A Politics for U.S.

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“If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.” – Abraham Lincoln

Politics runs through all we do. This humanest of conditions is no less admirable nor abhorrent today than ever but it has become a reviled element of society, commonly viewed as beneath polite discussion.  However ignored or deified, the consequences of politics and the subsequent political reality still fall on the informed and uninformed alike.  Cast into the shadows, as a snowy Denver sidewalk encumbrance, politics evolves. It forms in the darkness for the inevitable prestige.

The human invention of our political system has become a degradation.  We cursed ourselves the day rational, passionate, Political belief became a social taboo.  Fear and emotional instability have bestowed us with the gift that is our present state of political affairs.

Contradictions abound as the unknown unknowns mount and even those with driver’s licenses don’t vote with any exuberance.  Genuine individuality bows to the perpetually offended; disintegrated integrity and the stranger dignity invigorate public discourse and rhetoric. It was simply an inevitability that opportunists like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would move to the forefront of American politics.

Politics demands we get the leaders we deserve.

As the daily attack ads, emotionally-driven controversies and all over jackassery ensue, average citizens engage in the field as would-be political scientists and the truth disintegrates into a subjective force.  Emails warn of disarmed militias, women baking again while foregoing careerhood, #alllivesmatterexceptyoursbecauseyouhavestuff, y’all back in chainz, and virtual canine genocide.  In the midst of this remember: Obama came, he will go and we remain. For now.  And we have the critical task of electing one of “our own” to lead.  This person will undoubtedly transform our global future for years beyond the given term(s). Several Supreme Court Justices will surely vacate those seats, ISIS will force a reckoning and the domestic political divide will continue as it does.

And Politics demands we get the leaders we deserve.

Find a presidential candidate that does just that. Presidential activities, leader of the free world and so forth.  International relations, global power, military action and foreign policy are dominant at the executive level and these are the activities that require the action of a president.  Congress deals in legislation and the president does submit a budget that is regularly ignored.  Leadership on a global scale, not the status of local Planned Parenthoods or the activities of the NRA matter to a legitimate Commander in Chief.

Single social issues superficially simplify the process but do not constitute a legitimate cause for concern on a presidential level… for the most part.  Abortion, gay marriage, legal weed, gun rights, et. al., etc., etc.  As with any third rail of american politics, these issues see various changes at the margins but concentrated interests, the Supreme Court and states rights will drive change.  Presidents are rather limited as to the power and, quite simply, time or effort it takes to garner enough support to take our guns, outlaw pot again or see abortion doctors behind bars.

Focus on the iceberg, not the taste of the champagne: an economy subsisting on disgruntled foreign labor, discouraging domestic enterprise while falsely and faultily making financial promises for the future feasibility of me, you and Uncle Sam cannot long last.

Our houses, shops, parks and local amusements, both public and private, are regulated and taxed on a local level much more so than by the good folks in Washington. These bureaucracies employ thousands of workers that you never voted for and yet establish and enforce public policy.  Engage with local elections, school boards and the men and women making decisions that affect life on a day-to-day basis; literally in the front yard.

If nothing else: learn who represents you!  Local and federal senators and representatives; governor, mayor, Supreme Court, etc.

Because Politics demands we get the leaders we deserve.

Personally, I’ve disagreed with everyone I have ever met on at least 16% of all things concerning life, the universe and everything.  Applying that same basic ratio to presidential candidates means that my very best, ideal, perfect, have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too, top hat, friendly joke telling, baby-kissing, karate-chopping, concealed-carrying, Chuck Norris of a candidate would still piss me off about 16% of the time!  May not seem like much, but over eight years, that’s quite a bit for someone I “agree with.”

Think on the political parties as teams with ever-changing players.  They are no longer established members with a rigid set of core beliefs.  Parties tend to start that way then diffuse as the tent expands.  Republicans and Democrats need strong, devoted members just as the Broncos strong players.  Whether or not we get a one-in-a-million or a dime-a-dozen depends in part on the decisions and focus of the other members of these teams but no matter what happens next year or next season, players and politicians must play ball.  Ideology is about ideas, politics is about winning elections.

Political teams are not friendly adversaries. They have and always will exist as ideological rivals engaged in allegorical combat in the realm of ideas for the collective destiny of free-thinking (and unthinking) people everywhere.  Active and opposing discourse is healthy and ought be encouraged as soon as children can speak (along with gun safety.)  Opposing ideas will be brought forth and a republican-style government will enact or reject reform.

Rational, legal, AND compassionate conversations (ugh!) will occur when we define terms and establish goals.  We then begin to address economic issues and potentially avoid our own Greek tragedy.

The system is designed to work slowly, painstakingly at times, in order to avoid sweeping reforms and declarations such as offering mass amnesty to all immigrants or interning lifelong American citizens.  The modern politician makes a living off the exploitation of the ignorance of the populace on this very issue.  Claims of a “do-nothing congress” or “playing politics” are meant to give the impression that but for the actions of the inept and insane political opposition, the nation would be a better place.

All would be fixed if the plain-bellied Sneetches would do what their star-bellied counterparts know is best.

Come together for the good of the country!

Won’t somebody think of the children?!?

Ideological differences are rooted in fundamentally opposing views on nature and the human condition (see Sowell’s work “A Conflict of Visions”.)  Fundamental beliefs on authority and perfection on Earth clash.  Clarity and substance fade as rhetoric increases.  Each side openly admires aspects of Lincoln, Kennedy, the Roosevelts and Reagan, as leaders to emulate and claim that those historical and ideological powerhouses would support whatever cause du jour happens to be on the docket today.

The nature of human history is penduluminous. All apotheosized feelings of pride regarding enlightened achievement trudge forth, shackled to the omnipresent defects of human character.  Such shortcomings then serve as the basis of ideological opposition or critique; and every politically platitudinous bromide.  The elephant and donkey enhance the perception of the other as politicians stumble through words to make us believe we need them.

And Politics demands we get the leaders we deserve.

Black, white whatever, Politics is interested in you.  Pick a side, join a team and come in for the big win.  We need devoted Constitutionalists and the opposition parties.  Care about the right, the future and your own place at this point in history, blessed to be a part of the most benevolent of superpowers the world has ever known.  Learn about more than the impassioned hysteria of the New York Times or Fox News and know that you will never agree with anyone on everything but that the perfect ought not be the enemy of the pretty darn good.

If you want a candidate that fits all your needs, see a priest. For the good of those of this world however, inform yourself and vote.

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

– Luke 20:25, NASB

Jesus Saves

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Walking the streets of downtown Denver, the unmistakeable sights remind me why I love this city.  Coors Field, Elitch’s (from a distance), the cash register building and Union Station.  Some may also be aware of a little nook around Lawrence and Park Avenue West where the neon lights shine bright.   Here, at a place called Jesus Saves, the local street folk live from day-to-day.

Homelessness, like the appendix, has become an accepted part of the human condition.  Sometimes it can be cut out should conditions become too inflamed but, for the most part, people either do as they see fit to ease the condition or ignore the situation entirely.

However, dealing with these conditions on a public scale is a different matter.  When our leaders call for states to begin accepting homeless refugees from halfway around the world, I must take pause to wonder why no call has been made for the states to refugee-ize the current homeless population?  A few other questions persist as well…

Where are the refugees actually going?  Where are these vacant dwellings that suddenly become available in the state of Colorado when out-of-country-ers need a place to stay?  The resources that the refugees will consume, and the tenements that they will occupy must be supplied by those in the state of Colorado and the greater United States.  So why are officials dictating how we ought to deal with the foreign homeless problem when there’s one right down the street, with no end in sight?

There’s no bombs going off but gunshots do ring out and some will die because of those bullets.  People freeze, they drink, they shoot up and sleep, and it would be hard for me to honestly say that I don’t believe that the lives of those living around the Jesus Saves are not regularly at risk.

So, make with the housing, the food and the medical supplies that are currently on reserve!

It isn’t that there should be no refuge for the weak and weary or those attempting to flee the hell-on-Earth that exists in parts of the Middle East.  But when there are Denver-ites, and by extension Americans, who are apparently without, why is there no active movement to assist on par with what’s been done in response to Syria? The likes of the governors and our presidential brother’s keeper should be all over this.  Right now, calls should be ringing out for all states to allow those living on the streets to come in from the cold to the apparently safeguarded refugee hideaways.  The food, clothing, tools, EBT cards, medical care etc. that is being evaluated for any foreign refugee could be immediately directed to any street person currently living in the United States and preferential treatment will be given to those who can show a history of any military service.

Here is a story from CNN with the best layout of the refugee process that I could find.  It’s not a very clear road ahead and I find it quite intriguing that the UN is the directorial body on such events, presumably subordinating the United States to any decree regarding the where-to’s and how-to-fore’s of the refugee process.  Such bureaucratic olive-branching maintains the status quo of obscure policy-making and enforcement on such economic and social issues.

Meanwhile, the promise of the Lord keeps the streets alight at night in Denver, Colorado.

#RadicalIslamistitis

isis-logo“If God be for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31

There are people in this world that want to kill you.

You can be nice and sweet and lovely and liberal… and you will still be put to death.

Profess your love, your compassion, your forgiveness… and you will burn alongside the most hateful reprobates nevertheless.

It does not matter that Americans have thrived in a society based in freedom where all citizens have the ability to pursue multiple religious teachings in order to find spiritual guidance.  This group tolerates no dissent.

The group itself exists as ISIS, ISIL, IS or simply radical Islam.  The followers are known as Islamists and, quite aptly, fanatics who engage in various subversive and terrorist activities to achieve religious global dominance.  These actions can be openly barbaric, such as beheadings and immolation, or disobedient on a civil level such as blocking major streets in prayer and establishing so-called “no-go zones” in non-Muslim countries.  And in Dearborn, Michigan.

Google these words and explore their definitions in the context of Islam, radical or otherwise:

Jihad, infidel, caliphate, halal and sharia.  Learn about the process known as Islamization.  Here, every aspect of society is directed and governed based on an interpretation of the Quran, handed down by those in power.  See what Islam, not radical Islam but the theocracy that exists, looks like in Iran, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan for women, Christians and homosexuals.  Learn of the distinctions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims and how internal conflicts between Islamic groups affect the tensions felt the world over.  See how Muslims in all different nations feel about implementing Islam as the governing theocracy in our previously democratic societies.

Whether an accurate interpretation or a wild fantastical delusion, radical Islam is a very real religious system and people are going to die because of it.  We live in a nation where I can decide what I believe and what I call myself as far as my religion.  It strikes me as only fair to extend the same courtesy to anyone claiming to be a Muslim.  My religion, and common courtesy, teach me to leave the judgment of others, especially as it pertains to faith, to God alone.  But if it quacks, call it a duck.

Now, there is absolutely no doubt that most practicing Muslims are not involved in any form of threatening activity whatsoever.  As one teen notes, he cannot be held to account for ISIS anymore than I can and this demonstrates the very real distinction between radical and peaceful Muslims.  And Islamists are not currently taking over the world, Europe or our nation.  Not even close. But they are expanding because no one has stopped them.

The problem with the current politically correct American approach is that the considerations that our society has taken to respect the beliefs of others is now being used as a weapon against us.  The radicals can blend with the moderates and claim religious persecution right up until they blow up a Starbucks on the Sunset strip.  But, at least we can rest assured that all those half-caff soy latte lovers didn’t die in the name of the true interpretation of Islam.

That is still alive and well…

Presidential Candidates 2016

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The best way to find out the truth is to settle for nothing less.

Here are seven of the presidential candidates who, in my assessment, are significant in terms of the impact that they could have on the election of 2016.  The names have been arranged alphabetically, no hierarchy intended.

Click on the names to connect directly to the campaign websites for each individual.  You can find info, statements on particular issues, and all the political propaganda you can handle!

Take the time to learn more about these people, regardless of their party affiliation.  For better or worse, these men and women represent the chosen few, some of whom will lead us into the next phase of U.S. history.

Ben Carson – Renowned neurosurgeon, non-politician and, relevantly, African-American.

Bernie Sanders – Senator from the state of Vermont, self-declared socialist

Carly Fiorina – Businesswoman, CEO and also non-politician

Donald Trump – Need I say more?  Probably… sure to follow.

Hillary Clinton – Ditto Trump

Jeb Bush – Former Governor of the state of Florida, brother and son of former presidents

Marco Rubio – Young Cuban senator from the state of Florida.

Rand Paul – Libertarian senator from Kentucky, son of previous presidential contender Ron Paul

Ted Cruz – Conservative to the hilt, the first Hispanic American to serve as a U.S. senator representing Texas.

Straight Outta GQ

ben-carson-donkey-hotey11-450x321Two sides are engaged in a fierce ideological struggle to win over the hearts and minds of the citizens of the United States in order that the principles composing those ideologies might be put into effective action by a legitimate governing body.

How can this task be accomplished?  How to persuade, compel or simply overpower the opposition in order to win elected office and govern accordingly?

Here are two recent examples highlighting the opposing perspectives and differing approaches between the so called left and right on just one particular issue.  These are the modern methods of these two sides:

Ben Carson speaking publicly on responding to a mass shooter:  “Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say, ‘Hey, guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.’

The article: Fuck Ben Carson

And his response: We should pray for them.

If I am being honest, I have made extensive use of the ‘F’ word on many an occasion and do not shirk from its usage as a variable part of speech.  However, call me old fashioned, but I still value honor between professional opponents, at least as it extends to the public realm.  Look no further to find evidence of the deterioration of not only the integrity of the media as a societal institution, but the complacency of detractors to look no further for the truth.  For if GQ says it, it must be true.

The article went on to sing further the praises of the Republican contender, “You know, the only thing more alarming than Donald Trump leading the Republican presidential field is the fact that Ben Carson is the guy right behind him. While establishment puds like Jeb! Bush and Marco Rubio can’t decide if they want to beat Trump or emulate him, the Good Doctor made it clear this week that he is not only willing to replicate Trump’s signature brand of hot-garbage-spewing, but he’ll say even DUMBER shit.”

This tripe bears witness to the incessant acrimony that plagues the leftist, progressive mentality. It never finds alleviation, and no peace of mind can assuage the perpetual hatred that these folks possess in their hearts.  There is no wise commentary, no enlightening aphorism meant to elevate the conversation and actually make progress.  There is simply name-calling, ad hominem attacks and an entirely dismissive attitude of a legitimate point-of-view.

Furthermore, the tendency of the lefty mentality is to impose this disposition onto society-at-large, seeking to further restrict onto those who agree with Dr. Carson.  Despite the attempts that have been imposed however, in the form of outright gun bans in urban areas and the adoption of gun-free zones, gun violence still mysteriously occurs where gun violence is not allowed.

Some folks don’t like guns, don’t want guns and would rather die before picking up a gun to hurt another living thing, even in self defense.  That is a perfectly acceptable position and I can support such conscientious objectors.  However, just as they have a right not to fight back, to peaceably submit in a movie theater or college classroom, the rest of us have a right not to be made dead by a tragic, sickened individual.

This really is the primal, prehistoric, primitive defense mechanism that living beings have always possessed as a means of survival:

1. Recognize threat

2. Respond to threat using fight or flight

3. If selecting flight, stretch legs

4. If selecting fight, get weapon

5. Use legs or weapon depending on previous decision, see step 2 – fight or flight

As humanity has progressed, the weaponry has progressed too.  Instead of clubs and board-with-nail, we have Sig Sauer and Glock to protect and defend. (not to mention entertain future fossil hunters)  Admittedly, there is a case to be made against personalized nuclear devices and a reasonable debate can be had as to where that line is but the current 12 v. 17 mag capacity BS is missing the shark because, once again, for the cheap seats, criminals do not obey the law.

I have my personal grudges with the positions taken on some issues by Ben Carson but on this one we agree.  And when the opposition has resorted to vulgarity and playground strategery, I think that’s game.

Mic drop.

Boom!

Life Matters

bw_cookieI was not born a poor black child.  I have always been a white male, who uses gender specific language to describe himself.  My parents, my family and most of my friends have always been white.  By most, I mean not all, and I have met, known and become friends with members of other races.  For the most part, race has simply not been an issue.

On the other hand, I do know what it’s like to be judged by my race, verbally demeaned for being white and to then, in turn, stereotype a group due to skin color.  But, my individualistic sensibilities have always taken over and I know that people are just that, individuals.  That’s the thing about radical capitalism, much to the chagrin of its detractors, in life, as in the wild, a being is only as good as the soul inside.

I also know what it’s like to be confronted by hostile law enforcement officers riding the high of a power trip.  I know what it’s like to have a gun pointed at me, with the knowledge that the man holding it has been trained to use it.  I know what it’s like to be guilty of a crime and to be caught in the act.  I know the fear-based desire to excuse my actions and turn an issue into the fault of those in power, blaming authority for my own destructive behavior.  I have since learned to accept responsibility, to balance my perception of justice and to live my life based upon the merits I deserve, as a white, heterosexual American male.

But my life does not matter.

Because to the progressive ideologues, blinded by willful frustration, I am the problem.

There is a movement rampaging through the country that seeks to divide our nation in the name of justice, peace and race.  Any good that was born out of the Black Lives Matter movement has become shrouded in sadness and vile aggression.  This vulgar display of power can be seen (here) at an event where none other than the avowed socialist Bernie Sanders was invited to speak.  He was pushed out of the way to allow a woman to take the stage and declare, among all else, that the Democratic supporters in the audience are white racists… simply because they are white.

This group invokes the in vogue “I Am…” to be completed with the name of whatever purported victim has been claimed by the racist white culture.  This personal identification seeks to take charge of a tragedy and let it be known that justice will not rest.  As this writer, a gender and Africana studies professor claims, when writing about the recent death of Sandra Bland, “in Sandra I see myself.”  This writer goes on to add that just as she “is” the victim in this truly horrific case, we white people cannot be anything but the cause of Ms. Bland’s tragic death:

“White people resist seeing themselves in the face of the oppressor. That mirror reflection is almost too much to bear. I get it. So then they resent the person that holds up the mirror. But let me just say as directly as I can: White people must begin to see themselves in the faces of the mostly white police officers who keep committing these atrocities against Black and Brown people. This will not stop until you recognize that you are them. These officers are your brothers and sisters and aunts and cousins, and sons and daughters and nieces and nephews, and friends, and church members. You are them. And they are you.”

-Side Bar: notice the use of “mostly white police officers?”

The progressive political machine saw a valuable ally in this movement.  They saw a group that was willing to take aggressive action and claim the status of perpetual victim, as promoted by the “I Am…” monicker.  And they will now reap what they sow.  The Republicans are already damned as far as this group goes, therefore, hostilities must exude towards the most liberal politician, in one of the most liberal cities in America.  And they get away with it there.  But the greater audience, the one who recognizes this charade of victimhood, will not be defined by a woman with a microphone and a penchant for unwarranted public outburst.

I am more than my race, and so are you.

I am not a racist white police officer and no metaphorical mirror will get me to see that I am.  I do not hate because of skin color and I don’t engage in willful discrimination against any group because of its race.  I do find generalities easy to communicate and I do fall back on stereotypes.  But I recognize these mental constructs for what they are and deal with individuals based upon their own merits, their own actions and their own hearts.

Unlike the “leaders” of Black Lives Matter movement, I will not be made a victim of my race.  I will not allow these saints of victimhood to create my own self-identification and then tell me that I had better work on eliminating my inner racist because “black lives matter.”  They do matter.  And as much as it may hurt to hear, so do white lives.  And Asian lives, Latinos, Eskimos, feline and canine, to say nothing about the lives of the unborn (too far?).

It’s a tragic day in the United States when a politician, a Democrat no less, cannot say openly that “all lives matter” without apologizing for it after the fact.  By singling out black lives, the movement seeks to segregate as means to annihilate any peaceful existence we might enjoy.  They will invoke the name of Martin Luther King Jr. as a permission slip to disparage other groups and cause all matter of civil unrest.

The left has seen but a glimpse of the antagonism of this mentality.  Much like the criminals in Gotham, they came to a “point of desperation. And in their desperation they turned to a [group] they didn’t fully understand.”  The Black Lives Matter movement will not be controlled because it has justice, God and Martin Luther King Jr. on its side.  And when white society does not immediately capitulate, these activists will riot, they will torch and they will blame me for their actions.

Unlike the civil rights movement, where MLK spoke of inclusiveness and the importance of white people and black people working together to secure the goals of equality and peace, this group has no tangible goal.  Society is lost in its eyes.  What remains, is pure rage.  There is no end, there can be no peace, there is no legislation that will suffice to right any perceived wrong.  What they want, is a reckoning.

“They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some… just want to watch the world burn.”

A $70,000 Reality Check

20130504_FBD002_0“We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” ― Ayn Rand

Politics is about winning elections while economics is about reality.  Fantastical idealism vs. the real world.

A difference between politicians and economists is in the questions they ask an interested audience.  The politician will ask, “what is it that you want?” and seek to gain favorability by promising those desires.  An economist will ask, “what do you want more?”  Underlying this question is the basic comprehension of the concept of a trade-off that is all but irrelevant, and potentially perilous, in populist, partisan politics.

All elements of business, welfare, investment and taxation are interconnected by the over-arching economy of a nation.  As the world has grown closer, through technological achievement and innovation, the economies of other nations also play a role and affect our own.  Economics is not necessarily good or bad in the moralistic sense but seeks to study and predict the cause and effect of particular actions based upon given rules and understood truths of human nature.  However, the values underlying business practices will determine the destiny of a business.  And such economics are not prone to sympathy, they do not care about the subjective sense of what is right.  Economics deals with what is.  It is the business of reality.

Enter Dan Price, the CEO of Gravity Payments in Seattle, who decided a few months back that his “values-based” company would raise its minimum pay for employees to an annual $70,000.  This action was taken in the midst of other calls for an increase in the minimum wage so, predictably, Price was hailed as a hero of the working class.  This was a decision based on need, not fiscal responsibility or practical, financial, business motivations.

As Price told Time magazine back in April, “To me, once you know the right thing to do, and it’s the right thing for everybody involved and it’s going to be beneficial to everyone, it becomes a moral imperative to actually do it.”  This is undoubtedly a noble thought, on its face, but economic reality is not so forgiving.

To risk being the bearer of bad news: there is no such thing as “the right thing for everybody.”  There are only trade-offs and opportunity costs.  To spend anything, be it time or money, in one place, means that that same item cannot be used for anything else.  And with that, the economic reality of Price’s decision has now started to take effect.

Entry-level employees have seen their compensation double in some cases while those employees who worked their way up to beyond the baseline $70,000 have seen no benefit of this “moral imperative.”  Consequently, consternation and corporate conflict have now ensued.

Here is a story from the New York Times of one employee:

“Maisey McMaster was also one of the believers [of the compensation plan]. Now 26, she joined the company five years ago and worked her way up to financial manager, putting in long hours that left little time for her husband and extended family. “There’s a special culture,” where people “work hard and play hard,” she said. “I love everyone there.”

“She helped calculate whether the firm could afford to gradually raise everyone’s salary to $70,000 over a three-year period, and was initially swept up in the excitement. But the more she thought about it, the more the details gnawed at her.

“He gave raises to people who have the least skills and are the least equipped to do the job, and the ones who were taking on the most didn’t get much of a bump,” she said. To her, a fairer proposal would have been to give smaller increases with the opportunity to earn a future raise with more experience.

“A couple of days after the announcement, she decided to talk to Mr. Price.

“He treated me as if I was being selfish and only thinking about myself,” she said. “That really hurt me. I was talking about not only me, but about everyone in my position.”

Predictably, Ms. McMaster is no longer an employee of Gravity Payments.

Need, charity, the greater good all sound great to the general populace because everyone assumes that they will personally benefit from such action.  The problem with this type of business plan is that plenary payments to employees in the form or equal compensation seek to equate the inequitable characteristics of humankind.  Namely, the inherent abilities of every individual.

People are not simply clones with identical skill sets driven by ambition and dedication.  Some work very hard but not very well, others seem to skate by while exuding very little effort.  A few work hard, and well, all their lives.  The fundamental purpose of compensation is to monetarily represent all of those intangible facets of human beings.  And the only way to successfully run a business is to compensate based upon a return on the investment made in an employee.

A business owner cannot pay an employee more than that employee generates for the business in financial returns without losing money and, subsequently, going out of business.  To compensate in order to correct perceived social inequalities will only result in further inequality and financial ruin.

That, for better or worse, is economic reality.