So we are on our way to a last-minute answer to the debt ceiling. Yay for us.
Meanwhile, the real issues haven’t changed much. Between the common sense call for each of the components to live within their means-from individuals to families to cities to counties to states to the country-and the harsh reality that certain expenses can quickly outpace our ability to earn, we are left with … a mess.
A mess that can’t be solved by voting in the prom king with the white smile and the promises of painless solutions. A mess that finds no answers in party-line posturing. And a mess that uncovers absolutely no latent interest in pragmatic solutions based on the real world.
So. Put me in charge of the world. Here’s what I’d do. Discipline by discipline, I’d wipe the books of laws and start from scratch. Old laws will tell me what issues need to be addressed, but not what the right answer is.
Taxes: wipe the tax code. Identify a percentage of income that gets paid by people and by businesses and call it a day. No loopholes, no exceptions, no exemptions. Businesses couldn’t exist without a stable government providing the infrastructure. Where would Amazon be with no roads for them to deliver stuff on? Get over it. Taxes make it possible for you to run your business. Let the Feds have 23% of everything, no exceptions, let the states have 7% of everything and make it work. If you are going to incentivize anything, incentivize saving: let’s have a luxury tax. If you want to live in a house with gold faucets, go ahead, but accept that you will pay a tax on your spending habits. Meanwhile, give me some room in my taxes to dictate where I want the money spent – half of it goes to the general fund, the other half I can say I want you to spend 50% of it on Defense and 50% on the Environment. It’s our country, let us have a say in where we want the money spent.
Healthcare: socialize it already. If you take into account that the biggest thing standing between most people and the entrepreneurial spirit is the fear of being without healthcare, socialized medicine could be a huge boon for small businesses everywhere. No, none of the systems are perfect. Yes, there may be waiting periods and other forms of bureaucracy, but damn. It’s healthcare. People get sick and there isn’t anything fun about it. Of course it is going to be messy, and there is something fundamentally effed up about companies making a profit on the backs of people who can’t afford their blood pressure medicine. People’s health is not something that should be considered a profit center.
Education: Let the states figure it out. This idea that you can impose a single solution that is going to work for Wyoming and Mississippi equally is ludicrous. If the feds aren’t eating up a huge education budget maybe some of that money can go back to schools. There is something asinine about failing to invest in the education of our own people.
Mortgages: Get the hell out of it. A home purchase isn’t the right answer for everyone – particularly not a highly mobile workforce that may not be in one city from one year to the next. Particularly not when homes are becoming aspirational purchases built out of tyvek and tissue paper.
Categorization of Entities: Businesses are not people. They don’t get a vote. End lobbying permanently. Take some of the money saved in simplifying the books and add it to the Congressional budget for researchers and advisory boards that are not allowed to serve in a business capacity. Can we please have a Government that does what is best for everyone instead of enacting laws that favor a business community at the expense of the Country’s greater good?
Regulation & Enforcement: draw a thick boundary between the entities that are being regulated and those who are regulating so the regulators can make decisions that are for the good of the country, not for the good of business. Let the government regulate things that cross state lines – finances, labor laws, monopolies, the environment, food quality, equality, etc – and let states manage the rest.
Law Making: let the lawmakers make no law that doesn’t equally apply to itself.
Defense: For the love of Elvis, can we please take care of our soldiers? Unless dying for someone you’ve never met is in your job description, stop whining about what it takes to feed and care for a Soldier. If you think that we can go without Defense, you are nuts and clearly not living in the real world. If there is socialized medicine then you take that off the table for the Defense budget, and then tell them they get x dollars and they can spend it on what makes sense.
I’m sure there is more, but I’m out of time at the moment.