Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Real solutions for real problems

I'll probably catch some flack for this post...but I don't really care. If you don't like what I have to say, I encourage you to stop reading and move on. If you don't agree, that's fine too...I expect some of you to disagree with my opinions.

We have some seriously problematic issues in this country. We need some serious solutions, but not ones that involve partisan politics backed by corporate greed, nor do we need solutions of the hypocritical and divisive nature that pit the blue-collar working class against the white-collar upper class against the non-contributing, third or fourth generation welfare class. What we do need is this...simple, common sense solutions that can actually solve problems and help our country in as many ways as possible while still maintaining strict fairness along all lines, regardless of which direction those lines may run. Here are a few of my suggestions...

Let's begin with taxes. There is an antiquated and utterly useless formula that is used to calculate taxes, both for corporations and individuals. It is wholly unfair in most regards, as well as unaffordable. Its methods truly seem to serve only to further divide the classes and penalize those who bust their asses trying to make something more of their lives and livelihoods. We should consider going to a flat, fixed rate tax for all Americans, for individual taxpayers and corporations; one with no slick deductions, no unfair write offs, and no unfair advantages for those who do not actually have to do that much to earn their living. We should also consider some simple ways to keep jobs here in America, but also entice and encourage companies and corporations to bring and create more jobs here while discouraging companies and corporations from moving their workforce elsewhere. For example, companies that are solely based in America should enjoy a low manageable tax rate with a simple formula for calculating taxes. How much money did your company make last year, regardless of how or where it was made? How much did your company pay out by way of employee salaries, withholdings, and benefits (executive bonuses not included)? Subtract the former from the latter and that's your taxable profit. Send the IRS 10% of that and your tax bill for the year has been paid.
If your company or corporation has at least three quarters (75%) of its workforce here in America including executives, same basic formula but at the slightly higher 12% tax rate. If your corporation has at least half (50%) but less than 75% of its workforce within our borders, same formula again, but at the tax rate of 15%. If your corporation has less than half of its workforce here in America, you should pay at the rate of 20%. If you are a foreign company doing business in America, the rules will apply to you as well.
I think this would provide a very manageable tax rate system for corporations and companies, while simultaneously encouraging the creation of jobs for Americans and discouraging having a workforce elsewhere.
For the individual taxpayer citizens...there should be a flat rate of 10% paid by any individual citizen with no write-offs, and no deductions. Here's the simple formula: How much income did you make (minus withholdings for federal, state, and municipal taxes as well as pre-tax retirement savings)? Send 10% of that amount to the IRS. No...we don't care how you made it. If you made that money digging a ditch, selling your summer home, or playing the stock market...it makes no difference. If you brought home a thousand dollars or twenty million, you still have to pay your 10% just like every other American citizen. Now that is a truly fair tax system...because math cannot lie. 10% is 10% no matter what.
The only exception to all of this would have to be farmers who provide food for our masses. Not the big food-processing conglomerates...American farmers. The men and women in America who get out every day and bust their asses from sunrise to sunset working the land to provide the produce, dairy, and meat that "We, the People" depend upon for sustenance...these fine, hard-working people should enjoy a tax rate of 5%. They are already providing a much needed service to the American people, and they should be rewarded for their extremely hard work, dedication and perseverance.
While we're taking the common-sense, no-nonsense approach to overhauling things, let's address the issue of government entitlement programs. The welfare program should be there. It's actually a great idea. Helping those who need help. However, it has become less of an actual help to Americans and more of a hinderance to our society. The welfare program has become a crutch for far too many Americans to rely upon so they do not have to actually earn a living. So, let's see if we can fix it so that it can truly be used for its intended purpose but cannot be taken advantage of. What about this? Let's create an aspect to the program that can truly help its recipients to become productive members of society. In order to receive welfare benefits, recipients must complete two different educational programs, one in a technical field, the other in the field of a manual trade. These educational programs should be provided at no cost to the welfare recipient, at reputable institutions, and for those with small children, a childcare program could be provided. Don't show up to class?...your check will be short. Don't pass the courses?...your check will be short. To help prevent the possibility of the program being taken advantage of, a time limit of how long you can be a recipient. Most un-employment benefits have a time limit; so should welfare. Perhaps a limit of ten years, maybe less. The term should be long enough to earn a couple of associate degrees and/or serve an apprenticeship. After the educational courses are complete, recipients will be able to remain on welfare for up to two years while they are helped by way of job placement services to find work and begin a career, and for those who pursue a career in which certification testing and licensing has to occur, the program should help cover the cost of that as well. While we're at it, we, as Americans, should demand that welfare recipients pass random drug testing and maintain clean police records while receiving welfare. A nominal thing to ask for a free education, training, and having your bills paid by taxpayers. Get convicted of a crime while on the system?...you're out until you have paid your debt to society. Piss positive for narcotics without a prescription?...you're out for a year. And, oh yeah, your ten years picks up where it left off. Your ten years of free moolah just wrapped up?...you have to sit out for ten years before reapplying...and none of this applying under your children's names bullshit either. In order to receive it, recipients must be legal citizens, over the age of majority, and participating in the social security program. Look at it this way...the portion of the American tax base that would be picking up the tab for all of this need to be getting something for their money. I think responsible, rehabilitated, contributing members of society who keep themselves free of drugs and crime would be something everyone would be willing to help pay for.
Granted, this type of system would not work for everyone in the program, but in the long term would free up more funding in the program for those who are affected by disabilities, severe health issues that prevent them from working at all, and for those who have become too elderly to continue to work. Certainly special consideration should be given and provided for those few.

See...a few sensible ideas. Sure they might need a little tweaking or fine-tuning; but these are sensible ideas that would entice companies to create more jobs here in America; sensible ideas that help those who need it while giving them a way to become productive members of society who contribute to the tax base; sensible ideas that help to prevent citizens from becoming a financial drain on the pockets of those who actually are employed; sensible ideas that allow those who are paying into the tax base to bring home more of their hard-earned money; sensible ideas that do away with tax brackets with deductions that only benefit the wealthy; sensible ideas that ensure that those who work hard to make a better life for themselves are not penalized for their hard work by having to pay higher taxes.
By the way Congress, you all would have to be put on strict budgetary limitations until the country has built up a surplus. No more bullshit spending on bullshit programs. We, the People, are tired of bullshit, and if you're not part of a realistic and sensible solution, then you are continuing to perpetuate the problems. And those tax rates...they're not going to be flexible. They will stay put after they are put into place. The last thing We, the People, need is a system in which you few government officials (who are employed by We, the People) can continue to raise taxes and increase spending and debt.

I would suppose that when We, the People, stop voting in politicians who are only capable of saying all the right things for all the wrong reasons, and start voting in public servants who actually do all the right things for the right reasons, the country will be a better place. Until then, we will have to suffer at the idle hands of those who have chosen to do as little as possible while appearing to do as much as they can while the sea of hypocrisy and greed continue engulf this country. If the "career politicians" in this country were to be honest with themselves and their constituents that they work for, if they were to truly be noble and accountable in their public service, most would cease to be "career politicians".

Don't like these ideas that I've presented? How about this one...
Keep everything just as it is with welfare, other entitlements, and the tax system as a whole, save for one minor change; that change would be to allow the taxpaying citizens of this country to pick and choose how their money is actually spent. If that were to happen, how long would it take for most of the bullshit programs our government pays for in this country to be completely defunct? How long would welfare last if the American public -as individual taxpayers- were allowed to choose whether or not to fund it with our hard-earned tax dollars?

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