A New Declaration of Independence
The weight of the 1 Percent has become intolerable. How can we take our country back? Here’s a fresh draft
I like Salon a lot and I like this document. I doubt it will do any good (an eternal pessimist), but I hope it will trigger some changes.
Regarding debt relief, a ‘simple’ change to the bankruptcy code (which simply puts things back the way they were before special interests diddled around) would be to allow student loans to be eliminated and to allow judges to alter the conditions of mortgages (both now prohibited). I also feel that there should be an overriding federal statute where states can be more generous, but not less generous.
Regarding the jobs program, it seems quite clear to me that if we don’t immediately start pumping trillions into our infrastructure we are just a few short years away from being unable to do so, ever (it takes a working infrastructure to rebuild an infrastructure). The idea of government backed bonds (much like student loans and mortgage securities) makes a great deal of sense (though clearly a subject of potential abuse!) as it would have the potential to almost immediately pump the needed trillions into the system with the cost being paid via increased tax revenues as the infrastructure projects kick-start the economy (with the current interest rates actually being less than inflation, even if the economy does diddly (almost impossible, btw), we are still ahead of the game because we use cheaper future dollars to pay off the debt). I have read that if by some magic the US government paid off all its debt it would cause gyrations in the global economy (at least until another source of super secure debt could be located) because so many entities (and other governments!) depend on the product being available. Thus we could pay down the black-hole, bridge-to-nowhere, military-industry-complex budget hemorrhage and still have outstanding debt for the world to use as a shadow currency.
Regarding the public health care option, to me that is a no-brainer. Nothing will squeeze out the insane profits of the health-care-industrial-complex like a non-profit competitor, I see the lack of public option as one of the biggest lies of the Obama presidency.
Clearly, re-regulate Wall Street!
Clearly, cut defense (and the intelligence) budget! AND stop hiding wars off the balance sheet!
The ‘Patriot’ act was nothing more than a naked grab at power that set us on the fast path to a police state (we are already there, see earlier posts!). If we are going to be a nation of laws, laws that violate the Constitution should be immediately repealed and a Congress that keeps passing illegal laws should be summarily dismissed.
Regarding climate change, I remain a skeptic on the whole thing, but if you are going to engage in some sort of remedial system it MUST be in such a way that the common, ordinary guy (like me!) can profit from it, and not just the monied special interests. If I can come up with a way to sequester carbon for, say, $100 a ton and the ‘market’ values that ton at, say, $110, I should be able to make $10 a ton for as many verifiable tons as I can possibly sequester. What I have read about ‘cap and trade’ and the tax rebates makes me totally convinced this is nothing more than a transfer of tax payer dollars into rich company’s pockets and there is no way the little guy can play along.
I am totally against the so-called war on drugs. Prohibition essentially took the mafia from dock-side thugs to monied powerhouses capable of nation-wide influence. Why can’t people see the direct parallels with the war on drugs? Yes, drugs have a negative influence on society, but my argument is that the overall negative impact of the war on drugs (the huge number of people incarcerated for essentially nothing and the huge profit margins driving the gangs and cartels in their violent battles) grossly outweighs the cost to society of the addicts who need treatment, drive while intoxicated, etc.
I am of the opinion that there should be no restrictions on marriage between consenting adults, so I am fully supportive of the idea of removing restrictions on activities that have no impact whatsoever on society (except for those prudes who get all weak kneed when they see two guys holding hands).
Our graduated tax system actually works fine (I am happy with the top-end rates, myself), it is the insane number of exemptions and loopholes that have poisoned the system. On the surface the idea of the government using tax incentives to encourage society to behave in certain ways makes sense, but when such incentives are implemented for narrow stakeholders and don’t apply uniformly (or to the majority of the population) we have what we have now, when a billionaire pays less taxes (as a percentage of his income) than me. Fairness to me means that anyone who earns more than me pays at least the same percentage as I do, not that those of lesser fortune pay more than (or even as much as) I do. Personally, I think corporate income taxes are stupid, corporations simply up their prices and pass it along to the end consumer, and that will forever be the case and no amount of wishful thinking will change things. I favor abolishing the corporate income tax (indeed, virtually all corporate taxes) in favor of consumption taxes. Now people are unaware of the amount of taxes built-in to the cost of goods, a sales tax would make it plain for everyone to see. As a side effect, it levels the playing field so my corporation pays the same taxes as GE does currently (i.e., nothing).
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