Wednesday’s child is full of woe

I think most of us are familiar with the poem regarding the attributes of children born on each day of the week. Here is the poem for those who have not.

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child must work for a living,
But the child that’s born on the Sabbath day,
Is fair and wise and good and gay.

As I sit here on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon, I am reminded how shortsighted we are, but especially our leaders. The trouble is we need leaders and wanna-be leaders to think longer term as very few problems can be solved short-term and some are growing in magnitude as we are doing precious little about them. So, by failing to do our job, we are creating more Wednesday’s children.

My greatest concern relates to how we are slow to fully address the impact of climate change on our planet. The World Economic Forum noted in their 2015 Global Risks Report that inaction on climate change is one of the two greatest risks to the planet over the next ten years.

Yet, we look to countries like Denmark who are now 100% powered by wind energy. Why? Their leaders understood it would take years to do this and needed buy-in from everyone, as the plan needed to be executed after some would leave office. Coupling that with the sense of urgency of a country beneath sea level, can spur folks to action.

In the US, we have made great strides, but we still have the heavy hand of the fossil fuel industry who has too great an influence on too many elected officials. This prevents them from looking at the real problems facing us. I wrote last time about the alleged misleading of shareholders by ExxonMobil on the impact of climate change on its business being investigated by the New York Attorney General. If found guilty, this would be a fraudulent crime.

Yet, the sister environmental issue is the declining availability of fresh water, which is the top issue of concern by the World Economic Forum. This concern predates and is beyond the Flint Water crisis, although that is important. We have increasing areas of drought which are exacerbated by climate change around the globe and in the US. In one of the great ironies, the Middle East is oil rich, but water poor. And, one of the greatest symbolisms of this concern is the religious leaders in Saudi Arabia allow their people to pray with sand and not waste water.

Another concern that will impact our children is leaving them with our debts. In the US, we have a $19 Trillion debt problem that seems to get forgotten about. This debt will increase even more with our aging population with fewer workers for each retiree. This is a key reason the labor participation rate has declined as we are aging with fewer workers. Yet, this is happening in other places at a greater pace causing problems in Greece, Spain, Japan, etc.

We cannot pay this debt down by ignoring it. And, we cannot cut expenditures enough, so we will need to look to higher taxes. With that said, the two leading GOP candidates tax plans will increase the debt by $12 Trillion and $3.7 Trillion over the next ten years. And, the leading GOP candidate said he will get rid of the debt in eight years, but we should be asking how when you will be increasing it by over 60%? The leading Democrat candidate’s tax plan will slightly decrease it by about $500 Billion over ten years, while the second place candidate will also increase taxes, but offer more benefits and services  (such as national healthcare) which will increase the debt as well. This is in the wrong direction – each candidate should have plan to significantly pay down the debt.

I recognize fully we have poverty issues, income inequality issues, terrorist issues and corruption issues. These must be dealt with. But, at least we are talking about these issues. We must address these other issues or our children will be screwed. It is that simple. And, they will be more than full of woe. They should be angry that we did not address our problems and left them holding the bag.




19 thoughts on “Wednesday’s child is full of woe

  1. No one – especially politicians running for office – wants to talk about hard choices. And, the electorate apparently doesn’t want to hear about them either. It’s as if we are all sitting around with our fingers in our ears, singing “la la la.”

    • Janis, you are so right. That is why it has to be a ground-up movement. Even Cruz, who is supposed to be a deficit hawk, has a tax plan that increases the debt by $3.7 trillion, plus outside of Sanders (who at least matches it with revenue increases) has proposed the largest spending increase at 6% with Trump second at 3%. Clinton proposes 2% increases. Kasich is the lone candidate with proposed spending cuts, but only 2%.

  2. I do believe that we all have an obligation to leave the planet better off than we found it — and we have all failed. Granted, it is difficult, if not impossible, to know where to start. But remaining in denial is certainly not the solution. I applaud your continued efforts to alert us all and keep us alert!

    • Agreed on all points. I was thinking today, I don’t mind people having more conservative or liberal beliefs than I do, but we should work off the truthful data and not a biased version of it. These issues are too important to be rhetoric as our basis.

  3. Note to Readers: My first draft of this misrepresented the Democrat leaders’ tax plan. It actually will slightly reduce the debt by $500 Billion over the next ten years.

  4. In a strange way this is a poetic read. You talk of the very things they should be talking about. Everything’s upside down. Maybe poets should be presidents but I do not think Presidents can anymore be poets, and that speaks volumes of we think of some of our first Presidents who were.

    • Many thanks, Candice. I did not realize the poetic nature. While not a President, who knew Alexander Hamilton’s writing style lent itself to hip-hop? And, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were quite the writers, but I don’t know if they could be called poetic. Thanks for your nice thought, Keith

  5. The level of denial about diminishing resources is astounding. On a recent holiday with friends, I was dismayed to watch my host brushing her teeth at the kitchen sink (the bathroom sink needed a plumber). I was sitting directly in front of the sink, reading my iPad. The faucet was running full force while she blithely electric brushed her pearly whites….interrupted by a side conversation with her husband….all while the water gushed full force down the drain. I was biting my lips shut and trying to sit on my hands, but as her conversation continued and the water gushed, I could no longer stand it. I turned around, reached over the counter and shut the water off. She and her husband stopped their conversation and stared at me in utter disbelief. I shrugged and apologized. “Sorry, I just can’t stand to see water wasted.”
    Later in the day, the husband said to me with a friendly smile, “You know there is no shortage of water. It goes down the drain and then recharges the aquifers.” (We were in Canada) I was so stunned by his cavalier attitude and his denial…(it is common knowledge that Idaho aquifers are failing to recharge as quickly as we are draining them). He is typical of the agricultural element in the west. Resources are endless to them.

    • Linda, good for you. In Chicago, about three years ago, little cards were distributed on five environmental ideas every one could do. One of the five was turn the water off while brushing or shaving. Plus, we have to pay for the water, so it is a win-win. You done good. Keitj

      • That one seems so utterly basic. Even my mom insisted we turn off the water while brushing. I have been trying to use the disposal less and to wet wipe the counters less often. I notice that often there are just crumbs on the counter and they do not require the dampening of a cloth with hot water. I think of how little water I can survive on while camping and also how little my European friends/family use.

      • People that lived through the depression know how to stretch a dollar or dime. We are on a fixed budget, so my wife laughs at me for turning the lights off when not needed.

      • Funny, I just think these are the right things to do. Larry thinks its fine to waste water because there’s no shortage. Other people think shutting off the electricity is more work than its worth. But waste is waste. The question shouldn’t be can we afford it or is there enough? But do I need to use this?

      • Great questions to ask. Plus, Larry may want to look into why the World Economic Forum say the global water crisis is the #1 risk issue over the next ten years. We have a shortage of water and it will get worse. I am preaching to the choir here. Keith

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