President for the Economy?

While I was out for breakfast over the weekend and had to wait in a rather long line. The group in front of us, a family of four with two college age kids, were discussing politics. I had to inject one thing into their conversation to correct their limited understanding; Bernie Sanders is not bad for the economy, he is great for it.

Case in point, as I made to them; Asher Edelman endorses Bernie Sanders for President. Who is Edelman? He is the real life Gordon Gekko that the movie Wall Street was based upon and one of the more successful people you will find on the real Wall Street.


Asher Edelman vs Gordon Gekko


Edelman says, “Well, I think it’s quite simple,” he began. “If you look at something called ‘velocity of money’—you guys know what that is, I presume—that means how much gets spent and turns around. When you have the top one percent getting money, they spend five, 10 percent of what they earn. When you have the lower end of the economy getting money, they spend 100, or 110 percent of what they earn. As you’ve had a transfer of wealth to the top, and a transfer of income to the top, you have a shrinking consumer base, basically, and you have a shrinking velocity of money. Bernie is the only person out there who I think is talking at all about both fiscal stimulation and banking rules that will get the banks to begin to generate lending again as opposed to speculation. So from an economic point of view, it’s straightforward.”

He said this on the financial program Fast Money on CNBC (view video) Edelman responded immediately when asked who he thought the best candidate for the economy would be. “Bernie Sanders,” Edelman said, without missing a beat. “No question.”

One of the most successful Wall Streeters ever endorsed Bernie Sanders for President. This is a big thing. Edelman is everything Trump keeps telling us he is; though Edelman is far more successful and worth so much more money then Trump. Slight difference there.

On the issue of minimum wage; $15/hr is not an economy killer either. More money, more velocity, better for everyone. There will not be mass unemployment or stagnation as so many believe. There are examples of course in places like Seattle, America’s fastest growing city in economic terms. The champion for Seattle’s $15 minimum wage? Billionaire and 1%’er Nick Hanauer. He outlined his argument for $15 in multiple forums and media, but one of the best is his opinion piece at CNBC.

Nick Hanauer states, “When workers have more money, businesses have more customers; and when businesses have more customers, they hire more workers.” Velocity of money explained in even more simple terms.

“The problem is runaway economic inequality eventually won’t work out for anyone.” Nick continues to say. Is that where we are today? I think so and so do so many others. From 1997 to 2015 I primarily lived outside the U.S. and the most disturbing thing I find on my return is that things cost more yet the wages are still circa 1997.

So two 1%’ers that support Bernie Sanders. There are more, but these guys are the problem and they will tell you so. They all want the same thing: An America that is doing well for everyone.

The most insidious part of trickle down economics isn’t that if the rich get richer, that’s good for the economy. It is that if the poor get richer, that will be bad.” – Nick Hanauer

Asher Edelman:

Nick Hanauer:

Bernie Sanders:

Velocity of Money:


The Presidential Race To Extremism

Hit List

We are getting down to the wire. A lot of eliminations have already happened helping to focus on what people (voters & media pundits) feel is important. Watching and listening to these politicians can be amusing and disheartening. This presidential election is shaping up to be something like we have never seen before; or have we?

The media has for years worked more like advertising or reality television than our own preconceived notion of news (or factually presenting facts;) The media or news outlets are seeking to appeal to their demographic base thus increasing ratings which in turn generates revenue by selling advertising. In all affect, their business model is about generating revenue by selling advertisement they do this with content tailored to keep you tuned in. They are exploiting our neotribalism for a profit. The “News” or “Media” is really 90% infotainment and propagation of already held views.

Our modern society is based more upon Neotribalism or modern tribalism. This sociological concept which postulates that human beings have evolved to live in tribal society, as opposed to mass society, and thus will naturally form social networks constituting new “tribes.”

President of the United States has become a reality TV show

David Ropeik wrote in Psychology Today:

Tribalism is pervasive, and it controls a lot of our behavior, readily overriding reason. Think of the inhuman things we do in the name of tribal unity. Wars are essentially, and often quite specifically, tribalism. Genocides are tribalism – wipe out the other group to keep our group safe – taken to madness. Racism that lets us feel that our tribe is better than theirs, parents who end contact with their own children when they dare marry someone of a different faith or color, denial of evolution or climate change or other basic scientific truths when they challenge tribal beliefs. What stunning evidence of the power of tribalism! (By the way, it wasn’t just geocentrist Catholics in the 16 and 1700s who denied evidence that the earth travels around the sun. Some Christian biblical literalists still do. So do a handful of ultra orthodox Jews and Muslims.)

Yet another example is the polarized way we argue about so many issues, and the incredible irony that as we make these arguments we claim to be intelligent (smart, therefore right) yet we ignorantly close our minds to views that conflict with ours. Dan Kahan, principal researcher into the phenomenon of Cultural Cognition (Cultural cognition refers to the tendency of individuals to conform their beliefs about disputed matters of fact,) has found that our views are powerfully shaped so they agree with beliefs of the groups with which we most strongly identify. His research, along with the work of others, has also found that the more challenged our views are, the more we defend them…the more dogmatic and closed-minded we become…an intellectual form of ‘circle-the-wagons, we’re under attack’ tribal unity. Talk about tribalism overruling reason.

As irrational as genocide and science denial and immorality may be, it makes absolute sense that tribalism can produce such behaviors. We are social animals. We have evolved to depend on our tribes, literally, for our safety and survival…

…We may not be aware at the conscious level of the influence tribalism has on us, but then, most of human cognition happens below the radar of consciousness, and is driven not so much by the goal of getting good grades or winning Nobel Prizes as it is, first, to survive. Small wonder that this ultimate imperative dominates so much of how we behave, how we think and act, and how we treat each other. And it’s hardly surprising that the more unsettled and uncertain we feel and the less we feel we have control over how things are going – feelings that make us feel threatened – the more we circle the wagons and fiercely fight for tribal success, looking to the tribe to keep us safe.

We also identify with our tribes based upon how we want to be perceived by other members of our tribes. We join tribes not only because we feel threatened, but to avoid conflicts. If we find a great number of our fellow tribe-mates are joining a particular tribe,  we not only adjust our memberships in tribes but change our views for acceptance of these people.

Examples of joining tribes for acceptance has been seen repeatedly in the religious/political marriages over the past 30 years. In this election we often have heard people ask, how will candidate ABC appeal to XYZ religious group. We have also seen how entire congregations have come to support extremist candidates.

 We seek like minded people to justify our own correctness

Do we know the facts or our we paraphrasing what we see in the media to justify our position? Is our position based upon a single source? A recent study concluded that not watching the news you would likely know more then the most watched news in America.

They found that someone who watched only Fox News would be expected to answer 1.04 domestic questions correctly compared to 1.22 for those who watched no news at all. -Fairleigh Dickinson University’s newest PublicMind survey.

So why don’t we invest more time into understanding and knowing the facts of our laws and candidates? While laziness is what most people answer, neotribalism probably has more to do with it. Our instinctive need for social cohesion easily overwhelms morality and reason.

If you’re wondering still why things have become so extreme and polarized and why words have had their meanings forever altered; it’s because you are not speaking up to either become a leader of your tribe and or you have switched tribes altogether. It makes me sad that the Election of the President of the United States has become a reality TV show seeking ratings through conflict focused on their demographics.

What do you think? Voice your views in the comments!


Continued reading on the subjects above:

Voting In Person

This will be the first time in about 18 years that I’m voting in person in the US.


I have experienced voting in person in Sweden in recent years, which is as exciting as it is easy. So my expectations are a mixed bag. There are so many candidates and issues; the hanging chad; lines at the poles… What will it be like?

This is the first of two elections where voters will nominate their party candidates. Candidates for the following offices are seeking nomination in this election:

  • President of the United States
  • United States Senator
  • Representatives in Congress
  • State Senators and Representatives in the General Assembly
  • Illinois Comptroller
  • Cook County State’s Attorney, Clerk of the Circuit Court, and Recorder of Deeds
  • Commissioners of the Board of Review of Cook County – Districts 1 and 2
  • Commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District – 3 to be nominated for 6 year terms – 1 to be nominated to fill a vacancy for a 2 year term

Since I’m a democrat, selecting a presidential nominee is between 2 candidates. That’s the easy one, while almost all the other offices are hard to navigate. I say this because unlike California where they always sent me a sample ballot, provided it via a web page, I’ve had to research the hell out of each nominee manually here in Illinois. While Cook County provides a sample ballot online, many of the candidates have no information.

It makes me question if this isn’t one of the reasons voter turnout is low. Sure there are other reasons, but making voting easier seems to be a no brainer.

What else contributes to low voter turnout?