Shared sacrifice…

JAL CEO Cuts Pay – YouTube.


This video clip is a few years old, but the message fits in with what I posted about yesterday related to fitness.

Our culture is weak.  We want health and fitness but we don’t want to have to sweat for it.  We don’t want to have to stop eating cookies for breakfast or skip the soda in favor of water.  We want to buy a book and somehow get fitter and stronger by just reading a few chapters of it.  We want to pop a pill that makes the fat fall off of our bodies, or to go on a diet that includes daily servings of chocolate cake.

Our kids want to get trophies for showing up.  Employees want bonuses for surfing the internet on the company dime.  Shareholders want dividends and quick, short-term gains from the stock-market, and American corporations are now run to produce those short-term payoffs instead of sustaining a long-term business.

It’s everywhere, and it’s at the root of the current national fiscal mess.  For all the arguments about the Federal budget deficit and debt, no politician has the courage to step up and tell the truth – we’re in this mess because no one wants to make any sacrifices.

The US had a budget surplus when Bill Clinton left office in 2001.  That surplus was gone within a year for one simple reason; across the board tax cuts implemented in the midst of a recession followed by two wars.  The top marginal tax rate in the United States during WWII was 90% for a reason – wars are expensive.  So is government-backed stimulus to pull a country out of a recession.  I’m certain that had the nation been asked to actually participate in funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan neither would have dragged on anywhere near as long.  

Then there’s the whole issue of so-called entitlements.  Health care costs are rising annually at more than twice the rate of inflation, and yet every serious proposal to curtail them is met with scorn.  The rising cost of health care is the single largest liability on the Federal balance sheet, but no one is willing to discuss serious reform or substantial changes to the system.

More people in the US should learn to think like Mr. Nishimatsu.

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