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Proposals to Save America, Part II

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The United States has been on the road to financial ruin, starting with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. There is an exit, if we are willing to try and to persevere however long it takes. And it will take time.

Conservatives in the "political party of great ideas" ~ such as tax cuts for the wealthiest, tax cuts for the aristocracy, tax cuts for the investing class, and tax cuts for the corporations ~ have proposed more tax cuts for the well-off and tax breaks for corporations to make investments in equipment to cure another George W. Bush-induced recession. The only other idea from this mob is more deregulation of commerce, the very tactic that made possible this Reagan-double-Bush "Voodoo Depression."

Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a native Michigander, campaigned in Michigan on the idea he would bring back to Michigan many of the jobs lost during the conservative reign of destruction. He didn't say how other than giving Detroit $20 billion for "research." But, industry wouldn't spend that money on anything having to do with production if there is no improvement in demand for what industry produces. We all should know corporations only make production investments when there is a need to keep up with demand. If the federal government bought a fleet of autos from Detroit it would do more to bring back jobs than would an "incentive tax break" the GOP always proposes, claiming that would spur commercial investment.

Other presidential candidates were busy sparring over silly ideas that would do no good. Two proposed elimination the federal gas tax for last summer. Economists who spoke out on the issue called the plan a "crazy idea" that would cost the nation billions of dollars in revenue, the very revenue needed to keep highways repaired for safety and bridges from collapsing and would result in the unemployment of hundreds of thousand of Americans who work in the highway construction industry. Then we have the nonsense of rebates, which would do little good other than pandering for votes.

Those in the "political party of great ideas" say we on the left have no ideas. They lie.

There is a solution to the myriad economic problems caused by the conservative revolution. It's called the Honest Deal, a form of Democratic Capitalism, and works like this:

Eliminate both the income tax and payroll tax ~ they have been so distorted by special-interest exemptions that they are no longer useful or fair ~ and institute a profits tax. No profits, no taxation. Every employed person gets a base income ~ tax free ~ to meet housing and sustenance requirements and profit sharing from their employer. When employees create profit, they should share in the distribution of that profit.

If more than half a person's income came from profit sharing, each and every one of them would keep an alert eye on the shenanigans of the executives to keep them honest. That would reduce the need for government to do so. Shortchanging employees on profits would be considered theft and tax subversion by the employer since a employee receiving less than legally entitled would not be taxed on the stolen money.

The amount of income from profit sharing by the lowest-paid employee will determine if a corporation is gouging the public or is operating in a clear-and-open fashion. An example would be the record profits racked up last year by oil companies in midst of record gas prices. If a clerk made $100,000 in profit sharing, we would have a clear indication of gouging, but if that clerk made what is normal for that type of job we would know that gas prices were justified.

There was a recent news story saying that about $350 billion of uncollected taxes annually escape the nation. Collecting those taxes would eliminate the conservative-created deficit (pre 2008), allowing the rest of us to pay less or, at least, nibble away at the national debt. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) could collect those unpaid taxes, if allowed to do so. Guess what agency Republican libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul had proposed eliminating.

The profits are taxed according to this formula:

Individual taxes pay for Social Security and health insurance for all. When we can match other advanced countries with universal health coverage spending only 10% of GDP on health, we will free up hundreds of billions of dollars to circulate in the economy. That will create growth. Those who hate the idea of healthcare for all can easily not participate. George W. Bush has a "No fly list" to keep people off aircraft. We could have a "No admittance list" to keep people who hate universal healthcare out of the hospitals.

One of the stupidest idea to come out of the just completed presidential campaign was the proposal that Americans be required by government to buy health insurance from a private-sector insurance company or that employers be required to offer health coverage. That does little to cover all persons, because the main reason nearly 50 million Americans don't have coverage now is the prohibitive costs. And our businesses are less able to compete in the global market because healthcare costs are too cumbersome.

Requiring individuals to buy health insurance is also unconstitutional because government doesn't have the constitutional authority to dictate that to any American. Government can regulate interstate commerce and tax and spend to provide the coverage as "general welfare" and that's the only methods government can use for universal healthcare. It can't dictate Americans to spend their money to provide for personal welfare. The only solid solution is a universal sharing of the costs, and that isn't being discussed other than some people proposing Medicare for all. Better, but not ideal.

And if insurance companies suffer some financial setbacks, so be it; that would be minor compared to the hardships they have inflicted on Americans for far too many years. If people in the health-insurance industry lose their jobs, they can always find work in the areas that factory workers relied on when their jobs were "outsourced."

We divide healthcare into two parts: states would enroll all residents in health maintenance organizations (HMOs) that would practice preventive medicine, diagnostic services and outpatient care. The second part would be federal and cover hospitalization, recuperative treatment and rehabilitation of illness and injury. Everything else would remain under private insurance jurisdiction.

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***************************************************** Thomas Bonsell is a former newspaper editor (in Oregon, New York and Colorado) United States Air Force cryptanalyst and National Security Agency intelligence agent. He became one of (more...)
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