The Battle Continues

The Apostle Paul describes warfare in the book of Ephesians. He also describes how a believer prepares for this warfare by putting on the full armor of God. The Helmet, Breastplate, Belt, Shield, Shoes, and Sword are all tools provided to successfully wage war in the spiritual realm. However, there is warfare in the civic realm that rages on. It is a war of resources, and is a result of scarcity and philosophy. Let me explain what I mean.

The Republicans and Democrats have fought for months over the affordable care act. In fact, both parties shut a government down by the inability to figure out how to play well in the sandbox. Now, President Obama speaks to the nation and must adapt the plan to substandard system performance levels while thousands of people are trying to sign up for insurance. Now is the time for the two sides to get together and compromise to make this event work.

The Republicans were incorrect in believing that the free market health system was perfect. The Democrats were incorrect in its thinking that the government could run something well. Now they should work together to find the balance between government run and market-oriented reforms.

Ramesh Ponnuru and Yuval Levin recommend several changes that could improve the affordable care act. “The key is to enable all Americans to purchase coverage and to approach healthcare as consumers; with an interest in quality and an eye on cost.” The process they recommend involves a flat-tax benefit for coverage; convert Medicaid to a means-based addition to the flat-tax benefit; which according to Ponnurru and Levin would provide opportunities for all to access the best insurances at the lowest prices. But for this to work, there must be a truce in the war between the two political parties.

Then there is the warfare between Boeing and the Union. The pictures of IAM employees cheering because they rejected a contract from the Boeing Company that would ensure the 777X would be built in Washington State demonstrates to me the lack of foresight that this union possesses. It has lost the battle with Caterpillar, Inc, and now it is leading this group of people down a road of despair. However, the Company is just at fault as the IAM. Instead of working together to find a solution Boeing management has gone back to the abusive style it once displayed prior to its move into the modern world of management. Because of this warfare, current Boeing employees in Washington State will be phased out and those jobs will be added within Utah, South Carolina, Alabama, or LA. A tragedy because people can’t see anything other than warfare!

Then there is the warfare involving the high pay of CEO’s. In Zurich, Switzerland the people will vote next week on whether to cap CEO pay at 12 times that of the company’s lowest paid employee. “On November 24, voters will be asked to approve or reject the 1:12 Initiative For Fair Pay, which organizers say would address the growing wealth gap in Switzerland.” According to the organizers wealth is unfairly distributed in Switzerland and getting worse. “While top Swiss managers make millions, more than 300,000 people in Switzerland have to work for a mere pittance.”

This is the same battle we see here in the US. The managerial class has created a new aristocracy. The Aristocrats respond to this critique by saying “Social harmony can’t be achieved by government interference in setting salaries.” I agree with this statement. When the government steps in to create a maximum wage, we are setting the stage for Communism. The result will be like the old Soviet joke that states that they are  “people who pretend to work, while the leaders pretend to pay them.” Initiative and innovation are lost because everyone gets the same pay.

How can we stop this warfare and keep government out of this decision? Who has the responsibility to control the rising costs associated with CEO pay? It is the Board of Directors. Therefore, they are the ones who need to exercise restraint. I don’t think anyone is worth $249 million per year. Yet, Oracle pays Larry Ellison that amount. Someone once said about Ellison, “that the only thing different between Larry Ellison and God, is that God doesn’t think He is Larry Ellison.”

This warfare will probably never stop, unless we begin to think differently about how to accomplish things. Instead of zero-sum assumptions, the warring opponents need to look for common ground solutions. Until that happens we will continue to lose ground. I hope the warriors learn that much more can be accomplished through peaceful compromise than irreversible warfare.

And that is my thought for the day!


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