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unknownlefty's Blog


Legal issue?

As many of you know, I am one of those unfortunate souls who have a felony conviction on my record.  This conviction is now nearly six years old, but it still haunts me, making my life very difficult.

I recently submitted several Graduate School applications, only one of which specifically asked about felony convictions.  Of course, I answered the question truthfully, and I received a rejection letter almost immediately.  Troubling, but not nearly as much as another school.

School number two asked no questions on the admissions applications about past felony convictions, so I did not volunteer the information, as I wanted to be judged solely on my qualifications.  Very quickly after submitting my application I was invited to interview for the program. 

Yesterday I received a letter stating that my invitation to interview had been suspended until I specifically addressed my rehabilitation from my felony conviction, and provide additional references.

So, here is my question: If a past felony conviction is going to play into the admissions process, isn't it incumbent upon the institution to ask on the application?  

A second question, of the legal variety:  If, after I provide the requested information, my invitation to interview is not reinstated, do I have any legal standing to sue?

Comments here, or on twitter (@unknownlefty) would be much appreciated.

Free Market Fails


Any good economist will tell you there are some areas of an economy where so-called "free market" principles don't apply.  Just a short "aside" - Free Market principles state that optimal pricing for a commodity will be determined in a "free market"  by the forces of Supply and Demand for that commodity.  (Probably an oversimplification, but it gets the point across.)  Anyway, as I was saying, even economists, who are generally adherents to the idea of a Free Market, will agree that certain commodities do not follow free market rules.  The first of these is anything that is a "necessity," and the more of a necessity the item is, the less it follows free market principles.

 

Example 1:  You are working in the kitchen and you slice open an artery, you are bleeding profusely and you call 911, they show up and the consensus is that you need to get to a hospital immediately.  You will likely go to the nearest hospital, regardless of what the cost of that hospital might be, because your life is in danger.  Therefore, Free Market principles cannot be applied to Emergency Health Care.

 

Example 2:  You are a semi-skilled worker with a high school education.  You have been working at the same company for 20+ years, and though promotions and pay increases you now are "lower-middle class."  Your boss calls you in and tells you that due to the economy, you, and everyone else at the company will have to accept a 15% pay cut, otherwise the company will not be able to pay out the dividends that the shareholders are expecting.  With real unemployment at 15%, you will have a difficult time finding new work, at least at a wage that will allow you to pay your mortgage, etc.  If you take the pay cut, things will be difficult, but you will be able to get by.  On top of that, you are a diabetic, and your health insurance is through your employer.  You do not really have the freedom to NOT take the pay cut.  


Example 3:  You are a 50 year old, mid-career professional.  You have a child in college, a mortgage on a nice house, and a car payment.  You get laid off because you are a more expensive employee than the college grad you just spent the last 6 months training.  You spend 79 weeks collecting unemployment while trying to find a job in the field you have worked in for the last 30 years.  You get a couple of interviews, but in the end most of the jobs are not willing to pay for your experience. (even though you are willing to take a job at substantially below what you were making before.)  Once your unemployment runs out, you are forced to take a job as a greeter at WalMart, just to keep food on the table,  you lose your house and your car, because at minimum wage you cannot afford the payments for either.   You had no choice but to take the minimum wage job, even though you have the education, skills and experience for a much better position.

In each of the above examples, although there is an appearance of choice, it is "hobson's choice.' in other words, no choice at all.  Life saving Health Care cannot be treated as a "free market" commodity, because you will pay WHATEVER YOU CAN to save your life or the life of your loved ones.  The job market, when there is no safety net, or an inadequate safety net cannot be treated as a "free market," because a job is necessary for survival, and when you are in that situation you will take whatever job is available.

In a related note, a strong social safety net (which includes universal healthcare) would actually go a long way to making the job market a "free market,' however the "free marketeers" have been working diligently to dismantle any social safety net... which just shows they don't really want the job market to be FREE.

Two additional areas where the idea of a FREE MARKET fails is Gasoline and the environment.  Earlier this year gasoline prices rose to nearly $4 a gallon, even though demand was the lowest its been since the 1990s, oil prices was only around $70, and US refineries were producing so much Gasoline it was being EXPORTED! (Refined petroleum products are currently one of our largest exports.)  Over the last 30 years, oil companies have been consolidating to the point that there is,  for all intents an purposes, a monopoly.  (Essentially, all of the pieces of Standard Oil have been recombined...)  When there is a consolidation of suppliers, this allows for "price fixing" and upends the free market.  (Monopoly/duopoly is the enemy of the free market, but is where any unrestrained market eventually ends up...)

When it comes to the environment:  Without government regulation, there is no financial incentive for a company to not pollute, because it is cheaper to pollute than it is not to, therefore the company will pollute. (Remember what went on in the 60s and 70s before the government got involved? We had RIVERS CATCHING ON FIRE!)

OK, enough of this rant.  Follow me on Twitter (@unknownlefty)

Time to reform the Prison-Industrial Complex

Time to talk about something that too many people choose to ignore.  We, as a society, are addicted to creating criminals. Why is that? Because creating criminals creates jobs.  Jobs for Judges, court employees, defense attorneys, prosecutors, prison guards, police officers, parole officers, etc, etc.  All it costs for these jobs is some tax money and destroying the lives of a few million people.

Yes, I said million.  Did you know that nearly 5% of the US population has a felony conviction on their record?  That is approximately 15 million people.  That is 15 million people who have to go to EXTRAORDINARY measures just to get a job and to be able to support their families (that is if they can even manage to get a job.)  Another interesting statistic: the US has about 5% of the world population, however we are home to 25% of the world's prison population! By far the biggest driver of this INSANITY is the "Drug War," something like 50% of our prison population are Drug Offenders.  

Prisons were once a place to remove people who were dangerous from society to increase public safety.  Today they are treated as "time outs" for not only non-violent offenses, but even for crimes in which NO ONE was harmed at all!  The amount of money we spend on this, as a society, is HUGE.  In most states 50% or more of the state budget is spent in support of the state's Prison-Industrial complex on one level or another.

So, we have a national problem.  What can we do about it?  First, we need to legalize drugs. Much like prohibition, the Drug War has been a disaster. We spent more money fighting the drug war than the street value of all of the drugs we are fighting!  If we make drugs legal, we eliminate the violence associated with the drug trade.  We can regulate the quality.  We can tax the money in the industry, and finally we can take huge pressure off of the criminal justice system. In the end, who gets hurt here?

Second, we need to redefine what constitutes a felony.  A basic requirement for a felony should be that injury was caused to another person.  Not possible injury, but actual injury, be it physical or financial (even expand to include psychological), but if no one is injured, no felony. PERIOD.

Third, eliminate the "plea bargain."  Under the current system, prosecutors pile on charges, many of which would be un-provable in court, merely to get the defendant to "plead out."  The defendant, out of the fear that comes from facing multiple charges, which could result in consecutive sentences instead of concurrent, is more inclined to "take a deal" rather then get their constitutionally protected day in court.  The plea bargain system also allows attorneys to "sell out" on client in order to get a better deal for another client.  ALL CASES should go to trial, if a defendant pleads guilty, that should be nothing more than evidence to be considered by the jury, along with any evidence provided by the prosecution.

Fourth, stop creating and prosecuting "thought crimes."  If a police officer or other law enforcement official plays a role in the crime, and without that role the crime could not have been committed, then it should not be a crime. ( or at the very least, not a felony.)  If a police officer sells "drugs" in order to make an arrest, offers material support to a would be terrorist, pretends to be a minor in order to meet with someone for sex, et cetera, THESE ARE NOT CRIMES!  Best case they are POTENTIAL crimes (You have seen or read Minority Report, right?)  We need to stop criminalizing potential crimes in order to try to "prevent" crimes.  It is the job of Law Enforcement to ENFORCE laws, not prevent crimes.  

Fifth, we need to make it easier for people who have a felony record to re-integrate into society by making it easier for them to get a job.  As an example, it has been 5 years since I got out of prison, for a "potential" crime.  I have an advanced degree in a field that is in demand.  I still can't get a job.  What am I (and others like me) supposed to do?  I look forward to your comments. "Bring it" so to speak.

I had originally said "finally" on the paragraph above, but upon reflection I changed it, because there is so much more that can and should be done.

Follow me on Twitter (@unknownlefty).

I can't believe...

That it has been 8 months since I last posted here!

All I can say is that I have succumbed to the very thing that "liberals" are always preaching about.  I let the "perfect" become the enemy of the "good!"  Every time I have set down to write something, I have been "blocked" by the fact that I not only couldn't decide what of the 3,875,265 things I want to write about to actually write about, but also that when I actually got started, I would re-read what I read and it just didn't seem "just right."

So, my new attitude is to just write, and when I am done with what I am writing, I will hit "post." (Just writing is the next best thing to a Cruise for writer's block, according to Joe Haldeman) 

The election in November scares me.  Either Obama or Romney will be president, and both have their drawbacks, and both will continue this country's march towards totalitarianism.  It's just a matter of speed and transparency!   Obama has been as bad on civil rights (if not worse) as GW was, and somehow, because he is a "Democrat" we on the left are just supposed to accept it! (Actually, we aren't supposed to notice it, and if we do, we aren't supposed to say anything about it...)  

In my opinion this slow march to totalitarianism is more insidious than a coup would be, since the population accepts each little step, whereas they would rise up against a big power grab.  

Romney is even scarier! The only thing we KNOW the "Rombot" stands for "trickle down" economics, which is the crap that has brought this country to where it is, on the brink of collapse.  He will speed up the conversion of the US to a corporatocracy (a form of totalitarianism) but, at least he is up front about it!

So, the question then becomes, which way are we less screwed?  That is a tough one... Would love for some comments telling me what you think, and why...

Follow me on Twitter (@unknownlefty) and "friend" me on facebook: facebook.com/unknown.lefty

More about Occupy Wall Street...

I feel the need to say more about the Occupy Wall Street, or Occupy Movement...

One of the biggest criticisms leveled against these brave souls is that they have no coherent message, and no central organization. These things are NOT detrimental to the cause! Quite the contrary, these two things are proof that this is a true grass-roots movement, not one formulated or hijacked by a specific group.

What started as a small group in NYC less than a month ago, has grown to 1000s of protesters in numerous cities across the country, with more coming online every day. These groups have multiple agendas and grievances, but these can be summarized very simply: We are the 99% and we are tired of being ignored! But, the pundits want more than this. They want the “Occupy” groups to be more specific, mostly because simplicity is everything in our current media environment!

The truth is, the problem is a VERY complex one, and there is no simple answer. My last blog post listed TWELVE things that I think would be a start at fixing the problem, but even at that, they are only a start! It took many small, incremental steps for us to get here as a country, so there cannot be one single, quick, fix. The people of the Occupy movement seem to have an endemic understanding of this fact, and I applaud them for not focusing on only one part of the problem. If the movement becomes too focused, they become too easy to pacify, marginalize and shut down.

The lack of some sort of centralized “power structure” also frustrates the media. It is a lot easier, if you are reporting on a story, to only have to talk to one or two people to get the story. It is also a lot easier to marginalize a movement if you can find a way to marginalize the leaders of the movement. The fact that these groups are “organic” and utilize “direct democracy” give them a legitimacy the Tea Party never had.

So far, the movement has declined to get behind any political party or candidate, which is a good thing, as this will allow them more recruiting opportunities. I personally hope, that as the movement grows in size and spreads to every state, that they will participate in the political process by using petitions to get their own INDEPENDENT candidates on the ballots for positions in all levels of government, from local school board to President! In this way they could disrupt both corporate parties, and give a true political voice to the 99%!

As usual, you can leave questions or comments here, on Facebook or Twitter (@Unknownlefty).

Support Occupy Wall Street!

Once again it has been far too long since I have written anything here. I am going to make a concerted effort to post more frequently, but I have said that before!

Today I am going to talk about the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon. If you are a regular reader of my blog, follow my Twitter Feed (@unknownlefty) or are a friend of mine on Facebook, you should be able to guess that I fully support Occupy Wall Street and all of the sister movements around the country and around the world!

In the US we go through cycles where wealth and power get concentrated at the top, then there is a Social movement where the 99% reclaims some of that, and then it happens all over again. It happened in the 1790s, and Teddy Roosevelt (a Republican) embraced the Progressive movement and turned it around. In the 1930s it was FDR's turn to give power back to the people after Wall Street and the top 1% caused the Great Depression. It is happening again today, only this time we don't have a Roosevelt to help us make things right, it is up to the people to do what it takes to make our political leaders listen and address the plight of the 99%!

Social Credit theory is an Ideal way to do this, however I understand it would be a giant leap to go from our unregulated political and economic free-for-all, to the much more regulated political and economic environment that Social Credit requires. However, there ARE steps we can take to improve things, and move the country in the proper direction:

1) Ratify a Constitutional Amendment specifying that Corporations are not people and Money is not speech. (see movetoamend.org). This will go a LONG way to getting the money out of politics!

2) Institute public funding of elections. This will allow people to run for office without being beholden to the 1%.

3) Abolish the Electoral College and establish Instant Run-off Voting. This will break the stranglehold of the two-party system.

4) Institute Tariffs or other protectionist measures (See my Jobs blog.) to bring home jobs and keep them here.

5) Re-institute the STET tax (a securities transaction tax.) To reduce the speculation on Wall Street, and provide a significant source of revenue for the government.

6) Enforce the Sherman Anti-Trust Act!

7) Provide true Universal, Single Payer Healthcare. (Medicare for All.)

8) Reduce (or eliminate) the cost of post-secondary education, so people don't have to start their careers with a mountain of debt. (And because an educated populace benefits society.)

9) Strengthen the social safety net, so that losing your job does not mean losing everything.

10) End the wars and bring the troops home!

11) DECREASE the Social Security Retirement age, to shrink the workforce.

12) TAX THE UBER-RITCH and the CORPORATIONS! In the 70s, close to 40% of government revenues came from corporate taxes, today it is less than 10%.

This is what I stand for, or at least the beginning of it. I stand with the 99% and Occupy Wall Street! Allow me to be the first Presidential Candidate to embrace and fully support your movement! Unknownlefty for President! (UL4P)

As usual, you can leave questions/comments here, on Facebook (Unknown Lefty) or on Twitter (@Unknownlefty.

Taxes

Time to talk about everyone's favorite topic: Taxes. Here is my proposal. First, everyone is getting a tax-free Heritage Payment of $12k. Next, we allow everyone to make an additional $12k tax free. So, EVERYONE in the US has a $24k income totally tax free. Now, here's the kicker, on every dollar people make above this amount, there is a tax of 50%. However, this is the ONLY tax any individual has to pay (except for “behavior modification taxes” such as taxes on cigarettes, liquor, etc...). Let's look at the bottom line.

Total expected government revenues in the US this year is approximately $4.5T (according to usgovernmentrevenue.com). If we break it down by type $1.5T is from Income Tax, $0.9T from Social Insurance taxes, $0.8T from Sales and Property taxes. This totals about $3.2T in revenue that has to be replaced with our new tax structure, plus we have to pay for the $4.2T in Heritage Payments. So, our new tax structure has to come up with about $7.4T. Wow, sounds like a whole bunch, doesn't it?

Now, if you look back to my Jobs, Jobs, Jobs post, you will see that we already have $2.1T by taxing corporate revenue. (Yes, that will go down as corporations start sourcing more in the US, but this will raise revenue in other places.) Now we are looking for $5.3T. Total US personal income in 2010 was a whopping $12.5T (Figures from the University of New Mexico)! Let's assume that with heritage payments being made, US employers seize the opportunity to lower everyone's wages by the amount of the Heritage Payments. The US workforce is generally considered to be about 150M, 150Mx$12,000 gives a reduction in personal income of $1.8T. If we add to this the exempted portion of everyone's income, we need to subtract $6T from the above number, leaving us $6.5T of taxable personal income, which when taxed at 50% yields another $3.3T dollars. Add this to our new business tax and we have $5.4T.

Yeah, we are still $2T short. Keep watching this blog and I will show you how we get it. The thing to remember is MOST people will have more money in their pockets, MOST people will actually pay LESS in taxes, and NO ONE will have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from! This will lead to a happier more productive society, with more entrepreneurial investment.

As always, comment, question, poke holes. Either here, on Twitter (@Unknownlefty) or on Facebook (Unknown Lefty).

Transportation Infrastructure

Some time ago, say on the order of 15 years or so, I was in a waiting room, perusing a copy of Technology Review magazine [www.technologyreview.com] (which is probably the best publication there is when it comes to cutting edge technology), and there was an article profiling a guy (I think he was an MIT transportation professor) who was pushing the concept of MAG-LEV, or Magnetic Levitation and how it could revolutionize transportation. I apologize for the vagueness of the reference, but I have attempted to find the article several times in the last few years, and have not found it, or even a reference to it!

Anyway, MAG-LEV, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the technology, uses a magnetic field to levitate and accelerate a vehicle, and is currently used to propel trains in some countries, but not here, of course. MAG-LEV trains are theoretically capable of speeds in the 300mph range, although I don't believe any of them currently travel that fast.

So, this Professor was talking about the advantages to the US of establishing a MAG-LEV network. Now I know what you are thinking, another high-speed rail proponent? Rail is great in smaller countries with a more concentrated population, but will never work here in the US. We are just too spread out! Well, this was a UNIQUELY American take on MAG-LEV that would improve our transportation, go a long way towards creating energy independence, and would give our economy a much needed boost!

The first unique bit revolves around how to place the network. High-Speed rail, as it has been proposed to date, is either mapped over existing rail lines, or requires purchase of new “right-of-way” by the government. Both of these options have challenges associated with them. What was proposed in this article was that the new MAG-LEV tracks be built along, under, and over existing Interstate Highway rights-of-way! This would create a network that would service the entire US, without any tie-ups trying to obtain new land. This also allows the existing Interstate system to be used to access the the MAG-LEV system.

But, it was the second bit of uniqueness that really intrigued me. He proposed that the MAG-LEV system be set up so that you would utilize it from the comfort of.... wait for it.... YOUR OWN CAR! He conjectured that it would be possible to outfit a standard automobile (Either in the factory, or aftermarket) with the hardware and software necessary for it to utilize the MAG-LEV system. Think about it, you would drive your car to the nearest access point, program your destination, and your car would be brought up to speed, and merged onto the track with the existing traffic. Then you occupy your time however you want until it is time to get off the MAG-LEV and become a part of ground traffic.

The building of new cars with MAG-LEV capability would give the US automobile industry a much needed boost. The building and installation of retrofit kits would create a whole new industry. The construction of the network alone would probably create millions of jobs over the coming decade. Not to mention the impact on commerce! He recommended that the MAG-LEV network be used for passenger traffic only, freeing up the interstate system for trucking.

MAG-LEV utilizes both permanent and electromagnets, so, in theory, the entire system could be powered by “alternative energy” sources, reducing our need for foreign oil, and our “carbon footprint” as well. If the network were powered by wind and solar, and computer controlled, the cost of using the network could be maintained at a very low dollar value.

Think about the implications! A low-cost way to travel virtually ANYWHERE in the US in less than 12 hours? Imagine where you could go for the weekend! To top it off, you have your car when you get there! No 2 hour wait to get on an airplane, after buying a ticket for hundreds of dollars, and then having to rent a car on top of it!

A MAG-LEV network of this kind is the cornerstone of my Transportation policy.

#UL4P! (Unknownlefty for President!)

As usual, you can leave questions or comments here, on Facebook (Unknown Lefty) or on Twitter (@Unknownlefty).

Social Credit 2

Today I am going to talk about the social impact of Social Credit. Let us think about this for a little bit. Under Social Credit Theory, everyone will receive a Heritage Payment that is enough to provide the basic necessities (food, shelter, clothing, basic utilities) what kind of an impact will this have on our society and economic system. (See my Social Credit 1 blog post.)

First, if everyone has their basic needs met, not everyone will choose to work. While some people will see this as a negative (that these people will be “free-loaders”) I think it is more accurate to look at it as a positive. People who do not WANT to work will not NEED to work and that will leave more jobs available for those who WANT them. Truthfully, I have no problem supporting someone's basic needs if that keeps someone out of the workforce who doesn't want to be there, and frees up a job for someone who want's it. (Won't this improve customer service and productivity?) Keep in mind that far more people will choose to work only part time, to get just enough money to pay for things they want that are not covered by their Heritage Payments.

Next, if people have their basic needs met, no one will HAVE to work a job that they hate, for sub-standard wages. This will mean that for the first time in our society the labor market will be truly a Free Market! Jobs will actually have to pay wages that reflect how much or how little people desire those jobs. For all the talk about the fact that labor unions are unnecessary because people are free change jobs if they are unhappy with the one they have, this theory only works when the worker in question is not dependent on their job for their very survival and the survival of their family.

With Heritage Payments, it actually becomes less risky to be an entrepreneur. As a former small business owner, I can tell you that one of my biggest worries was how I was going to be able to pay my personal expenses. If I had Heritage Payments to cover the basic necessities, I would have had to take less money out of my business, and that very well might have been enough to be able get my business “over the hump” and I would still have it.

Think about the impact on the arts! Struggling artists won't have to work a job that doesn't advance their career just to be able to eat. On top of that, recent college graduates will be able to “intern” for free, in order to break into their chosen industry. How much happier will we be, as a society, if we aren't worried about where our next meal is coming from?

Of course, there are potential negative impacts as well. We will discuss those at a later date. If you want to bring one up as a “comment” I will be happy to address it.

Thoughts on Wisconsin

Ok, so I have some thoughts on the Wisconsin recall elections, but then again doesn't everyone? At first I was disheartened, as it has been my belief that the only possible way “We the People” can get our Government back from the Corporations is to mobilize the “grass-roots” and use the sheer force of numbers to overcome the avalanche of cash that the Citizen's United decision now allows to be dumped into every election. (In fact, that theory is part of what my candidacy is about!) The results from the Wisconsin certainly cast a dark shadow on that idea. However, there are some bright spots:

1) There is a power to incumbency. The fact that even two incumbent State Senators were unseated can be counted as a good thing. At least, until next week when two Democratic State Senators face recall. If they can hold on to their seats, then that would indicate that the power of incumbency might have been at work yesterday as well. If they loose, then we know we have to work even harder to overcome the power of money.

2) The Waukesha County results could be questionable. This is the county that “found” 7500 votes in the State Supreme Court election a few months ago, which was just enough to ensure the incumbent (a “Right Winger”) a large enough win to not force an automatic recount.

3) Turnout was at near “presidential” levels for a recall election, in the middle of the summer. Regardless of the final results, having more people engaged is a good thing, in my opinion.

However, on the downside, the fact that this recall was billed as a referendum on Gov. Scott Walker's policies (as written by ALEC), and the recall was only 2/3 successful, it is a good bet that this will serve to embolden both Walker and ALEC.

I do have a suggestion for all the “lefties” based on what we saw in Wisconsin. On the order of $30M was spent on these state senate recall elections, roughly 2/3 on the side of the incumbent Republicans. I think our strategy should be to “make” the Right spend so much money trying to continue to move their agenda forward, that it no longer is cost effective for them to do so. Here is how we do so:

1) Mount a recall campaign against every “Right Wing” politician that can be recalled.

2) Mount a “referendum” campaign to repeal any piece of “Right Wing” legislation that can be repealed in this manner.

3) Mount referendum campaigns to install extremely “Left Wing” legislation and State Constitutional Amendments everywhere this can be done. (94% State Income Tax on Billionaires anyone?)

If we can cause an election a month, in every state, that the Right feels compelled to spend $20M on, that is an expenditure of $12B/year, just to ensure they don't lose any ground.

How long would they be willing to keep it up?

Social Credit 1

As I have said before, the basis of my economic agenda is Social Credit theory. At the core of Social Credit is the assumption that all societal progress is only possible due to the gains made by the previous generation. Because of this, Social Credit calls for a "Heritage Payment" to all members of society. Think of it as a royalty payment for the contributions our forebears made to making our society what it is today.

So, how much should this Heritage Payment be? There was a time in this country when it was possible to live a relatively independent life. You could get yourself a relatively cheap parcel of land, build yourself a house with materials you had on that land, and proceed to raise your own food. Notes a great life, but you had the bare necessities. Alternatively, you could live "off the land."

Unfortunately one of the by-products of modernity is that it has become nearly impossible to live in such a basic fashion. I stipulate that in. a true "society" everyone should be afforded the basic necessities, and therefore the "Heritage Payment" should be enough to cover this, say $1000 per month. This would be paid to every man, woman and child who is a US citizen, regardless of age or economic status.

With this Heritage Payment people will truely be free. Without the worry about basic survival, we will be free to pursue our dreams,

A Heritage Payment at this level amounts to about $350B per month, or $4.2T per year. Sounds impossible? Watch this space and we will work it all out. (Remember we already have $2.1T in revenues from our new corporate tax policy! Halfway there already!)

Jobs Jobs Jobs

Okay, time to do the first policy blog. Even though the current focus of the media is the debt limit negotiations, we all know it is a “smoke screen” to take the public's eye off the real problem. JOBS!

As someone who has been unemployed for the last two years, I know how bleak the jobs picture really is. We have put ourselves, as a country, into a situation where there is no simple jobs fix. The Right touts giving tax breaks to the “job creators” (their term, not mine) while there has been merit to this argument in the past, we have seen over the last ten years that while this DOES create jobs, it does not necessarily create US jobs, and let's face it, it is US jobs we want to create, right? The usual approach for the Liberals to job creation is to create demand by putting more money into the pockets of the consumers, and this increased demand leads to new jobs. Again, a very sound theory, however the trade policies of the last 30 years have left us in the situation that most of our manufacturing capacity (and, increasingly our technical capacity) has been shipped “offshore” so a majority of the jobs that would be created by the increased demand would, once again, not be US jobs.

Add to this the fact that our tax policies are such that many companies that do business here are not shouldering their share of the burden of the cost of running this company. In the 1970s corporations and businesses were responsible for around 39% of government revenue, today that number is closer to 6%.

We are in quite a “pickle”, and it is time for some “radical” changes. (In engineering, this is called “out-of-the-box” thinking. (And if you think this one is radical, just wait!)

Pillar one of my jobs policy addresses both of these issues. First we get rid of the corporate “income tax,” which is actually more of a “profit tax” (since some of the biggest corporations manage to not pay it anyway) and we switch instead to business “fee” or “royalty.” Have you ever sold anything at a flea market? (or any other kind of marketplace for that matter) You get charged for access to the marketplace, and you are charged either a flat fee, or a percentage of your sales (Ebay actually charges both!). Well, the US is one of the biggest marketplaces in the world, and corporations WANT to do business here, so it is time to charge them for the privilege. I believe we need to charge businesses a 15% surcharge on their US revenues, for the right to do business here in the US. The GDP is on the order of $14 trillion, meaning $2.1 trillion in potential revenues to the US treasury. How do we sell this to the business community? Promise them this is the only tax they have to pay. (I am a big believer that every dollar in the economy should only be taxed once, and property should not be taxed at all.)

How will this bring jobs back into the US? Virtually every tax policy ever enacted has had the dual function of raising revenue and modifying behavior. So, time for the behavior modification part. We allow businesses to DEDUCT, from their revenue, before their surcharge is calculated, every dollar spent on US goods, US services, US labor and US property. US goods will be defined as goods where at least 50% of the component parts/materials are produced in the US, with that number increasing at a rate of 5% per year until it reaches 90%. US services are defined as services delivered by LEGAL US residents/businesses. US labor is defined as workers who are LEGAL US residents. Finally, US property is defined as property within the US, owned by a US company or individual. These deductions will encourage companies doing business in the US to buy in the US, leading to more jobs. It won't be immediate, it will take time, but other policy blogs will address that.

Well, there you go. First policy blog. Poke holes in it, ask me questions about it, whatever. You can do it here, on Facebook (Unknown Lefty), or on Twitter (@Unknownlefty).

Have a great weekend!

Introduction

I am the Unknown Lefty, and I am running for President of the United States. This is my first blog post which will begin to introduce me, what I stand for, and my candidacy.

First you may be asking, why the anonymity? I believe the political process should be one of IDEAS! By being anonymous I force the attention to be on my IDEAS, not on personality, scandal, or soundbites. Over the course of the 2012 political season I will gradually reveal my identity, provided I achieve enough of a following for it to be worthwhile. I will promise you that there will be enough time to fully vet me as a candidate prior to the election.

Now for my qualifications: I will assure you that I meet the qualifications outlined in the US Constitution to be president. The Constitution states three qualifications for the President, in Article II, Section 1 –

“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

I am a natural born Citizen, I am over 35 years old, and I have been a resident within the US for at least the last 14 years. As the election season continues I will elaborate on each of these, as they provide clues to my identity.

As everyone knows, there are non-constitutional qualifications that are generally considered to be necessary to be President. First, education: I have a Bachelor's Degree from a prestigious university in the US, I also hold two advanced degrees. Second, experience: In the course of my life I have worked both as a blue-collar and white-collar worker. I grew up poor/lower middle class, and through education and opportunity I achieved a middle/upper middle class lifestyle. I have worked in private industry and I have been a government employee as well as an academic. I have been an employee, an entrepreneur and I have been unemployed. I have not been in the military, but members of my family have. I also have a felony conviction, so I have seen the inside of our “justice” system, as well as our “corrections” system. I will gladly answer any other generalized questions about my experiences, and I will release more detailed information about them as the election season progresses (again, to retain anonymity.)

Although at various times in my life I have considered myself both a Republican (a Reagan one at that!) and a Democrat (Voting for Dukakis and Kerry, among others.) I am running as an Independent, and I understand that it will be profoundly challenging to operate outside the “machines” of the two major political parties, but I intend to govern for the PEOPLE while adhering to my ideals (which will be laid out in the coming weeks and months,) without obligation to any special interest, including a political party. In order to achieve this I will need an army of volunteers, so if you like what you hear and what I stand for and are willing to work to achieve it, I ask for, and will gladly accept your help.

Politically, I lean WAY to the left. (If you think Obama is to the left, then what I stand for won't even be on your radar!) My political and economic beliefs are founded on Social Credit theory, Social Credit theory was postulated by CH Douglas back in the 1920s. I will expand on this in the coming weeks and months, but feel free to follow this link ( HYPERLINK "http://douglassocialcredit.com/"http://douglassocialcredit.com/ ) to learn more. Socially I also lean to the left, being accepting, rather than excluding.

I think that is a good start. If you have questions, you can ask them here, on Facebook (Unknown Lefty), or on Twitter (@Unknownlefty). More posts to follow.

1-13 of 13 Blogs   

Previous Posts
Legal issue?, posted January 25th, 2013
Free Market Fails, posted July 18th, 2012
Time to reform the Prison-Industrial Complex, posted July 9th, 2012
I can't believe..., posted June 23rd, 2012
More about Occupy Wall Street..., posted October 11th, 2011
Support Occupy Wall Street!, posted October 9th, 2011
Taxes, posted September 1st, 2011
Transportation Infrastructure, posted August 28th, 2011
Social Credit 2, posted August 11th, 2011
Thoughts on Wisconsin, posted August 10th, 2011
Social Credit 1, posted August 5th, 2011
Jobs Jobs Jobs, posted July 15th, 2011
Introduction, posted July 14th, 2011

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