So, I’ve been following some interesting discussions on Facebook lately – about health insurance, about the benefits of being poor, etc. It got me to thinking. If I were the benevolent dictator, how would I solve the most pressing problems?
Well, first I would raise taxes. Yep, that’s right. Raise taxes. Everybody would pay, rich, poor, profit, non-profit alike. Flat rate fees. Say, 25% until you make over 75 Thousand, and 50% after that. Or maybe 50% for everyone. I can hear the screams now. Just wait. Hear me out.
No tax credits for anything. A personal deduction. Deduction for charitable giving. Real Business expenses, of course, for businesses. That is it. No farm credits, no subsidies…
Now, what do we get for that excessive tax rate?
Everybody, rich, poor, whatever, gets a SNAP card. With the same base amount on it. Everything equal. Say, $100/month/person in the family. That should be enough to cover basic nutrition. And, of course, anyone with a snap card is eligible, should they choose, for surplus food.
Everybody gets the same base health insurance. Each state should have a state insurance plan for everyone. If you are wealthy, and you want to buy your own, go for it. You are free to do that. And the state will pay the amount of your insurance fees that it would have paid if you had stayed on the state insurance. You would pay whatever was above that.
State school system? Free. Trade school, 2 year, 4 year – Free. If you want to go to a private school, the state will give you a grant equivalent to what the state school would have received for your attendance. If the private school costs more than that, you have to figure it out on your own, because no more Pell grants or student loans. Whatever the private schools want to offer is great. Corporate grants? Awesome. Nothing, other than that base amount, from the government.
Housing? Everybody gets the same housing allowance, also. Rich, poor, the same for the area you live in. Yes, this will be different from state to state, and even from city to city, because, let’s face it, it costs more to live in Silicon Valley than it does in Ramona, and more to live in DC than in Montana. What you do with it depends on you, and your circumstances. Rent, mortgage, stash it away and save – depends on you.
So, what does that do? It puts everybody on an even footing. The rich are still richer than anyone else. But they can’t complain that the poor are living off of the wealthy, because they are getting the same amount that the poor are. The poor can’t complain about the 1%, because they are getting the same amount that the rich are. And hopefully, with decent nutrition, not having to worry about being homeless, and free education, they can break the cycle of poverty that too many are in now.
Now, Drugs? Decriminalize them. Yes, make it an offense to use most of them – but instead of a prison sentence, you get counseling and rehab. On-going counseling.
Spend more money on schools – for more teachers, lower classroom sizes. Emphasis the arts – so many studies show that arts based education lead to higher graduation rates, higher test scores, and more college entrances.
Instead of paying farmers not to grow food, why don’t we pay them to grow food – and then use it to feed the hungry?
If people did not have to worry about their next meal, about a roof over their heads, if they had educational opportunities – how many Rembrants, Leonardos, and Einsteins could we be producing?
OK, there is my idea. What do you think?