Socialism is once again singing its sirens song to the disaffected in this case largely millennial population in the united states. Unfortunately, we did it to ourselves “we have met the enemy and he is us.”
The rot began in the time of Ronaldus Maximus one of the greatest US Presidents to grace the white house. The boomers were just coming into positions of power after being the “flower children” of the 1960-1970s. It’s hard to find a specific villain here but the confluence of the Chicago school of economics, the “if it feels good do it ethos of the time” and Michael Milliken junk bond-funded buyouts of companies to ‘unlock (short term) shareholder value’ these factors would have been insufficient had it not been for the spreadsheet which facilitated large scale numerical analysis by nonprofessionals.
The short term mentality spawned by Milliken and his disciples led to the breaking of the social contract between corporate management and the population at large.
When I took my business courses corporate management was viewed as a tripod with Shareholders, Stakeholders and Workers all being given equal consideration in management decisions which led to largely stable profitable companies that invested in both new lines of business and their workforce and community at large.
The age of Milliken and the asset stripping raiders who followed his philosophy turned that stable structure into a unipod the only leg being to create short term shareholder value. The net result being profitable divisions of companies shut down or sold off. Production being shipped overseas. Companies investing in financial engineering instead of ‘real’ engineering. And an oscillating cycle of boom and bust which gets more severe every cycle and the destruction of economic security for all but government workers.
Now that the social contract is broken and short term shareholder value is the only metric which counts we have American companies looting pension funds to finance share repurchases simultaneously destroying retirements and creating a government expense when the dried husk of the pension plan is turned over to the PBGC. Notice the EXECUTIVE plans are always fully funded and in the interest of justice if a company decides to use PBGC ALL pension funds should be turned over to PBGC.
What’s driving the Millennials to socialism is seeing their grandparents lose their retirement, Their parents laid off because they are ‘too old and expensive’ because we can hire imported labor for less than we mandate a fast food worker be paid. (see Boeing 737 Max and the $9.00/hr. engineers who coded/tested MCAS). Millennials who took the hard subjects like STEM and piled up the debt at places like Stanford, WPI, MIT, Cal Tech who NEED a 6 figure job to pay their debt find themselves competing with imported workers on the L2/H1 visa programs who live 5-10 to an apartment making 15-20/HR so the newly minted engineer is now doing open source in hopes someone notices them and is working as a barista if they are lucky.
The millennials see socialism as a path to a secure job and a retirement which does not involve living in a tent or under a bridge. As conservatives, we will not be able to hold back the tide of socialism until we re-establish the social contract between big business and its subsidiary big government and the average citizen. I’ve spent the last few months traveling internationally through the world’s biggest technology hubs selling and supporting our product and the biggest difference I’ve noticed is that all the tech hubs employ citizens vs guest workers.
Featured image from The Economist
By “Weegee” An engineer and avid photographer who admires New York’s iconic crime photographer, Weegee, the author is an NH native, a conservative who believes that small government is the best government and the goverment’s proper role is that of referee rather than of playmaker as it is far too often today. And he believes in ‘bright line’ business regulations which are clear and unambiguous and not subject to ‘what’s the definition of is.’