Many people write or speak to tell us what we should think. Some want to be believed because they are experts, or think they are. Some want to be believed because they claim to speak for us. Some have had revelations. Others want us to trust them because they communicate through prominent media outlets. Many tell us what we should think. I write to encourage my readers to think for themselves. I write to ask you to inquire. Question me. Have fun.

Comment of the Day
More parenting is needed

Aug 01, 2019

Peter Gray in Psychology Today advises for less parenting. The problem is exactly the opposite: There is not enough parenting. In the past, when most of our ancestors lived in self-supporting households, often a farm, out of necessity, children were an integral part of whatever adults needed to do during their daily life, and they learned that way. Now, we do not need to do as much at home. Work is outside the home, food is brought in, heat is turned on and off, and mysteriously magical, colorful screens are the center of most activities. If we leave children free to explore what they find the most attractive, they will play video games. There might be some educational value in it, but one needs to learn much more. Hence, we need more effort in parenting, with parents doing more in the home than is otherwise required, and spending more time with children outside in order to introduce them to the real world. This realization hit home after I witnessed the surprise of a 7-year old seeing apples on my apple tree.

Less fight more work
Jul 30, 2017

The fight over Obamacare repeal is over, at least for now. The GOP can start to work on a new proposal that each of us can look at it, and then compare how my particular health care solution would play in it, as compared to Obamacare. In a television interview, HHS Secretary Tom Price said that Obamacare “may be working for Washington, it may be working for insurance companies, but it’s not working for patients.” Maybe it is time to consider patients’ involvement in the preparation of an Obamacare alternative? It could be that Obamacare repeal failed just because it has been prepared by Washington with consultation from insurance companies. Let us start with addressing 19 health care issues that politicians avoid talking about.

How to pay for the wall?
Apr 04, 2017

If you want to build the wall, pay for it with your own money. How much of your own money are you willing to donate? Trump received 62,979,879 votes. If each of Trump’s supporters voluntarily donates at least $1,000, which corresponds to about $42 per month for the next two years, and if we encourage those who are more affluent to double their donations, then Trump can have on hand about $100 billion, which may suffice for a substantial piece of the wall. Hence, all of you who are talking loudly about spending my money on building this wall, stay away from my wallet, but open your own wallet and send money to the “Build the Wall Fund.” Put your money where your mouth is.

What is wrong with Russia?
Dec 22, 2015

It appears that Russian leaders cannot free themselves from the medieval concept of regional influence, where weaker neighbors were subdued into becoming serf states. Is anyone capable of explaining to them that in these times of a global economy, any influence comes from economic strength? Russia, thanks to its size, natural resources and well-educated labor force, has everything that it takes to maintain a dominant position in the region, just by maintaining free trade with all its neighbors. It can do so without military interventions in Georgia and in Ukraine. Russia has everything that it takes to be a respected wealthier neighbor, to whom everyone in the region would turn for help when needed. Instead, it is a bully and a hooligan. It would take so little to change that. But it is so hard for Russia to do it. 

Closed mind for closed borders
Nov 19, 2015

Known to some as a libertarian, Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. speaks against open borders. His argument is that it is an infraction against private property. He misses the point that most people migrate just because Mr. Rockwell’s neighbors want them on their private property – for picking apples, washing the dishes or writing a computer code. Then, Mr. Rockwell wrongly laments that those foreigners invited by his neighbors violate his private property rights by loitering in the public spaces that he frequents. He wants the government to deny the rights of his neighbors to do on their private property whatever they wish, so he will not need to face immigrants in the public spaces. Mr. Rockwell left the train called “liberty” at the station called “xenophobia.”    

They do not know…
Sep 14, 2015

Mr. Trump says: “A lot of what I’m doing is by instinct.” I prefer that our President would make decisions based on systematic due diligence. The instinct that guides Mr. Trump in his professional life arrives from his vast experience, starting when he was growing up under the mentoring of his successful father, followed by a solid education and years of practice. Mr. Trump's confidence is misguiding, as it gives his supporters the illusion that someone who mastered real estate dealing can be equally skillful as President. It is similar to the illusion surrounding Dr. Carson, that he can be as good a President as he is a brain surgeon. If both gentlemen were humbler, they would realize that they qualify to be President equally as much as Mr. Trump qualifies to conduct brain surgeries and Dr. Carson to run Mr. Trump’s real estate empire. The problem is not that they do not know many things they should; the problem is that they do not realize that.

Freedom cannot be legislated, its restriction can
Mar 31, 2015

Indiana voted in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In his WSJ piece, Gov. Mike Pence claims it was needed to protect the religious freedoms of Hoosiers. Every legislative act by its nature limits someone’s freedom. The only way of increasing freedom is by identifying existing laws that curb personal liberties and then eliminating them.  Hence, if Gov. Pence sees that under some circumstances, the religious freedoms of Hoosiers are not respected, he could correct the situation by eliminating laws causing this problem. We have the Bill of Rights, and it suffices. No “enhancements” are needed.

More Comments

What Amazon can do for Illinois?

An open letter to Jeff Bezos

Dear Mr. Bezos,

I have been living in the Chicago area since 1985, almost exactly half of my life. The vibrant buzzing of life here infatuated me, and I hope it will attract Amazon as well. Political and business leaders will provide you with numbers and well-researched reasons for locating Amazon HQ2 in Illinois. I would like to share a few thoughts as an Illinois concerned citizen, an engineer, and a longtime small business owner.

Thanks to its location, Chicago is a blessed place. Since its incorporation in 1837, it has been a never-ending success. This is its biggest problem. People get accustomed that the wealth is given; one just needs to figure out the best way of dipping in it. When Illinoisans were busy creating wealth, politicians were busy redistributing it, outpacing the wealth growth to the point that both Illinois and Chicago are on the edge of insolvency.

The goals were noble.  In the business world, people are paid according to their contributions, and some are not paid at all. Hence, government started helping those not so fortunate in doing well on their own. Many people who attempt to lure Amazon to Illinois tell their constituents that wealthy people  as we hope potential employees of Amazon HQ2 will be  should pay their fair share in taxes.

There is nothing wrong with this statement in general, but in Illinois  and Chicago, in particular  it means supporting the overblown government bureaucracy.  They created a massive network of agencies supporting the poor, disadvantaged, and whoever else is influential enough to make a case that they need government involvement. This includes the affluent getting tax breaks, lucrative contracts, and preferential regulations.

An army of bureaucrats keeps this going. There are too many of them and they pay themselves too much. Their full time week is only 37.5 hours and many retire in their 50s.  Despite that they tax us at no mercy, the deficit is still growing.  They hope that Amazon HQ2 can extend the status quo for at least some time.

For too many, it is easier to advance financially not through the creation of wealth through services and products, but by competing for access to the wealth that multiple government agencies distribute. Obviously, this is not the “stable and business-friendly environment and tax structure” that Amazon is looking for.

Amazon can change this easily. When Illinoisans were not paying attention, government employees voted for themselves lucrative pensions, not correlated with the actual contributions to their pension funds. As this was obviously destined to collapse financially, they put into the Constitution of the State of Illinois a provision that promised lucrative pensions  which they gave themselves  cannot be taken away.  Now these unfunded pension’s obligations amount to $130 billion and keep growing. The only viable solution is to convert the pension system into a 401(k) style retirement funds.

There is no political will in Illinois and in Chicago for this much-needed change. As a condition for bringing HQ2, Amazon can and should ask for transforming pensions of government employees into a financially sustainable system. The Constitution of the State of Illinois is not a bible; it can be changed.  This will not resolve all of the problems, but it will take away the heaviest burden.

Many will tell you how much Illinois and Chicago can do for Amazon. Please consider doing something for Illinois. You are in this rare position where one person can do so much. It can help us a lot, but with the pensions issue resolved, Amazon might find Illinois as the best candidate for its HQ2 as well.

Leave a Reply

2 thoughts on “What Amazon can do for Illinois?

  1. George Williams

    “When Illinoisans were busy creating wealth, politicians were busy redistributing it, outpacing the wealth growth to the point that both Illinois and Chicago are on the edge of insolvency.”

    Why not be more to the point. It’s the perpetual reign of the Democrat Party that has put Chicago and Illinois in its current state of insolvency. And if you take into account the unfounded state employee retirement liability foisted upon the people by that party, running into the tens of thousands accrued to each citizen, the city and state will ultimately default, or raise taxes to meet the debt. And when that inevitably happens, there will be anI llexit that will make Brexit look like abandoning a bankrupt popsicle stand, only the people will not leave the union, but move to Red States, along with their jobs. Chicago and big brother Illinois live under delusional conditions in which only people who are deaf, dumb and blind remain ignorant of.

  2. George Williams

    One more thing, Henryk. Explain to me why Amazon should buy into a state run by profligate tax and spenders of the Democrat Party, when they could go to a Red State where they don’t have to bargain with the devil for a good deal? Whatever deal Amazon could make would ultimately be revoked by the corrupt Democratic Party, the party that buys votes by making promises of wealth redistribution.

About me

I was born in 1951 in Gdansk, Poland.
Since my high school years, I have interest in politics and love for writing. During my college years, I started writing to student papers and soon became freelance author to major Polish political magazines.

In 1980 I wrote a book “Czy w Polsce może być lepiej?” (“Could it be better in Poland?” – this book is available only in Polish) analyzing major problems in Poland at the time and outlining possible solutions.

I was among those Polish political writers who by their writings contributed to the peaceful system transformation that finally took place in 1989. Since 1985, I live in the Chicago area. I went through the hard times typical of many immigrants. Working in service business, I have seen the best and the worst places, I met the poorest and the richest. I have seen and experienced America not known to most of politicians, business people, and other political writers. For eleven years, I ran my own company. Presently, I am an independent consultant.

My political writing comes out of necessity. I write when I see that the prevailing voices on the political arena are misleading or erroneous. Abstract mathematics and control theory (of complex technological processes) strongly influenced my understanding of social phenomena. In the past, my opponents rebuked my mathematical mind as cold, soulless, and inhuman. On a few occasions I was prized for my engineer’s precision and logic.

I have a master’s degree in electronic engineering with a specialization in mathematical machines from Politechnika Gdańska (Technical University of Gdansk).

... more