End all military occupations & bases worldwide- According to international law and all measures of morality and rationality we illegally invaded and continue to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq. We destroyed much of the basic infrastructure of both nations. We killed hundreds of thousands of their citizens, many being women, children and the elderly. So, is it not time to immediately end both occupations and return home all our service personnel, as well as cancelling all contracts for the 100,000+ private mercenaries AKA military contractors? Then, we should dismantle our 800+ military installations in over 100 countries, a decision that would help ease the tremendous anger most of the world’s populace has for our country.
Cut Military Spending by Minimum of 25% and… going by fiscal year 2011, those savings would be around $ 168 billion. As a short term fix, that sum would equal what it would take to help all 50 states balance their budgets completely! Translated: No major layoffs or cuts in services, as our cities would be getting the revenues they need to keep their public sector jobs and services. This would save our schools, police and fire departments, libraries, public hospitals, Medicaid and many other programs that now help the indigent and working poor. In year two of such a plan, we could see these transferred revenues going to lower property taxes and fix our roads and public transportation… and perhaps begin helping homeowners who are now ready to be foreclosed. This brings me to:
Community owned and operated nonprofit mortgage banks- Instead of bailing out banks, why not subsidize local city or county owned nonprofit mortgage banks? Imagine this: You go to such a bank and you are approved (after being vetted) for the purchase of a new home. The rate would simply be the overhead for running such a mortgage bank, which means perhaps 1.5 % to cover salaries and office space etc. You want to see real economic stimulus? Think of how many of you out there would now be able to afford owning instead of renting? Who needs a landlord when the monthly mortgage payments would be the same as paying rent? This would cause a snowball effect that would increase the housing market unbelievably! Home builders, carpenters, cabinet and door makers, hardware essentials, wood and concrete… on and on we would see such a massive stimulus, all from one simple action: Taking the profit out of the mortgage business. Plus, the local nonprofit mortgage bank would hold he paper on that home, for the life of the mortgage… the way things used to be! THESE LOANS SHOULD ONLY PERTAIN TO HOMES WHERE BUYERS ACTUALLY WILL RESIDE IN THEM… NO LOANS TO INVESTORS OR ABSENTEE LANDLORDS!
Federal Surtax of 50% on Income over 1,000,000 a year- Some call this the ‘Millionaires tax ‘, and it would help stifle the greed and corruption of the corporate world. Why? Well, to begin with, anyone earning up to one million dollars per year would still pay at the current tax rates. It is only on income beginning with dollar $ 1,000,001 that would see a flat surtax of 50%. Cannot a very wealthy individual live comfortably on 50% tax free of the mega millions he or she earns? The CEOs who are making tens and hundreds of millions while their own employees have to struggle day in and day out financially, cannot they be happy with 50% of such wealth? Think of how that added revenue would allow Uncle Sam to further help this economy grow. To those super wealthy who say ‘I give money to charity or my foundation does this and that ‘… well, now they can say they are doing their share of helping the rest of us. Let the local communities receive that extra revenue from Uncle Sam and use some of it to help the sick and indigent and struggling. As we all may one day wind up in some nursing facility or hospital, perhaps some of that 50% Surtax can go to give pay increases to the aides who clean the **** from our elderly parents and grandparents and bath them and dress them. It is a disgrace that most aides who do this type of difficult and needed work are lucky to be earning around $ 9- 10 an hour to do, while the top management of these facilities earns in the millions! The greatest benefit of this tax would be added revenues to allow us to:
Nurture Small Business and the Employee with a ‘Payroll Tax Forgiveness ‘–We need to forgive the FICA contribution (around 7.5%) from both employee and small business owner for the first $ 20,000 of wages. This would accomplish a great deal. First off, it would put in the pocket of both parties up to $ 1500 a year, to be used as each sees fit. For the employee, this money addition could help to purchase a needed car, or dress the kids, or fix the home or apartment- more economic stimulus. The business owner could keep all the savings or use it to upgrade the business or even as a pay raise or bonus for employees. The important thing is that if a business owner simply pockets the savings, maybe his competitors will do differently. If a business owner wishes to keep good employees from going to work for competitors (the ones who would share this money more equitably)… you get my drift. As far as limits to this plan, it should only apply to a maximum of 50 or 100 employees per business location. Such a plan, for those worried about undocumented workers, would stifle ‘off the books ‘hiring. Why take the risk when you won’t be paying into FICA for the first $ 20k of salary? Most of the hiring of the undocumented concerns wages well below that per year.
Let’s move toward public funding of all elections- Let’s face it, this would take a constitutional amendment to get around the ‘Money is free speech ‘ruling of the Supreme Court (Buckley vs. Valeo, 1976). My candidacy will not accept more than $ 100 per donor, and a limit of $ 200 per family, and NO business or corporate donations at all! If the public, the voters, tell candidates that ‘I won’t vote for you, PERIOD, if you do not adhere to this policy… well, strange things can happen. We need to evolve into a system where NO private money is allowed in campaigns… PERIOD! This would break the monopoly that the current 2 Party System has on elections. With public funding we can have a multi- party system, and more important than that, independents can actually have a chance of winning.
There are certainly many more bold and innovative ideas to consider. Yet, let’s just keep it simple for now. The aforementioned do get to the ‘nitty gritty ‘of key changes needed to save our republic and to usher in true and sincere democracy. I need YOUR vote, or more importantly, our nation needs your voice on these issues.
Philip A. Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen. He is a small businessman, activist leader and free lance columnist. Philip is an advocate for the 25% Solution to cut military spending to save our state and city budget shortfalls. Since the 2000 elections, he has written over 250 columns, many posted on various sites worldwide. Recently, he is finding a home at the fine Dandelion Salad website. Philip can be reached at email@example.com.