Time To Put out the Right Wing Policy Trash
flickr image by by mamamusings
Too often, the left reacts rather than envisioning and laying big plans. The other day, I was sitting at a dinner at scientific meeting, with a young man getting ready to go to grad school. I asked him what his career would look like if it was wildly successful. He didn't have a clue. We need to envision our dreams, our wildest hopes of what great success would look like. If we don't we aim too low.
The recent health care reform effort started out with a very low starting goal. That was a huge error. This list is more ambitious, the way we should be thinking and striving for.
Here are some "dusty corners" that need freshening up.
Put all unemployed workers and their families on medicare. They shouldn't go through medical care hell because politicians screwed up the economy by deregulating the financial industry and our helping these economic victims, we shouldn't be adding to private insurer profits.
End Unemployment. Give ten million unemployed people jobs. We've spent literally trillions on rescuing too big to fail banks. Put six or eight or ten million people to work. Pay them $20-30,000 a year based on past work history and education. Put them to work in a new conservation corps that conserves energy-- providing free or low cost energy efficiency assessments and upgrades to homes, working as subsidized employees in manufacturing industries where labor costs have made the US non-competitive. Income taxes will return some of the money. Consumer spending will return most of the money. Give some of it as food stamps, some as chits that can be spent so money goes further if used to purchase from small businesses instead of giant corporations-- so, say the chits are worth $200, they will buy $200 worth of goods at Walmart, but $240 worth of goods at Joe's hardware store. If ten million people are paid an average of $25,000 a year, that's $250 billion a year, plus about $50 billion a year for medicare for them-- a pittance compared to what was spent on banks, in money that won't come back to the economy.
Military Re-do: Clean up, no throw out, most of the 700+ military bases in scores of countries and a bloated, out of control military that is unaccountable to congress or the president. We're using mainframe military thinking, policy and leadership, dating back to the sixties and fifties. It needs to be just about totally thrown out and re-evaluated and replaced with new ideas and technologies aimed at maintaining peace and protecting the US and our national interests. And we need to look VERY carefully at what we define as national interests-- like funds for education, health care, our society's weakest members. Of course that will mean ending our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
End drug laws that involve victimless crimes. End the marijuana laws and save billions on prison and court hearings, freeing police and prosecutors to investigate banksters and health insurers. Start taxing the drugs. While you're at it, you'll end the source of funding of most gangs and a lot of organized crime. Oh, it may piss off some alcoholic, porn consuming redneck fundamentalists.
Throw out the USA's participation in the WTO, the WB, NAFTA, CAFTA... and start rebuilding some of our home based industries. We have the best market in the world, period. Other nations will deal with duties if we open our borders to tariff-free slave labor produced product, then our industry will not be able to compete with exports and will go out of business. Tariffs used to be among the USA's top sources of income. We could use them to pay for medicare for all. We need global agreements, but they have to be smart, creating international membranes to deal with trade. We can't allow them to flay the skin off our economy? Replace the old agreements with ones that build real protections and reciprocity and which force China, in particular, to work with us diplomatically to reduce world conflict, in places like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa...
Throw out Corporate Personhood. It is an abomination to democracy and even to religions-- or it should be. Make it a bi-partisan effort. That will end a plethora of problems and allow legislation that prevents corporate contributions to campaigns to go into effect again. Even better, publicly fund campaigns and take the money out.
Open up or eliminate the Fed. Too much power and secrecy to banks-- foxes guarding the henhouse.
Regulate banks and the finance industry aggressively, solely with consumer protection in mind.
Identify and eliminate too big to fail companies. Break them up by creating laws and taxes that make it not worth while to keep them as big as they are. Establish loan funding for smaller companies and communities to purchase local subsidiaries of too-big-to-fail operations that have been motivated to divest. Bernie Sanders has some legislation along these lines. Turn the SMALL Business administration into an operation that makes big businesses smaller.
Get the FCC to set Cable News Fairness Regulations so the situation where conservative FOX is free and liberal MSNBC is only available at a higher fee, which keeps most commercial institutions that play TV from playing that news, instead playing FOX or CNN. I'm talking about restaurants, bars, auto repair waiting areas, airports-- All the major news networks should be available at the cheapest cable tier and in public places like airports and public waiting areas, the cable and satellite companies should have a news rotation option, where news channels automatically rotate every 20 minutes.
Switch to paper ballot records nationally for all elections at all levels. Anything less is an affront to democracy and sets a standard that governments worldwide will stoop to.
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