Thoughts on Events the Week of March 24

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 30, 2014

There continues to be little news worthy of comment, except NCAA basketball; in its way, this has been a welcome drought. It has made time for reflection.

My political views are far on the left tail of the American bell curve, which means there is little hope of seeing any of my views reach the mainstream in my lifetime. I had come to accept this. Recently, though, I realize that there is absolutely no hope of this. Even if the political landscape tilts far to the left of where it is now, I will always be a political “loser.” Republican, Democrat, it doesn’t matter who is in power, my views are always going to seem radical.

But, I am not a radical. I’m not an anarchist. I’m not a communist, a Marxist or a nihilist. I’m not a pure socialist or libertarian. I’m not even a “knee jerk Liberal,” which is a liberal who never took an economics course. However, I laugh out loud when I hear President Barak Obama called a Communist, or even a socialist. Obama’s views are nearer to George W. Bush than to mine.

Perhaps it is just as well that no one agrees with my views.  The country would be a very different place than it is today, and it would doubtless be a frightening place to many.  Below is a small sampling of how things would be different.

The top budget priorities would be jobs, healthcare, education and regulation. Military would be way down the list:

Almost everyone who can work would have a job. Government would not necessarily hire them, but it would invest enough in such priorities as infrastructure development and maintenance; public space development, beautification and maintenance; urban planning, building and maintenance; that everyone would have something to do. (Note: no system is perfect. There would be slackers, but not nearly as many as are imagined, and they would stick out like a fart in an elevator, and be looked on the same way.)

The healthcare system would be single payer, of course (pick any of the myriad models superior to ours), which would put health insurance companies out of business. They are simply a drag on medical economic efficiency. About hospitals, I am not yet decided.

For everyone seeking education- scholastic or technical – above the secondary level, the cost would be free, at first. Parents would be off the hook. Here is how it would work. The state (the primary beneficiary of good education) would pay the bill up front. Students would begin paying back the cost from their own earnings in affordable, monthly amounts, based on income. Like social security, people would continue to pay in throughout their lifetime, even after they have paid back for their own education, which will fund education for those in the future.

The military budget would be slashed dramatically. This is not because I don’t want a good military. It’s simply that we are spending dramatically more on it than is sane.

The tax system would be completely different.

Personal income rates would be highly graduated. People at the top would be rich, but not super rich. Almost all deductions would be eliminated. Inheritance tax would be 100%. When you die, your estate goes back to the government for redistribution. No one wins the genetic lottery.

There would be no corporate income tax, but there would be no deductions for corporations, of any kind, except perhaps for research and salaries. I’m still thinking about that. There would be no golden parachutes, and bonuses, if any, would be held in escrow until the performance of the corporation during the time management was responsible is known. There would be no bonuses in years when there are no profits, and management compensation would be reduced in years thereafter, until performance and profitability improves. There would be lobbying, but no paying for anything of any kind, not even lunch. There would be no political donations of any kind (more below). Dividends would be mandatory, for a large percentage of profits (I’m not sure what the level should be yet.)

There would be no capital gains of any kind. The very idea that capital would be taxed at a lower rate than labor is obscene. There would be no depletion allowances, as there is now with oil, for instance. The idea that something can be depreciated in perpetuity is ludicrous. There would be no subsidies.

There would be no “sin taxes” of any kind. All goods and services would be taxed the same ratre.

“A well-regulated militia being necessary,” there would be a right to bear arms. But, since a well-regulated militia is no longer necessary, that right would be well-regulated also. I like the Japanese model, where a legitimate hunter or sportsman can obtain a firearm for that purpose, but not until he can prove the fire arm is for that purpose, and after he passes rigorous tests for mental and emotional stability, and after his locked storage area for guns has been inspected and approved. Saturday Night Specials, military armaments, and their ilk would be out of the question. The wish to have one would disqualify one automatically from having a firearm.

There would be a national identity card, using high technology, given to each citizen at birth, gratis, and upgraded regularly, and to visitors when they arrive. (Each year, we would set a quote for visitor workers, who would pay taxes, and have citizens’ rights for the duration of their work permit.)

The i.d. would contain lots of information, e.g., medical history, criminal records, etc. With it, every citizen could vote in every election he or she wishes, without any other constraint. However, if one votes too infrequently, the privilege would be forfeited. This would be the only grounds for forfeiture.

Immigration: All so called “illegals” in the country at a date certain, would be given an i.d. card, if they will come forward. If not, and if they are found without an identity card, they will be deported. If they wish to become permanent residents, they may do so for three years. If, after that time, they wish to become citizens, and their taxes are paid and their records are clean, they will become citizens after passing the current examination.

Children born to such visitors would become citizens if their parents choose to become such.

Immigration quotas would be extremely liberal, based on merit and manpower needs, in that order of priority. (Remember, we have always been net gainers from immigration, whatever xenophobes say.)

Representation: A state would have senators numbering 1, 2, or 3, depending on which third of the U.S. population it contains. The idea of states with little population having as many senators as states with large populations is antiquated.

The U.S. House members would be increased to the point where no representative will serve more than 250,000 population. Districts will be drawn by a non-partisan commission of statisticians and cartographers. I’m not sure how the commission would be selected yet, but it would not be by politicians.

Nationalization: Railroads would be nationalized, and probably the banks. There would certainly be a national bank. Banks would be able to do only banking functions. All bank executives currently in their positions would be jailed on spec. (Just kidding. I wanted to see if you were still paying attention.) There would be a post office, because one is required by the constitution, but others may compete for delivering the mail. And, the post office would not be required to fund retirement in the way it is now currently, which no other entity in government or private industru is required to do.

Criminal Justice: There would be no capital punishment, but there would be the possibility of life without chance of parole, life being defined as until death, or life expectancy (currently about 78 years), whichever comes first. Use of drugs at majority would not be a crime, but production, distribution and sale would be regulated. For any crime involving a gun would carry the life sentence. Fortunately, there would be few of these, since there would be so few funs.

Elections: All national elections would be federally funded, and federally managed. The Electoral College would be abolished. It is ludicrous, and undemocratic, that there would be an intermediary between our only truly national offices and voters.

Wolves: Yes, I said wolves. We would bring back the wolf. We miss them more than we know. Killing one would be a felony. If you don’t understand this, I can’t explain it to you.

That’s enough ideas for now. I’ll have some more, interesting ones for later, after these have been digested.

 Ukraine: I’m feeling pretty smug just now. Putin, Yesterday’s Man, called President Obama Friday to discuss a negotiated solution to their disagreement, rather than proceeding, as I predicted. Putin is learning just how “yesterday” he is (consider that there hasn’t been a re-drawn national boundary in Europe by force, since 1945). Putin now seems not only atavistic, but downright barbaric. He needs to put his shirt back on.

Coming Attractions: As promised, a book review in the middle of this week. It is already written.

2 Responses

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  1. Bob Keller said, on March 31, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Steve, I agree with everything you said…..

    ….well, except for your eleven (11) main points.

    All kidding aside, you are actually not far outside the mainstream. Many people, perhaps even most, would agree with you in large part.

    The real discussion needs to be about human nature and the unforeseen risks of social engineering. This is another large topic for another day.

    I’ll do what I can to publicize your blog and bring you more readers.


    • EloiSVM42 said, on April 13, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      Wizard – That’s my line. I’m not a kook, just a consistently far left leaning liberal, proud of it, and not about to change. But the national conscience has swung radically to the right since I first began paying attention.
      But, if you really think I am, ”not that far from the mainstream,” name just one of my 11 ideas you believe might ever be enacted in our lifetimes.

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