"Things fall apart, the center cannot hold."
That quotation is from W. B. Yeats's poem, "The Second Coming". Modern American society is tending that direction, which would likely be a disaster for the nation. Society is bifurcating and has been for about 40 years. Recent posts here have documented the shifts in economic growth from the middle class to top; the middle class has obtained almost nothing from 40 years of "growth". The Great Recession has increased the bleeding, causing huge job and savings losses for people who have little hope of recovery, viz. the baby boomers approaching retirement. The billionaires, executive classes, their bureaucratic allies and entertainment figures have taken it all. While all that was happening, government grew enormously. It's part of the problem.
We need a New American System: a simpler, fairer system with more freedom and less government for the common man and woman.
Recent posts have outlined a new tax system, a health care system, a energy solution, a transportation solution, a debt solution, a jobs solution. This post focuses on government which connects to the other solutions..
The Federal government needs to be massively streamlined to focus on what's important to the people. Keep and expand what's important and get rid of the rest.
What is important? The five items below command huge public support.
1. Social Security as a core retirement program.
2. Health care (Medicare, medicaid AND health care for all).
3. National defense (very strong without bloat and corruption).
4. Social Safety Net: no one goes to destitution for bad luck or bad genes.
5. Debt for productive investments only.
Get rid of the rest of the Federal government, except simple information gathering programs for public distribution. We need to understand the nation and its parts and trends. Get rid of all the regulations and bureaucracy. Free people and business to create new growth in areas people want, not what is selected or dictated by the hogs at the trough.
I. Increase Social Security about 50% to provide about 1/2 of a reasonable retirement. This will be part of the Social Safety Net and support the happiness of the American people as they need not fear destitution in old age. People must save the rest.
II. Provide the National Health Shared Benefit that I've written often about here. This system provides good basic health care, not everything. People are free to spend more if they wish, but no one dies in the streets. The link between employment and health care is broken. Services are provided by competitive bids.
III. National defense must be strong to protect the nation. Our current military is very strong - superior to all others. It has a weakness, though. Too many military support functions are contracted out. The military needs internal support systems (supply, transportation, etc.) that can be expanded for longer wars, which DO happen, witness Iraq. Contractors will run when the shelling starts. Dedicated service people will not.
IV. The Social Safety Net must be strong so that people feel free to take risks to start new businesses, etc. We don't want them inhibited by a splat into destitution. That now prevents millions from being more entrepreneurial. "Benefits" are really shackles. Food stamps should be expanded in value and available to anyone at low income (no limitation to people with children) , but limited to the simple foods. People should not have to worry about starvation, but doing a bit of work in cooking should be expected. Some kind of housing must be available, too. The current housing glut can supply it. Create homestead programs to give the poor an incentive to take over abandoned housing and fix it up. The National Health Shared Benefit provides the health care. This system is a strong safety net.
V. Borrow with long term bonds to build out the nation's energy, transportation and communication grid-networks completely with structures consistent with the long term Energy and Transportation systems I've written out. This system will provide a strong skeleton for new national growth.
The tax reform solutions I've written about will both pay for this and help provide the shift in jobs and income growth towards the middle class.
We need to move towards this New American System now. I'll do my part in publicizing these solutions. I will soon collect these core posts into an indexed place where you can find them easily. Later I intend to publish these ideas in a printed pamphlet for sending out ... everywhere.
I'll be traveling to NYC Tuesday and Wednesday; no new post until Thursday.
Word of the Day
"Phthisis" noun [$10]; "Phthisic" - adjective [$10]; a T. S. Eliot word.
Phthisis means any progressive wasting disease esp. pulmonary tuberculosis.
Sentence: American society suffers from a social and economic phthisis grinding down the middle class and dangerously bifurcating society. We need to start the cure now.