The Fixer

By Louis R. Avallone

We all know the “fixer”. That’s the person in almost everyone’s life who tries to make sure that everyone is happy – or that no one is disappointed. It’s the person in your life that intervenes whenever something is wrong, and tries to make peace wherever there is conflict. In fact, maybe you’re a “fixer”, yourself.

We tend to vote for “fixers”, too. Our government is filled with them. These are the candidates that promise everything to everyone. The ones that promise to reduce our national debt, even as it has doubled since 2008. The ones that promise to decrease income inequality and poverty, even though there are more Americans receiving food stamps now, and more Americans unemployed, than at any time in our nation’s history.

Most times, “fixers” are not bad people – just misinformed. They’re people pleasers. And people pleasers have been around a long time. In fact, Rome’s greatest orator, Marcus Cicero, received this campaign advice from his brother in 64 B.C: “Candidates should say whatever the crowd of the day wants to hear.” That advice is equivalent to our modern-day, quintessential political correctness.

But the political correctness has gotten out of hand. You see, we can’t even ask someone from another country, “Where are you from?” these days for fear of them feeling you are calling them a “foreigner”. Or saying that “America is a melting pot” because that could be considered racist in that you are denying a person their own racial/ethnic experiences. Or expressing that you believe “the most qualified person should get the job”, because that might be taken that minorities are given extra, unfair advantages because of their race. Or saying that “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough,” could be offensive to some because they might think you are saying the poor are lazy and/or incompetent, and just need to work harder.

And it’s getting more ridiculous by the day. In New York City, Mayor de Blasio just signed a law that will prohibit employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal record prior to any job offer. Of course, it is already illegal to not hire someone based solely on their criminal convictions (unless they pose a clear threat to persons or property), but under the new law in New York City, businesses can’t even ask any questions to assess that threat until AFTER they offer the applicant the job. Really?

Apparently, our court system wants in on the “fixing” of things too because last month the U.S. Supreme Court “fixed” Obamacare (for a second time) by allowing federal subsidies in all 50 states, even in states that did not set-up health insurance exchanges – and even as Obamacare is failing. The Congressional Budget Office now expects that 10 million workers will lose their employer-based coverage by 2021 and that there will be 31 million uninsured under Obamacare, up from its 23 million forecast made in 2011. Unbelievable.

Another recent example of our government “fixing” something are the new proposed rules from the Department of Labor (introduced last month), affecting “exempt” workers and overtime pay. According to the Department of Labor’s website, the new rules are intended to “transfer income from employers to employees in the form of higher earnings”. This “fix” could not come at a worse time for businesses in our country, since businesses are shutting down at a higher rate today than they are being opened up, which is the first time this has happened in over 35 years, shuttering future job growth now, as well.

We could go on and on, but the bottom line is that our government cannot “fix” all things for us. Government cannot make us content, make us feel respected or accepted, confer achievement, build our self-esteem, or eliminate life’s inevitable ups and down.

Despite how much politicians may care about others, they cannot keep anyone from experiencing tough times, mainly because our happiness (or unhappiness) depends on our own actions, and not the hopes or wishes of any government, regardless of how many laws they pass to step in and “fix” this or that – or to make sure everyone is happy.

“Fixing” our problems by being politically correct, or being all things to all people, has not worked, and perhaps if we stopped trying to “fix” everyone’s problems, we could solve our most important ones for good.

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