Saturday, March 18, 2017

Moving past complaining and offering some ideas

Overview


I've complained enough without offering enough solutions. Here are some things to consider. I have done quite a bit of research on these items. Our current administration has no interest in listening to what logical people want – so I am mainly doing this to curb my own angst over the poor or complete lack of leadership.

The following list would invest in our country's future while fighting to protect the environment and strengthening protections hard working tax payers in the middle class deserve.

The bonus items in this list also include the following highlights:

1) We should increase in spending for law enforcement.
2) We should increase in spending for military.
3) Combined all of these changes WILL produce a drastic reduction in our future deficit.
4) No “tax attack” on corporations that employee middle class individuals.

If I can figure this out -- why can't our "leaders"?

I can isolate some big problems with the lobby in Washington in their protection of the following industries.

1) Big insurance – Insurance is much of the problem with Health Care. It’s not the physicians causing the problems with the spike in health care costs. It’s the lobbyists and politicians that have bought off members of congress to protect their “right” to arbitrarily raise premiums to keep their profit margins in line with the UNREAL expectations of the investors.

2) Big oil – defending big oil with any line of crap will not fly with me. If we would switch our focus to sustainable energy sources the middle class would greatly benefit and the future would be more secure.

3) Stock Market and profit demands from investors are NOT sustainable or realistic. With a shrinking middle class – most companies are losing potential consumers. Investors MUST be required to either invest more OR expect less profit.

4) Big pharma – what a racket. This gouging must stop. Profit is good. Extreme profit and monopoly is unhealthy.

I am NOT suggesting this is EASY work. I am not suggesting that this would turn around tomorrow. What I am saying is that if you put a road map like this in place and do things in a logical and orderly fashion we can achieve the best result for the largest number of Americans.


Tax Credits and Deductions


Convert mortgage interest deduction to credit --


What does this mean? Rich folks save up to $400.00 per $1000.00 of mortgage interest they pay ... while us here in the middle save only $150.00 on the same $1000.00. Therefore, we in the middle are encouraged to spend more than we might can afford to reduce our overall cost on ownership. Level this out -- $150.00 per thousand for everyone. Period.

Limit Tax Breaks for Top Earners--


What does this mean? This simply means that the top earners should NOT get more breaks than middle or lower class people.


Limit deductibility of drug advertising --


What does this mean? --Drug companies need to be policed more. They get to deduct the cost of their marketing campaigns AND they market so heavily it convinces some consumers that they have diseases or conditions that they do not have.

Expand the child tax credit --


What does this mean? -- People get better tax credits for their children - especially those families with young children when it is super important to have great care and education for babies and toddlers.

End tax breaks for fossil fuel --


What does this mean? -- Oil companies make a TON of profit even after paying their workers. Why would we subsidize a non-sustainable energy source that is already making so much profit? Put the subsidies into something sustainable like solar. Please.


Arts and Sciences


Increase funding for arts and humanities –


What does this mean? -- Basically this funding will promote the American value of inventiveness and creativity - no arts funding - no future fun and enjoyment.

Boost National Science Foundation Funding—


What does this mean? -- It is what it is - science and technology are here to stay so we need to invest in it to keep pace with the changes around the world. Progress in math, computers and realistic service- based economics is required to keep us going as a country.


Increase National Institutes of Health Budget --


What does this mean? -- Grants for scientists doing VITAL research on health and health care. DUH!

Social Security


Cut Social Security COLA --


What does this mean? – COLA = Cost of Living Adjustment - Hold on before you blow your lid. We are going to cut the spending on COLA - but we are going to balance it out by using tax revenue to boost it more sustainably. Plus - cutting COLA can ensure that the other benefits promised can get paid.

Use income taxes to fund social security --


What does this mean? -- Yeah - we are cutting some government revenue on this one ... but we are allocating it to finish the promises started by taking care of retired folks that paid into the system throughout their entire career.


Boost low-wage worker social security --


What does this mean? -- Raise the social security benefits for low wage workers that worked for 30 years and paid into the system to at least 25% above the poverty line. It makes sense. They will have extra money to pay their own way AND even some discretionary income to either save OR put back into the system.

Infrastructure and Transportation


Increase infrastructure spending --


What does this mean? -- This one is DUH ... The GOP wants us to rely on "donations" to maintain our airports, roads, bridges, water lines and communication. Yeah - like that will happen. This will ensure that we spend what we need to maintain and advance the infrastructure.

Double subsidies for Amtrak --


We should have never walked away from the railroad concept. It is a solid idea to have rails. Let’s get some cars and trucks off the roads AND be more efficient without deliveries to boot.

Law and Order


Increase Homeland Security Spending --


What does this mean? -- Boost funding for Homeland Security by 25%. If you GOPers are so frightened -- this should make you feel safer.

Spend more on law enforcement --


What does this mean? -- Boost spending for federal state and local law enforcement. Including border security.

Enact Immigration Reform --


You want travel bans? We want reform of the laws already on the books. With an increase in law enforcement we can improve immigration logically.

Taxes on Investments


Impose new tax on financial transactions --


What does this mean? -- A 0.1% tax on the purchase of stocks and bonds. This will likely not effect ANYONE but it certainly will affect less of the working folks. And do not even suggest this will affect market liquidity because it's already a casino world for day traders anyway.


Raise capital gains on assets held less than 6 years --


What does this mean? -- Investors must hold investments for at least 6 years to reduce their taxes on gains from 40% to 20%. That is fair. Plus - it does not affect most folks in the middle class anyway.

Tax carried interest as ordinary income --


What does this mean? -- Private equity holders currently save BILLIONS of dollars per year on earnings from investments due to tax protections. Wall Street investors make a ton of cash for "risk" rather than "work". Work is American. Risk is for gamblers. If they win big - they can afford to pay the house for allowing them to play. If they lose -- they knew the risks going in.

Education


Two years of community college for free --


What does this mean? -- Provide states with funding for two years of community college at accredited and qualified institutions and students must maintain a 2.5 GPA. DUH!

Preschool for four-year old’s --


What does this mean? -- Get those children ready for grade school the right way. The early years are the best years to form learning. Do it. It's the best way to ensure we have a base level of education across the board.

Make 4-year public college debt free --


What does this mean? -- Provide states with grants for four years of public college at accredited and qualified institutions and students must maintain a 2.5 GPA. DUH! The only other requirement is a contribution by parents to subsidize the funding AND the student needs to maintain a part-time job.

Income and Payroll Taxes


Eliminate cap on wages subject to payroll tax--


Right now, folks that earn more than $127,000 per year get a break on any wages above $127,000. We'd also need to curb lawsuits and workarounds for people trying to hide income. Pay the taxes ... especially since you are earning SOOOO much more than middle class America.


Enact the Buffet Rule - a tax on millionaires --


What does this mean? -- A 30% minimum tax on those adjusted gross incomes of $1 million per year or higher. This increases revenue AND does not have very much impact the lifestyles of super wealthy people if they are managing their spending responsibly.

Lower the inflation adjustment for taxes --


What does this mean? -- Right now the tax bracket thresholds are adjusted upward for inflation ... but the adjustment is about 25% too high. Let's fix that and stop protecting the super wealthy and their bad spending habits.


Boost taxes on the super-rich --


What does this mean? -- This means the top 0.2% of tax payers will start paying their fair share rather than getting loopholes and workarounds. Let's add a 4% surcharge on people that earn 5 million or more per year.

Use income taxes to fund Medicare --


What does this mean? -- The trust fund for Medicare will run out in 15 years. We must fix this. With increases in taxes to balance out the contributions we would have the money to fund Medicare sustainably ... without effecting too many of Americans.

Raise taxes on $153,000 + earners --


What does this mean? -- Raise taxes by 1% on those folks earning above $153,000 per year. This only effects 5% of American taxpayers

Food and Agriculture


Tax Sugary Drinks --


What does this mean? -- 1 penny per ounce of tax on sugary drinks. Huge revenue.

Tighten eligibility for food stamps --


What does this mean? -- If earners are 30% above the poverty line - they no longer qualify for food stamps.

Reduce farm subsidies --


What does this mean? -- End welfare for farmers! The federal government pays 60% of crop protection insurance for giant farms. This does not mean to get rid of subsidies. It means encourage responsible farm management.

Energy and Environment

Increase the gas tax --


What does this mean? -- Increase gas tax from 18 to 35 percent to better fund infrastructure projects and transportation programs. This has not been increased since 1993. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Gas guzzlers for daily drivers are no longer acceptable.

End tax breaks for fossil fuels --


What does this mean? -- These subsidies should have been killed years ago which would have forced big oil to find better and more sustainable means for energy. Oil and gas are not sustainable. We need to all admit it and innovate something new.

Impose a carbon tax --


What does this mean? -- Put a price on pollution. Nobody can survive with dirty air and filthy water. All living things breath air or water. If we pollute it we consume it. DUH. Put a $25 per ton tax on entities producing pollutants. Period.

Corporate Taxes


Discourage companies from moving overseas --


What does this mean? -- Rescind tax breaks for companies moving jobs out of the country. Impose an exit tax on companies choosing to leave.


Impose fee on too-big-to-fail banks --


What does this mean? -- Levy a fee on financial institutions with assets greater than $50 billion -- on a sliding scale charging the larger institutions more and adjusting for banks in risky markets.


Defense and Foreign Affairs

Increase active duty Army -


What does this mean? -- Increase active duty Army from 500,000 to 600,000 and eventually get the numbers back to 800,000 where it once was. It's important.

Health and Health Care

Expand programs for veterans --


What does this mean? -- These people gave their life to the cause - so let's increase their benefits from job training to mental health care. DUH!

Increase taxes on cigarettes --


What does this mean? -- It's a killer habit. This is duh. Just stop smoking. I’m not saying it is simple to quit – but your choices are pretty much A) Take a huge risk on getting unstoppable lung cancer OR B) Live a little longer and save a BUNCH of money. Kick back and drink some wine to relax. There’s a better way.


Reform malpractice laws --


What does this mean? -- Capping damages awarded in malpractice is step one in regulating the STUPID increase in insurance premiums. If we cap this BIG INSURANCE cannot cry as much about law suits.

Means test Medicare --


What does this mean? --If older folks were smart with their money they have the means to afford their health care ... Bill Gates and Warren Buffett do not need the full benefit of Medicare because they are wealthy. This means test would only effect the top 10% of wealthy seniors.


Boost access to generic drugs --


Another step to keep big corporations like BIG PHARMA in check. Give us better access to generics more quickly than 12 years of patent holding. It's just a corporate money grab.

Expand housing aid for qualified poor --


Let’s give vouchers for those folks that qualify to help them and their kids have a livable space to call theirs. Its human. Hold them to the requirements but if they meet them help them. They must have jobs and their kids must maintain grades or part time jobs.

Conclusion


These adjustments would ensure a better future for the country, protect the middle class and enhance the lifestyles of 97% of the country (roughly those that make under $153,000 per year). Even those effected by the taxes can stand to pay their fair share and still have more than everyone else.

Let's get it right folks. We can improve our country WITHOUT supporting corporations and the super wealthy folk’s interests. We can improve our country AND protect the environment. We can improve the country and provide better health care and education.

The folks I am not addressing or pandering to are the war mongers that want to start wars for the sake of fossil fuels or religion. Sorry. I cannot support either of these causes. They are just illogical and inhumane. Take your power lust/greed/arrogance elsewhere.

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