So often, we hear people on all sides of the aisle complaining about what's wrong with our system of government. We hear ad nauseum what the problems are, but little in the way of workable solutions.
Ultimately, this is what I, as a self-styled Liberal Progressive would do to fix the issues facing the USA were I handed the power necessary to do so. Justice is Balance -- therefore we must rebalance the scales of society if we're to achieve justice.
A CITIZEN'S PLATFORM
CONGRESSIONAL BEHAVIOR, ELECTIONS & PROCEDURE
- Ban all Federal Lobbying and remove all Lobbyists from Federal Buildings. Lobbying shall be considered a form of Bribery, with the penalty for such being full seizure of all Lobbyist’s assets and the removal of the bribed official from Office. SuperPACs to be completely disbanded and "Citizens United" to be overturned in law.
- All Incumbent members of both Congressional Houses to immediately resign. Hold emergency national elections to replace them, allowing only Independent/Third-Party candidates on the ticket.
- All funding for Elections for Public Office will be provided publicly and all private monetary donations to campaigns will be banned. Campaign contributions will be in the form of personal time commitments only. Full Voting rights to all unregistered citizens who can provide a Birth Certificate, Passport or two forms of State/Local ID. All those already registered to vote will only have to sign on-record register at the polls.
BANKS, ECONOMICS & WELFARE
- Break up the Too-Big-To-Fail Financial Institutions into smaller, more manageable entities. Also use Anti-Trust laws already on the books to break up the large scale corporations that control the majority of our media, food production and commercial economies. Step up stricter enforcement of SEC law. Off-shore tax havens will be seized entirely. All corporations that made record profits after receiving TARP or Stimulus Funds will return those funds or have all assets summarily seized.
- Reinstate Glass-Steagall.
- Raise Federal Minimum Wage to $10/hour and create a Federal Maximum Wage of $10M/year using the tax code to enforce the latter. Redesign the tax code on a scale similar to what’s outlined below. Increased revenue divided into thirds: 1/3 for Deficit Reduction, 1/3 for Domestic Infrastructure Improvements, 1/3 for Public Health Option and Education funding.
- All Senators, Congressmen, Supreme Court Justices and Executive Branch Department Heads (including President) to accept salaries at Federal Minimum Wage (travel benefits to remain intact). Savings to be used for Deficit Reduction.
- Welfare benefits to be redesigned to focus on job training, education and temporary relief, with benefit cutoffs to end after a recipient is above economic poverty line. All beneficiaries of Federal Welfare must serve a mandatory 1 year with AmeriCorps if receiving benefits for longer than 6 months.
- Unemployment trust fund which covers pre-65 wage insurance, including wage loss for unemployment from business shrinkage and personal injury while at work or due to other life events (eliminates double taxation, administration and fraud of workers compensation programs) and post-65 wage insurance, including retirement income protection and specifically excluding healthcare (making it clear that this is not a monetary retirement program which is funded separately by individuals and companies using after tax dollars which will not be taxed again if pulled after age 65 as part of a qualified retirement).
- Creation of an infra-structure fund to be distributed to local government agencies directly based on proportion of citizen and businesses without regard to taxable contribution of the inclusive group in an effort to recognize businesses and employees need sustainable, safe and effective roads, bridges, etc. to ply their trade, etc. and balancing small community vs large community needs.
- Simplify the entire tax code and its myriad of policies of social and economic engineering. Replace it with symbiotic personal/business taxes (income/profit, respectively) that go into discreet secured trust funds with firewalls preventing moving funds or borrowing funds. No accounting tricks, just hard cash going in and out for designated purpose all accounted for on public website with 100% drill down and data download
- Return to the tax brackets of the Eisenhower Era for corporations.
- Double taxes on Businesses that outsource American Jobs or damage American Ecology.
- Tax rewards for business that do the following:
- Bring jobs back to impoverished American areas.
- Are Unionized, with programs to allow for new members to join the Union.
- Use Green technology and go above-and-beyond EPA regulations in Environmental Safety
- Give back to local communities and invest in local economies.
- 1-year Tax Exemption for companies that develop new Green Technologies that allow the USA to be Energy Independent and Ecologically Responsible
- Taxes would be designed as linear or curvilinear schedules which start at somewhere just north of the living wage and continuing through to the highest earning/profit levels with the individual and business "lines" being mathematically set based on these discreet populations. All income/profits including foreign are factored in without distinction to eliminate, even encourage sighting the business on US soil. These lines eliminate the arbitrary mark up for making $.01 more and the regressive nature of flat taxes. The net effect will likely lower taxes to those at the bottom of the current "middle class" and properly raise it as individuals make more money and rising into the realm of mega-rich. The same logic applies to businesses with the requirement that all businesses are run as LLC or INC and no more individual, as business filings. Capital Gains and Estate Tax rates increased with proceeds to fund Education Programs and Public Pensions. Create Discreet funds which directly link to income sources and are backed by concrete sunset clauses, or at least formal assessments requiring something other than Continuing Resolutions
- Transformation of the American public transportation grid: electromagnetic bullet trains, etc.
- Transformation of the American energy grid: renewable energy investment, carbon tax, petroleum tax
MILITARY POLICY AND BUDGET
- 50% reduction of military spending, reducing the Standing Army and Foreign Bases accordingly and using the remaining resources on augmenting and streamlining the Navy, Air Force, CyberDefense, Special Forces and AmeriCorps. Take 1/3 of the savings to increase funding for NASA and Tech R&D. Use 1/3 of the savings for Deficit Reduction and 1/3 for Domestic Infrastructure Improvements. Low-ranking Army Personnel still under contract to serve will serve the rest of their time with AmeriCorps and receive a 1-grade promotion in rank.
- Creation of a Federal General Fund includes military, NASA, world-wide projects, Congressional member and staff compensation, etc. These are funded by a National Sales Tax with transparent posting on the web as outlined above with the possible exception of Congressionally certified and approved National Security projects which are reported as a summary number to provide reasoned protection from special operations deemed by Congress to be essential to defense of our Country.
- Full disclosure to Congress of all Intelligence & Military Activities, Treaties (both secret and public), Deals, Slush Funds and Black Ops. Failure to do so will result in prison sentences for all personnel who refuse to disclose. All who willingly disclose this information can do so anonymously.
- Creation of a National Single-Payer Health Care Option to cover Basic Medical Care, Catastrophic Illness or Injury, Generic Prescriptions, including Generic Birth Control/Women’s Health Services and Annual Physicals
- This would be as a Public Option alongside Private Insurance, comparable to the Public/Private School System. Private Insurance would be subject to the same regulations as the Public Option. Elective Procedures would not be covered under the Public Option, but could be covered by Private Options. Abortions would be covered in cases of rape, incest, minors and medical emergency.
- Covers lifetime medical care (for all illnesses) and pharmaceuticals as directed by the patients' doctors who are each employees of a non-profit healthcare coop owned and managed by the member patients where the management board of coop is a 50/50 model of professionals and member patients without managerial or administrative interference from any government entity other than fiduciary audit oversight by qualified and certified Accountancy firms (wherein these Coops receive an annual flat rate as a straight pass thru from taxes paid by each member and respective member's employer covering all care including pre-existing conditions, end of life care, etc.)
CRIMINAL AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
- Reinstitute the Assault Weapons Ban, with limited exceptions for Veterans and Law Enforcement, subject to strict regulation. The sale of Ammunition would also be limited and subject to sales tax. Sales tax on handguns and hunting rifles would be increased -- and split between the individual state in which they're sold and the Federal Gov't -- along with increased oversight and harsher penalties for unlicensed gun possession and trafficking.
- Federal Recognition of Marriage as defined as “a legal union of adult human beings” with all accordant benefits.
- Federally Prohibit the Death Penalty, and change sentencing protocols for Non-Violent Offenders to focus more on Community Service and less on Incarceration. Violent Offenders, Grand Theft, Fraud and White Collar criminals to face stiffer penalties. Penal management to be returned to direct State control, with Private Prison Companies relegated to minor support with no control over policy.
- Repeal “No Child Left Behind” and reinstate secular curriculum for all Public Schools. Full immersion tri-lingual education in all public schools, K-12: English, Spanish, French. Create an education fund which is used to reimburse new network of National Universities offering both academic and vocational degrees and where the institutions don't get paid until post graduation and receive a government set flat rate for 2, 4, 6, 8 year programs. Other college and vocational colleges would be paid the same rate as an offset to their standard rates provided these fall within reasonable limits and aren't used to artificially inflate college costs as seems evident from the huge increase in college fees when the government instituted previous assistance programs (with serious consideration to ending or phasing out current programs unless and until forensic analysis can prove up or discount the veracity of the latter concerns).
- Repeal the Patriot Act and NDAA.
- Universal Voter Registration, with compulsory voting in all elections
- Legalize, License and Tax Marijuana, placing it under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of ATF and similarly regulated. Tax revenue to be used to help fund the Public Health Option. End of prohibition tax at 300-500%, depending on the drug (beginning with tobacco and sugar)
- Institutional Reparations for American citizens of African and Native descent
- Ban all religious trappings from Federal Buildings (including X-Mas decorations, Ten Commandment statuary, etc), while allowing Federal Employees time off for religious observance.