Life, Liberty, Happiness, Justice; The Third Option has a way to better promote the General Welfare and secure each American’s unalienable rights.
By Robert Simmons
Platform (n) – a raised level surface on which people or things can stand.
The rising tide of economic growth continues to lift up anyone who can afford to buy a boat, but still leaves 78% of Americans treading water. Now it is time for Federal Government to build the rest of us a more solid (preferably raised and level) platform, so everyone might stand together on equal footing. Our current economic growth model is not viable as a platform, and attempting to sell it as such is false advertising. It is not designed to protect citizens, it is designed to utilize citizens as both worker and consumer, in order to garner profit, and a government purporting to be “by” and “for” its people can no longer tolerate such a system being used to secure our inalienable right to life. Maximum Profit equals minimum wages, cheap addictive processed “food” products, a vast array of mind-numbing pain killers, and the slow erosion of our physical and mental health. Place a chemical plant, some high-voltage power lines, an industrial facility, even a landfill next door, tie public education funding to property rights, and you have the perfect recipe for chronic “pre-existing” health conditions. Ironically, Profit cannot make a profit off of the unhealthy people it produces, so Profit answers by replacing them with fresh human assets instead. No worries. Government will fix it. Tax everyone else still standing, and let government subsidize the chronic, pre-existing negative externalities of economic growth.
Proactive (adj.) – manages a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to things after they happen.
The numbers are irrefutable: reactively cleaning up after things or people are broken is really expensive. Currently, government opts for war and welfare, subsidies and bailouts; $3.6 Trillion in health care and $23 trillion in National Debt; half a million homeless and 2.3 million in prison. The cost of government will never come down using reactive thinking. An amoral profit-based economy is not equipped or designed to solve the problems it creates, nor is it motivated to do so (because it profits equally from our suffering or our pleasure). Government is the only mechanism available to steer the mass of people where they collectively choose to go, which is another way of saying that “We the People” are going to have to solve everything ourselves.
So let’s start doing that.
Tax (v) – make heavy demands on (someone’s powers or resources)
Investment (n) – the action of supplying money for profit or material result.
Government has already made a working list of our basic survival needs, and assigned each a “Department”: Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, Energy, Education, Social Security, and Transportation. Add a “Communication” Department, and our inalienable right to life in the 21st century would be covered. Currently, none of these departments actually delivers basic needs to us directly, but hey, at least someone listed them. Our new model now needs to activate them. We the People must first declare Eminent Domain over our right to life, then in order to “insure domestic tranquility” and “promote the general welfare”, assume control of delivering our own basic needs, already organized by governmental department. Every department requires infrastructure; a new clean energy grid, a new transportation grid, a new communication grid, and new water and sewer infrastructure. We would also need better healthcare, education, housing and agriculture, built directly within each community.
To pay for all this infrastructure, we would need a loan from a bank, but to ensure we have complete control of our money, we would need to own the bank ourselves. The First Bank of the United States was a National Bank, founded by Alexander Hamilton, and was approved by the Supreme Court in McCulloch vs Maryland (1819). If we turn the U.S. Treasury into a National Public Bank, our taxes would go into one end, and loans would come out the other,
with nobody touching it in between. To pay the loans back, we would merely have to pay our rent, our food costs, our energy, water and communication bills, our healthcare
premiums, our plane tickets, our bus passes, or our vehicle registration. By eliminating the need for profit, marketing, CEO salaries, and more, our basic needs would become more affordable. If necessary, we could declare Eminent Domain over the lumber and aggregate and minerals needed to build the new infrastructure, further lowering the cost. We would of course pay excellent wages to all the employees needed to run these new “public” businesses. It is time to lower the cost of “living”, in order to assure a “living wage”. Let economic growth be about the things we want; meanwhile, let us secure the things we need.
Of course, some people might balk at the U.S. Treasury being turned into a Public Bank, but in case you hadn’t noticed, it already is one; just not a very good one.
One of our few “proactive” decisions, establishing social security, has done its job well. It currently has $2.9 Trillion in reserves ready for the next batch of retirees. Social security takes our money, before we can spend it, and stores it away until retirement, when each of us gets to have it back. Just kidding. The money we pay into the system each year goes directly out to the current crop of retirees, which should make us wonder where their money went. Further perplexing is the fact that our $2.9 trillion in “asset reserves”, accumulated through the years, is Missing In Action as well.
The official explanation is that the $2.9 Trillion was turned into “special” government bonds currently earning interest for us, except that government bonds do not work in this manner. Bonds, of course, work in the opposite manner: we citizens willingly give our money to the government, who in turn promises to pay us back with interest at some later date. The treasury gave our $2.9 trillion to someone else, who will (allegedly) be paying it back to the treasury (with interest) sometime in the future. This, of course, is what a bank does – loan out money – except the treasury is not very good at banking, because it loaned the money out to itself (the government), and appears to only be collecting interest on the loan so far; with as yet no principle coming back into our asset reserve Trust Fund.
The likely explanation is that the $2.9 Trillion is gone. In its place is debt. The Treasury has sold off this debt in Treasury securities, and is itself paying the interest on the debt, which it can legally do without authorization from Congress. This debt is now part of the total US National Debt, which currently exceeds $23 Trillion. If this is true, in order for us to get this $2.9 Trillion back, we will have to pay the entire amount over again sometime in the future, through more taxation (but seriously, are we really going to ever pay a dime of principle back on the National Debt?) Ironically, when Jimmy Hoffa loaned out money from his Teamsters pension fund, the government felt obligated to put him in jail. Jimmy didn’t have any of that government immunity, unfortunately; at least the American people got Las Vegas out of Jimmy’s investment, if one considers that a good thing.
This is not an article attempting to make sense of government accounting. Our goal is to gain knowledge – not to store it or share it, deny it or suppress it – but to use it, in order to forge a course of action. We now possess the knowledge that the US Treasury is already a bank – a bank filled with our money – and action dictates that we re-purpose the Treasury to “officially” be a bank, get control of our money, and in the process do a much more sustainable and efficient job of delivering our inalienable right to life. A 10% income tax on everyone’s gross revenue would put $2 trillion into our Bank each year. A $6,000 share could be placed into everyone’s “retirement account”, then loaned out toward any fixed cost the government deemed “necessary and proper”. Repayment of these loans (at 4% interest) would accumulate in everyone’s account, forming the new Social Security. It would take eight to ten years for these accounts to grow big enough to replace Social Security, but luckily we have $2.9 Trillion already sitting in our Social Security “asset reserves”, to cover all current retirees until the new “Retirement Dividend” kicked in. If these asset reserves no longer exist, I guess our US Treasury would have some ‘splaining to do.
To Establish Justice
Six Executive Departments plus the Treasury could manage and deliver all our affordable basic needs, and apart from the cost of low to middle-level management, completely pay for itself, deliver retirement benefits, and fund a considerable portion of a new universal healthcare system. Three other Departments could be turned into purely regulatory agencies: Labor (for people), Justice (for principles), and The Interior (for planet). They would be charged with collecting their own paychecks through imposing fines on private sector businesses or individuals that violate our people, our principles, or our planet. Private sector lawyers manage to make a profit from litigation, so if our lawyers worked on commission, they would no doubt find a way to get rich and keep power in check at the same time. Finally, we could take out a Bank Loan to revamp our National Parks, except this time we would also build “Public” tourist infrastructure (such as restaurants and hotels), in order to satisfy our new government business model: to invest our money so it both serves our interests and pays for itself at the same time. This could be the new economics, or rather the old economics, applied more efficiently.
We could apply this business model toward any government program operating at a financial loss (news flash: they all are). Prisons, for example, could be turned into educational facilities. The prisoners would become “apprentices”, each tasked with helping build new infrastructure, in return for the promise of continued employment once the “apprenticeship period” was completed. Perhaps these apprentices could practice by building tiny homes around their facility designed to house our current US homeless population. With substance abuse counseling made available to both prisoners and homeless, some of the homeless might start feeling well enough to utilize the apprenticeship program, too.
To Provide For the Common Defense (and Secure Liberty to Our Posterity)
The final three Executive Departments – Defense, Foreign Relations (State), and Education – could also work in tandem. In the spirit of the Peace Corps, our children could proactively go forth and network with their peers around the globe. Perhaps this would improve foreign relations for their generation, and lower the ridiculously large backend cost of our reactive Defense Department. As education, and not handouts, is a more sustainable way to raise the poverty level around the world, our children could bring both the technology and the knowledge to implement vertical framing, green energy and waste to energy conversion, water purification and desalination, preventive healthcare, and more.
Evolution (n) – the gradual development of something.
Revolution (n) – the forcible overthrow of one system in favor of a new one.
To reiterate: Government is We the People, and We the People have to take care of ourselves.
I am calling out all my fellow Americans. We need to coalesce around a good idea. It must be a platform that proactively benefits every American, while erasing the obvious negative side effects of the current model. The aforementioned proposal will tie all of our fates together, allow each generation to reap the entire
benefit of their hard work, lessen the size of taxes and government, create more fairness, more certainty, and more inclusivity, protect our planet, our people, and our principles, and re-engage our citizens in Democracy. This platform can swivel to include any future ideas, as long as they can be fashioned into an economically viable business model.
In order to install this new government operating system platform, we will first need to run and elect our own people in each district, and in each state. We cannot trust the current bunch of politicians to pass a small kidney stone, let alone something this size. When money became free speech, the price to win a senate seat rose to $19.4 million, with at least $9 million of that coming from the “Powers-That-Be”. Right now, Power has coalesced around money, and has recruited many money-loving minions. It is embarrassing how easily all of us have stepped straight into Power’s unmarked van after being offered the slightest bit of candy. Power can keep its big stash of money on this one. Big money is only necessary when someone needs to buy a vote or sell a mediocre idea. A good idea (if allowed to spread) can sell itself.
Evolution is a natural process of going from crappy to less crappy. Throughout our existence, when something has stood in the path of evolution, revolution was needed in order to clear the path. Revolution, seen this way, is also a natural part of evolution. The mass of people are generally compliant, so it unfortunately takes something extreme to overcome their inertia. Extreme usually connotes action that is destructive, not productive. When the stakes are high, the only way to achieve a positive result is through sustained controlled aggression, coupled with tunnel vision focus on a single objective. Power has been kicking our collective butts by doing this since before we had a frontal lobe. Unfortunately, it is only through using our frontal lobes that We the People will ever break free from this incredibly long losing streak.
Somewhere along the way, we started measuring Freedom in dollars, and happiness in how much we could consume. We are all in on this self-deception, and now both we and the planet are feeling the strain of it. We need to redefine the meaning of progress before the planet decides to revolt without us. If we still choose to ride this runaway train until the track runs out, I humbly offer this proposal to further generations as well, so when revolution is forced to clear a path for continued survival of our species and / or planet, we will have a sustainable blueprint at the ready for whatever future remains.