Wednesday, June 27, 2018

How to Make America Great (Again)

Here are three competing political and economic agendas. (1) Liberal, (2) Radical Socialist and (3) Conservative:


1. The economy: The problem:

The federal government is on a trajectory towards bankruptcy. Sooner or later, Social Security and Medicare will become insolvent.

Each year, the share of the federal budget that is spent on financing the debt grows. Obama  managed to reduce the government’s annual deficit to around $400 billion, but the new Republican tax cut for the rich is predicted to cause this to rise to $1 trillion. In addition, interest rates have been at an unprecedented low for years, and they are bound to rise soon. Gradually, financing the debt will crowd out other expenditures - health and human services, unemployment, infrastructure, housing and transportation, science and education, food and agriculture, energy and the environment, veterans and even the military.

The Trump administration is already proposing to cut food stamps. Stingy as our safety net and assistance to the needy are compared to other advanced social democracies, they will be reduced even further, as our government goes broke.

The solution:

A. Full retirement age for social security should be raised. Life expectancy has risen, so this makes sense. Raising the age at which dozens of millions of Americans begin to collect benefits will save the government BILLIONS.

B. Currently, workers only contribute to Social Security until their annual income reaches about $128,000. This is wrong. Several dozens of millions of Americans earn more than that. If everyone had to contribute 6.2% of their income (matched by the employer for a total of 12.4%), regardless of their income, this would add billions to the fund. It would also be fair, denying a major advantage enjoyed by the affluent.

Solution #A would reduce the number of SS beneficiaries and solution #2 would increase it, so some might argue that the latter measure would be counterproductive. However, for the foreseeable future both measures would at least improve the program’s cash flow.

C. Taxes should be raised moderately for everyone, and progressively more steeply for the rich. This should be temporary, only until the government repays its debt and gets back into the black, which could be achieved within a couple of decades, depending on what happens on the spending side. 

Then, two wonderful things will happen:

One: everyone’s taxes will be reduced, even those of the rich.
Two: the government will once again have trillions of dollars available for all the great things that have been neglected for so long - health and human services, infrastructure, science, the environment, space colonization, etc.

2. Immigration: The problem and the solution:
About one million immigrants enter the US annually. This is not a problem. America can accommodate twice its current population, at which point it will still have fewer than half the population of China or India.

While specific issues need to be addressed - DACA, asylum seekers, legal vs. illegal entrants, the current Trump-generated horror at the border, etc. - the TOTAL number of arrivals is not a problem. Immigration into the US should be no more problematic than it was in the 19th century, at Ellis island. Everyone who is already in should get amnesty, and we should continue to admit at least a million people every year. Our own demography dictates this anyway, as the native white population is now declining.

3. The Military Budget: Keep the budget more or less at the current level.
Shut down half of our 1,000 bases around the world.
Abandon Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, as we abandoned Vietnam.
Reintroduce the draft, for both genders, with an option for non-military national service. There are many good reasons to do this.

4. International Relations: Rejoin the U.N. Human Rights Council, the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the Trans Pacific Partnership and NAFTA.

5. Guns: Outlaw ownership and use of all automatic and semi-automatic fire arms for everyone, except police and military.

6. The environment: Rejoin the Paris Climate Change Agreement, make maximum use of cap and trade, wean country off of nuclear energy, maximize solar, wind, and other clean energies.

7. Free Speech: Protect First Amendment.

8. Healthcare: Ideally, institute national single-payer insurance system: Medicare for all. If that is too contrary to American culture, adopt at least a hybrid system like in Holland and France, which is more market-friendly. Lower by an average of 80% the astronomical rates for which hospitals, drug manufacturers and physicians bill insurers and patients. A 20-minute ambulance ride should not be billed for $15,000. $3,000 should suffice.

9. Culture, Education, Religion: Fund education more generously, especially public higher education. Reduce tuition - to zero at community colleges.

10. Criminal Justice: Decriminalize non-violent and victimless crimes. Reduce sentence severity. Reduce the prison population in half - from two and a half million to 1.2 million. Provide for rehabilitative programs.

1. The economy: Nationalize the means of production, the banks, the airlines and other transportation, the schools and the universities, etc.
Introduce a Universal Basic Income.

2. Immigration: Abolish borders. Create one North-American Union, following the example of the European Union.

3. The Military Budget: Cut the budget by 80%, to about $140 billion. Shut down all overseas bases. Abandon all military operations outside the US borders. Reintroduce the draft, for both genders, with an option for non-military national service.

4. International Relations: Hand over to the UN, the International Court of Justice and other supra-national agencies the final say on all issues confronting the United States and foreign governments.

5. Guns: Outlaw ALL fire arms, as well as hunting.

6. The environment: Outlaw fishing. Tax meat out of existence. Outlaw use of coal, gasoline, plastic and other fossil fuel derivatives.

7. Free Speech: Outlaw/criminalize certain words, expressions, stories, books and articles. Institute media censorship.

8. Healthcare: Institute national single-payer insurance system: Medicare for all. Zero premiums and zero co-payments for all.

9. Culture, Education, Religion: Outlaw all religious education. Shut down all churches, mosques and synagogues, or make them into museums. Declare the country to be officially atheist.

10. Criminal Justice: Decriminalize non-violent and victimless crimes. Reduce sentence severity. Reduce the prison population by 80%, from two and a half million to half a million, by offering early parole and more frequent use of probation.


1. The economy: Abolish the Income Tax and the IRS. Privatize Social Security. Hand over our deposits to Wall Street gamblers.

2. Immigration: Build a hermetic border wall. Admit only Norwegians and other white people. South Africans of Dutch extraction are especially welcome.

3. The Military Budget: Double the military budget. Develop the Star Wars defense (a shield against incoming nuclear missiles). Wipe out North Korea and Iran. Go to war in support of Israel.

4. International Relations: Leave the United Nations (as we refused to join the League of Nations).

5. Guns: Make ownership of a fire arm and weekly training mandatory for all teachers and store clerks and restaurant personnel.

6. The environment: Forbid government subsidies to solar, wind and other “new” sources of energy. Build 200 new nuclear reactors (something conservatives and liberals might actually agree on) . Re-open coal mines and drill for oil in Yellowstone and other national parks.

7. Free Speech: Outlaw/criminalize certain words, expressions, stories, books and articles. Institute media censorship. Forbid pornography, prostitution and gay materials.

8. Healthcare: Kill what’s left of Obamacare. Privatize all health coverage. Allow insurance companies to deny coverage to anyone, for any reason.

9. Culture, Education, Religion: Pass legislation to permit the government to fund private, religious schools. Mandate the teaching of creationism side-by-side with Darwinianism

10. Criminal Justice: Criminalize additional crimes, such as prostitution, pornography, marijuana, misbehavior and disobedience to authority. Privatize all jails and prisons, run them for profit.


The liberal agenda is, of course, my preference. When you juxtapose these three agendas, you can see that the liberal agenda is actually moderate, and that the conservative agenda is in fact being put into effect right now, as we speak! On June 26-27, the Trumpites scored FIVE major judicial victories in just two days: The Supreme Court approved the Texas gerrymandered voting map, it ratified a California anti-abortion decision,  it upheld the President’s anti-Muslim travel ban,  it approved a major union-busting measure, and with Justice Kennedy’s retirement, the Supreme Court will soon move even farther to the right, quite possibly reversing Roe v. Wade, just for starters. This is a taste of things to come, folks, unless you vote!
© Tom Kando 2018;All Rights Reserved

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