Article 43

 

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Solutions to Save Our Nation

image: remember when america made stuff

If You Were President, What Would You Do?

By Philip A Farruggio
Global Research
April 7, 2019

I actually wrote an earlier text on this issue in 2012 when Obama was running for re-election. Sadly, ALL of the ISSUES AND IDEAS below were those that neither of the Two Party/One Party system would dare to agree with.

Now we are in the Age of Trump and the pirates have really been let loose on us. All the Democrats seem to focus on is Russia Russia Russia. If I hear the phrase “The Mueller Report” anymore I think I will be committed! The skinny of all this is that the Democrats focus on the absurdities of Trump’s tweets and misinformation, along with a ridiculous border wall.

Meanwhile, while the Dow breaks records and “reported unemployment figures are low,” few from either party seem to grasp the “Why of this.” Well, the late and great Naval Air Colonel Bob Bowman, who had his epiphany after serving in Vietnam, explained it all to me many years ago. I asked him about Wall Street and the Dow, and about our labor figures. “Philip,” he said, ”It’s all very simple to understand. Unemployment figures will be lower when either many of the low wage earners will have to get two and even three part time jobs to survive, or have given up even looking for work. As far as the Dow index, when wages are going up the Dow will be low. When wages are going or staying down the Dow will go up. Period!”

I dont intend to list countless measures that, as President, I would take. No, rather, in this world of one minute sound bites and KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) I have a streamlined platform that covers the really pertinent and key issues of our day:

Cut the military spending drastically to save our states, their cities and our prestige as a nation. The 25% Solution Movement has a simple and novel approach to this: Congress cuts military spending 25% by an “Up and Down” vote, since this spending is considered Discretionary As President I will use my bully pulpit to go directly to the American public, urging everyone to A) get out and continually demonstrate for this, and B) let their congressional representatives know that they will not vote for anyone who refuses to support this! Period!

Use the added revenues from the above action ($ 170 billion a year) to send to all 50 states to help with their budget deficits. This would then allow the states to send money to the cities for the same purpose. No need to lay off police, firefighters, teachers etc or to close libraries and schools. You get my drift?

End the occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan and send the troops home ASAP!  This would save us over $ 100 billion a year and stop the killing of our troops and the innocent civilians that they kill. It would also allow the UN, along with the Middle Eastern nations, to help stabilize those two countries.

Flat Surtax of 50% on all personal income over and above one million dollars per year. Let’s leave the federal tax rates as is and begin taxing the millionaires and mega millionaires. If we are truly a nation entrenched in the Judeo-Christian traditions and precepts, are we not supposed to be Our brother’s keeper? Cannot a person who earns millions in income, whether it is from salary, bonus, interest, commissions, or inheritance, afford to live quite well on 50% of those millions? Did you know that 50% of working Americans earn less than $ 27,000 a year? How can a single mother or father raise a child or two on that meager amount? Do the math and see how taking half from a very wealthy person is perhaps the most spiritual thing we can do as a nation.

Return the corporate tax rates to what they were in our recent past. Honor small business by instituting payroll tax forgiveness for up to the first $ 20,000 of wages, for both the employee and employer. This would return close to $ 1500 a year to each worker, tax free. The small business owner would have saved up to $ 1500 for each employee.  I would cap this plan at a maximum of 100 employees., though ALL employees anywhere still get their forgiveness. This plan would discourage őoff the books hiring and give small businesses more capital to stay competitive, if they choose.

Jumpstart a movement to get private money out of electoral politics - federal, state and local. Not an easy thing to accomplish, due to the 1976 Supreme Court ruling of Buckley vs. Valeo. That ruling stated that “Money is free speech.” How do we get around such an unfair interpretation without going insane and waiting 20 years for constitutional amendments? Well, as President, I would challenge you, the voters, who elect the moneyed interests time and time again. I would urge that you only support candidates who agree to limit acceptance of campaign donations up to $ 100 per person. On top of that, we must not support any candidate who accepts PAC money at all. Period!

I would push for Congress to open up Medicare for any American who wishes to buy in. It should be 100% government run with no room for private insurers. By some of the aforementioned actions, there would be plenty of money to jumpstart it etc. The buy in would still cost less than currently under our Medicare system , which relies on private insurers too much. Having such a system would be easier to manage, with one claim form for all.

Why not have our federal government jumpstart community nonprofit mortgage banks? Imagine if your city, town or county opened, with federal loan guarantees, a nonprofit mortgage bank, charging only overhead costs? Translated: a current mortgage of let us say 5% from a for profit bank would now be perhaps 2% from a nonprofit community one.  More home ownership, fewer renters and economic stimulus for many such peripheral industries.

Windfall profits tax on Big Oil and Big Pharma. How can it be that the prices at the pumps and on medicines spiral upwards while the majority of working stiffs experience depression, both financially and psychologically? We would use the added revenue to create more solar energy use and wind farms. Portugal is getting more dependent upon wind for energy use. Why cant we? As far as medicines, letђs use the revenue increases from a windfall tax on Big Pharma to jumpstart an alternative care movement. We need more Americans to be able to get acupuncture and chiropractic treatment, massage therapy, psychological counseling to name a few such alternatives to established Western Medicine.  Lets be blunt: For too long our nation leads the world in the Ғdrug and cut mindset of medicine.

I could go on and on. For now, this is my platform. If you agree with even 2/3 of it, then voice your support. You know and I know that I cannot win election, but - the word will get out that we have viable options to what this current Two Party / One Party has been offering.

Philip A Farruggio is a son and grandson of Brooklyn, NYC longshoremen. He has been a free lance columnist since 2001, with over 400 of his work posted on sites like Global Research, Greanville Post, Off Guardian, Consortium News, Information Clearing House, Nation of Change, World News Trust, Op Ed News, Dissident Voice, Activist Post, Sleuth Journal, Truthout and many others. His blog can be read in full on World News Trust, whereupon he writes a great deal on the need to cut military spending drastically and send the savings back to save our cities. Philip has a internet interview show, “It’s the Empire Stupid” with producer Chuck Gregory

SOURCE

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Want to Stimulate the Economy?
Lower the Retirement Age to 55 Now!

By Thom Hartmann
May 11, 2011

One of the most powerful forms of stimulus we could apply to our economy right now would be to lower the current Social Security retirement age from the current 65-67 to 55, and increase the benefits back to where they were in inflation-adjusted 1960s dollars by raising them between 10 to 20 percent (so people could actually live, albeit modestly, on Social Security).

The right-wing reaction to this, of course, will be to say that with fewer people working and more people drawing benefits, it would bankrupt Social Security and destroy the economy. But history shows the exact reverse.

Instead, it would eliminate the problem of unemployment in the United States. All those Boomers retiring would make room in the labor market for all the recent high-school and college graduates who are now finding it so hard to find a job.

If enough Boomers left the job market, it would even flip the current dynamic of too-many-people-chasing-too-few-jobs upside down, and create a tight labor markets. Tight labor markets drive up wages.

And as wages go up, tax revenues—which are paying for Social Security (among other things)—would increase.

Additionally, these new-into-the-workforce people can then pay off student loans, buy new houses and cars, and otherwise drive the economy from the bottom up. Which will further increase tax revenues further strengthening the Social Security system.

To further tighten the job market and drive up wages (and tax revenues), modify the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938—which tightened the labor market and reduced unemployment by establishing the 40-hour work week - to include all hours worked by a person. We could also, like in France, drop the 40-hour maximum-workweek threshold to 35 hours (used by the Mitterrand government to successfully lower unemployment and stimulate the French economy). A final step would be to emulate the rest of the developed world and require by law that every worker get at least two to four weeks a year of paid vacation—further tightening the labor market.

In Uganda, Joseph Okwakoi gets it. He’s the president of the National Youth Council in that nation, a group that has considerable political power (and an affiliated Member of Parliament, the Central Youth Party’s Joseph Kasozi).

Earlier this month, Okwakoi called on Parliament and President Museveni to lower the age of retirement for government workers (the country’s largest employer) from the current 60 years of age to 55. This single act would instantly create about 15,000 job openings in the country, which could be filled by currently unemployed young people.

President Museveni replied that he’d consider it seriously, pointing out that, “The retirement age was actually 55 when we came but because of manpower shortage we put it at 60.” Now that the manpower shortage has eased, wages are falling, and unemployment is rising, he noted, “We shall study it.”

What Joseph Okwakoi understands is that there is a marketplace for labor. When the supply of labor exceeds demand, the price of labor ("wages") falls. On the other hand, when the demand for labor is at or greater than the supply of labor, the price of labor - wages - increases.

This is the main reason why the labor movements of the 18th and 19th centuries fought so hard against child labor; they knew that if children were removed from the labor marketplace, then the supply of labor (the number of people available to work) would decrease and the price of labor (wages) would increase. And, sure enough, that’s exactly what happened - and it began the creation of a blue-collar middle class.

It’s also why the labor movement pushed for an 8-hour day and a 40-hour maximum workweek. By reducing the amount of labor available from each worker from the average 60 hours a week or so people were working before 1938, the labor market tightened up, increasing the number of people who could be employed and raising wages.

Of course, this is the exact opposite of American labor policy ever since the Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush era. Reagan drove down wages by busting unions (which tighten a labor marketplace); declared an amnesty for millions of then-illegal immigrant workers to increase the supply of labor and depress wages (particularly whacking the carpenters and other construction trades unions); and began the process (completed in a big way by Bill Clinton with NAFTA and GATT/WTO) of dismantling tariffs, taxes, and laws that made it expensive or illegal to export American jobs.

Reagan also put into the chairmanship of the Fed Alan Greenspan, who openly declared that his most important job as chairman of the Fed was to prevent “wage inflation”—a term which he exclusively applied to working-class people. Greenspan is still preaching that now-discredited and anti-American philosophy he learned from Ayn Rand, in fact.

Having already largely wiped out the ability of a blue-collar single-wage-earner family to have a middle class lifestyle over the past 30 years, Greenspan now wants to go after white-collar workers by eliminating limits on H1B visas for skilled workers ranging from computer programmers to physicians to scientists. The investor class would always be protected, in the Greenspan world, but the working class—regardless of skill level—should always be the working poor.

In September of 2007, in an interview on C-SPAN for Book TV, Greenspan said:

We pay the highest skilled labor wages in the world. If we would open up our borders to skilled labor far more than we do, we would attract a very substantial quantity of skilled labor which would suppress the wage levels of the skilled, because the skilled are essentially being subsidized by the government, meaning our competition is being kept outside the country.

It’s shocking that ideologues like Greenspan, Reagan, and Clinton believe this, but they do. And the only way to reverse the past 29 years of Reaganomics/Clintonomics is to tighten up the labor market again. While a great start would be to pull out of our insane trade treaties and begin again protecting American manufacturers, that will take a decade for the impact to be truly felt even if we were to go back to our 1980 tariff levels today.

But providing space for a good chunk of the 16 percent of the American workforce over 55 years old will immediately take us to nearly zero unemployment and dramatically stimulate the economy. Then we can begin to bring our manufacturing jobs back home from China and the other important steps (Medicare For All and Card-Check for unionization) to restore the strength and integrity our nation and national economy once had.

Thom Hartmann can be heard daily on his radio show 12pm-3pm ET. Visit Thom’s WEBSITE to stream live or find a station near you.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 04/09/19 •
Section Dying America
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