At some point we need to shift putting all of our energy into railing against Trumpus, and put more into envisioning what we want INSTEAD. If all we are doing is saying we don’t want . . ., then, we are no better than Hillary Clinton running on the “platform” of “I’m Not Trump.” Identity politics got us into this mess; we must dismantle identity politics and focus on the real ISSUES to get us out.
What do we want in a government? In our country? How will we support the things we want? How will we show others who do not agree with us that there can be compromises? That even if some do not want something, others do and perhaps it is OKAY for BOTH to exist together, rather than just one or none. That even if you DON’T use a service doesn’t mean others can’t have it.
Think of condiments at a restaurant–ALL people do not use the ketchup. Yet, the COST of the ketchup is imposed on every diner as part of the cost of a meal. No one complains (or few do) that they must pay for the ketchup that other people use b/c we simply accept that some may want it, and that even if I do not, I might use the mustard whereas others will not. So IT ALL WORKS OUT in the end. Some get the ketchup, some the mustard, others relish or mayo. The bottom line is we ALL pitch in through the cost of the menu items for the opportunity to have a bit more if WE SO CHOOSE. That’s the real choice. It isn’t a “choice” when everything is privatized–the corporations will CHOOSE what you can have–and if they decide NO ONE gets ketchup, then those people are screwed.
I digress. Here’s a list of items that I think belong in a civil, democratic society, whether promoted by government or the people:
- healthcare for all (single payer and/or regulated private)
- free education through a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent in a trade or technical institution)
- an ANNUAL MINIMUM SALARY (set at a living salary with cost of living adjustments)–large businesses would be REQUIRED to pay this minimum or more. To promote small local business, subsidies would be available from the state/fed. AMS would reduce the need for unemployment and unemployment insurance since all citizens would have the right to this salary regardless of work status (I plan to write more in detail about this later)
- reduction of military budget by increments of 10% annually until the military is at a level not exceeding 20% of discretionary spending (it is now around 55%), and not more than 2% of the GDP (China is at 2.1% GDP compared to our 3.5%)–the money can be redistributed to healthcare, education and annual minimum salary
- subsidized housing that considers region and market rates; NOT PROJECTS, but true subsidies to help the poor and working classes. Also, CAPS placed on housing costs in regions where there are large populations of poor and working class.
- build and improve public transportation infrastructure; incentives to use public transportation and reduce car use
- create green jobs and industries–set a goal of ten years in which major urban areas must become sustainable cities with low or no carbon footprint–converting to wind, solar or other alternative power, converting buildings to become more self-sufficient energy creators as well as users (green roofs, solar windows, roof panels, wind mills), and more green spaces for citizens with bike and walking paths that promote movement rather that cars and parking.
- free childcare for working parents
- 6-8 weeks vacation time annually, mandatory
- 1-2 years maternity/paternity leave with FULL PAY (see annual minimum income above)
- open union options for service, industrial, business and government workers without fear-mongering or other bully tactics
- social security for all, raise cap so that millionaires and billionaires pay a progressive rate according to their net worth NOT their income (most of the 1% make their money on capital gains and other property assess, not income)
- tax the top 1% at 90% after their first million (no one needs more than that to live, really people) with significant tax “haven” reductions for returning profits into infrastructure of the business, labor, or into public infrastructure, social programs or private charities or social/cultural improvements
- REMOVE ALL CORPORATE CHARTERS until each corporation (that exceeds a particular profit level annually) demonstrates its service to the greater good of society–not just that it makes a profit or money–but that it serves a need and benefits the people. Make them “prove” themselves just as they’ve imposed the same litmus on public educators, immigrants, racial minorities, women, scientists and others.
- Return the airwaves to the people. Take away broadcast charters from the major media corporations if they cannot follow their original purpose to be faithful STEWARDS of the airwaves. This can take many shapes, but the onus would be on THEM to demonstrate good faith.
This is not a complete list, but it is a start. These may or may not be items others agree with, but the discussion MUST begin in earnest. We cannot simply REMOVE the problem without having something to put in its place–nature abhors a vacuum (vacuums are questionable, but…) and politics triply so. If we desire to remove the corruption and those who wish to continue down the path we are going, we not only need to replace them with others who are different, but we need to rewrite the NARRATIVE they’ve pushed on us for so long with something new, and hopefully, better.
Start the discussion.