My writing style tends towards the scathing when I comment on the current political climate because I don't believe that the politicians are actually attempting to fix the problems our country faces. As always in politics there is a balance between policy and politics, but in current years, creating good policy has taken a back seat to political gamesmanship.
In this post I will not comment on the past, but rather will describe my 10 step solution for the economic problems in this country without delving into political games. I have a degree in Political Science from Boston University and the internet, far fewer resources than the national politicians who are so utterly failing to solve our problems. If I can come up with a coherent solution to our problems, you can be certain that the policy advisers to the politicians can come up with similar solutions, but politics makes these reforms impossible.
- Reform the tax rates to be more progressive. Leave the Bush era tax cuts on the record for everybody making less than $250,000 but repeal all cuts to higher tax brackets. Create new tax brackets at $1 million, $5 million, $10 million, etc., with far higher percentages. Tax capitol gains at the exact same bracket that personal incomes are.
- Until the end of the current recession, all additional taxes collected above as well as some from the treasury should be spend directly on infrastructure projects. Our infrastructure is crumbling and many people are out of work; these two problems fix eachother because labor is cheap at a time where labor is needed, if only the government is willing to pay a little now to save a lot of money later. Infrastructural repairs done now will cost only a fraction of what they could cost after the recession ends while at the same time, the jobs created can help us break out of the recession.
- Eliminate many corporate/wealthy tax loopholes and tax breaks. Large and profitable companies such as GE and Exxon pay no or nearly no taxes despite gigantic profits. All oil, gas, coal, and corn subsidies should be eliminated or shifted into renewable energy; these subsidy changes will not only help solve long term energy problems, keep long term costs down, and create jobs, but will do so by only shifting wasted money to a better location ($0 real cost to taxpayers).
- Tax all corporations at the time of making a profit rather than the time of returning the money to the country, eliminating the perverse incentive to keep money out of the country until a tax holiday allows the corporation to bring the money back at a 5% tax.
- Election reform is vital to prevent corruption which has huge economic impact. While the Supreme court cannot be overruled in saying that Corporations are people, laws can be enacted to interfere with their ability to influence elections. Pass laws that say only companies where 100% of shareholders are American citizens can contribute to elections and the shareholders must hold a majority vote to decide how corporate money can be spent to influence elections. Companies that evade taxes by incorporating in foreign countries should be barred from all lobbying because they should be seen as non american entities. Every corporate political donation should be posted on a government site open to the public so people can know who actually owns the people that they vote for.
- Cut waste and unnecessary programs in defense spending first, then start to end the pointless wars that we are in. Trillions of dollars can be saved at virtually no security expense to the USA
- Stop the failed war on drugs and instead of imprisoning non-violent addicts try to rehabilitate them.
- Reform entitlements to be stable even farther into the future. Don't cut benefits but rather eliminate the upper income ceiling on contributions and means test the eligibility past a certain income.
- Pass a single payer health care law in order to drive private costs down by creating competition.
- Reform education both at the high school level and the college level. High school should be mandatory until the student becomes 18 in all states. There should be a split in education at the high school level similar to some of the European country' systems (and some US school systems). Students can choose to take the general education track or the trade school track, giving them more choice on what to learn. By dividing the educational tracks, students who want to go to college will be prepared and students who want to learn a trade will graduate able to earn a good wage in their field. Students are less likely to want to drop out and will apply themselves more when they believe that what they are learning is relevant and useful, so targeting education to specific interests and crafts makes a lot of sense. For those who want to go to college, government backed loans should be more available and flexible; we all benefit from an educated and skilled population.
These ten steps could help the USA retain our high standard of living and stem the growing problem of income disparity. Each of these steps will either save wasted resources, encourage growth, or make the way we fund our government more equitable.