In this site, I imagined myself dealing with all of this and put myself into the position of creating the solutions. Forgive me for the fantasy, but I think what I write may be more relevant and it could have more value...
THE PLAN FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
As the Rational NonPolitician, I would be part of the government, but not an advocate for either side of the political views. I am just interested in what would benefit the stakeholders in this nation, just as if it were a corporation with employees and shareholders who are stakeholders.
Of course, there would have to be sufficient others in agreement with this to be able to win, as political opposition is too rampant now to accomplish true and worthy goals and improvements.
What I believe would work would be to have as small a government as possible covering humanitarian concerns and doing whatever would have a payoff for the benefits of the stakeholders, based on people’s personal responsibility and a pay as you benefit.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE ENTITLED TO
No person shall starve to death or experience extremes, though each would be required to do certain things to earn or be entitled to help.
No person shall go without medical care that is at the level of long term prevention and minimization of costs of illnesses. A government fund would provide payments for those who did not purchase medical insurance and those expenditures would be accumulated and payable by the receiver of the benefit at the rate of a set % of income (to be calculated), with provisions for judgment where circumstances prevent that. The government would provide payment, but not the services. Payment for services would be pre-set, but not below the average of costs to private insurance, though a medical provider could bid lower.
No person can be turned down by an insurance company for pre-existing illnesses, but the companies can charge a premium that is higher on a customer-take-it-or-leave it basis. However, the government cannot refuse such coverage, though it can charge for the costs incurred as provided for above.
No moneys should be provided by taking from others to provide a benefit that is not agreed by those who give. Abortion is the choice to be made by the woman. Moneys would be supplied for abortion by those who chose to contribute to a national charity, but not provided by the government. The law of the land, Roe Vs. Wade, as to when abortion can be done shall be adhered to - and, yes, it is a compromise, for there is no "right" solution, only beliefs around this based on perceptions and values.
Those who are not legal residents are entitled only to merciful care and are expected to pay their own way and/or to be deported.
Education is not an entitlement per se, but it is a necessary element for prosperity and benefit to all the stakeholders (citizens and legal non-citizen residents). It is vital for our future, not just a "good idea" or a program from which we can rob for short term expediency. As such, it will be provided all the way to the college graduate level and for graduate education that is approved. The cost beyond high school of such educations shall be paid by the government only to the degree that it cannot be afforded by the parents or students, based on the capability to pay, though a means of providing for exceptional circumstances would be provided. The entire cost of the college education would be accumulated in an account for each student and would be paid back at the rate of 10% of yearly earnings.
Like Social Security, Medicare should also be on a “lockbox” provision, where the current anticipated shortfall over the years, adjusted for inflation and interest rates, is fully covered.
Currently, it, like social security, is a tax, rather than a “purchased benefit”. The wealthy pay more than their medical costs and the not so wealthy pay less. Currently, we are probably realistically trapped to some extent in the current arrangements. But the amount charged to high income people should not total more than twice the actuarial costs for the average person.
And the medicare taxes should total to the full actuarial cost, so there are no unfunded liabilities in the future. If the rate must be increased, then so be it. If they can be decreased, then so be it.
It makes no sense for politicians to claim that this is not an immediate problem to be dealt with and that it should be dealt with later. Each year it is not dealt with it becomes more of a problem for the future.
THOSE WHO BENEFIT, PAY
Beyond certain basic benefits, such as education through high school, all other benefits are to be paid for, to the extent it is workable, by those who benefit - and those funds for an express purpose cannot be paid out for other purposes.
The “transportation” taxes shall be segregated without the ability of the government to divert to other causes. The transportation infrastructure shall be paid from that segregated fund. Fuel taxes and vehicle taxes will be the sole providers of such benefits.
SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES
The government could borrow from the social security taxes but not divert those to other causes and no longer consider them as “income”. There would be integrity of funding, just as in companies, where funds cannot be intermingled or spent for other things. The money must be there – and it must be actuarially computed, with an adjusted amount being given to the recipients when they retire, an amount which must be adjusted for inflation and cannot be changed. There would be no taxes on social security since that would be a means of taking from others what they are entitled to from investing funds over all the years.
Of course, we would have to work out some transition here to cover the deficits in what would be required to fund existing obligations that have resulted from the irresponsibleness (and/or ignorance) of the legislators.
No one over 55 will have any modifications to the existing obligation – we cannot be contract breakers, but we should never be allowed to leave unfunded obligations.
The question of “self-responsibility” vs. “government imposing” is a big one.
It would be too difficult and probably irresponsible to get rid of the social security system. Nobody, regardless, of this should be living below subsistence, so the government would have to provide for the difference, but this would not be part of the social security system.
Investing funds in one’s account would be difficult to administer and would cause unreliability of results, so I would not recommend it be an option.
The government shall assume the entire unfunded obligation and current contributors will contribute to the segregated “lock box”. This would increase the national debt to a large sum, though only a portion would be owed to bondholders. The difference would be owed to the social security fund.
The entire legal system should be revamped to encourage responsibility and integrity and not to incentivize damaging behaviors.
Except in rare cases where the judge could so rule, the legal costs of the winning party shall be paid by the losing party. This would discourage inappropriate lawsuits and manipulation by threat. It would lower costs in total and benefit the public. Since the costs of suits are included in services, the costs of services would go down, especially medical costs.
As for a judgment limit on medical suits, that is a tough one to call. Those who sue and have a legitimately high claim should not be penalized. How to reduce the insurance costs then is the question. I think that legislated limits by type of damage (i.e. loss of life, loss of limb, loss of job income) could be set reasonably, though one would have to avoid setting that as the amount that should be rewarded. Instead the limits would be what would be considered ridiculous to go above.
THE PROGRESSIVE INCOME TAX; ESTATE TAXES
It is certainly not unreasonable for people who benefit more from this country’s policies and environment to pay for that benefit. The question is should people pay a greater percentage as they can afford to – kind of a take from the rich and give to the poor. However, we have answered that question already (though it could be voted upon later) by already adopting a progressive tax.
People who have causes that they support shall not do them through the government but shall provide them via contributing money voluntarily for what they support. This would include the arts, abortions, and such discretionary items. The most effective choice mechanism (for voting) is paying out one’s own money for what one supports – it is too easy to think something is a good idea if it is someone else’s money, which also would obscure who ultimately pays.
It is unfair to tax the same assets and/or profits more than once. Therefore, there should be no estate tax. Such a tax only accomplishes taking away from some to give to others, which would be a socialistic practice, which is not consistent with our national practices. We do, it should be pointed out, do a certain amount of transfer from the haves to the “cannots” but not based on the “have-nots”, who have chosen that on their own. Education is a right for those people.
The government would provide for regulations that are necessary to avoid dangers and provide for services which could only be delivered through government. The Federal government shall not provide services that can be provided by the state or jurisdictions within the state.
Current tax rates would be continued until the recession is over. Then the tax rates shall be increased to the tax levels pre-Bush. They shall be reduced when there is sufficient tax to pay down 10% a year on all debts at which time they can be equalized to that number, until the deficits (including social security and medicare) are paid down. Each person who is earning money will pay an income tax of 2% or more. There shall be no tax credits for the poor given, as that is a direct transfer of wealth. The government will provide directly if needed.
It is in the best interest of the country to make sure that individuals are fully educated. A tax credit therefore could make sense, up to $3,000 per child per year in college. The person taking the education shall have that amount added to their education account.
Forgiveness of the education debt can be provided for those people who work in areas where there is lower pay and where it benefits the government by offsetting costs that would be the government’s otherwise, such as with certain charities. The amounts of forgiveness could be no more than $10,000 per year, with a specified amount pre-set for each level of pay in each type of job. The “employer” would certify that the validity of the type and level of the position, with “statistical sampling” audits for verification.
RESPONSIBILITY VERSUS ENTITLEMENT
No person is “entitled” to get something for nothing, with the possible exception of those who are so handicapped that they cannot give something.
Welfare would be tightly controlled, with required programs for learning about life before they could come to get the rescue check.
Parks and other similar services will have their costs covered by the users to the extent this is feasible. It could be that a portion must be borne by the government for the maintenance of the land, which provides value to all stakeholders.
It should be put into law, requiring a 2/3 vote to change, that there can be no deficit in any one year, except up to $500 billion if we are in a recession, which amount shall be made up in the two years after recovery. A 2/3 vote could raise the one year limit each year for the deficit, to provide for some flexibility if needed.
Part of the budget will include (for figuring the official deficit) repayment of the national debt at the rate of 10% of the remaining balance per year, except in recessionary times. 5% of the unfunded obligation for social security would also be paid back every year.
Muslim extremist and sympathizers/enablers. All extremists should go through life education before getting privileges, as in The Life Management Institute plans (there is enough material out there that it could be gathered currently).
It is significant that some of the Muslims are sympathizers with the mission of the extremists, so they add fuel to the process, encouraging and supporting the extremists, at least implicitly. They are therefore complicit in the crimes. Hate is not part of the actual religion, but many Muslims, including imams, have perverted the doctrines into hating the “Zionists”, the Jewish people, and not accepting what is so. They do not see that the Jewish people do not present an actual tangible threat – and that should be taught (or at least the materials publicized and made available for them to access).
It is difficult to determine the degree of responsibility for the outcome due to Muslims not standing strong enough against terrorism. But we will request such support.
In all cases, we as a country will respect others’ beliefs, as long as they are not harmful to us.
Profiling to help protect our citizens would be used to help identify those who could be a threat to us. Since the Muslim religion appears to be the main source of extremists and since they have not controlled or adequately discouraged such behavior, it makes sense to, respectfully, identify who is likely to be Muslim (by birth or by conversion) and to conclude that there is a greater chance of their being terrorists – so that we can protect our citizens and save extra lives. It does not make sense to be stupidly politically correct and risk people’s lives!
Within a reasonable time (I would suggest two years), each legal resident must learn English as the national language so that we can function and so that they also have more opportunity. It would be a requirement of citizenship to learn sufficient English.
Legal residents can only be obtained by those who are qualified providers of useful
Licensed guest workers are permitted, but no education or non-emergency medical entitlements shall exist.
Licensed guest workers and illegal immigrants are not entitled to have their children, even if born in the United States, be citizens. Beyond that there may be other appropriate restrictions in certain cases, which would be determined by the legislature but only after full review by the public for at least a week.
Any person who even appeared to be of foreign origin could be asked for proof of legal residence and detained if that is not provided until the proof is provided.
CHARACTER AND PRACTICES
I shall not engage in, and avoid to the degree I can those people who do so, irrational and/or immature behavior such as the following. I shall attempt to create standards such that politicians in general also follow these.
Evilizing (demonizing) others, nor engage in personal attacks
No misrepresentation of the facts
I SHALL NOT STEAL FROM ONE TO GIVE TO ANOTHER
In the United States, as legal residents and citizens we have agreed to certain rules, based on the constitution and on practices. We shall not tolerate any evilizing of any classes, races, sexual orientation, religions (that do not teach harmful behavior). We shall not give away money taken from others in order to get votes.
RESPONSIBILITY, NOT ENTITLEMENT
The prosperity and character of this nation come from responsibility rather than entitlement.
We shall provide an excellent climate for prosperity, which comes from the profitable use of talents and ideas. Anyone who is able to produce anything shall do so and not depend on others to provide for them. Of course, there may be times when there are no means available to make a living, and as such a bridge of unemployment benefits, from a fund that is so created, will be provided, but with strings that require certain things to be done, either of an educational nature, charitable nature, or a government benefit (such as roadwork, etc.). The government would be responsible for creating such a program for those who are able to be responsible for their part of it all. There is no entitlement except for those who are stakeholders but who are handicapped and not capable of providing for themselves. This is a compassionate nation but not a welfare state.
De – fense is defense. Yes, we have certain interests out there but we are not the guardians of the world, militarily nor economically. We would cut defense to that which is sufficient to protect this nation but not to create peace everywhere, unless the taxpayers so vote for any particular cause (a non-taxpayer would not vote, as they would not incur the taxes). As such, the taxpayers would pay a percentage surcharge on their taxes to provide for the cause, but only those who consented to do so.
Of course, what is sufficient defense can only be determined by sufficiently knowledgeable individuals, so we cannot leave that up to a vote of the public who are not sufficiently informed. So we have to go with what government requests and the legislators approve.
This is a democracy, meaning it should reflect the needs and opinions of those who are stakeholders. But it also should not impose something that is damaging on stakeholders just because they are in the minority.
Freedom and choice are part of the fabric of the nation and not dictatorship nor discrimination against anyone.
As such, for those who do not believe in abortion, no tax should be imposed upon them to pay for such. Those who wish to support abortions of those who choose it but cannot afford it can contribute to a fund to do so, a charitable entity with no tax deduction (for that would cause others to partially pay for it) could be set up by the government but with no government or political control).
Surely, if Solomon were here, he would have to make a tough decision.
It does not make sense to “discriminate” against any particular class, race, religion, or sexual orientation. It also does not make sense to impose upon those for whom marriage is a religious or sacredly-held belief. Of course, the latter cannot impose discriminatory practices.
The current law of the United States has marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Yet those who wish to become committed partners who are of the same sex should be permitted to do so, but not using the sacred term of marriage, which also traditionally has been for creating children and families. Such an arrangement should have the same restrictions and requirements as a marriage – and also the same benefits, rights, and/or privileges. This could be manipulated, but we can not control everything, though we can adjust as we go. Such unions should be permitted, with full partner benefits that are equivalent to spousal benefits for a company and for the government, with no differences and no discrimination. Tax breaks would also apply. Those who hold marriage as sacred and between a man and a woman should have no objection to this.
PRISONERS AND CRIMINALS
Those who act to damage the society should pay for it, but not just from a punitive point of view. If they cause damage, they should be legally obligated for the rest of their lives to pay 20% of any earnings until the debt with interest is paid off. The damage would include all the costs of incarceration. This obligation could not be cleared by declaring bankruptcy.
All prisoners will engage in educational programs, both for skills and for “life” education, which cost will be charged to their account. They will be required to do those if they want the privileges that are provided for inmates, including TV and anything beyond what is bare humanitarian benefits. This would not be unfair since they have the ability to provide those benefits for themselves at their discretion – they are not “entitled” to them. The inmates could have their expenses offset by their earnings, including enterprises that are run from the prison.
THE HAPPINESS INTANGIBLE
Insecurity is one of the greatest sources of stress and unhappiness.
Having an unemployment cushion seems reasonable, but it would make sense that the person would accumulate an account payable to be paid back at the rate of 5% of income, until paid, including interest.
Having a guaranteed education (with some standards of minimum performance) is a great help. It would be paid for as provided above.
Teaching people how to manage debt and their finances is a legitimate function that can be effectively centralized and benefit the entire populous, with increased stability. This could be provided on a “leveraged” basis, where it is set up centrally on the internet.
And, on the fringe perhaps, I believe that the government could be the provider of “life education” in some leveraged manner, though I’d prefer a privately funded non-profit institute to develop the programs, with the government mandating certain standards of what programs are finished in order be able to be advanced. (This could cross individual states rights, so it might instead be a federal incentive provided if a state did that.)
NON FEDERAL “SUGGESTIONS”
For senior citizens who are below an income of $100,000 a year and assets other than home of $1,000,000 a year should have their property taxes fixed in the year they turn 65 or earlier if they are fully retired and drawing social security.