An idea I would like to share and one that I have been researching is actually being bounced around in Washington and actually has some ability to be everything to everyone in politics because we know that politicians need to be able to go back to their constituents and claim that they brought these negotiations to fruition. This idea is a 3:1:1 (Debt Reduction: Revenue: Investment) Plan. This would mean a $3 dollar debt reduction for every $1 dollar in revenue increases and $1 dollar in infrastructure and energy investments.
Business executives, mom and pop’s, and spouses understand that when you have less money coming in and expenses that exceed those revenues you are not going to stay solvent or afloat very long. We have a two party political system in place that is so opposite in how they envision America’s ability to work ourselves out of this debt that we have paralysis of leadership at a time when we need strong laser focused goals, visionary leadership and cooperation to accomplish those essentials. Our infrastructure is at its end of serviceable use; actually dangerous to our population in many incidences with bridges crumbling and decaying, the quality of water and the ground water pollution to speak of two issues. We have outlived the peak inventory of fossil fuels on this globe; we will be running dry in the next 35 to 50 years. Unemployment is 9.1 percent, our education system is not preparing our students for the 21st century and yet we still do not have a sustainable energy or economic national plan.
Now is the time to create the plan and goals for our nation to lower the deficits over the next 10 years without our middle class and elderly taking a haircut; implement an infrastructure renewal strategy and obtain the political will to make the transition to solar and wind energy power. Our infrastructure renewal strategy will act as the bridge and investment in our countries 21st century economic future and put people back to work immediately during the next 10 plus years. Their wages would now allow for revenue instead of what is happening today which is draining our safety net social programs such as unemployment insurance. We have utilized similar policies after WW II that paid down the 124 percent debt to GDP as proof these types of investments have a history of being successful and good for our economy (today’s debt is about 94 percent of our GDP).
I personally have been concerned when I hear recent proposals floated in Washington that seems to make you think we are living in an alternative universe of economic reality (low unemployment with 4 percent growth a year). Tax cuts, cut and slice Medicare, take away the staples of government services at the local level; demonize teachers, first responders and public employee unions. Then there are those who say we just need to stimulate the economy that this will create the jobs that will allow us to have the revenues to start chipping away at our debt without an economic investment plan moving forward.
Basically this is how the plan works; (1st) the Republicans receive their debt reductions over say a ten year period realizing that it took 10-12 years to get us in this mess, anything quicker, unless you want the very vulnerable, middle class and elderly to take a big hair cut this will make those reductions milder to our social systems while our people being put back to work can offset the revenue side of the ledger. This would allow our economic wage earners and retired citizens the time to adjust. The world financial markets, the foreign governments and our allies would see we are actually creating a sustainable plan that will reduce the deficit therefore not losing any further creditability in their assessment of our fiscal policies. We can look at our military budget and how we can obtain economies of scale in fighting terrorism today in a modern high tech sense as compared to the archaic middle 20th century structures of the past. We now know after 10 years of fighting that this is not a fight you should take 100,000 soldiers to hold hostage a whole nation state but a very succinct high tech structure of fighting and intelligence gathering is what’s called for.
The (2nd) item concerns the revenue side of the equation which will bring us back to sustainable practices in fiscal monetary policy (balancing the budget). You cannot keep starving the very government you have been sworn to protect in the constitution and allow for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for its people as put forth in the Declaration of Independence if you do not have the revenues available for the country to survive. When 38 percent of our multinational corporations paid nothing in income taxes on their profits in 2010 something is out of sync in our economic policies. If we would only take the tax rate back to the Reagan Years of 50 percent tax rate after the first $2 or $3 million in income, adjust capital gain taxes to be less for taxes on investments made in our countries economic growth and higher for all foreign investment profits we could steer the dollars necessary to have a balanced budget within the next ten years. Multinational corporations, since they have no allegiance to our countries economic survival (most mission statements state to create profits for their investors) you should be made to pay a higher percentage of tax revenues on your foreign business enterprises since those enterprises do not assist American workers and our countries necessary investments for the future.
The (3rd) issue to address is two-fold; infrastructure renewal and the political will and investment to make the transition from fossil fuels (oil and coal) into renewable clean energy a reality by 2040-2050. The first part of this equation is putting people back to work but just as important is the renewal and building of our countries infrastructure systems. Without this commitment we will not be able to be competitive in the global marketplace. We will not be able to compete with China, India, Brazil, Europe and Russia. We know we are better than this; we know that when we put our minds to a goal collectively as a nation such as when we had to unite to fight two theaters in WW II and put men on the moon we did just that.
Why we do not have the ability to do the very basics; renewing our infrastructure at its end of life cycle; allowing our bridges, overpasses, air and sea ports to decay; our rail systems both industrial and light rail seem to be from the early 20th century; and we continue to accept the waste and loss of our nations potable water in most major metropolitan regions at the rate of supplying the State of California for an entire year or not modernizing and developing controls for our sanitary waste disposal systems; and finally the inability to upgrade our education system for students who need to work, plan and lead in the 21st century is a crime and will be looked back in a future time as the period of “Me” in our country. The period of “Me” is the social phenomenon that has endorsed greed as good in society, that personal and corporate gains are what counts. A little over 75 percent of our countries wealth is controlled by 2 maybe 3 percent of the population and 90 percent is controlled by 10 percent of the country. Take away hope for your middle class to be better off than their parents before them, make it look impossible for the lower classes and minimum wage earners to make the leap to the middle class and you start to see the very fabric of our democratic society decay and be destroyed from within.
These infrastructure jobs will put people back to work immediately. The industrial sector, the steel makers, the supply side of our economy will need increase production. Our construction and service related companies for these builders, developers, subcontractors, suppliers and vendors will need to increase their employee and managerial base to produce these projects in a quality time frame.
While this is happening our energy plan as a nation must make a complete 180 degree turn in our political will to move us away from being tied to fossil fuels that have passed their peak inventory levels on this globe; that has been proven to create the warming of our climate and the pollution of our environment.
Fossil fuels generate about 87 percent of our energy power worldwide today. Nuclear, hydropower and natural gas make up the remainder. Sustainable energy (solar and wind) make up less than 1 percent. Solar and wind power is technologically at a point today to make the transition as our majority energy power source. The world today uses 16.5 Terawatts per year. This should increase by 40% (23.1 Terawatts) by the year 2030. Current wind technology has the ability to generate 40-80 Terawatts now and solar energy technology has the ability to create 580 Terawatts now if we only had the political will here and abroad. These levels will grow exponentially with the research and development to be done in the future. That means as a nation we would not be dependent on big oil, big coal, nor those foreign countries that do not have our best interest or our geo-political militarization of having a presence in those parts of the world that produce those fossil fuels.
The education, jobs, services that can grow out of a national energy plan would guarantee our nation freedom from recessions. It would make us a leader in not only the research and innovations in energy; we would be able to produce the development, occupations and jobs for a sustainable economy as a nation.
Like all generations before we will probably not personally take advantage of a new economic policy that includes an energy independent goal for the 21st century but we can see the debt limits eliminated, people put back to work and our countries self-confidence return. I say now is the time to come together as a nation, as politicians, as corporations to put a plan of action in place and go back to work. The 3: 1: 1 debt reduction, revenue and investment plan for our country is the way to go.
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