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3 Things 1-22-24

Some Factories In The US Should Be Forced To Close


If we told you that there are high-ranking officials in various state and local governments across the United States that are bound and determined to prevent kids and their parents from having a say in whether they can change schools – even when their current schools are documented failures, would you believe us?  Sadly, we think you would, but just in case you are disinclined to accept our assertion on faith, we offer the following synopsis of a tale of woe (that is by no means unique) which we recently read about in the Wall Street Journal. 


J.B Pritzker, who became “the richest politician in the United States” in 2019 with an estimated net worth of $3.6 billion dollars, is leading Illinois’ effort to hold poor families back.  Mr. Pritzker, the state's current governor, sits atop a state legislature that recently killed a scholarship program that had provided money to 9,000 low-income families to attend private schools (mostly of the Catholic variety).  With the money gone, the schools are now closing, and the kids are being forced back into the “Failure Factories” that the scholarship money had helped them escape.  How bad are the schools to which they are being forced to return?  Well, in one affected district, according to data from the Illinois Policy Institute, only 30.8% of third thru eighth graders are proficient in reading and 18.5% are proficient in math.  In another, the reading and math proficiencies for the same cohort are 18.1% and 9.8% respectively. 


The kids (both those returning and those who never escaped) are being sentenced to a life on the lower rungs of society by people who have lived their lives on the opposite end and are now pretending to be working to lift people up.  We say pretending because anyone who is serious about helping knows that a good education is the key. Without it, these kids’ ability to become gainfully employed and to accumulate wealth is greatly diminished.  Their personal suffering will become evident to them and to all the professional observers of such things when they reach adulthood, and the damage finally manifests.  But the damage being done to society by the wealth that is not going to be created and the by the added burden to the social safety net is a little more subtle.  Economies will slow and budget gaps will widen and no one in charge, assuming they support the status quo in education, will attribute that to the fact that schools are producing graduates who, by and large, aren’t proficient in basic math and reading.


A cynic would say this is exactly the outcome the do-gooder politicians and bureaucrats want because the problems bring them more power.  But since we aren’t cynics, we’ll say it doesn’t matter what the do-gooder class wants if we decide what we want and act/vote accordingly.



Thing Two


Vanguard’s Three Questions


The Vanguard Group, a Registered Investment Advisor with over $7 trillion in assets under management asks three questions in determining whether their clients need a financial advisor:


How confident are you in reaching your financial goals?

(Retiring, budgeting, withdrawal strategies, reducing debt, etc.)


·      Highly confident?

·      Somewhat confident?

·      Not very confident?


How would you prefer to receive advice?


·      I’d prefer technology-based advice

·      I’d like to be able to speak with an advisor occasionally

·      I’d like a dedicated financial advisor



How much do you plan to invest initially?


·      $3,000 - $49,999

·      $50,000 - $499,999

·      $500,000 - $4,999,999

·      $5M and up



Depending on the combination of answers, they either suggest a technology-based advisor (an AI bot) or a real-life advisor.  There is no instance where they suggest no advisor is needed because they’ve concluded (and we agree) that most people do need one. 


If you conclude that you need an advisor of the real-life variety or you think you may know someone who does, please reach out or have them do so.  We’re ready to help.


Thing Three


"A system cannot fail those it was never designed to protect.” — W. E. B. Du Bois


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