America Is The Ultimate Skinner Box

This is a story of adaptation. When the light goes on, press the button.



I remember when the college admissions story broke. I remember the perp walks. I remember the shame, the gossip, and the scandal, that so many wealthy celebrities would use their money to pave the path for their kids to get into a prestigious college. I know that they mean well for their kids, but do they really need to pay for preferential admissions to an elite college just so that their kids have an economic advantage over someone else’s kids?

I’m seeing something similar with Trump. When Trump is away from the White House, he stays at his own resorts and the government foots the bill for him and his entourage. I even saw recently how vice president Mike Pence stayed at a Trump resort 180 miles from a meeting he was scheduled to attend. And now the Air Force is investigating their use of Trump accommodations by their staff.

In September of 2008, across every business channel on cable, we learned that the stock of all the big banks was worthless when we measured the value of their assets to their liabilities. The people who were supposed to be paying the mortgages were defaulting on their variable-rate mortgages in droves, and that made the bonds that were backed by the mortgages worthless. The big banks and the big insurance companies were all running controlled accounting fraud, and still, they managed to get bailed out by Congress because they still had enough money to buy influence.

At the very top, I see very serious and wealthy people finance the campaigns of the legislators that represent them. I see the revolving door where someone from industry gets a job in an agency that regulates that industry and learns how the agency works. Then they go back to work at the same company to gain a competitive advantage over the other companies regulated by the same agency.

If perchance I watch some broadcast TV with my family, I am treated to a parade of drug commercials. The advertised drugs have fancy names with really strange syllables, and they are selling this fantasy that their drugs will make our lives better. From psoriasis to AIDS, there is a remedy for every ailment. And every one of those drugs I see on TV is patented, and this practice is called, “rent-seeking”.

Over and over again, the cycle is repeated until at last, we have come to this point. Eventually, the only thing…