Point of No Return — There are plenty of topics to focus on this week

Date Published: 
Nov. 17, 2017

Be it the rise and proliferation of social media, the “insta-cup” mentality of many news organizations or, well, whatever, there is plenty going on around this spinning globe to get your attention. Instead of tackling one item this week, let’s look at a few. Hey, the more things I discuss, the more chances I have of irritating you with a given opinion. And, really, that’s what I’m here for, right?

So, without further ado, let’s take a walk down the opinion superhighway...

• The world’s richest 1 percent own half the world’s wealth, according to a global wealth report published by Credit Suisse earlier this week, per several articles I ran across, from PBS to theguardian.com.

Perhaps equally as interesting, though generating fewer headlines from what I could tell on my Wednesday-morning surfathon online, is that the report also says the world’s 3.5 billion poorest adults (70 percent of the world’s working-age population), account for just 2.7 percent of global wealth.

I’m a capitalist. In fact, I’m a Capitalist with a capital “C.” I believe there should be millionaires, billionaires and whatever kind of “ionaire” Bill Gates qualifies as now. I’m also a big believer that people who create wealth through innovation or commerce, and people who work harder and perform better than the guys or girls next to them, should be compensated at a higher level than others.

That is the kind of inspiration that can lead to greater innovation, higher efficiency in the workplace and, in my opinion, a greater sense of personal satisfaction for people who earn their way up the financial ladder. I know I feel better about myself when I earn something through my own hard work. Don’t you?

That being said, the wealth disparity is out of hand. That Credit Suisse report said that the world’s richest 1 percent owned 42.5 percent of the globe’s wealth at the height of the financial crisis in 2008, and that figure is now at 50.1 percent.

I don’t know the answers. I do know it’s more complicated than looking at the situation and saying either, (a) the rich have to just give up a certain percentage of their money to the poor, or (b) we adopt a Darwinistic approach that just sees the poor go away and die somewhere.

And, though everyone seems to during these discussions, let’s not forget about those people in the middle — the ones who get up every morning, bust their bottoms at work and struggle to keep food on the table for their kids. If we fully-embrace capitalism, and expect people to work hard so they can get ahead, then we have to, you know, let them work hard and get ahead.

• I don’t know if you all watched the recent World Series between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers, but... Wow. Two great teams put their talent and hearts on display for seven riveting games, and many of us “seamheads” were reminded once again what a beautiful game baseball can be when it is played the right way.

With the NFL seemingly going through a new drama every day, the NBA becoming a two-team league for the last three years and the NHL, well, featuring hockey, baseball has a chance to reclaim at least part of its past glory as the unofficial “National Pastime.”

Of course, another work stoppage, steroid controversy or more games pushing the four-hour mark could push baseball to the underworld for perpetuity.

• Oh, I am a hockey fan, by the way. I’ve been a fan of the Washington Capitals since they were born, which means I’m loyal. Exceedingly loyal, if you follow the Capitals’ track record over the years.

• Will we enter war with North Korea, either through traditional warfare or nuclear? That is the ultimate wildcard question to me, as both nations are governed by nonconforming and unpredictable leaders.

As someone with absolutely zero inside information, and based solely on following the events from afar, I’m going to guess that neither leader really wants to engage in war, as the cost would just be too high, but neither wants to “lose face,” so the rhetoric will continue. I like how President Trump is seemingly enlisting other Asian leaders in helping to quell the situation, but I’m not ready to say this is anything but a scary situation.

Prepare for war, and hope for peace, right?

• I wish wars were fought with national leaders playing best-of-five Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots on pay-per-view, with proceeds going to clean water and food to places that don’t have them.

• Mass shootings took place recently in Las Vegas, Texas and California, with an individual running people over in a vehicle in New York mixed in the middle.

Some people are shouting that we need better gun control. Some are screaming that we need to ban all guns. And others are hollering that we need to improve the mental health care in this country.

And nothing happens. Everything goes away with the next news controversy and nothing ever gets fixed. Taking guns from responsible gun-owners does not stop the killings, and neither does talking about mental health.

Doing nothing? Well, that accomplishes exactly what doing nothing always accomplishes. Nothing.

• It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already on us next week, which means Christmas shopping is hot on its heels — which means I’ll soon be eating cereal with sink water for three months to crawl out of financial armageddon.