As United States policies both domestic and foreign play the key role in the instigation and continuation of the worldwide economic crises, I would like to extend a bit of solemnly timeless advice. Drastic problems call for drastic solutions, so I present this article in hopes of generating audacious controversy. Some of these ideas you may have heard before, while others I insist on taking full credit for. Combined, they offer something different, something more sensible than either of the separated at birth mainstream political parties and their ping-pong politics are capable of individually, and hopefully a light in the darkened tunnel vision of our times.
How to fix the American government (or at least postpone the inevitable end by a few more years).
Paying bills and cleaning the financial slate absolutely must come first, and this can be accomplished only by streamlining the tax code and cutting government spending in unison. Discontinue the Federal Reserve AND the IRS immediately, as neither institution is anything but an incredibly prejudiced and ongoing abuse of power. Let the only taxing be a set 10% sales tax on every dollar spent, no matter the product, with half going to the purchaser’s state government and half going to the Federal government. If you buy a 3 dollar loaf of bread, that’s 15 cents to your state gov and 15 cents to the Federal gov. A 50 dollar carton of cigarettes, that’s 2.50 to state, 2.50 to Federal. If you buy a million dollar yacht, that’s 50 thousand dollars to your state gov and 50 thousand dollars to the Federal gov. So essentially, the more you spend, the more taxes you pay. But no more local taxes or taxes on income or anything else beyond this very specific sales tax, because if government spending is limited to necessity then anything else amounts to inconsequential cannon fodder for selfish elitists.
Additionally, no more corporate subsidies or tax breaks for anybody, period, and by god no more bailouts. Especially for agencies already so preoccupied with tax evasion schemes. If industry is the spine of America then it requires no coddling, lest it turn crooked. Also, remove churches from tax-exempt status and tax them the same as any other business, which in my world would not be taxing earnings or property, but expenditures. With groups such as the church of Scientology, the church of Latter-Day Saints, and particularly the Vatican owning billions in real estate alone, they are clearly wealth-building companies. And, as corporations are insistent upon being viewed as people too, so the very same tax rates would apply regardless of how much they spend. No free rides and everyone pays their share. Be they individuals or groupings, ten percent of every dollar spent across the board.
Cut military spending down to 50 billion a year (symbolically, one billion per state with the total still being more than what virtually any other nation spends annually on defense). This alone would save hundreds of billions in revenue streams misspent each and every year. On the flip-side, cut any and all foreign aid, because tax-paying American citizens are starving to death right here, right now, and limiting our involvement in global networks could only improve our relations internationally. Like the drunk uncle who is loads of fun provided he only visits every few years or so.
And have every single political official, without exception every single politician appointed or otherwise elected from the President on down, work for minimum wage so that politicos truly would be representing the people. And no overtime, as these positions should require 100 hour work weeks on average, with an hour of pay docked in trade for each hour spent riding the clock over. They are there to work, and work they shall. For the bulk of my adult life I have worked weeks in excess of 100 hours, and it apparently built a bit of character. The added bonus to this would be that nobody would even bother to campaign unless they honestly wanted to do something with whatever desired position. I think that just knowing there would be years of slumming it on noodles and store brand coffee (along with chipping away at whatever prior savings) would be more than enough to frighten away many a technocrat from offices of power. This would also likely scale back city, county, state and Federal governmental expenditures somewhat, just by thinning out the payroll.
And to avoid any further temptations of government powers, all PACs, Super-PACs and lobby groups should be banned and made illegal, as politicians are already supposed to represent the people, and if all men are created equal then these agencies have no ethical place in the scheme of things. Mandatory accountability and full transparency will be expected from all government agencies, departments and offices in all matters, and with bare minimal “National Defense” excuses allowed as 99 times out of a hundred that is just smokescreen for illicit activities. Outlaw filibustering and sequesters as well, as congresspersons should behave as goddamn adults.
A smaller, more manageable government is obviously warranted, to better serve the people and to allow accountability and transparency to be realistically maintained. As such, the United States Cabinet of the Executive branch should be consolidated relatively, along with many other Federal government offices, to cut waste and further control spending. In honor of George Orwell’s harrowing novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (and as reminder of the darkness we hope to overcome) I propose the following for this specific concern.
The Office of the United States Secretary of Peace will consist of merged offices of Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and Secretary of Homeland Security.
The Office of the United States Secretary of Plenty will consist of merged offices of Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Labor, and Secretary of Health & Human Services. (This would also oversee the universal 10 % sales tax, along with incorporating the Council of Economic Advisers, the Office of Management & Budget, and the Small Business Administration.)
The Office of the United States Secretary of Love will consist of merged offices of the Attorney General (including the Department of Justice), Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of the Interior, and Secretary of Housing & Urban Development. (This would also incorporate the Environmental Protection Agency.)
The Office of the United States Secretary of Truth will consist of merged offices of Secretary of State, Secretary of Education, and Secretary of Energy. (This will also incorporate the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.)
Each of the proposed new offices would receive equal funding, penny by penny and measure by measure, and would remain of equal authority from one to the other. The Ambassador to the United Nations would no longer exist, as the United States has no business being where it is neither wanted or needed. And a small bonus here would be that if the United States were free of the United Nations charter, then it would no longer have reason to abide by the United Nations drug policies, meaning that marijuana could be legalized. As it currently stands, and what so many people fail to grasp, is that marijuana will never be legalized in the United States as long as it shares the drug policies of the United Nations. Marijuana could be decriminalized, but never legalized, which is decidedly not the same thing. This would enable a viable product upon the legal market, the sales for which could be taxed in accordance with all other goods and services. And prison systems will NOT be used as free or cheap labor for corporate interests anymore, though trade programs could be established under the Federal government to put approved inmates to work repairing domestic infrastructure concerns. No pay, as the education and exercise would be part of their rehabilitation. No more death penalty either, as we can be more creative than that. All of this would dramatically limit the costly war on drugs, simplifying the tasks of assorted law enforcement agencies while saving the taxpayers quite a bit of money in the doing.
Regarding the other two branches of government, members of Congress should be limited to three terms at the most, consecutive or non-consecutive and regardless of being elected into either the House of Representatives or the Senate or both at different times. For the Judicial branch, members of the Supreme Court would be limited to terms of ten years at the most, or must face mandatory retirement once reaching the age of 70, whichever occurs first. This insures a modicum of new blood and new ideas instead of death-grips enabling private agendas, as the ability to recognize and resolve the vital and ongoing needs for change should not be dependent upon seniority or partisanship.
These changes would, I believe, allow for free healthcare for all tax-paying United States citizens, short of cosmetic/plastic surgery. Keeping ourselves alive and healthy should not be a for-profit concern. These changes would also enable free education for all tax-paying United States citizens up to and including an Associates degree (at the very least). In addition, these improvements to education and healthcare, and less taxes in general, would raise the standard of living enough so that all welfare programs could be cut entirely, including unemployment benefits, food stamps, etc. These programs should not be required, even though they cost far less than the loopholes actively exploited by the wealthy. Crime rates might well plummet, as persons would be less likely to be born into environments of desperation and equally, persons with authority would be less enabled to create such environments of desperation. These tax dollars otherwise wasted on enabling the lazy, greedy and ignorant (for the lowest class and the wealthiest alike) could then be reapplied towards total education reform, total healthcare reform, and the betterment of infrastructure nationwide.
Of course, I do not believe in Democracy or any established form of government, but by my own reason and experience these conclusions seem wonderfully relevant. It is not a matter of getting things back on track. America was never on track.
I really think the only way to fix or to change the system for the better would be to slam on the breaks. If velocity knocks us back a hundred years then so be it. A mess this big and ongoing can only be resolved with equal force. And that goes for the global economic crises as well. Things will not magically get better and there are no easy solutions. Politicos can try to slow the damaging process with the same old tired and rehashed balms if it means more desirable votes in the next election cycles, but the end is still and will always be the end, and it approaches ever so fastly.
For the sake of my family and friends I truly wish it was not so dire, but seeing it any other way is just as constructive as throwing pennies down a well. And contrary to what popular culture informs us, wishing is not problem-solving.