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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/22/17

Jumpstart America

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Could the warring elements of the Democrats at least accept two progressive populist platform proposals: 1) "Jumpstart America" (with greenbacks) and 2) "Power for Peace"? Infrastructure, in the broadest sense, includes not only big projects, but a lot of local needed work. This includes restoring, repurposing, securing, or demolishing hundreds of thousands of abandoned homes and factories, building needed small, local facilities such as day care, senior-care centers, remote clinics, and environmental adaptations. A part called "Up to Code" is for salvaging houses, abandoned factories, stores, to put them in usable condition. Another is for environmental adaptation: rain and rooftop gardens, storm-water disposal, etc. Eminent-domain law will need to be modified to restrict "just compensation" to private owners to repayment of the scrap value of buildings taken over while the "owner" retains ownership based on land value (taxation) alone.

Trump's proposal for infrastructure would at most fund a few large showcase efforts where private funders can make profit. Jumpstart America intends that Congress use its constitutional power (Art. 1, Sec. 8) to create as much money as needed (electronically for transfer) without borrowing or taking money by taxation! This is genuinely progressive populist policy that bypasses private banks and bond financing, fake debt-ceiling drama and fake austerity. Jumpstart will empower Congress to allocate $ trillions for jobs and infrastructure without increasing the national debt. Enabling legislation, Dennis Kucinich's NEED Act, H.R. 2990, has been in the House Financial Services since 2011.

These dollars must be distributed (not "redistributed") by Congress slowly, to control inflation, to pay several million living wage, full- or part-time supplemental jobs. Project-funding requests for work must be required at lowest governmental level: thousands of boroughs, townships, and counties. Even the localities must have some affiants' statement that this work is necessary. I envision this process driven down even down to individual initiative, in which an affiant takes a couple photos and swears to his government: "House 123 Street Name is abandoned and I propose we demolish it" or "There's a swale needed against runoff at placename. We should make one." This work would be done on a straight payment for service basis with no benefits or liability attached.

It would be required of the governmental authority to hire only for work that can not be reasonably undertaken in timely fashion by permanent staff. People who need to pay doctor bills, college debts, whatever, would start as independent contractors under skilled supervision by local municipal crews, and local small businesses, safety equipment provided, doing labor-intensive work with hand tools and "Armstrong motors." The very rise of Bitcoin, etc., shows the need for more money and different methods of accounting for it (such as the decentralized ledger system Blockchain). Payment can be immediate, after the fact, by transfer to a workers' EBT card or 'phone. "Proof of [physical] work" can be somewhat lax, by local government project supervisors. Federal taxability as income would partly defeat the purpose, until these dollars percolated up a point of purchasing financial assets, when they would meet a financial-transaction tax. After a few years, the Jumpstart work force would funnel down to fewer skilled full-time jobs appropriate for workers' associations. Jumpstart will get dollars distributed for boosting effective demand, debt reduction, and non-federal tax paying.

Jumpstart is no panacea for "free trade" lack of incomes and industrial policies. But note another use: when accepted, these United States notes ("greenbacks," whatever) could be deposited to Social Security and Medicare accounts, obviating the endless complaints that these accounts are running out of money and benefits must be cut. They could be used for a return to "moon shots," like curing cancer or dementia.

Power for Peace is a declaration of victory. America and the West have essentially beaten one-off mega-terrorism against our homeland. We've made it increasingly unlikely that massive, spectacular, 9/11-like attacks can occur again. We have neutralized most high-placed terrorists. We have removed Middle East dictators. The Middle East is now split in religious civil war. Colonial occupation of Middle East nations, Iraq, and Afghanistan should give way to disengagement from these religious civil wars. The only way to reduce strikes by the "poor man's air force," Buda's wagon bombs, is by peace-seeking actions. Maybe after 50 years of peace, revenge mini-terrorism would all but end. So I propose calling for an all-parties Stand-Down Truce, followed by voluntary, assisted evacuations and partitions, cutting down on U.S. support for Baghdad and Kabul governments and complete U.S. troop withdrawal. Leave all parties there to fight or settle amongst themselves with only our humanitarian assistance.

Thanks for your consideration of these proposals.

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I could be Bernie Sanders older brother by similarity. I was born in Manhattan, 1940, he, about a year later, in Brooklyn. I too am a white male American. A retired college professor of philosophy. We both were born of Jewish parents. I was (more...)

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