The Middle Class Caught in a Pincer MovementPolitics / US Politics Oct 11, 2010 - 03:39 AM GMT
A MODEST PROPOSAL
My understanding of our economic system has changed over the last couple years. I've come to the conclusion that the middle class of this country has been caught in a pincer movement by two armies. My definition of the Middle Class is households making between $50,000 and $150,000 per year. The Free Shit Army is attacking us on the left. The middle class has been the backbone of the country, doing the heavy lifting in this country. They get up every morning and trudge off to work to support their families. The Free Shit Army sleeps in. They have chosen to not educate themselves in order to advance in our society.
Politicians have enabled them to stay in poverty by providing welfare, disability, food stamps, and tax incentives that make their lives just comfortable enough to not work. If you provide money to people who are classified as disabled, you get more disabled. The Free Shit Army has 50% more disabled than the general population. If you pay people for not working, why should they work? The middle class works and pays their taxes. These taxes are then redistributed to the Free Shit Army.
The second pincer movement on the middle class has been conducted by a stealthier army. This army has experts in propaganda, misinformation, and obfuscation. I call them the Ruling Elite Army. The generals are the ultra-wealthy CEOs of Wall Street banks and mega-corporations. Their armor divisions are manned by the corporate mainstream media. They are excellent at laying down a great smoke screen before blasting away. The infantry is manned by 535 Congressional officers with thousands of corporate lobbyist foot soldiers. This army has been given the mission to capture the supplies of the middle class.
The middle class were not prepared for the assaults they have been fending off. They became soft and satisfied. They stopped training. They became distracted by their gadgets, delusions of home wealth, and fear of phantom terrorist enemies behind every bush. The propaganda machine of their true enemies has convinced the middle class that foreign enemies are massing. The enemy is within. The middle class will need to sacrifice and go to war against two enemies. Are they up to the task? I'm not sure.
In my opinion the following platform is the only way to save this middle class country. Liberals and supposed Conservatives will be outraged. No one will be happy with my solutions. So be it.
MY MODEST PROPOSAL
- Term limits of 6 years for Congressmen and Senators. Serving in Congress is not a career. It is a duty to the country. They are not in Congress to bring home the bacon to their district or State. They are in Congress to ensure that future generations have a country that offers opportunity to live a better life than their parents.
- The entire election process would be scraped. It would be transformed into a 3 month publicly financed election. No money from corporations, unions, or individuals would be allowed. Candidates would have 3 debates on public TV.
- Lobbyists and PACs would be eliminated from the political process.
- Every bill before Congress would immediately be put online. The constituents of every Congressmen and Senator would be allowed to voice their opinion by voting yes or no online.
- Every bill that is proposed by a Congressman MUST have a funding mechanism. If the proposal increases costs to the American taxpayer, something else must be cut to pay for the new proposal.
- NO American troops could be committed to firing their weapons without a full vote of Congress as required by the US Constitution.
- The first thing to be done is to abolish the Federal Reserve. It has been around for less than 100 years. The Treasury has the authority to issue the currency of the country.
- The currency of the US would be backed by hard assets. A basket of gold, silver, oil, uranium, and some other limited hard commodities would back the USD. If politicians attempted to spend too much, this basket would reveal their plans immediately.
- The FASB would be directed to make all banks and corporations value their assets at their true market value. This would reveal that the mega Wall Street banks and corporations like GE are insolvent. An orderly bankruptcy of all insolvent financial firms involving the sell-off of their legitimate assets to banks that didn't screw up and the bondholders and stockholders would be wiped out.
- The 16th Amendment would be repealed and the income tax would be scraped. It would be replaced with a national consumption tax. The more you consume the more taxes you pay. Saving and investment would be untaxed.
- A balanced budget amendment would be instituted. It would phase in over 5 years. This would require a massive reduction in spending. A downsizing of the US Military from $900 billion to $500 billion would be initiated through the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, Japan and hundreds of other bases throughout the world.
- The two most worthless departments in the government (Dept of Energy and Dept of Education) would be eliminated. All corporate subsidies would be eliminated. All Federal employees would have their pay slashed by 10% and the workforce would be reduced by 20% over 5 years. Federal health benefits and pension benefits would be slashed.
- The Social Security System would be completely overhauled. Anyone 50 or older would get exactly what they were promised. The age for collecting SS would be gradually raised to 72 over the next 15 years. Those between 25 and 50 would be given the option to opt out of SS. They would be given their contributions to invest as they see fit if they opt out. Anyone entering the workforce today would not pay in or receive any benefits. The wage limit for SS would be eliminated and the tax rate would be reduced from 6.2% to 3%.
- The Medicare system is unsustainable. It would be converted from a government program to private market based program. The rules and regulations would be eliminated. Senior citizens would be given healthcare vouchers which they would be free to use with any insurance company or doctor based on price and quality. Insurance companies would compete for business. Doctors would compete for business. The GAO would have their budget doubled and they would audit Medicare fraud & Medicaid fraud and prosecute the criminals brutally.
- The healthcare bill would be repealed. Insurance companies would be allowed to compete with each other on a national basis. Tort reform would be implemented so that doctors could do their jobs without worrying about slimy lawyers. Doctors would need to post their costs for various procedures. Price and quality would drive the healthcare market.
- The entitlement state would be dismantled. The criteria for collecting welfare, food stamps and unemployment benefits would be made much stricter. Unemployed people collecting government payments would be required to clean up parks, volunteer at community charity organizations, pick up trash along highways, fix and paint houses in their neighborhoods and generally keep busy in a productive manner for society.
- A free market method for stabilizing the housing market would be for banks to voluntarily reduce the mortgage balances of underwater homeowners in exchange for a PAR (Property Appreciation Right). The homeowner would agree to pay off the PAR to the Treasury (and administered through the IRS) out of future price appreciation on the existing home or subsequent property. The homeowner would be excluded from taking on any home equity loans or executing any “cash out” refinancings until the PAR was satisfied. The maximum PAR obligation accepted by the Treasury would be based on the value of the home and the income of the homeowner.
- With the elimination of the Dept of Education, the education of children would go back to localities. Every child in America would receive vouchers for grade school, high school and college. They could choose any school to attend - public or private. If the private school cost more than the voucher, the family would pay the difference. Excellent schools would flourish, poor schools would be forced to improve or they would close.
- Teacher tenure would be eliminated. Teachers unions could exist, but schools will only receive the amount of the student vouchers as funding. This would essentially force public schools to run their operations based on excellence in teaching.
- Without the Dept of Energy to block the free market, companies should be guaranteed a fast track approval process to build nuclear power plants ASAP. The approval process for refineries and LNG facilities should also be fast tracked.
- The Pickens Plan to convert our truck fleets to natural gas should be given priority. The government can actually do something to help the market. An upgrade and expansion of the electrical grid could connect to windmill farms built across the plains.
- Increased drilling off the coasts and in Alaska would be allowed with proper procedures in place.
- A national project to create high speed electric rail lines between major cities and light electric rail connecting the suburbs to the major cities would be undertaken based upon ROI. Only lines that could reasonably make profits would be built.
National Defense/Foreign Policy
- Elimination of foreign aid to other countries would be implemented immediately.
- Withdrawal of US forces from the Middle East and other countries would take place over 3 years. Amazingly, after we leave the Middle East, terrorism will miraculously decline.
- Conduct free trade with all countries. Make treaties with no countries. Do not bully or threaten any country.
- The US military would be used to defend our country. Any commitment of forces to battle would require a full vote by Congress as the Constitution states.
- The torture of anyone would be outlawed.
- If we want to keep illegal aliens from entering the country, then we need to build a fence/wall and use technology to truly seal our southern borders. Illegal aliens are illegal. Their children are not legal. If you break the law, you are punished.
- We should encourage the immigration of smart people to this country. Legal immigrants built this country. We should encourage the foreign students who graduate from our best colleges to stay in the country and work for American companies.
- To help stabilize our housing market, all foreigners who would buy a US property in cash would be guaranteed a fast track to citizenship as long as they break no laws.
- Let people do anything they want. Gays could marry. People could practice whatever religion they want.
- The Dept of Homeland Security would be reduced dramatically.
- Wire tapping, monitoring, and spying on US citizens would be outlawed.
- Personal liberties would be restored. Individual rights would take precedence over corporate and government rights.
- Only modest restrictions on gun ownership would be allowed (criminal checks). An armed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.
The mainstream media would classify me as an extremist with the views I've detailed above. I find that laughable. The current administration is running annual $1.6 trillion deficits, the Federal Reserve has 0% interest rates and is about to monetize another $1 trillion of debt after already monetizing $2 trillion of debt, Wall Street has been handed $2 trillion of taxpayer money, our National Debt is up from $5.7 trillion in 2000 to $13.5 trillion in 2010, and peak cheap oil is on the verge of shocking our system AND MY PROPOSALS WOULD BE CONSIDERED EXTREMIST.
This country is on the precipice of collapse. I truly believe that. Republicans winning seats in November will bring about gridlock in Washington DC. That is better than the alternative, but it will do nothing to save the country. Dramatic measures are required to avert financial collapse. I do not see anyone honestly telling the American people the truth. Our future as a country is at stake. Do enough people care? I fear not.
Join me at www.TheBurningPlatform.com to discuss truth and the future of our country.
By James Quinn
James Quinn is a senior director of strategic planning for a major university. James has held financial positions with a retailer, homebuilder and university in his 22-year career. Those positions included treasurer, controller, and head of strategic planning. He is married with three boys and is writing these articles because he cares about their future. He earned a BS in accounting from Drexel University and an MBA from Villanova University. He is a certified public accountant and a certified cash manager.
These articles reflect the personal views of James Quinn. They do not necessarily represent the views of his employer, and are not sponsored or endorsed by his employer.
© 2010 Copyright James Quinn - All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.
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