One dollar of capital. If an institution loans money unsecured, or invests in something, it cannot use leverage, it must be backing all instruments and positions with one dollar of capital behind each dollar it has in the position or loan, with nightly margin calls. No more "mark to fantasy", leverage, or other games to defraud other banks, investors, or citizens.
There is no such thing as too big to fail. A process exists for clearing bad debt out of the economic system: bankruptcy. Allow the banks that acted imprudently to fail and close. While it will cause large displacements in the economy if a large bank ceases to exist, the pain will be over sooner than if we try to bail these institutions out. (Bailouts will fail anyway.) Letting banks fail will spur investment and creation of new, sound banking institutions. We do NOT need a ‘BANKING’ system. We need a ‘transaction clearing’ system. You need to be able to pay your grocer, and they need to receive that money and then pay their suppliers. That’s not banking, that’s transaction clearing. Banking is the process of making a profit by levering depositor funds. Banks do not produce economic surplus or growth; they move money around and manipulate markets to extract a profit for THEM.
Stop the looting, start prosecuting! Bank executives have admitted in sworn testimony that they KNOWINGLY defrauded the public, other banks, Congress, and their own investors in search of profits for at least the last ten years. Banks have been caught violating the black letter of the law, and there has yet to be a single indictment or prosecution against any of the largest banks or their officers. They have been allowed to loot the American people, then defrauded the US Congress into spending our children's future productivity when the looting caused the economy to collapse. The American people deserve justice, and allowing the bankster class to rob the people with impunity shows that there is not "One law for all." This is a far more important issue than many realize: When the American public at large sees there is no penalty when the rich break the law, what incentive is there for them to remain law-abiding? How long before someone who lost everything at the hand of these banks decides 'street justice' is the only justice left to them? If we do not hold the bankster class to account for their crimes, how long will it be before we lose the rule of law'?
End wage arbitrage - Wages in the US have been dropping (adjusted for inflation) for over thirty years. The processes and facilities of making things has moved to where labor is cheapest. While this does save the consumer money, this price pressure on wages has been reducing the spending power of Americans for decades. By applying tariffs to offset this 'wage arbitrage' we can bring in revenue for the government to provide essential services, and reduce the price pressure on American labor by leveling the playing field.
The US government spends almost twice what it takes in via tax revenue. In fact, the amount of government debt in the US is growing faster than GDP. It is mathematically impossible to 'grow out' of this state. Government deficits are a hidden tax on the people. This ‘tax’ is hidden as inflation, interest paid on the public debt, and the promise of future productivity to pay for today's expenditure. By spending money it doesn't have, the Federal Government has taxed your labor before you have even performed it.
Currently, US debt is still desired by the world's markets. However, that will change soon. Last year, rating agencies downgraded US creditworthiness. How will we pay for the services provided by government when government can no longer get a loan? By the time the market decides not to lend to us anymore, we will have run out of time to choose how we will get our budget in order.
Either we make hard decisions now about what we want to fund from current tax revenues, or we get forced to cut spending in a panic without the benefit of a public debate.
We must cut spending NOW. The US Federal Government needs to spend ONLY that which it takes in as current tax revenue. And it needs to start NOW.
The average American has seen their healthcare expenses quadruple (or more) in the past 20 years. At the rate costs are increasing, healthcare will absorb the entirety of US gross domestic product within our lifetimes. Obviously, that can't happen. But the problem becomes clear: we must find a way to reduce health care costs and provide basic preventative and wellness care NOW. Not in 20 years.
The recent healthcare debate did NOTHING to address the basic causes of our cost increases in medical care. The debate focused on how to force Americans to buy health insurance, protecting the health care/insurance industry and attempting to unconstitutionally force American citizens to enter into a contract with a third-party. Not ONE player in the debate ever attempted to address the issue of providing health CARE.
Basic preventative healthcare should be a right, not a privilege. I will propose a healthcare plan designed to provide health CARE, not health insurance, to a maximum number of Americans, with minimal cost. By providing citizens with ongoing preventative and wellness care, we can improve the quality of life for vast amounts of the American people, while at the same time reducing the overall costs of healthcare by more efficiently preventing expensive treatments caused by lifestyle choices and preventable diseases.
Tort reform is an area that can reduce costs for healthcare providers. Many states are losing healthcare providers at a frightening rate because of the outrageous expense of malpractice insurance in their state. By reforming the tort process to prevent fraudulent, abusive malpractice suits and abnormally large awards we can reduce costs for our providers, and give them an environment they can practice medicine in without the fear of an outrageous malpractice suit ruining them. Of course, we must work to continue protecting the health-care customer from bad practices and malicious intent. Tort reform is not about protecting health care providers from consumers, nor is it to prevent consumers who have a legitimate claim from getting a redress of grievances.
Cheap, high density fossil fuel has driven our economic engine for nearly 100 years now. Our entire modern way of life is based on the availability of cheap, dense fossil fuels. Every aspect of your modern life is dependent on oil. Unfortunately, oil is a fintite resource. In 2006 the world oil production hit its highest level ever. It has not matched that level since. Not because demand went down, but because oil producers simply can't increase production in any meaningful amount.
Since we will soon not have cheap, easily available oil to fuel our economic activity, we need to find new sources of energy to meet our ever growing demand.
We need investment in and development of new technologies that allow for small scale, local and even household electricity generation. Renewables, such as solar, wind, tidal and geothermal energy sources will become a bigger and bigger part of America's energy equation in the future. Small scale production at the point of use, sharing any surplus with the electrical grid at large, is also in America's future.
However, solar, wind, and geothermal will never be able to provide all the energy America needs. We still need investment and improvement in our large-scale power production, electrical grid transmission and management infrastructure. This is a matter of not just economic impact, but also national security.
Oil, coal, and natural gas power plants increase pollution, including green house gases. Nuclear power is generally regarded as a non-starter; no wants to live near a nuclear power plant. The US hasn’t built a new nuclear power plant since the 70s. Nuclear power is part of America’s energy future; we can’t meet our energy demands without it. What kind of nuclear power will it be: super-critical nuclear piles in danger of melting down or safe, non-critical nuclear power plants that can’t ‘meltdown’ by design?
Thorium fueled, liquid salt non-critical nuclear reactors are a viable technology that we should be investing in NOW. Using the thorium found in coal as fuel, it provides thirteen times the energy available from simply burning the same amount of coal. After extracting the thorium for fuel, the rest of the coal can be turned into fuel for our cars using the waste heat of the power plant itself. We already know how to build these plants; we built one in the sixties.
Thorium powered nuclear energy generation was not pursued because the waste products CANNOT be used to produce nuclear weapons.
America's energy future is one of diverse power generation: from renewable small scale generation at the point of use, to large scale nuclear power providing both clean electricity and liquid fuels for transportation. If we make smart decisions now, we can be in a position to provide energy and protect America's way of life. Changes need to be made to lower barriers to entry for new energy production methods. We have to end the protection from competition enjoyed by our powerful fossil fuels industry.
However, even with the above, Americans have to acknowledge that in a world of shrinking energy resources energy conservation is going to become a priority. Americans need to use less energy; by choice now, or by force later when energy resources fail to meet demand. If we simply make an effort to reduce our energy consumption, we can save a significant amount of our precious energy resources with a minimal change in our lifestyle. If we wait, we will find ourselves accepting changes to our lifestyle we do not choose, and cannot control.
One of our biggest energy issues is transportation. Few forms of transport are more efficient than trains. We need more trains, less traffic.
They are called civil rights, not privileges. Why are the American people allowing Congress to pass unconstitutional laws that reduce our civil rights to civil privileges?
Gay marriage: Why does the government care about the sex of the actors in a civil, secular contract to share legal and financial liabilities? Government, as a secular organization, provides a framework for a legal civil, secular contract between two people. All people should be getting civil unions from the state. Want to get married? Go to church.
No one is in the position to decide if an abortion is the right course of action except for the pregnant woman. Further, if your stance on abortion does not include a plan to make birth control as widely and cheaply available to all women living within the territory of the US, you are not pro-life, you are anti-woman. Reducing the availability of birth control and/or abortion hurts women. It does not make women safer, it does not materially prevent abortion. It kills women. I will resist all efforts to reduce the availability of abortion, and I will work to make birth control and other women's reproductive health resources as widely available as possible.
We only have one environment to live in, we have to keep it livable. If we allow industry to pollute the environment, here or abroad, we are slowly poisoning ourselves and our children. Environmental protection costs money. Cheap plastic crap from China can only be cheap by turning a blind eye while their environment is destroyed. The fallacy is thinking that the degradation of the environment in far off places will not affect us. When China poisons their lakes, rivers, and land, it will poison us. Allowing this is a hidden tax on the American people. Not addressing the environmental arbitrage implicit in these trade practices causes US industry to be unable to compete, costing jobs, capital, and our future.
Rather than reducing environmental protections for domestic industry, we need to institute tariffs on imports to cover the environmental arbitrage spread. Yes, this will make your DVD player and other consumer goods more expensive. But by making it competitive to produce these goods in the US, we bring back jobs, reduce the environmental holocaust occurring in the name of profit, and improve our government’s balance sheet in one move.
Social safety net:
Hard times are coming to America; we only get to choose how hard. By providing a social safety net, we can reduce the suffering while maintaining our most precious resource: our fellow Americans. Society has not just a duty to try and help the impoverished, but also has a vested interest in doing so. By helping the impoverished, we reduce the likelihood that hungry people will turn to crime. By providing the basics of survival, we increase opportunity and provide every individual, regardless of the circumstances they are born into, a chance to better themselves and become a more productive member of society. By reducing crime, social safety nets are a social good, and a good investment.
Does this mean paying people to sit at home and watch television? Does this mean we should be paying for a welfare recipients $700 iPhone? Of course not.
‘Three hots and a cot’. America needs to provide its poorest a safe, warm place to sleep, and the food they need to sustain themselves. If someone is on welfare, we need to put them to work: parks need cleaned, municipal trash cans need emptied, and the halls in our public buildings need to be swept. Put those accepting help from the government to work, give them a safe place to sleep, and make sure they have enough food.
Crime and punishment:
Stop the looting and start prosecuting! One law for all! Those who are responsible for the destruction of our economy, the looting of our public coffers, and the reduction of our standard of living need to be brought to account for their crimes. By allowing the wealthy who break the law to avoid prosecution, we demonstrate to the American people that the government has no interest in their welfare, property, or rights.
If Congress does not work to protect the rights, property, and interests of the American people, allowing those who have robbed us all to go unpunished, will it be a surprise when Americans decide 'street justice' is the only justice they are going to get? If we do not start enforcing the law for ALL crimes, regardless of the political connections or wealth of the perpetrator, we will lose the rule of law. Civil war will come to America again. We will lose our republic.
End the drug war:
Drug use is a social problem, not a criminal one. Drug-related crime is a law enforcement issue, not a military one. The 'drug war' has resulted in the erosion of our
rights, the militarization of our police force, the waste of billions of tax-payer dollars, and the enrichment of the very people the 'war on drugs' is trying to defeat.
The war on drugs is mainly a war on the poor and minorities. Young black men are punished in disproportionate numbers, with disproportionate penalties.
The biggest problem with some illegal drugs is that they are illegal. The punishment for possession in many cases is worse than the affect of using the drug, and once you get
caught by the 'war on drugs' machine, it becomes difficult to find legal, living-wage work, ever. The war on drugs is making the drug problem worse, not better. Even America's law enforcement personnel are starting to speak up. It's time to end the war on drugs and formulate a sane drug policy in the US.
Corporations are not people. Money is not speech. I will support and work towards a Constitutional Amendment to specify that corporations are NOT people, and the protection of civil rights in the Constitution are reserved for real human persons. Corporations DO have rights, and those rights should be enumerated via legislation. Corporations should enjoy many of the same rights real people do, but they should never enjoy those rights by depriving real human persons of theirs.
Speaking of constitutional rights: I will work to repeal the PATRIOT act, the NDAA 2012 provision for indefinite detainment, and all other laws that are taking the rights of Americans away. They are rights, not privileges. The American people are not granted their rights by the government; rather, our rights are enumerated in the Constitution to limit what the government can do. Why are Americans sitting idle while our politicians convert our rights to privileges, strip them outright, or give them away to corporations that are not even people?
Part of this process will be to do away with the Department of Homeland Security. It is an increase in the size of government, an intrusion into our lives, a violation of our rights, and does NOTHING to make us safer.
Politicians need to be reminded that they serve at OUR pleasure. Government only rules with the consent of the governed. Our government at every level has forgotten this.
Voters should make politicians pay for taking away their rights, by taking away the politicians jobs. Vote out incumbents who voted to turn your rights into privileges, or take them away altogether.
Our government needs money to provide the services we demand from it. For decades, politicians have been promising us more free stuff from the government, and lower taxes. How could they do that? By whipping out the country’s credit card.
The US needs to recognize that it is mathematically impossible for the government to spend more than it takes in as tax revenue on a continuing, permanent basis. Ask yourself: what services from the government are you willing to be taxed for? If it can't be paid for with current tax revenues, then we can't afford it.
Tax revenue will have to DOUBLE to keep paying for government services at the current level. That's probably not possible. But closing tax loopholes for big businesses and the ultra-rich will help.
I don't want to raise taxes. But I'm not going to lie to Americans and tell them they can get everything they want from the government for free. If we want the service, it has to be paid for with CURRENT tax income, not debt.
We need to formulate tax policy that pays for the services Americans demand from their government with current tax revenues. If we cannot pay for those services from incoming tax revenues, then those services will have to go away. By choosing now, we can formulate tax policy that will allow us to maintain those services Americans demand, instead of scrambling to keep only the services the wealthy elites allow.
If we keep accepting the lies of the two big parties, we will soon find that the choice will made for us. And we probably won't like it.
Currently, US military expenditure (not counting the wars) is greater than all other countries in the world...combined.
That's way too big - we do not need a globe-spanning imperial military force to protect our borders. That mission could be accomplished with a military machine a fraction of the size.
We need the vast military machine we've created to impose our will upon the rest of the world; is this what we want US soldiers doing? Being thugs enforcing the will of the richest people on the planet, fighting to enrich them, while impoverishing the rest of us?
Do not misunderstand me: I am 100% in favor of the US maintaining a robust military. I am in favor of investments in technology and research to maintain our military superiority. We need a military to react to ACTUAL threats against our safety, not imagined threats generated by the machinations of the richest in pursuit of profits.
As for the wars: end them and immediately bring the troops home. Period. We are wasting vast treasures in blood and money to fight two wars that have no 'win condition'. It doesn't matter how long we stay, what we do, or how we do it. Even if we stay for one hundred years, the day we leave the various tribes and factions in these countries will start killing each other again.
We should cut our losses and quit throwing more American lives and money into the black hole these wars have become.
The US needs to start being a responsible, considerate citizen of the world. Our standard of living is going to go down. Do we take steps to reduce it in a manner we can control and be happy with, or do we ignore the problem until the math forces the choices for us, leaving us with a standard of living below that which we choose?
The US is approximately 3% of the world's population, and uses approximately 25% of its resources annually. Do we have that right? Why? For years, America has worshipped at the altar of 'Manifest Destiny.' This is an idea that is so wrong, it's not even wrong. Rather than believe the US has a divine mandate to rule the world, we should be teaching our children that the US is part of the world, and should be a considerate citizen.
Since 9/11, ten years of war, aggression, reductions in civil rights, political infighting, economic instability, rampant corruption and looting has made the rest of the world afraid of the US. America used to be the shining example of all that was good in the world. Now the rest of the world is just hoping that as we decline, we don't blow them to hell with us.
How can the US be a force for good in the world, instead of the biggest bully on the block? That's the question that should be driving our foreign policy, above all others.
More diplomacy, less bullets.