January 10th, 2013 // 9:23 am @ Oliver DeMille
Note to the Reader: I offered this list three years ago in early 2010, and since then the steps of crisis have advanced. I felt it was time to review and see where we are right now. Today I added a few words of commentary that update things since 2010—these are at the very end of this list. If you want, feel free to skip to the end and read the last paragraph before reading the list. It is amazing how closely we are following this! —Oliver
Part I: The 50 Steps of Crisis Eras
The steps below come in the following general order during the 20-25 years of Crisis Eras in history. This pattern repeats itself every 80 years or so, with the last crisis era occurring between 1922-1945. Within the phases, steps can come in any order. Our current crisis era began on September 11, 2001.
The Pre-Crisis Era (Usually 7-12 Years before the Crisis)
1. Foreign war (e.g. French and Indian, Mexican-American, WWI, Gulf War)
2. Major economic boom (e.g. the roaring twenties, the dot.com nineties boom)
3. Declining morals (both sexual and charitable)
4. Escapist entertainment (novels, the Charleston, the sitcom, etc.)
5. Salesman values are the norm: tolerance, niceness, wealth, etc.
6. Two-party conflict
7. Big institutions lose popular support (e.g. British Parliament 1780s, Congress 1860s, Presidency 1920s, courts 1990s).
The Catalyst and Its Aftermath
9. Society gears up for crisis, but nothing happens yet.
10. Return to seeming normalcy, but growing fear and mistrust.
11. Gold (and in modern times steel and oil) prices soar.
12. Realist entertainment
13. Growing racial and religious intolerance
14. Business failures and buy outs
15. Increased regulation of business
16. Many foreign conflicts
17. Many government scandals
18. Widely increased stress and health problems across the nation
19. Economic downturn — looks bad but bounces back for a while
20. Entrepreneurial values begin spreading: ingenuity, self-reliance, confidence
The Escalating Crisis (Steps 21-28 can occur in any order and at any point before step 35, but they do occur at some point during crisis eras.)
22. All society’s problems suddenly combined into 1 big problem!
23. It feels like our civilization itself is at stake (it is!)
24. Statesmen either choose pessimism, fear, worry about the future, or they choose optimism and planning for after the crisis.
25. Major economic downturn, often at depression levels.
26. Major war begins.
27. One political party takes charge (for next decade or more).
28. Leaders either hunker down and try to survive the crisis, or they study hard, research deep, start or build businesses to fund freedom, and figure out answers for when the crisis is over.
29. Emphasis off rights and on duties (draft, tax hikes, censorship of media, etc.)
30. Customized becomes Mass (fewer brands at store, one or two office pay-scales and benefits package, etc.)
31. Leaders either focus on self survival or they write, teach, publish and spread ideas of freedom for after the crisis.
32. Warrior values dominate society: courage, strength, resiliency.
33. Every family sacrifices greatly.
34. Religious observance soars.
The Turnaround (This is where things take a shift toward positive!)
36. Greatness returns, because there is no other choice: greatness in homes, communities, nations, business, politics.
37. Leaders either trust that the government will just handle things after the crisis or they continue studying, teaching, writing and spreading the ideas that need to be adopted when the crisis ends.
38. The splintering, complexity and cynicism of the past 40 years turns to cooperation, spirituality and optimism. Happiness increases. (e.g. the number of people who considered themselves very happy decreased 60% from 1957 to 2007. 60%!).
39. Crisis ends! Everyone celebrates.
40. Masses go home, ignore societal progress and get back to life.
The Post-Crisis Era—Major Changes (Typically 0-12 Years After Crisis)
41. Leaders establish a new set of economic rules (with a mixture of regulation and free enterprise and a bias toward one of these).
42. Leaders establish a new culture (with government, corporations or family as the central institution).
44. Leaders establish a new society (with decisions on the accepted mixtures of morals, pleasures and duties).
45. Leaders establish a new ideal view of rights (with mixtures of inalienable, civil and human rights).
46. Leaders establish a new definition of family.
47. Leaders define a new class (or classless) system.
48. Leaders establish new boundaries, allies and treaties.
49. Leaders establish new constitutional models and legal codes to embody steps 41-48 above.
[These choices can go very good for freedom, prosperity and happiness, or very poorly for these. It is up to the citizens and statesmen who influence and impact these decisions. While the decisions are made during the early post-crisis era, the leaders are prepared and the ideas promoted during the 20-25 year period of crisis.]
What’s next? Well, it could go either of two ways:
50a. If leaders are effective in their studying, learning and spreading freedom and free enterprise ideas during the crisis era, the society adopts free enterprise, family-centered culture. moral-based society, inalienable and equal civil and human rights, strong family values, no class or caste system, and a freedom-based form of constitution.
50b. If leaders aren’t effective in their studying, learning and spreading the principles of freedom during the crisis era and early post-crisis era, society adopts lots of regulation, governmental and corporate controls over the people, pleasure-based society, a loss of rights, aristocratic class systems and laws, and a force-based government.
Part II: Comments by Oliver DeMille
Almost a decade ago, 9/11 created event 8, and we watched events 9-13 occur during the Bush Administration. Then, since the major economic crisis and the election of President Obama we have watched events 14-18 occur.
This is happening very quickly. With the Health Care law, we will likely see 14-18 accelerate in the next couple of years before we have a chance to reverse things in a presidential election. The election will probably determine whether or not we progress quickly or slowly toward major crises.
We have witnessed a significant increase of events 14-18 since March 2010, and after the midterm elections of 2010 and huge gains by Republicans in the House of Representatives, we saw event 19 occur. In fact, it was strong enough that the nation re-elected President Obama in 2012.
After the election, we began witnessing event 20, partly as numerous businesses shut down to use resources in other ways or restructured in the face of increasing regulations, and also as a number of entrepreneurs saw the decline of free enterprise and got even more serious about growing their businesses—regardless of what government does.
We will see event 20 increase in 2013, and events 21-25 sometime very soon—likely before the 2016 election. Whether 21 or 25 will come first remains to be seen.
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November 17th, 2012 // 10:36 am @ Oliver DeMille
In the aftermath of the 2012 election, there have been numerous emails, posts, articles and blogs by business owners who say they are planning to sell or close their businesses, or just lay off enough workers that they can afford Obamacare for the employees who remain.
One summary listed the following announced layoffs—all attempts to deal with the new costs of Obamacare:
- Welch Allyn, 275 layoffs
- Stryker, 1170 layoffs
- Boston Scientific, between 1200 and 1400 layoffs
- Medtronic, 1000 layoffs
- Smith and Nephew, 770 layoffs
- Hill Rom, 200 layoffs
- Kinetic Concepts, 427 layoffs
- Coviden, 595 layoffs
- Abbot Labs, 427 layoffs
- St. June Medical, 300 layoffs
There are many, many others.
One email dated November 7, the day after the election, read:
“Time to sell our business. We can no longer afford to provide a living for 14 employees as soon we’re forced to pay for their healthcare. So sad, too bad. On to new ventures.”
After responses about how sad this is and others pointedly blaming the Obama Administration, the same person continued:
“We are all Americans and need to find common ground and make this country great together. I’m not mad at anyone for voting different than me. They love their president, don’t lose friends over calling him a dictator. I’m excited to sell our business. We are adventurous!”
That’s the entrepreneurial spirit that made America great.
Not: “Oh no, we’re losing our job. Will the government help us?”
But rather: “Hey, change happens. We’re excited. This is going to be an adventure!”
That’s the American spirit.
And while rumors abound about how much Obamacare will cost each small business and which won’t have to make any changes at all, there are a lot of employers right now who are very concerned.
Those with under 50 employees aren’t supposed to be hurt, but smaller employers are still worried about exactly how the new laws will be enforced.
Sadly, we will likely see a lot of change in small business in the months and years just ahead.
More regulation, higher taxes and drastically increased costs of employing people will make things more difficult.
An exception may be in network marketing companies or compensated communities.
I’ve long considered them among the top entrepreneurial opportunities in free nations, and with the current changes and policies this is even more true.
“My son is a doctor,” Marge said proudly.
“Wow,” Betty said with a concerned voice. “How is your son dealing with the new regulations coming into effect under Obamacare?” she asked.
Marge nodded and her face grew serious. “He’s very concerned, to tell the truth.”
“Fortunately, my son is building a huge network marketing company, and the regulations aren’t hurting him much,” Betty said. “Maybe your son would like to meet with mine about an opportunity?”
This kind of conversation is taking place a lot right now, and all indications are that it will increase.
Some parents are recommending that their college children put school on hold and start a network business, and I know two medical doctors who have gotten out of the profession in order to build networking businesses.
One of them talked two of his sons into quitting college and doing the same, though the three of them all ended up building networking organizations with entirely different companies.
II. The Party of Small Business
All of this got me thinking today, and as I pondered I realized something. Something big.
Something we really need right now in America.
We need a third party.
Actually, we need a new party that becomes more popular than the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.
There are more independents than members of either big party, so this shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.
Here’s the problem: The Democratic Party is now the unabashed party of big government, the welfare state, rule from Washington D.C., and everything that goes with these values.
The Republican Party touts itself as the party of freedom, limited government, free markets and business, but in fact it is the party of big business and a big-spending government at the same or just slightly lower levels than Democrats.
We have a party of Big Government (with big business as its co-pilot), and another party that emphasizes Big Business (with big government as its co-pilot).
The first is the Democratic Party, the second the GOP.
Neither is now effectively serving the needs of our nation.
As a result, we get bigger government regardless of who gets elected, and big business grows (to the frequent detriment of small businesses) regardless of who is in power in Washington.
In all of this, small businesses, families, communities and the middle class are the losers.
The solution? We need a party of small business.
We need a party whose top priority is the needs of families and small businesses.
This new party needs to reject the big-government and anti-free enterprise values of the Democrats and simultaneously the big-business and anti-immigrant attitudes of Republicans.
It needs to embrace toleration, diversity, reduced government regulations, lower taxes, decreased government spending, incentives for entrepreneurship, a charitable safety net, and incentives for more immigrants to bring their capital, businesses, labor and families to America.
It needs to get rid of the barriers to hiring (such as the increasing required health care costs) and drastically reduce government red tape for small businesses.
It needs to allow more innovation, shrink requirements on licenses and permits and other unnecessary costs that decrease entrepreneurship and growth, and create an environment of seamless partnerships between schools and businesses.
It needs to promote, encourage and incentive a lot more initiative, innovation and entrepreneurialism.
It also needs to push for more creative and independent thinking in the schools and less that is rote, conveyor-belt, and pre-scripted.
It should change the way schools are run, replacing an environment where administrators and bureaucrats feel comfortable to one led by proven innovators and others who have been successful in the real economy, the FOR-profit economy.
Forget teacher certification and unions—if we want to compete in the global economy we need innovators leading our classrooms.
As an example, principals and teachers should be hired who have excelled at implementing successful business plans rather than writing resumes.
And funding should flow to schools that excel in a true free market.
To ensure to that no child is left behind (for example in less-advantaged neighborhoods), even larger premiums should go to innovators who successfully turn dumpy schools into flourishing institutions whose graduates thrive.
The new party should apply similar principles to other kinds of organizations, from health care and community governments to every other sector of the economy.
Small businesses bring the large majority of growth in the economy, and the new party needs to begin with the specific needs of small businesses in mind.
It needs to identify things that hurt small business and repeal them, and find out what helps small businesses succeed and introduce more policies that encourage these things.
It needs to rewrite the commercial and legal code to create an environment where innovation is the norm, along with the values of growth, calculated risk, leadership, creativity, and entrepreneurialism.
It needs to be not the party of jobs, but the party of successful business ownership—and the jobs they naturally create.
III. A Bright Future?
We need a third party. The party of Big Government (with big business as co-pilot) and the party of Big Business (with big government as co-pilot) simply aren’t doing what our nation needs anymore.
It’s time for new thinking and new leadership.
There is an old saying that you can’t pour new wine into old bottles, because the residue of past wine always taints the new.
This is where we are in America.
The current parties, as much good as both have done at times, have peaked and are in decline.
New leadership is needed, along new values untainted by the baggage of two parties whose time has come and gone.
It is perhaps possible to reform one of the parties to get better results, but it is likely that only a new party with an entirely new focus and fresh thinking is going to take America where it needs to go.
Democratic nations are notorious for refusing to change until crisis forces their hand, and I suspect this is what we’ll witness in the 21st Century.
At some point, probably after major crisis and a superhuman American response, we’re going to need a new party.
Those who love freedom should start thinking about what it should look like.
One thing is clear: When it does come, it needs to be a party of small business.
Free enterprise and the entrepreneurial spirit made America great, and it will do so again if we let it.
Whatever comes in the economy, we want to be led by those whose attitude is, “It might sound bad, but this is an exciting adventure! Let’s get started…”
Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.
November 9th, 2012 // 11:24 am @ Oliver DeMille
Before the election I wrote several times that it would come down to independents in the swing states—especially Florida, Ohio and Virginia, but also a few other battleground states such as Nevada, Wisconsin and Colorado.
I was right about the states, but wrong about which voters would sway things.
I thought it would be independent voters, like it was in the elections of 2006, 2008 and 2010. But I was wrong.
In the 2012 presidential election the swing voters in these contested states were Latinos.
This is the big message of the 2012 election.
As long as the Republican Party is seen as the enemy of immigrants, it is going to continue losing elections.
The number of Latino voters will increase by the 2014 midterm election and again by the 2016 presidential election, and as long as the large majority of them see Republican candidates as natural enemies, Republicans should get used to losing.
The GOP has to find a way to appeal to Latino voters.
This shouldn’t be difficult.
The majority of Latino voters are family-oriented, supportive of family values, hard working, entrepreneurial, and love freedom.
They don’t want bigger government, which they tend to see as aristocratic rule by elites.
But it’s hard to blame them for voting against Republican candidates who seem committed to their deportation and disrespectful of their desires for freedom and economic opportunity.
The needed change will demand a fundamental transformation of Republican beliefs, not just some pragmatic strategy designed to recruit Latino voters.
Republican candidates and voters need to genuinely embrace the right of people to seek freedom—and to leave their nation if necessary to find it.
Republicans need to return to the viewpoint that America stands for freedom, that we invite all hard-working, family-loving people in the world to come and join the melting pot and use their freedoms to work hard and build a better nation for all.
The GOP needs to once again see itself as the party of freedom for all people—everywhere.
One difficulty is that many conservatives who vote for anti-immigrant candidates do so because they dislike illegal immigrants receiving welfare and other government benefits funded by taxpayers.
But the welfare state is the problem, not immigrants.
Get rid of welfare, and we’ll once again be an America proud to invite immigrants here to participate in freedom.
But unless Republicans become the party of Latinos, or at least manage to convince more than half of them to support its freedom-and-family-oriented policies, Democrats will continue to win—and the welfare state will swell beyond control.
Republicans lost the presidential election of 2012 because of the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of the 2011-2012 primaries, and until conservatives embrace the many great benefits Latinos and other minorities have to offer and make them central to the Republican Party, the Democrats are going to run America.
It’s time for a new Republican Party that:
1-promotes the ideals of limited government rather than Republican big spending (the message of the Tea Parties and also of many independents)
2-is truly tolerant, respectful, genuinely celebrating and embracing a diversity of cultures, enticing to Latinos and other minority voters
3-is more frequently winning than losing
The third item on this list will never happen in the 21st Century unless the second occurs.
In short: It is time for a fundamental shift in the Republican Party (or the creation of a new party that embraces these very values), because a GOP that fails to effectively attract Latinos and other immigrants is going to remain out of power.
Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.
November 8th, 2012 // 5:51 pm @ Oliver DeMille
The election of 2012 is over, and you are either happy or upset with the outcome—or, like many independents, you are predictably frustrated with the whole system.
Whatever the case, the next few months is a time of real danger in our nation.
During elections, energy and citizen participation is high.
After elections, it reaches all-time lows. People of all political views tend to focus on other things and leave governance to the politicians.
America has serious challenges ahead, and many of them kick in right at the beginning of 2013.
Moreover, during the next year we will almost certainly determine whether or not the United States is going to fall off the looming financial cliff.
- The rapidly growing debt
- The overwhelming reality of entitlements
- The growing deficit
- The weakening national credit rating
- The struggling role of the U.S. Dollar as the world’s reserve currency
- Various looming bubbles in the market
- A coming inflation crunch
- A further middle-class squeeze on jobs and discretionary income
- A tax rate that is driving more businesses abroad (or out of business)
- A very nervous small business community that is uncertain about growth or hiring
- Weak consumer demand that is causing businesses to produce less (and cut jobs)
- A rapidly expanding government sector that is threatening free enterprise
Washington needs to address these concerns quickly to relieve business anxiety that we’ll just see more of the same (or worse) from the government for the next four years.
After all, without the necessity of reelection the Obama Administration could be truly anti-business.
Hopefully, in contrast, President Obama will see this as an opportunity to really work with Republicans to fix these major national challenges.
The larger problem is that democratic societies seldom take action until they feel direct pain.
Indeed, democratic nations are notoriously bad at anticipating pain and taking action ahead of time, so they seldom stop crises but rather wait until it is too late to get serious about solutions.
We need real solutions in the months and year just ahead, and we can’t afford to wait for more crises.
We must immediately address the economic realities above (and others like them), at the very time the citizenry is the least likely to stay actively involved.
Whatever your political views, America needs you to stay enthusiastically engaged in watching and influencing government. Now more than ever.
Right now begins the year of danger in government and the future of the economy, and only the first branch of government—the people—can truly ensure that things go well.
The alternative is further major economic downturn.
Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.
September 26th, 2012 // 7:38 pm @ Oliver DeMille
And What They Should Be
People are getting tired of the presidential election.
It’s too much bad news, week and after week, too many talking heads just saying the same old negative things about the other side, and too many mistakes, gaffes and 10-second clips getting blown way out of proportion.
But all of that is just the way politics works, and people are used to it.
The really frustrating thing in the 2012 presidential election is that neither of the two big candidates has given us a clear, inspiring plan for the next four years.
Both point out flaws of their opponent, and both try to explain away their own unfavorables, but neither have just looked the American people in the eyes and told us what they will do for us if elected.
David Brooks of The New York Times is right that Romney could totally sway this election if he would just ignore the fluff, turn wonky, and outline three or four main things he’s going to do in the next four years.
Romney spent his business life successfully using power point presentations and clear plans to turn things around; the United States needs the same thing right now.
“My fellow Americans,” he should begin the debate. “I’m not going to spend our time tonight talking about every issue under the sun, or answering every question the media thinks is important. We’ve been doing that for years, and it hasn’t gotten us where we want to be.
“What America needs now is leadership. There are four issues that will determine whether the next four years are a time of success and a return to prosperity, or a time of decline. It’s time for our leaders to tell us the truth: if we fix these four things, our future will be bright. If not, it won’t.
“So, others can talk about whatever they want, but I’m going to focus only on these four things that will make all the difference in America’s future. If you don’t like that, elect someone else. If you elect me, I’m going to fix four things. Here they are:
#2 health care
#3 the economy (including entitlements, the national debt, government
spending, deficits and our credit rating)
#4 oil dependency
“So, for you who are asking the questions tonight, if you ask about how we’ll fix these things, I’ll tell you. If you ask me anything else, I’ll tell you my entire presidency is going to focus on these four things. Period. That’s what we need our leaders to do, and that’s what I’m going to do. The only other thing I’m going to focus on is to maintain a strong national defense.
“That’s what my presidency will be, a strong national defense and fixing these four things. That’s what America needs for the next four years, and as president I will make sure these four problems get fixed.
“I have a full written plan on how to accomplish each of these 4 priorities, and it has just been posted to my website in the last minute since I started speaking. I hope every American will read it. And in the days and weeks ahead I’m going to clearly explain this plan in every speech I give and every question I answer.
“If any of the media want to ask questions about the plan, I’ll answer them. If any citizens have questions, my website has a place to send questions and my team and I will answer every single question you send.
“I want every American to clearly understand exactly how we’ll fix these four problems, and to ask every question anyone has until we all fully understand the plan. Then you can decide whether to vote for me, based on a clear knowledge of what I will do in the next four years as your president.
“Because if I’m elected, I’m going to fix these four things. Nothing will distract me from these four priorities, because these are the greatest challenges for our nation right now and only by overcoming them can America truly be the great nation we should be.”
Then he should stick to his guns and only, only, answer questions about national defense and fixing these four things.
He should constantly refer to his plan, he should know his plan so well that he can refer to it in detail and answer every question, and Paul Ryan should do the same.
He should have the plan outlined in simple words in a short power point presentation on his website, and he should have a longer power point for those who want more details.
He should provide the full plan written out, word for word, and available for every person who wants to read it.
He should print his plan with an engaging cover and mail it to every home in the United States.
He should sell it in the bookstores, and have volunteers give it away to their friends.
He should talk about nothing but the plan, and he should refer to the plan in every setting and spread it far and wide.
He should buy prime time specials on television and give the power point and answer questions on live tv.
Frankly, Ron Paul should do exactly the same thing.
And if Romney doesn’t do it, President Obama should do it. In fact, if Romney does it President Obama should do it too.
Imagine a debate where both candidates are passionately dedicated to fixing these four things, and the question just becomes which plan we as voters think is best.
For once, we’d have a really excellent election.
Note that President Obama hasn’t given us a plan for the next four years any more than Governor Romney has.
They have both talked about dozens of issues and concerns, but neither has taken a stand about the future of American greatness, how they will fix the economy, or any other clear plan for the next four years.
We are left to vote on personality, ideology, lack of mistakes, partisan trust, or our general sense of who will do best.
But we should be choosing between specific plans, voting on the one we think will be best for our nation.
Besides, presenting and sticking to such a plan would just be good politics!
Tell us what you’re going to do, have an excellent plan for backing it up, and hold the nation to account: “I promise you this,” he should say. “If you elect me, four years from now these four things will be fixed. The biggest challenges of our nation will be met and overcome. And America will be great again. It will be like the difference that happened when Reagan beat Carter.
“On the other hand, if you elect Mr. Obama, four years from now you will still be struggling with all four of these problems. The debt will be bigger, our credit rating will most likely be further downgraded, we will be spending and borrowing even more, and the deficits will be bigger. Most importantly, unemployment will still be high and too many families will still be without jobs.
“In addition, if you elect Mr. Obama, the health care law will increase taxes and spread even more government regulations that hurt the economy. And entitlements will be bankrupting us by 2016.
“Four years from now, we will either live in an America where these things are fixed, or in an America where these problems are just as bad or worse. It’s up to you as voters. If you want a president who will fix these four things, you know what to do. My name is Mitt Romney, and I’m running for president of the United States in order to fix these four things!”
This election is still up for grabs.
Imagine the power of the following speech to sum up the debate: “My name is Barack Obama, and I’m running for president in order to fix these four problems, the four greatest challenges America will face the next four years. If you elect me, I’ll fix all four: #1 jobs, #2 healthcare, #3 the national debt and deficit, and #4 our oil dependency. These four things will be the focus of my entire presidency. If you want these things fixed by the time of the next election, vote for me.”
This is winning politics, whoever uses it.
Alas, I fear the debates will be far less entertaining.
Or, in other words, in four years these four serious problems—along with China—will probably still be America’s biggest challenges.