In light of the recent surge of the Tea Party, Democrats, and liberals in general, seriously need to find an answer to that energy, however misplaced it may be. This is my solution.
We are the future of America, not trying to recreate an ideal that never existed. Wrapping yourself in the flag may gain you some votes, but it's also the path to Fascism, and we should refuse that path.
- All people should be treated equally and equitably. Thus, restrictions to marriage, voting, and holding office based on sexual orientation and religious persuasion need to be abolished immediately as they run contrary to the founding principles of this nation, and, more importantly, to common decency and ethics.
- In an effort to continue the above, the income tax system should be abolished and replaced with a value-added tax on all purchases. This is the only permissible tax on citizens, and as it is based on spending rather than income or property, it is entirely voluntary in an important sense: if you don't want to give money to the government, don't spend any.
- A complete overhaul of the criminal justice system aimed at breaking the cycle of crime, and the poverty from whence that cycle arises. Criminals will be given reasonable sentences, and billed for their room and board while incarcerated, after the first year. In order to allow the prisoner a means of doing this, they will be afforded the opportunity to learn a trade or complete a degree during their imprisonment, and then paid for their time, less the real costs incurred by housing them. This not only gives the prison system a chance to be self-financing, but provides a means to be a productive member of society when released. Prison manufactured goods will be sold on the open market. Citizenship rights will be stripped from no one, including felons, once they have served their sentence.
- Decriminalisation of illegal drugs, and the legalisation of marijuana. We spend far too much money on law enforcement for something that we cannot hope to control. Prohibition is not an effective solution, therefore: those arrested on drug offences will be sentenced to in-patient rehabilitation, not prison. Those convicted of trafficking or selling large quantities may still be subject to criminal penalties, as above, and in addition all liquid assets will be seized and donated to the rehabilitation programs that treat their customers.
- Real and reasonable social welfare programs: a) universal health insurance for all, administered by the government and paid for by tax dollars. Those under 18 and over 65 will receive completely free care and prescriptions, all others will pay a co-pay, up to a yearly limit. This is about eliminating a predatory health insurance industry and ensuring proper preventative care and treatment for all. Thus, health care providers will be paid on a per patient basis, and as an incentive, pharmaceutical companies will be awarded grants from NIH/NSF just like other researchers. These are for the public good, not profit, and should be treated as such.
b) Unemployment/disability insurance should continue, with the requirement that those taking benefits attend a workshop, weekly, aimed at job-seeking skills and/or training for a new career. Frankly, with the current computer technology, there's no reason to claim physical disability... unless you're mentally incompetent or quadriplegic, you can certainly operate a keyboard or man someone's customer service line.
- Dismantle the military-industrial complex, beginning with aggressive foreign policies and empire-building. This doesn't mean that we don't need a military for defensive purposes, nor even does it mean that we might not need bases on foreign soil, but we no longer need to enter into a war simply because the president feels the need to assuage daddy's pride. All acts of war require a formal declaration of such in Congress, as written into the Constitution. We need not inform the enemy of this declaration, but it ensures that one man or woman doesn't get to play a game of soldiers with real people again. To make up for the lost productivity in the economy, I suggest retooling all those brilliant minds and the factories that produce their inventions to generate clean, domestic energy sources. Removing the dependence on foreign oil will remove much of the need for the military in any case, and let's face it, the idea of clean coal is a joke. Ethanol/biofuels are a band-aid for this problem, what we really need are renewable, non-polluting energy sources.
- Government spending and size of government are not the problem, what we choose to spend government money on the the efficiency with which government business is conducted are. Not only should a government protect it's people, it should also serve their best interests, as determined by them.