American Billionaires and Busywork

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There is no doubt in my mind that America is the greatest country in the world. Of course there are plenty of naysayers out there who just cringed at this statement or will stop at nothing to refute it. They'll tout what an evil empire America is to anyone who'll listen. The facts that they're buying our real estate, investing in our markets, studying in our schools, working for our companies, purchasing our technologies, and wanting their fat slices of the American pie is chalked off as a minor oversight, or something their demented egos somehow learn to rationalize.

I am the first to admit that America has its flaws, just as all other countries do, but nothing repulses me more than coming across the types of hypocrites mentioned above. They bring no new solutions to the table while making the same old repetitive arguments ... America robbed its land from the Indians ... our founding fathers were rich slave owners ... our companies and government sent jackals to cripple emerging nations. In addition, they'll create many new allegations and conspiracies about our so-called evil CIA and military industrial complex. British actor, comedian, and activist, Russell Brand has made a new-found career of this, but let's just ignore the fact that he made most of his fortune here.

As one who works justly and diligently to achieve great wealth, while encouraging others do the same, I firmly believe that America is the best place on earth to afford its citizens with the liberty and freedom to do so. Therefore, if I ever have something negative to say, I only do it when I can offer a positive solution; which is a foreign concept to the many haters like Brand who support self-interest or hidden agendas.

The business side of me knows there is no such thing as a permanently excellent company or industry, and for anything to thrive on a sustained basis change is the only constant. Our great nation is not exempt from this rule, but rather a prime example of it. For America's future economy and society to flourish, significant re-engineering and reform is a must.

We are foolish to believe traditional practices can lift America to future prosperity and economic power in this fiercely competitive connected new world.

If the future America is to be great our billionaires must lead the way. Only this uber rich group of elites, who's now more than 490 strong and growing, can harness its power to end the corruption that's embedded into the very core of our political, business and economic landscapes. The key word and critical hurdle here is harness, as the opposing ideologies of America's two dominant political parties does nothing but hurt and divide us.

The fact that liberals and conservatives each create, spin, and frame America's most prominent issues makes it nearly impossible for a consensus or innovative solution to ever develop. Instead, we remain stagnant and paralyzed as a nation who continues to fight over the same old topics like racism and equal rights when the vast majority of us are ready to move on. In the early 1990's, I read E.J. Dionne's book, Why Americans Hate Politics, which brilliantly depicted such problems. It's now nearly 25 years later and our world has advanced significantly while American politics still hasn't changed!

America is a republic, and not a direct democracy, which means we elect officials to govern our bodies and make our laws, as opposed to letting the masses vote and decide on each issue. Therefore, once elected, our officials possess all of the power ... and we all know what great power brings. If things are to ever improve, we must elect honest, intelligent, and business-minded people to run this country as if it were a very successful company.

Corporate America places more care in its selection of front line managers than Americans do with members of congress.

Unfortunately, the corruption starts prior to the electoral process with the obscene level of fund raising. For example, it's not uncommon for gubernatorial campaign costs to top $50 Million, meanwhile the job pays an average of $132,000 per year. Unless all politicians were filthy rich like former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, they would be in massive debt to their loyal contributors; which is where the repeated acts of quid pro quo begins.

blagoOne of the most notorious examples of our corrupt system, and players in it, dates back to 2009, when Rod Blagojevich (Blago), former Governor of Illinois, was impeached for trying to sell Obama's vacant senate seat among several other counts of fraud.

I seriously can't decide what's more appalling, Blago's heinous acts or the fact that such a buffoon could be elected as the governor of our 5th most populous state?

Prior to his conviction, Blago sought additional exposure by willingly appearing on the hit reality television show Celebrity Apprentice, where he revealed to the world just how incapable of a leader he truly was and only lasted four weeks. Blago currently serves a 14-year sentence in federal prison, but don't be surprised when someone pardons him in 2016.

Nearly $4 Billion was spent on mid-term elections in 2014 and it's estimated that Hillary Clinton could spend half of this amount alone if she runs in 2016. We are insane to let this huge spend for campaigning continue, and even crazier to believe that it doesn't occur without detrimental consequences to our nation. Campaign costs need to be capped and distributed proportionately to the top three parties. Only then will independents have a legitimate chance to lead.

In addition, corporate America should have zero ties or influences to party affiliations, especially publicly traded companies. There's a huge conflict of interest here that fuels the ongoing corruption and partisan hate wars. When America's billionaires on the left nefariously throw bricks at those on the right, and vice versa, our entire country suffers.

Once again, our more than 490 billionaires in this country need to lead by example and put an end to bickering behind our stagnation. I'd much rather see opposing forces like the Koch brothers and George Soros put party affiliations second and America first by focusing on issues that will allow us to prevail in the future ... corrupt government, balanced budget, strong economy, clean energy, healthcare reform, immigration, education, and the rebirth of a fair capitalistic society that keeps the dream alive and playing-field level for all hardworking Americans. We know Carl Icahn is on board ...

Even though noble humanitarians like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet do a great deal of philanthropy; which helps to support the moral fabric of our country, their efforts do very little to repair the unethical practices and issues that continue to plague us. Almost all other billionaires could be doing more too.

Sure we enjoy seeing Trump on the Celebrity Apprentice and Cuban on the Shark Tank but this is nothing more than billionaire busywork.

What our country needs now are more visionary leaders like Henry Ford who will put their business minds and economic influence to greater use. There's no denying that Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and a few others are revolutionizing their industries, but are their efforts to better America tantamount to what Henry Ford achieved on his own? If you need cliff notes ... in 1914, Ford increased the daily minimum wage for his workers from $2.34 to $5 ($120 today) and later initiated the five day work week. Ford also aimed to help those who he felt deserved it by offering profit sharing to those who didn't engage in excessive drinking, gambling or were considered deadbeat dads. Although his methods to uphold employee standards were controversial, Ford worked to better his business and American society simultaneously. By 1918, half of the cars in this country were black Model T's and America's unemployment rate was estimated to be 1.4%.

The Henry Ford of today, would aim to keep the masses off the dole to greater reward those who do the right thing.

I'm definitely not trying to diminish the brilliant work of our innovative CEOs like Page and Musk, who I seriously believe are bettering the world through technology, but if minds like these were to spearhead a consortium focused on America's greatest issues, we would yield immediate results.

Also understand that my aim is not to condemn every US politician, but show how rotten apples spoil the bunch and too much fertilizer kills the tree. We need business minds in office who actually read the bills and put the interest of America first. Unfortunately, our senate recently lost one great man who did, Tom Coburn.

Tom ended his term in senate early due to ailing health from pancreatic cancer. Coburn was a passionate politician with great vision, who single handily fought to stop corruption and improve our country. He worked effectively across party lines and made bold comments like "we need to remove everyone in congress and start over". My prayers go out to Mr. Coburn and his family, and may we fill the next 34 senate seats with leaders as worthy as him.

In 2014, Forbes reported 50 new billionaires entered America's picture, and 11 of the top 400 are under the age of 40. Perhaps it's this young and energetic group of hopeful millennials who will build a stronger America, and not succumb to the temptation of celebritism or the busywork involved in owning a professional sports team. Maybe they're the fresh new wave of billionaires who will pay it forward and won't be afraid to shake things up in Washington, D.C., on Wall Street, in our corporations, school systems, and everywhere else our country needs it. Hopefully this will be the regime that gets all Americans to share the same dream.

 

 

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"Very creative! Welcome to the Big Leagues is a unique thesis on how to make an impact on the corporate environment. Using baseball as the backdrop, the reader is able to easily absorb and remember the lessons, the author, Carmine Del Sordi, is conveying. Very few business books speak to both physical and mental wellbeing; which further makes it essential Continue Reading

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"The corporate rookie of today could benefit from additional support, as the demanding and competitive business landscape has become less forgiving of mistakes and poor decisions. Welcome to the Big Leagues emphasizes the importance of actively managing a host of critical success factors like the ability to drive results, strong collaboration and fiscal responsibility. It provides readers with the much needed Continue Reading

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"Carmine presents this treatise against the backdrop of professional baseball; it is a highly entertaining read, providing humor and insight to cement his points and advice. Welcome to the Big Leagues is not only a guide for the corporate neophyte, but a useful guide for evaluation at any level in one’s career. After 30 years in technology development, I have found Continue Reading

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3 Responses

  1. julieanne
    Hi Carmine, as an Australian who loves the country where I was born, I would never say it's the "greatest" country in the world, even though I would never live anywhere else permanently. Personally, I think the word "great" is one of the most subjective words in our dictionaries. I believe there are many wonderful countries in the world, and not one of them could be considered the "greatest". Having said that, I've visited America many times, and love it there, and in my opinion, it IS a great country. However, I've been to many other great countries also :-)
  2. Carmine, you obviously put a lot of thought into your posts, and design them to make people think! I am not an American either, and even though Canada has a different flavour (and spelling ;) ), we are close enough that we are affected by what happens in your country. Decades ago, when I was a high schooler, people were already speculating as to what would happen if we became the 51st State. I hope that never happens, because I am proud of my country, and if we had any warm provinces, I would never consider living in any other country. Both your country and mine need to change, even if we want to keep what we already have. Thanks for another great post that makes me think!
  3. Carmine, Another wonderful, thought provoking post. I like your suggestion that the 490 or so billionaires could make a huge difference in fighting the corruption and negatives of our current beloved country. Problem is, some (maybe many_ of these billionaires are part of the problem, earning money in less than ethical ways and depriving farmers, workers, and even businesses of much needed resources and fair opportunities. And even if we do elect some really ethical, caring individuals, we do not know what pressures they have, what forces threaten to undermine them and make them lose the elections if they do not capitulate. We do not know if their families and loved ones are threatened. Without actually being behind the scenes at high levels of government, we cannot know what actually transpires. There really are many forces for good in this society and there are also greedy and controlling forces, and there are the haves and the have nots. Thanks for educating us about what you see happening in politics. My goal is to help create more love in the world, hoping that we can somehow reach those who are following a negative path and show them that they can succeed without hurting others. Warmly, Dr. Erica

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