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Feelings alone don't create good policies

It’s harder to know what does good than it is to know what feels good.

When considering a stance on policies, laws, social trends and views of the world, too many people are making those decisions based on whether it FEELS good rather than if it DOES good.


It’s easy to know if something feels good but it takes critical thinking, research, knowledge, experience and effort to know if things have a good chance of working in the real world.


We need to stop asking ourselves if it feels good to hold a belief and start evaluating if what we believe DOES good.


In today's society, the solution that offers the most simple short term instant gratification is winning out over solutions that take more effort or take longer to implement.


Most avoid these other possible solutions because it leaves them emotionally unsatisfied. People experience the world through emotion and when you provide a logical solution that truly fixes the problem, their connection to emotion is broken and their outrage has no home.


Media has been able to control people with so little effort by simply doing this:


Giving you countless issues to feel outraged about.


When you're outraged, you have a mission. When that mission is over, there's a void left and only filled when you have a new mission. In a world where most don't take the time to stop and evaluate where they are getting their beliefs, people are lead from one hot story to the next without really fixing any of them.

Just think of all the debates, arguments and headlines from 2020...

  • Did we really solve the crises at the border and the kids aren't in cages?

  • Where are the murder hornets?

  • Did we fix anything that caused the massive wildfires?

  • Who's talking about DACA anymore?

  • On and on and on and on...

We applied bandaids to a few things and then moved onto the next "crisis".


Even worse, the media have become masters at using your confirmation bias to radicalize you. Here's one example I posted about yesterday after the inauguration:


But I digress. Let's save more conversations around confirmation biases and the media for later.


For now, let's dive a bit deeper into the topic at hand by using one policy that is being debated currently to explain a little further:


Does it feel good to want to raise the minimum wage and “give” people more money?

Yes, of course it does.


But does it "fix" anything long term?


The debate between economists, business owners and politicians continue with all parties able to cite studies to support their arguments. Some will say it leads to the inevitable rise of inflation and loss of jobs - especially entry level jobs which is entirely counter productive.


Others will say those studies are incomplete and the rise in minimum wage is long overdue and only loosely (if at all) tied to inflation of any kind.


But it continues to be a solution offered because it's hard to admit it wouldn't FEEL good to pay people more money without considering the possible long term side effects.


This is why the discussion around expanding the earned income tax credit or wage subsidies get left in the corner. They aren't as "sexy" to our emotions. EITC conversations honestly isn't as satisfying as being able to shout,


"WE RAISED YOUR GUARANTEED INCOME WITHOUT YOU HAVING TO DO MORE WORK!"


We need to honestly answer questions like these to know if the solution just feels good or if it really provides the desired outcome for our society:

  • What will this do to small business owners?

  • What will the people do who would lose their job to a cheaper technology replacement?

  • What would happen to the incomes of the people currently making $15/hr but in higher than entry level jobs?

  • What does this do to the human spirit of competition and growth if people are simply given a raise based on a law instead merit

  • Are entry level jobs supposed to support "living wage"?

  • How much should the government control the free market?

These are just a few examples but there is a myriad of others.


Like many people, my beliefs of the world where more aligned with the "progressive" side of the isle when I was young. If a belief felt good to me to hold it, I probably did.


And why wouldn't I?


Without life experience/lessons or the guidance to think deeper, choosing a belief based on emotion is much easier. And honestly, it feels better.


But as I got older, I became less selfish about my need to feel good and more interested in results.


Instead of worrying about the way a political party viewed a specific talking point, I looked at the results the varying options produced by searching for real world examples. If a result created an outcome where people are healthier, happier, more prosperous, provided an environment of more peace, more empowered, more successful, fulfilled or any other important metric, I choose it.


Even if less convenient, takes more work or goes against my old "identity".


I'm not condemning young people or any particular way of thinking. I'm simply admitting I'm as fallible as anyone and sharing a personal journey.


As we enter into this next chapter of America I hope that we don't fall victim of habitually pursuing policies because they sound good or would feel good to implement.


Let's be willing to tackle all of the important issues with real, long term solutions even if they require us to do more work than sit behind a keyboard and be outraged. Let's ditch the addiction for drama and replace it with a healthy dedication to real progress.



 
  • To learn more about EITCs and wage subsidies, here's an article in US News - Click Here)

  • To see the top 100 headlines of 2020 for CNN and review the drama: Click Here)


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