If you live in the US; it is very difficult to get away from politics. I am so tired of hearing all the school yard name calling and accusations from one candidate to another. I keep asking myself "Where are the grown-ups?"; when are we going to get away from all this point scoring and actually talk about the issues? Even during the debates candidates are back stabbing instead of discussing the issues. Can we please stop all this nonsense?
I was going to write a political piece, but I decided instead to put a few ideas out there to hopefully encourage the grown-ups to come out of hiding and talk about the problems we are all facing.
I am going to list some ideas of things that I think may improve life in the US. Please read and then make your own lists and brainstorm some original ideas. Make sure that you are being positive and have the best interests of the people at heart, do not fall prey to greed and selfishness.
This is my Super World!
1. Healthcare for everyone - not health care based on income, equal treatment for all people. I do believe in a national health service which I had the privelidge of using in England. Private health care is avaialable for those who can afford it. Everyone can see a dentist, doctor and optometrist, in a civilized society why would you exclude anyone because they were born poor, had mental problems, were the wrong color. The USA is supposed to be a world leader so why would they not take care of their citizens?
2. Schools should be using the international baccaleuriat, it is a world class education allowing the students to develop to their fullest potential. Students who are not academically inclined must be allowed to pursue vocational education by the age of 16, an vocational qualification should be equivalent to a High School diploma. In this way students leave school having succeeded and ready to take their places in the working world. The US benefits from having a highly trained workforce.
3. Unemployment benefits are paid only to those who are willing and ready to work. Unemployed people must work on Government projects at least 20 hours per week. This could be any project or community service. The benefit is that only those who are willing to work will collect, workers may be trained in new skills, the local community benefits and the unemployed are able to network and do something worthwhile with their time.
4. Abolish income tax, in favor of a national sales tax. Many people are able to avoid paying taxes, this ensures that everyone pays their share. People are taxed on consumption. Essential items are not taxed, food - except luxury food, basic clothes under a certain price, school books, other items deemed essential. All other items would be taxed. No tax on savings accounts or investment income as the tax will be paid on consumption. This would be a much fairer system.
5. Although I am a believer in free markets, we have reached a point where the man in the street is poor and as a result the economy is suffering. Until pay is increased for the working and middle classes there will be no recovery. There should either be greater unionisation or a higher minimum wage so that workers are able to be upwardly mobile; without hope and opportunity there is crime, drugs, drinking and despair. There is a benefit for business owners who sell more products, and make larger profits; for rich people they will not have to lock themselves away because the streets are so dangerous. Without a major change of direction the future is going to be dark and dangerous.
6. The Housing crisis: banks must be forced to modify loans for struggling homeowners. We are in unprecedented times, people need help; not a bunch of rich bankers exploiting the nouveau poor. Lending has been irresponsible and the banks need to pay for this. Many people have talked to the banks about modifying the mortgage but the bank wants to charge outrageous fees to do this. Bank fees should be restricted to either 1% of the cost of the deal or to a reasonable flat rate for changing a mortgage; somewhere in the $1500 range. Loans should be extended to 40 or 50 years if necessary at the original interest rate. The bank will be getting paid a smaller amount over a longer period or will get the money when the property is sold under normal conditions. This would correct the housing market and enable new people to take out mortgages. Homeowners who have deliberately not paid the mortgage for months or years should be liable for the back payments, these should be rolled into the mortgage. There should be a time limit of 12 months as a period on how long a homeowner can stay in a house without making a payment.
7. Mothers should never kill their babies. What kind of civilized society would allow this? Abortion should be legal but all mothers should be made to watch an abortion to ensure that they are fully enformed about the action they are about to take. Abortions shoudl be allowed for rape and cases where the child would be extremely deformed in some way. Counselling should be offered to all mothers in this situation.
8. This country is felony crazy, locking people up and often tarnishing young people for life. Young people need to be educated and offered a second chance, not just slapped with a felony which will guarantee them a life of problems. I really believe that the punishment should fit the crime, I do not believe in locking up people who are not a threat to others; it is a waste of resources. A person who steals, needs to be made to work hard and pay all their money back to the victims of the crime or to the State. For some crimes a medical solution is required - incarceration should be used for the violent and the dangerous.
Well that is enough from my soap box today. Please publish your own ideas; everyone can contribute to this debate!!! Be positive and think about the right thing to do; it may not benefit you directly but it may the the right thing for this country.