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Planning & Economy

Keep in the Middle of the Road…

October 16th, 2017

Keep In The Middle of The Road…

 Is the title of the first song I learned and sang as a new student and recently arrived newbie in the USA. This momentous event took place in music appreciation class at Western Junior H.S. in Bethesda: I can sing it now….

Children, keep in the middle of the road 

Children, keep in the middle of the road 

Don’t you look to the right 

Don’t you look to the left 

Just keep in the middle of the road.

Back in neanderthal times, when songs seemed simpler when verses implied sensible truths; with rhythm and enthusiasm, we celebrated the message of the old hymn: Stay focused. Stay out of the ditches. The road is long and full of potholes, don’t lose faith, keep on keeping on, and in the end, you will be fine. The lyrics, in full are provided for your enjoyment at the end of this writing.

So, let’s step into the income inequality ditch. If you are a reader of these newsletters, you are familiar with the substantial difference between educational achievement and income level. Some folks, rightly so, would also suggest that income differentials are a function of many variables, most likely, behavioral and environmental in nature, and life-cycle driven.

I highlighted some of the extreme measures in the chart to help make the following points about income inequality. As you peruse the data points, ask yourself the questions: Is the inequality based on behavior (choices) or a function of a natural lifecycle? A couple of points:

I believe most of the differences in income inequality are behavior based. This is good news, isn’t it? If my opinion holds true, then logically follows that if we, the community, can influence behavior we may alter outcomes for the better.

Did you know that there is a program specifically designed to teach elementary, middle and high school students about careers, budgeting, entrepreneurship, economics all in the context of outcomes? A couple of examples:

Lee Highsmith, The Executive Director for North Georgia Junior Achievement, provided me with the anecdotes and the following insight from the students participating in these programs:

““One student wrote in his evaluation of JA’s financial literacy program; “Today school finally made sense. I have been asking “What are taxes and how do I pay them?”.  Instead school has taught me that the mitochondria is the nucleus of a cell. I don’t plan to be a scientist, but I do plan to be a taxpayer. Today I learned about taxes.””

“One of the most often repeated statements by students participating in JA financial literacy programs is “These children are killing me!” As students are building a budget, they learn how expensive it is to raise a child ($245,000 to the age of 18 yrs), we see two responses from the students:

  1. they express a desire to delay becoming a parent until they have a job that will provide an income to support themselves and a child
  2. they express appreciation for their parent(s), because they had no idea the expense they had created for their parents(s)”

Staying away from the ditches, keeping in the middle of the road takes an understanding of the consequences of not doing so. Choices make a difference. If the lower quintile of all earners had even a cursory understanding of the differences in outcomes, I believe, they would have made different choices.

Hurray for Junior Achievement! Their motto should be Children, keep in the middle of the road….

 

Currently, our portfolios overweighted domestic and foreign equities.

 

Carlos Dominguez – Portfolio Manager, DJWMG

 

https://www.gospelsonglyrics.org/songs/keep_in_the_middle_of_the_road.html

https://www.juniorachievement.org/web/ja-usa/home

https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/income2017.png

https://www.aei.org/publication/explaining-us-income-inequality-by-household-demographics-2016-edition/

 

 

Children, keep in the middle of the road  Children, keep in the middle of the road  Don’t you look to the right  Don’t you look to the left  Just keep in the middle of the road.

I hear those angels a calling loud  Keep in the middle of the road  They’s a standin’ there in a great big crowd  Keep in the middle of the road.

Chorus: Then children, keep in the middle of the road  Children, keep in the middle of the road  Don’t you look to the right  Don’t you look to the left  Just keep in the middle of the road  In the middle of the road  In the middle of the road.

I can see them standing around a big white gate  We must travel along before it gets too late  For it ain’t no use for to sit down and wait  Just keep in the middle of the road.

Chorus: Then children, keep in the middle of the road  Children, keep in the middle of the road  Don’t you look to the right  Don’t you look to the left  Just keep in the middle of the road  In the middle of the road  In the middle of the road.

I ain’t got time for to stop and talk  Keep in the middle of the road  ‘Cause the road is long and it’s hard for to walk  Keep in the middle of the road.

Chorus: Then children, keep in the middle of the road  Children, keep in the middle of the road  Don’t you look to the right  Don’t you look to the left  Just keep in the middle of the road  In the middle of the road  In the middle of the road.

I’ll fix my eye on the golden stair  And I’ll keep on a goin’ till I get there  Cause my head am bound that crown for to wear  Just keep in the middle of the road.

Chorus: Then children, keep in the middle of the road  Children, keep in the middle of the road  Don’t you look to the right  Don’t you look to the left  Just keep in the middle of the road  In the middle of the road  In the middle of the road.

When your feet get tired and your song don’t sing  Don’t look at the world full of sinful things  Don’t lay down in the road for to die  Put on your wings and get up and fly.

Chorus: Then children, keep in the middle of the road  Children, keep in the middle of the road  Don’t you look to the right  Don’t you look to the left  Just keep in the middle of the road  In the middle of the road  In the middle of the road.

“Keep In The Middle Of The Road” is a traditional African-American Gospel song.

 

 

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