Eliminate Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is the uncomfortable or disturbing feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. Human nature is motivated to remove or resolve cognitive dissonance. A simple example is not wearing a seatbelt when you know the consequences of not doing so. So, here are a few examples of cognitive dissonance in the business world that if eliminated in 2011, I believe would make for a successful year.

Social Security: There is not enough money in the entire financial market to support the program. It is not the government’s responsibility to force you to save money, especially when they use it to fund other programs. The government arrests private citizens, charges them with a felony, and sentences them to prison for doing this . . . remember Bernie Madoff? Social Security was created as a voluntary program that is now mandatory and costs businesses 7.5 percent of payroll expense per month. It is the world’s largest pyramid scheme, and we all participate by electing lawmakers determined to save it, which in truth they cannot.

The Department of Energy: Established in 1976 to reduce our dependency on foreign oil, the Department has grown our foreign oil dependency from 30 percent to 70 percent and spends $26 billion a year of our tax money on 20,000 employees to not accomplish the goal they were established to achieve. In the meantime, we have companies in Brevard that – if the Department of Energy would eliminate the barriers to market caused by “Big Oil” instead of increasing those barriers – could provide a multitude of innovative energy sources.

War: Fighting a war (again) without the intent to win is nonsense. Every good coach can explain what happens when you play to keep from losing – “you always lose.”

Illegal Aliens: If you are an illegal resident then how do you legally qualify for benefits that the legal citizens can’t receive? This has to be one of, if not the, dumbest issues on the docket.

Healthcare: We are changing healthcare (supposedly to save money, make it more affordable and obtainable for others) but then we are encouraging people who smoke to get a CAT scan for lung cancer. Why? We already know they are going to get lung cancer. Why should insurance or Medicare (our tax dollars) pay for a condition that a person’s lack of personal responsibility caused? The entire medical system is cognitive dissonance and the current bill only makes it worse.

Stimulus: The government issued $750 billion of stimulus money to bail out companies that should have gone bankrupt. Three years later, we have no jobs created and companies are not investing because the capitalistic engine was improperly tampered with by people who do not know how to grow a company, leaving you and I stuck with the debt.

Earmark Spending: Politicians argue over “earmarks” with a commitment to eliminate them to “save money,” yet they represent only 1 percent of our federal budget. Earmark spending is how you “buy a vote” – they need to be eliminated totally because they are unethical.

Constitution: The people who wrote the Constitution are smarter than the people who are trying to change it. The Constitution is not out of date; it helped make us the world’s strongest and most powerful country in 200 years. Staying on top is harder than achieving it. Freedom and personal accountability are not good enough for the unintelligent unless, of course, they are the rulers.

God: 83 percent of the country believes in God but because our Pledge of Allegiance has the word “God” in it we can’t recite it at our schools anymore. In 50 years, we will have a population that does not know the Pledge of Allegiance. So to what and to whom will they become allegiant?

Balance the Budget: The Federal Budget operates “in the red,” losing money every year, and the deficit has increased from $5 trillion in 2000 to over $13 trillion in 2010. All the items on this list are our tax dollars being spent. And to add insult to injury, our president takes a $200 million per day trip to India with 3,000 people in tow, takes over the entire 570-room Taj Mahal, and gives government employees a pay raise with guaranteed benefits for life.

As one government employee commented to me, “Why would I risk opening my own business when in ten more years at the age of 50 I am guaranteed my $5,000 per month salary plus medical benefits for the rest of my life?” To which I replied, “Be glad some of us have the courage or you would not have that privilege.”