When we talk about the topic of freedom in the Western world, it most often conjures strong feelings. Especially in the United States, land of the free, the concept of freedom seems paramount to our nationality identity. We express our freedom of religion, press, and peaceful assembly, among others, every day in how we choose to live our lives. But few Americans stop think about where our freedom actually comes from. The Western philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed that freedom is an inherent quality, part of the individual, and a presupposition as to what it means to be human. But is this really the case? Is freedom an innate part of our human nature? Or is it something that we have constructed for ourselves out of enlightened ideals?
According to a paper by economist, financial expert, and blogger Richard Arthur Kelo, Is Human Freedom a Natural Thing?, “freedom of the individual is something that has been allowed to happen because of the rise of capitalism. Under a free market economy, the individual now has more powers as they can contribute to the ideas that large corporations make through choice of product”. This type of “capitalist” freedom is fairly apparent in the way that most individuals go about making purchases, and most companies respond to these purchases. The entire goal of any organization is to provide a product or service that individuals will choose over competitors. This builds the company’s reputation, drives sales, and ensures its future success.
But is this genuine freedom? Is choosing between two options really freedom, or are we limited in the sense that we only have two choices? The bauty of capitalism is that such markets respond to these questions fairly well. If consumers want a third, different option, someone will step forward to fill that desire. Thus creating more options for customers, more “freedom”. However, as consumers we are still reliant on others to put options before us and rarely do we have the economic means or skills to provide for ourselves. This is a product of our industrialized and technologically advanced society. It is impossible to except an elementary school teacher to build a computer for herself, so she goes out and buys one instead.
According to Richard Arthur Kelo—on Dailymotion and a variety of other blogging platforms—“freedom is something that has been enabled over time rather than eroded from an original right”. Instead of being born with the inherent freedom that many believe we possess, we have actually carefully constructed our freedom through capitalism. Enabling individuals to purchase things, rather than provide them for themselves, has made it possible for individuals to pursue careers such as the arts, without having to grow their own food or make their own clothes.
There is an old saying: it is impossible to be sure of anything except death and taxes. While death might seem like the more daunting of the two, it simply marks the end of life. Taxes, on the other hand, are life. We live with taxes every day of our lives, or at least whenever we are paid. Taxation tends to be one of the hottest topics in the political sphere and our recent election is a prime example of that fact. The concept of taxes is double-edged sword. Of course, most mature adults either agree with the taxes placed on their income, or they have at least grown numb to the missing percent of their paycheck. It is understandable that the country taxes us in order to maintain many of the public services that we take advantage of every day. Still, most people groan at the thought of taxes because of the simple fact that they do not get to access some of the spending power that they worked so hard for.
For business owners, the topic of taxes becomes even more complicated. In a recent article published on Rick Kelo’s blog, the economist and financial expert wrote about tax loopholes and the way that business owners deal with the day-to-day struggles of their professional finances. In his article, he explains how Donald Trump, either a genius or madman, was able to avoid paying taxes for so many years, especially in light of the astoundingly large salary he claimed to be making. In short, he was able to take advantage of a tax loophole called net operating loss. As Rick Kelo says in his article “net operating loss is essentially when one’s losses and deductions combined exceed one’s income”. In the real estate industry, developers take advantage of this because they typically have to borrow huge amounts of money before they see a profit. This lets them use their net operating loss for the next 20 years and essentially “cheat” the tax system.
Tax professionals such as Rick Kelo are some of the only individuals aware of these loopholes. However, rather than exploiting their knowledge of the United States tax systems, these professionals use their expertise to share this knowledge with the wider public, making people aware of how some of their own are taking advantage of the country. For Rick Kelo, understanding the complexities of the economy is a means of fixing the economy, not taking advantage of it. We can only hope that the new President-elect shares this point of view as well.
For today’s thinkers, there is no greater place than the internet. The rise of the digital technology era has enabled people to exchange information, ideas, and news almost instantaneously from nearly any location on the planet. This free flowing information has generate new perspectives and inspired a generation of thinkers to tap into the World Wide Web in order to access the largest possible audience. Unfortunately, not enough people have taken to the internet as a means of communicating their perspectives and ideas. Of course, the millennial generation has largely championed communication online, but luckily they are not the only ones logging on and sharing their thoughts. There are politicians, celebrities, economists, scientists, authors, and artists who have realized that the internet is a powerful tool for educating people around the world and promoting causes that they believe are important.
For Rick Kelo, using online presence as social service was the primary motivation for his personal blog. As a financial expert and executive recruiter with TaxScout, one of the nation’s largest professional placement services in the country, Rick Kelo’s blog is a trusted source of information and an interesting perspective of the state of the United States Economy. He has written articles about everything from the definition, causes, and implications of economic “bubbles” to tax loopholes and even an article entitled “Socialism and Star Wars”, in which he uses the Empire from the Star Wars franchise to highlight important aspects of socialist systems.
In a recent article posted on his website titled, “Why More People Don’t Understand Basic Economics”, he explained the flawed education system in the United States and how the majority of students graduate with only the barest working knowledge of our nation’s economic structure. Not only does he post interesting articles on his personal website, but he has also diversified his online presence across multiple blogging and social media platforms. This has enabled him to reach a vast amount of people, specifically within the millennial demographic that needs the most education about these important topics. A lot of really brilliant people feel that they do not need or cannot use the internet as a platform for sharing their opinions with the world. This is a huge problem because society is missing out on the opportunity to learn and grow from the shared experiences of such individuals. It is important that people of all ages and backgrounds realize that they can, and possibly should, have their voices heard on the web.
For more information on Rick Kelo, the outspoken blogger questioning the modern age, visit his website or the various social media outlets that he is currently using.