We all know that our country is bleeding to death and going down the toilet. Nearly all of our jobs have gone overseas, and continue to go, with no end in sight. Our trade deficit with China was $250 billion dollars last year, and will get worse in future years. Property taxes continue to increase on middle-class homeowners, while property values continue to decline. Health insurance costs are out of sight, and the price of gas is now $4 per gallon and may soon approach $5 per gallon. Our roads and infrastructure are in pitiful shape. And our cities resemble those of third world countries.
Is there anything we can do to fix our American economy and create jobs? Yes, there is. In fact, there is quite a bit that we can do. Fixing our economy is not rocket science. We are not splitting the atom here. And the Barefoot Accountant presents herein his nineteen steps on how we can salvage our economy and middle class America.
- We need to undo at least thirty years (if not 50 years) of a tax policy that has been instrumental in the greatest transfer of wealth in human history. We need to raise the highest marginal tax rates on individuals; that is, the wealthy need to pay more taxes. The upper 10% of our citizens own 90% of our country’s wealth. So they should pay more in terms of maintenance fees. They are the primary beneficiaries of our country. A recent poll indicated that 72% of Americans are in favor of raising taxes on the rich, including 54% of the Republicans. This would provide the financial resources to the government to undertake bold fiscal policies and eliminate deficit spending. Of course, the estate tax needs to be raised back up to 55% from 35%, and the exclusion of property from estate taxation reduced to $1 million from as much as $10 million.
- We need to eliminate the 15% capital gains tax rate on stock and bond sales, and subject them to ordinary income tax rates, while restricting the capital gains tax rate to investments in physical capital assets, from which real jobs would be created since this would induce more real investment and less speculation.
- We need to uncap the limit on social security taxes. Presently those individuals earning more than $106,800 annually do not have social security taxes assessed on any income exceeding that threshold: that’s a 12.4% tax break on the wealthy, a tax break you do not get. Here’s a simple solution to the funding of social security without raising the retirement age to 69 years of age, when most of us will be almost dead anyway, if not already worm’s meat.
- We need to break up those mammoth multinationals controlling our economy. Capitalism requires a free marketplace; however, with the concentrated power possessed by these conglomerates, competition and a free marketplace have been smothered, if not entirely suffocated already. President Theodore Roosevelt knew that when the Sherman Antitrust Act was passed in order to break up the monopolies and oligarchies of the robber barons. Well, the robber barons have returned but the Sherman Antitrust Act has departed long ago. What is the difference between a totalitarian government state and a corporate state? Or do we now simply have a government shell providing cover for a corporate state?
- We need to get ALL money out of politics. Allow no campaign financing. Period. Our congresspeople and presidents are now “employees” of these multinational corporations since they need to raise millions and millions of dollars to run for office every other year.
- We have to revamp our trade policies. How can American employees compete with Chinese laborers paid $.25/hour, without any employee benefits, including over-time pay? Let’s have free trade as long as it’s fair trade. Level the playing field so that we can compete fairly.
- We can no longer afford to spend 20% of our budget on defense and billions of dollars on needless wars throughout the world. We are financing nearly one-half of the total world’s expenditures on defense and the military. Why? We are not being paid as an international police force by other countries. Let Exxonmobil, GE, and other multinationals pay for the protection of their investments and properties in hostile lands. And when we spend $1.5 trillion dollars on liberating the peoples of a country, do we ask those people to contribute to the cost of their own liberation? Not a chance: we pass the entire cost onto Americans, and primarily middle class America! Whatever happened to that assurance by President George W. Bush that the Iraqi oil would pay for cost of the Iraqi war, which will end up costing $1.5 trillion? The Iraqis got their liberation from a tyrant, new roads, new schools, new hospitals, new government buildings, prisons, etc.–many of which (approximately 1,500) will never be utilized–and the American middle class got stuck with the tab. What a great country…if you happen to be rich and own stock in Haliburton and other defense contractors.
- We need a single-payer healthcare system allowing control of costs. Every year medical costs increase 15% to 20% on average. Pharmaceuticals, insurance companies, medical service providers, and others are raping the American taxpayer.
- We need to control all immigration, not just illegal immigration. Institute huge fines and penalties on employers hiring illegals. Limit social benefits to aliens. Temporarily halt all immigration until unemployment decreases significantly. We have too many individuals unemployed here in America. Ask yourself where will immigrants find work? Will they take jobs from those presently unemployed and desperately looking for work, or, equally as worse, from those currently employed??? Mexico has a more stringent immigration policy than the United States. Go figure.
- We need to tax all corporations, including those with fictitious corporate offices on the 19th floor of a building on the Cayman Islands. Make all corporations, domestic or foreign, pay taxes on income.
- We need to award government contracts only to businesses employing American workers and buying American materials when available for purchase in this country.
- We need to create jobs for every American desiring employment. With real unemployment approaching 20%, we are wasting our most valuable resource: the human resource. Jobs not only contribute to our country’s GDP, but would provide the much needed discretionary income to stimulate our economy through consumer spending. In addition, a job is the best social program, providing training and a sense of dignity to workers, as well as benefits. We need to create these jobs now: that might mean a CETA or WPA program or whatever it would take to attain full employment as soon as possible.
- We need to tax all not-for-profit organizations, including Churches. Some of these organizations have amassed huge swaths of real estate and wealth. All benefit from being here in America; consequently, all need to contribute for these benefits and liberties. No exceptions.
- We need to legalize all drugs and victimless crimes. We are wasting valuable resources criminalizing behavior that would be better spent on education, medical care, and rehabilitation programs.
- We need to invest in new alternative energies. In 1973 we knew there was an oil problem, so what have we done about it over the forty years since then? Do you see any solar heating or fuel cells in the consumer marketplace? Why are battery cars just coming onto the market place at prices much higher than conventional automobiles? Wouldn’t this also address the greenhouse problem, too? In 2008, then-candidate Obama proposed $150 billion in federal funding for green technology, $15 billion a year for 10 years. Under budget pressures, the president pared the federal commitment to $10 billion a year in 2010. In the 2012 budget? Even less — maybe only $2 billion to $3 billion — will be spent after budget cutting negotiations for the Energy Department, Transportation Department, Pentagon, Agriculture Department, National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency and others. We needed a new energy alternative forty years ago! Think of all of the new jobs that would be created by a significant investment in green technology.
- We need to stop providing tax subsidies to multinational corporations. The oil companies–the richest companies in the world and those experiencing huge increases in profitability this year–receive billions of dollars of your money every year in the form of tax credits. You pay more taxes than they do!
- We need to stop giving billions of dollars of your money from the Federal Reserve to banks like Bank of America and J P Morgan so that they can use those monies to buy treasury bills and earn 3% interest on our money by lending it back to us, instead of loaning out these monies to consumers and small businesses, so that they can pay their mortgages and keep their homes, and operate their businesses and meet payroll.
- We need to provide the availability of advanced education to all qualified and serious students. A competitive marketplace requires evolutionary advances in science and technology. Tomorrow’s economy depends on today’s research.
- We need to end the present system of collective bargaining of separate and multiple unions, including those of governmental employees. Municipalities and states are on the verge of bankruptcy and can no longer be held hostage to the self interests of any one group, including governmental employees. In its place for all working Americans we need a national department of labor or national union whose officers are elected directly by all of the working citizens of America. By having one labor voice directly accountable to its citizens, all Americans would be represented. Moreover, the American workers voice would be louder and more powerful. Under the present system of multiple unions, the American workers are divided and are pited economically against one another by the powers that be.
There are many other reforms that could be implemented to fix our American economy and create jobs. The list above was never intended to be complete and final. It awaits your invaluable insights and involvement. So please feel free to add your fixes. I need to get back to work and earn a living now.