ROSE NOLEN: Perhaps we've been misled about the entitled rich

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

There is a lot of talk these days about financial responsibility. Lately, for example, people keep telling me that a raise in the minimum wage will not get us out of the economic situation that is strangling us.

They insist that in our economy, only certain people are supposed to make a lot of money. For the rest of us, they say it is a given that the rich will continue to get richer because that’s the way it has always been.

Apparently, we can’t change the way we have always done business. In other words, nobody seems to be able to think of any conditions that would allow our country's economic welfare to change.

Maybe, it has to do with some degree of high finance that we are not smart enough to understand.

It stands to reason that one of our biggest problems is that we have allowed too many of our manufacturing companies to leave the country. We seem to have forgotten that it was the organized labor movement that allowed us to have a middle-class society in the first place.

The labor movement was built by union workers standing together and fighting for decent pay. In those days we built things. The mistake we made was when we allowed the builders to leave the country.

If this is the case, what we may have to do is start rebuilding our country. Maybe, we have finally had the time and opportunity to learn the things we need to know about how to make our systems work.

Perhaps, we have been too dependent on the people we thought were smarter than we were. Those were the people we expected could make the economic system work once it was organized.

Perhaps, they made the system work for just certain people. In fact, maybe that has been the problem.

It could be that the system was actually supposed to work for everybody. Maybe, we just misunderstood the information. Perhaps we were taught that some people would always make it to the top and others wouldn’t.

If it were possible that everyone could make it to the top, there would be no need to separate individuals according to class, because there would be no need for classes.

Now we see what is wrong with the inability to question everyone and everything. When something is taught a certain way for a long time, many people assume that this is the way that it is supposed to be.

Just because it has always been assumed that some individuals are expected to live better than others, does it mean it always must be that way?

If, for example, it should turn out that all people have the same education, would they all be qualified for the same kinds of jobs and make the same amount of money?

Could it really be in the way you look at things? Or could it be the way you were told things were supposed to be? Anyway you look at it, it’s still a funny world.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at

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Ellis Smith March 25, 2014 | 8:41 a.m.


I agree with your statement about one problem being manufacturing firms leaving the United States. My career, here and outside the United States, was manufacturing.

Can you explain how, under our Constitution, what you advocate would be possible? There IS a way.

Any laws and/or regulations would be challenged in federal courts and and at least some challenges would reach the United States Supreme Court. I suspect the Court, even if composed of a more Liberal group of justices than at present, would stike some or all of those laws/regulations down.

Why do I think that? Because If they don't it will open the door to challenging other laws/regulations which I think we could agree are useful and beneficial.

My purpose in writing is to point out that under our Constitution there IS a way to do what you suggest: a Constitutional amendment. That's not an easy task to accomplish. It was obviously designed not to be.

The Thirteenth Amendment was certainly a good thing. The Eighteenth Amendment doesn't seem to have been as good an idea, and was voided by the Twenty-first Amendment. An attempt some years ago to ratify what was called ERA narrrowly failed to be ratified.

Are Amendments I through X, aka Bill of Rights, good or bad? If some are bad, why are they bad? There seems to be an entire group of Americans today that acts as if the Tenth Amendment doesn't exist, possibly because they don't want it to exist.

A major news item in economic magazines is that some of those manufacturing enterprises are now coming back to the United Sates*. That's the good news. The bad news is that one reason they are coming back is that (with significant capital investments) we can largely or completely now automate them, meaning few humans will be needed to operate them**. Those humans who will be needed will need very specific kills. Contrary to popular belief, not all those jobs will require higher educations, but they definitely will require serious training.

*- I seem to recall at least one Associated Press article in the Missourian about this.

**- I've previously cited a factory near Indianapolis, Indiana that produces between 12 and 20 million bricks a year with a total production staff we can tally without exceeding our fingers and toes.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 25, 2014 | 8:50 a.m.

" The mistake we made was when we allowed the builders to leave the country."

Me: The political mindset of this particular statement is appalling.

But, if we go along with it, Rose Nolen should NEVER be allowed to leave, work, or spend money in any place except Columbia, MO.

She and her activities must be carefully controlled.

"...they say it is a given that the rich will continue to get richer because that’s the way it has always been."

Me: One thing is true about this statement: You can give free-gratis cash to many people in this nation and before you can say "Boo", the money will be back in the hands of the wealthier. That's because the recipients are financially illiterate and buy crap instead of save or purchase assets. The worst investment anyone can make is one that goes to pay current expenses and gets you through next Tuesday or even next month, at which point another infusion is required.

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders March 25, 2014 | 9:45 a.m.

The loss of the US manufacturing base can be attributed to a single UNCONSTITUTIONAL entity, the NOT-Federal, NOT-Reserve system. It is the source of all of the easy money that undermines prudent savers and investors alike by destroying the ability to plan in a world of scarcity. What is left over from this unnatural injection of money? Nothing but gamblers who only have to bet that their projects can be completed before the competitions.

What do gamblers add to the economy? Uncertainty, risk and a broken system of malinvestment that ends up being nothing more than "eating the seed corn."

The student housing bubble downtown is the perfect example. Developers are competing for all of the student loan bubble dollars flowing into Columbia, creating a nightmare, once these bubbles pop (assuming the Fed doesn't find another way to "kick the can").

Either way though, the consequences will be paid, rather it be an instantaneous collapse, or day by day, as the new money undermines the purchasing power of all the other money in circulation (which we know as price inflation).

It is this government-partnered, private banking system that issues IOU's that makes the rich richer, and the poor poorer. The only reason it seems "too complicated to understand" is that it is designed that way by the charlatans who rely upon it to keep their job as gatekeepers.

Once you realize that ALL money is merely someone else's IOU, the impossibility of the system becomes apparent.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 25, 2014 | 10:19 a.m.


Good points. Actually I guess I made a second point. Whether Rose Nowlen, Michaeal Williams, Ellis Smith, Truman the Tiger or Joe Miner like it, or whether they don't, the technology situation is going to go where it goes, and that will evetuallty include even China. It already includes quite a few countries.

I don't like some of the baggage that's coming along with this situation, but that makes no difference.

Aside from issues of "wealth" or "greed" four poor assumptions were made when moving some manufacturing overseas:

1- That wages there would STAY low.

2- That there wouldn't be serious communications problems between the home office and factories, partly due to geographic separation.

3- That manufacturing experience in countries like ours, UK, Germany and Japan was locally present or could be quickly gained.

4- That once the host country wooed them over, that country wouldn't start raising taxes or even stage nationalization: old stuff in the petroleum industry.

As a corporate employee working outside the United States my situation was that the "locals" owned all or most of the operation, and we made money from licenses and technical assistance, as well as licensing them to sell certain of our American-made products. I can make a case that under those circumstances EVERYBODY WINS.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 25, 2014 | 12:29 p.m.

Ellis: It boggles my mind that folks like Rose want this thing called "personal freedom", yet wish that gov't limit the freedom of entrepreneurs to come and go and stay.

I'm a citizen of the US. Do I give up my personal freedom to locate wherever I wish by the simple act of hiring someone? Does Rose demand that our gov't FORCE a business to stay here? Or come back?

If so, I demand that Rose stay in her house forever. Her wishes for her own freedom count. Her wishes for MY freedom do not count....if they are different from HER wishes.

There are many people in the US who view life from a position of imposition, of weakness, and mainly of helplessness. They make statements similar to those made by Rose. And virtually all of them require that others give up their "freedoms" so Rose and others of her ilk can have theirs.

There are two kinds of "hope". The first kind is one which has thoughtful, personal actions.... behind it. The second kind is one which depends upon someone elses' promised actions on your behalf....that is, it's a bet at the craps table.

(Report Comment)
Skip Yates March 25, 2014 | 1:54 p.m.

I am reminded what a South Carolina share-cropper said to me many decades ago: "Thems what gots, gits!"....:-)

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 25, 2014 | 3:06 p.m.

@ Skip:

And if the fox hadn't stopped to scratch his arse he'd a caught that rabbit.

One other comment. Columbia, Missouri is somewhat unique in this country in that for a city its size it has TWO residents each having ( according to Forbes magazine et al.) net worths in the low BILLIONS of dollars. Are there actually those who don't know that? Do we note Rose, Rosman, or any of those recent "Occupy" types (remember that?) specifically criticizing those "rich folks"?

Why aren't I raising hell? Because I don't HAVE a problem with that situation.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 25, 2014 | 3:27 p.m.

Ellis: I guess "Occupy" got occupied with other things.

....boomers tryin' to relive the highwater marks of their youth and draggin' a few younger wannabees along....

Kinda sad. That "hope" got "changed".

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 25, 2014 | 5:12 p.m.


You know I don't comment about "Boomers," because:

While there are not many years of separation, I'm from the prior generation (we tend to think more like the generation before us), and...

Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Glass is a ceramic. :)

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 25, 2014 | 6:37 p.m.

Ellis: Well, I'm a boomer, and I ain't very happy with us as a group.

(Report Comment)

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