When I look at the 2 parties that currently hold a monopoly on elections, I can not help but become disillusioned by their seeming overlap in ideas and philosophy, when it comes to actual governing. Never mind the campaigning. Once they are ensconced in D.C., their duplicity is astounding. They are completely incapable of addressing the real problems facing average Americans, because they are bound, bought and beholden to those corporations and wealthy special interests that provide the cash that keeps them in power. As long as this connection exists, money, lobbyists, and policy, we can expect nothing but more goodies and wealth extracted from the lower and middle classes to the top wage earners. How could it be any different? Chomsky nails it on the head when he extols the fact that their is actually one ruling party in America, that being the Corporate Party, within which exists 2 factions, the Democrats and Republicans.
I think we need a new party. A truly progressive party that squarely addresses the needs and wants of the vast majority of Americans suffering under the current corporate regime.
First of all we need to be rid of the negative connotations associated with the word Socialism and for that matter the phrase “redistribution of wealth” What we have now is class warfare and wealth redistribution, and as Warren Buffet adroitly noted, “my class has won”. We have had massive income redistribution in this country going on for 30+ plus years, almost entirely to the top 1% of wage earners. No economist, right, left or center will argue this FACT. They may differ on how to fix it, how it came about or the like, but none can disprove this alarming trend. I believe that we are now at a critical turning point, as the unforeseen consequences of this wealth inequality comes at a greater and greater price to the overall economy. The wealthy are like heroin junkies, unable to stop, nor are they capable of seeing that sewn into their behavior is their very own demise, and so squeeze even harder. Like any drug addict they need an intervention before they destroy themselves and the entire nation with them. I believe that if we truly love this country and want to see an America that works for everyone, we must act now.
What are some policy decision that can be adopted immediately to right the ship?
#1 Tax policy must be overhauled with top marginal rates returning to their historic levels of 70+%. All income, regardless of its origin must be taxed as any other income or salary. Loopholes that allow offshoring of capital in tax free havens must be closed. Estate taxes must be returned to 90+%. The estate tax eliminates the accumulation of too much wealth into too few hands generation after generation. Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine and Adam Smith, not mention many other of our founding fathers, all were diametrically opposed to this accumulation of wealth for fear of what is happening to American now. We are not lead by the best and brightest, either in industry or government, but by the wealthiest and well connected.
#2 Overhaul the way we fund elections and reverse the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case.
#3 We must address our failing education system. We should accept nothing less than #1 in the world when it comes to education. No expense should be spared. We need a Manhattan Project of education. A 20 year plan beginning with current 5 year old children. If we can spend $800 Billion a year on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, then we can find it for our future. Everything depends on this. We need to graduate more engineers, scientists, etc. I don’t care if we need 3 teachers per pupil in some of our schools….I mean whatever it takes. It should be a national call to arms. All hands on deck.
#4 We must immediately rescind all trade deals and renegotiate them to include standards of living minimums and human rights abuses. We should refuse to trade with any country, without severe penalties of tariffs to reflect the true cost to the consumer of their production. The American worker should no longer be forced to compete with those whom have no civil rights protections. Also, morally we said as a nation early in our history, we will not tolerate these abuses by corporations committed on our own population, today we must forcefully say we will not now tolerate it in far away lands that then flood our markets with their goods.
#5 America needs a paint job. We must invest in our infrastructure. Roads. Bridges. A new smart power grid.
#6 Global warming is no longer a theory. It is a fact. Our energy policy must reflect the exigency we face by eliminating our carbon based energy system with renewable sources. The good of the country must not be subverted any longer by powerful special interests carrying out the wishes of corporations tied to petroleum. Our trade policy should also reflect the true cost of goods produced in other countries that do not adhere to a carbon free policy by way of tariffs. If you want access to our markets with your products, you must not only abide by basic human rights, but also to environmentally sound policies.
#7 Redistricting and gerrymandering should be abolished, as they usurp the true will of the voter.
#8 We need a complete overhaul of our Prison Policy, taking a look at some of the progressive measures adopted by Norway and Denmark to deal with the barriers of re-entry by prisoners and recidivism. Mandatory minimum drug laws need to be abolished. The Jim Crow laws of disenfranchisement for felons need be abolished. Drug and alcohol treatment needs to be scaled up. It is effective and costs far less than incarceration.
#9 The United States has been at war of some sort for my entire life. My fathers entire life. My grandfathers entire life. And my great grandfathers entire life. We need to dramatically scale back our involvement as the world cop. Our military budget should be cut by 70%. We need a Department of Peace. And in the event that war is inevitable, we will institute a national draft that blindly draws from the population at large, beginning with the wealthiest, then working down the economic scale, without exception nor deferment.
#10 Unions must be strengthened and allowed to use their labor as a bargaining chip against managements power.
#11 A single payer national health care system must be adopted free from profit motive.
This is a start.