Let’s see what needs doing.
- Create jobs. Right now we’ve got about 16 million people willing to work fulltime but can’t find a job. A good portion of these people, maybe 10 million, are receiving government unemployment checks. So if we’re paying them anyway we might as well give them something productive to do. Everyone knows we’ve got a $2.2 trillion backlog in various infrastructure projects. We can can employ about 10 million people there, it is reasonably estimated. Problem solved for the better part of the decade.
- Bring down deficits, reduce overall debt. Creating jobs solves the short term deficits because employed people pay taxes and don’t require unemployment insurance. If unemployment levels stay low, this creates more consistent demand which increases sales, which increases everyone’s income, including government income. Rationalize health care spending by implementing reforms already passed in the health care reform bill. Maybe raise the Medicare tax up from the current 2.9% on payroll. Raise the Social Security ‘cap’ to $180,000 from the current $106,000. Go back to the Clinton era tax tables (see surplus).
- Diversify energy sources with a long term aim of erecting a sustainable, cleaner system. Short term, extract more domestic petroleum and natural gas. Use these relatively plentiful sources while subsidizing building to scale alternative sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, nuclear. In the efficiency department, improve and build out train systems, most particularly urban subway systems. Raise CAFE standards for autos and trucks too. Get more with less is the basic theme. And make it as clean as possible.
- Reduce ocean acidification. Even if we are not responsible for climate change (most scientists think we are) no one argues about the really bad effect of the rise in ocean CO2 levels we’re experiencing. This acidification is attacking the bottom of our ocean food chain, which covers 2/3 of our planet and supplies the major source of protein for a billion people. High acid levels destroy coral and shellfish thus disrupting the existing food system in the ocean. The most effective way of reducing CO2 in the atmosphere is to have more plants growing in more fertile soil. Plants basically clean CO2 from the atmosphere. Regenerative agriculture methods that enrich soil, such as greater use of natural compost, more advanced tilling techniques, and crop rotations that increase plant diversity and avoids leaving soil fallow, could vacuum as much as 30% of the atomosphere’s CO2. Get rid of the $8 billion corn/ethanol subsidy which is effectively destroying soil and plant diversity in America, not to mention poisoning wide areas of the Gulf of Mexico while tying the price of oil to the price of food: A front runner for the world’s stupidest legislation prize.
- Make our military/industrial complex more efficient. Estimates are that we could trim $200 billion per year in the federal budget without compromising our military effectiveness. Some argue we can’t afford to be the world’s policeman. That’s a pipe dream because we have private assets spread around the world. Everytime some region experiences political upset, America gets involved because American businesses have facilities there. Being a global commercial power is expensive for many reasons, one of them being the cost of military strength to protect those commercial investments. Efforts to build effective diplomatic alliances are far cheaper than war making.
Beezer here. Feel welcome to add to this list.