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The Billionaires Improve the Country Project

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Imagine they decided to spend their money more effectively. Imagine they realized their project requires a national focus on par with the Marshall Plan or the space program of the sixties. In an ultimate act of teamwork from the billionaire class, they agreed to lead the financing of this initiative. Though every citizen will contribute to the cost of this effort, the billionaires realized they are the only ones with the resources to lead it. The billionaires knew they had more money than they could spend in a hundred lifetimes. Their descendants five hundred years into the future will be fabulously wealthy. They didn't forget that the financial policy from Washington in the last thirty years has been very rewarding. There was a recognition that many of the problems in the USA today result from a majority of the citizens not having the necessary resources to survive. They concluded some element of wealth redistribution was necessary. Vilified in the past with the derogatory term "handout", the redistribution was renamed "sharing". Also recognized were the many barriers that prevent citizens from pulling themselves out of poverty. The meme "personal responsibility" to blame the poor for their situation was banned to the garbage bin of oversimplification.

Imagine the billionaires no longer wanted the responsibility of oligarchy. They realized that if American society decompensates, the lens of blame would focus on them.

Imagine they were about to brainstorm technical, social and political solutions. To ensure the two sides continue to talk to each other, there were four rules for the solutions conference:

1. There will be a refusal to accept that society's problems are inevitable.

2. Progressive billionaires must be open to free market ideas the conservatives prefer.

3. Conservative billionaires must recognize the limitations of the free market.

4. The two sides are not allowed to shout at each other.

Imagine then that one billionaire stood up and said, "Hey, aren't we all busy? Don't we have an entire political apparatus that's supposed to solve social problems? Can't we just write the check?" So they cancelled the solutions conference and told the politicians to create solutions, with the aforementioned rules of engagement. Where technical expertise was required for a solution, the politicians engaged the appropriate experts. Imagine politicians transformed from fundraisers to problem solvers.

Imagine then the politicians implemented the solutions, with a willingness to experiment because humans rarely get things right the first attempt. They recognized there would be unintended consequences of any solution and ensured flexibility for the Billionaires Improve the Country project. Nothing was sacred and no one was allowed to be an ideologue. The American people want results!

Imagine a government unafraid of complex problems. Imagine a government that didn't require a horrific crisis to act.

Imagine a humane floor of human existence in the United States, where the necessities of life: universal health coverage, comfortable retirement, a living wage, food and housing security, and education, are assured for every citizen via a combination of free market and governmental mechanisms. Citizens no longer endured the unconscionable debt burden that is an American cancer. Citizens no longer endured working two or three jobs. Citizens no longer are the casualties of economic downturns.

Imagine middle class resentment against welfare no longer exploited to win elections. Everyone is in the middle class.

In part by de-incentivizing crime, imagine this humane floor of human existence reduced all types of criminal behavior in the United States. Imagine the end of mass incarceration.

Imagine this myth rejected: that because people are happy, they will be satisfied. Instead, the collective focus shifts from survival to creativity.

Imagine a reorganization of foreign policy, with the goal of creating a humane floor of human existence worldwide. Imagine social justice exported instead of empire.

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Retired Emergency Physician.
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