, or shelter. They are far less interested in solutions to things like the war in Ukraine, abortion, green energy, gun control, social justice, or any other issue government or media put out there when they are faced with life support issues. Clearly the government is floundering by spinning solutions to problems that are at best of secondary concern to its citizens; no surprise then that the polls show such a low level of approval for this administration.
An axiom of good management is that in order to solve a problem you first must understand and admit there is one, clearly identify what it is, what caused it and then focus on solutions to it; the corollary to that axiom is not to be distracted by your bias about the nature of the problem, who to blame for it, or indulge in prejudices against possible solutions that may not fit your political narrative. In all things in life there are guard rails that constrain the field of possible solutions ethically, legally and physically, but to successfully solve a problem requires an objective focus, and that often presents the biggest hurdle, most often because of confirmation bias.
The lack of objectivity is so apparent regarding the essential problem behind the existential threats in food, energy and shelter that Americans are becoming increasingly frustrated. While this is understandable, it is creating another problem, and that is anger. While that may fuel the partisan agenda for some politicians, it’s a distraction from focusing on the problem, and hence the solution. This is not the first time that common sense is ignored in favor of partisan pandering, but this is certainly one of the more dangerous times for this to be happening.
What Americans are focused on is survival; that admittedly sounds like an exaggeration until we consider the simple fact that more than 40% of Americans are living solely on pay checks now, no more “stimulus”, and little savings. The government and media keep telling us how the economy is doing well because all the major corporations are in great shape with strong balance sheets, while small businesses, which not long ago accounted for 52% of employment, are failing in record numbers and Americans are paying record high prices for life’s essentials. We are given low unemployment statistics with little said about low participation rates. We are told that the Fed is determined to bring inflation down with higher interest rates but sees no cause for concern about a recession given the strong economy, despite the fact that there has been a yield curve inversion indicating a recession has already started.
Recently, while in Madrid for the NATO Conference, Biden chooses such an inappropriate venue to speak about the recent SCOTUS ruling on Dobbs which overturned Roe v. Wade. Further, why would he, as president of the US, denigrate its Supreme Court while at an international conference, and then go on to set himself up for failure by announcing plans to void the filibuster in order to attempt passing legislation to address abortion at the Federal level when the Supreme Court has already ruled that in belongs with the states, and which some in his own party will not support, and even if passed will not survive a constitutional challenge? The president and congress propose even more senseless spending and raising taxes, all of which will only exacerbate an already egregious inflation not to mention an unsustainable debt. The lack of focus is apparent except to the spinners.
What’s really bewildering in all of this is the dissonance of proposed solutions with the existential problems the county is facing; the public would be happy to hear the explanation if the president and congress can provide a direct answer without resorting to spinning another narrative that puts people in the awkward position of the “Emperor’s New Clothes”. We are way beyond the point of politely ignoring the embarrassingly obvious reality that the administration lacks either the ability or the integrity to address inflation.