Are We Better At Making The Right Call Than The Powers That Be?
As I create a tapestry of news and info this evening, I'm listening to President Obama to make the case to blow up Syria. Polls show most Americans have no desire to get involved in the conflict, despite the horrible acts committed as a result of it.
Americans have historically trusted their leaders, often to the point of a blind and dangerous loyalty. That trust seems to be waning, however: a staggering 41% of Democrats and 68% of independents say Obama's handling of foreign policy has been the same or worse than that of Bush. People seem reluctant to listen to the powers that be or the traditional thought leaders in politics, religion and finance. I point to the growth of the audiences of people like Alex Jones and Glen Beck, non-denominational churches, and declining volume in the stock market as evidence of such a trend.
What's perhaps more enlightening is when the same thought leaders confirm what we've suspected for some time now. Take for example one of my favorite people to pick on: Paul Krugman of the New York Times. After finally admitting death panels and increased taxes on the middle class were the way to go (long after many conservatives were chided for using the term "death panels") a while back, check out this piece from Friday's paper of record. The Nobel Prize-winning economist writes:
The important thing, however, is to realize that there are degrees of disaster, that you can have an immense failure of economic policy that falls short of producing total collapse. And the failure of policy these past five years has, in fact, been immense.
To be fair, Krugman's complaint is that we didn't go all-out redneck with the credit card and rack up more debt to be pissed away (an economics term I learned during my public policy course work at Vanderbilt) in so-called stimulus programs. (For those interested, Veronique De Rugy at George Mason University presents a more compelling plan to jump start our ailing economy, which is currently comprised of over 100 million Americans receiving some form of federal welfare.) Despite a disagreement over the fix to what ails us, Krugman and I see eye to eye on the issue of our economic policy over the last five years: it's been a disaster for the typical American.
And after telling us for years now - years - that we ought not worry about inflation, CNBC reported last week that, well, we need to start worrying about inflation. From the article: "Higher inflation that's to come will mean still-tough times for savers and
retirees, whose money has generated little return since the Fed took over the
post-crisis economy." Buried in the article is this quote from economist David Rosenberg: "[higher inflation] is more bad news for pensioners and those who live on fixed income
investments, and good news for Uncle Sam and other debtors."
Meanwhile, on the subject of self defense during an active shooter situation, we see that conventional wisdom from the main stream thought leaders is, once again, being proven wrong. Cato lays out a tremendous amount of data on how long it takes law enforcement to actually enter a building where an active shooter is at work. Answer: long after the shooting stops. From the article: "The fastest way to stop a killer is to have somebody on-premises who’s armed, whether a security guard, an off-duty police officer or a civilian with a permit." Once again, divorcing ourselves from the talking points and loyalties of both political parties and the emotional rhetoric which often joins it, and replacing it with facts and data yields a more accurate result.
In short, it's up to all of us to do our own homework and reach our own conclusions. Just because someone's called an expert in the media doesn't mean they are one, or that they don't have a vested interest in a particular outcome.
Take heart if you have found yourself flying in the face of conventional wisdom lately as you map out your preparedness strategy. Turns out you may be far more correct in your thinking than most of the so called experts.