I propose an exemption on the first $75,000 of earned income per person, $10,000 of investment income per family, and having a flat tax on all income above that point. Some facts about the present system: There is twenty cents spent on compliance for every dollar collected by the IRS. There are 6.2 billion hours spent on tax compliance, 1.2 billion hours on the 1040 form alone. The system is too cumbersome, too confusing, and too inefficient. The system I am proposing will drastically change the entire IRS. The advantages are: 1) the system is simplified and easier to monitor making it easier to ensure accuracy and catch tax evaders and “cheats”; 2) it eliminates all shelters and loopholes so the wealthy pay their share; 3) the system would be so uncomplicated and efficient that the IRS could collect taxes for each state with an income tax using one form eliminating collection expenses for individual states while the cost of monitoring the system is greatly reduced; 5) small business owners could avoid dealing with payroll withholdings, paperwork, and expenses in the vast majority of cases so they can concentrate on business. My goal is to eliminate all income tax and expenses up to the exemption point. Income taxes would be eliminated for about 75% of Americans. That would reduce the cost of collection system because a large percentage of the IRS agents would be unnecessary and the number of offices can be eliminated. Think for a minute how much of the income taxes for the zero to seventy-five thousand dollar incomes are eaten up with payroll and related payroll expenses, office expenses, rent, and paper forms. Now picture at least three fourths of the IRS staff eliminated, all but up to five offices closed. At present, any filer who pays zero to up to approximately two hundred dollars actually costs the government in collection costs, not a profitable situation. The revenues would be made up by: 1. Making all businesses here and elsewhere subject to IRS tax laws on profits made in the US. (see 2) 2. Eliminating all the tax schemes by having only the one seventy-five thousand dollar exemption allowed. 3. Putting more money back into the working class people’s pockets which the majority of it will end up back into the economy. People will replace that ancient appliance or furniture, or buy a newer, more fuel efficient vehicle, or do long put-off renovations because they can afford it now without breaking the bank. This is a trickle up economy which is a lot more beneficial to many more people than giving a tax break to the wealthiest only.
Anybody reading this may be thinking that the tax rate would have to be much higher with this plan. Actually I believe it would be lower than the highest rate currently. I believe this system could work with a tax rate of around twenty-five percent. Remember, this plan would eliminate all the shelters and loopholes, billions of dollars that should be collected now. By the IRS’s own admission, there was about three billion in underpaying, mostly by the wealthiest earners.
We should enact the plan Thomas Jefferson called for: a national lottery. This would be taxation by choice.
We need to protect jobs in this country. We can't continue to assist in the outsourcing of good jobs. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric said recently that the future of manufacturing lies in China. It isn’t only manufacturing, it is also architecture, engineering, and financial services as well as any others. This is not acceptable to American workers. A solution is to tax corporations based on the number of jobs here as a percentage of the total jobs. A very rough example is: 25% mean corporate income tax, all U.S. based labor pays 15% tax while all foreign based labor pays 35%. All corporations doing business in the United States should be required to pay income tax on their profits here without exception. U.S. based corporations should not have to pay income tax on profits elsewhere to allow them to be more competitive elsewhere. I don’t believe in tariffs because it drives prices up to consumers and it leads to retaliation by other countries. All employees who lose their jobs due to outsourcing should be entitled to six months severance including their lost benefits in which time they can afford to be retrained or have time to save some money since they will most likely have to go to a lower paying job. The government must stop allowing a tax write-off for one business buying another, closing it and putting people out of jobs. This is a government financed incentive to put people into unemployment.
We should not allow any exports from any country that doesn’t allow their workers to organize for better wages and working conditions. How can politicians be pro-labor if they aren’t for every working person on the planet?
Social Security must be protected. The program was originally intended to be a safety net for retirees but has since become a retirement program for everyone. We must go to a needs-based system as originally intended so only the people who need it receives it and the amount received would be based on need rather than the upside-down system we have now where the ones who should need the least get the most. This will reduce the administration costs as well as the amount being paid out. Also we need to eliminate the cap on the FICA tax, currently at $106,800.00 so everyone pays the same rate regardless of income. Up to this point the employer-employee contribution is 12.4% so beyond that income level one pays a lower rate which makes it a regressive tax. By eliminating the cap I believe the tax rate could be reduced to 4-5% and keep the program solvent.
NOTE: I am hearing considerable criticism about changing peoples' benefits which have been promised. To that I say I am not responsible for the situation our past and present legislators have put us in but it is very clear that it will take a decisive, somewhat unpopular move to save the program for the people who absolutely need it. I am willing to take the criticism to fight for the people.
We need to establish an improved national health care system. It is pathetic that the United States spends the most money per capita of any country and the results are far less impressive than most. My plan is for subsidized, catastrophic, but not socialized medicine. A single billing system by a private entity country-wide or regionally to greatly reduce the cost of billing and collecting for medical providers seems to be a logical plan. My idea is for the government to help the medical providers set up a single billing entity which would bill, pay, and collect to decrease billing costs for medical providers as a way to reduce medical costs. As the sole payer of medical bills the paying entity can negotiate prices, especially with pharmaceutical companies as many countries do now. Private insurers can offer different plans based on what customers can afford and their age. Young healthy people who would rarely see the doctor but a serious illness could ruin them financially could have catastrophic medical insurance where as one gets older would be better off with a lower deductible based on health and income. Where the government could help is to provide catastrophic coverage using a sliding scale system. Insurance companies will offer policies to cover the exposure level fairly inexpensively; in many cases employers would probably cover the cost as a much less expensive benefit for them than is the case now which would also help the economy.
As an important part of controlling costs it would be advantageous for the system to pay for annual or semi-annual physicals based on age, again based on ability to pay. By making regular physicals a part of the plan health care costs in later years should be reduced reducing the burden on the system.. To start a fund, all employers currently paying health care would continue paying their current amount at the time of start-up into the national health care fund. Since everyone would be covered by this system the VA hospitals, Medicare, and Medicaid programs can be eliminated saving administration costs, staff cost, building and maintenance cost, and wasteful overlapping medical coverage. We need to spend much more for research to find preventions and cures. The plan should include dental costs for minors.
One huge factor is the cost of malpractice insurance and the threat of litigation if something goes wrong. The fear of being sued forces medical providers to do procedures and tests that normally wouldn’t be done to cover all the bases as a defense against a lawsuit. Also the cost of litigation is so extremely expensive and risky no matter the guilt or innocence that very often insurance companies will settle to reduce exposure to much larger payouts. Of course that drives up the cost of treatment. Studies have shown that between seven and twenty percent could be saved in health care costs with effective tort reform. Two examples of the impact of our current tort system: The Cleveland Clinic alone paid $100,000,000.00 (that's one hundred million dollars) for malpractice insurance for a single year. Northeast New Hampshire did not (as of last year) have an obstetrics doctor because the cost of malpractice insurance was more than could be made in a practice there.
Other cost savers for healthcare are community health centers, making education more affordable for doctors, and especially PAs and nurses/nurse practitioners who can diagnose and treat patients at lower costs. Allowing health insurance providers to operate in all states would create more competition which naturally helps reduce prices.
Drug importation can be be done safely and effectively with reduced drug costs realized. FDA inspectors can visit foreign pharmaceutical companies and evaluate them the same way it is done here.
Government spending must be controlled. The national debt is so large that it is a threat to our economy. Foreign countries, most notably China and Japan hold a large portion of our debt in government bonds. Now China has said that they don’t want our dollars, they want to be reimbursed in gold. They see what is in front of us. If for any reason those countries decide to invest elsewhere our government either has to print more money or default on the bonds. Either way will cause a major economic collapse in this country. It isn’t a matter of if but when this will happen. What needs to occur soon is to make quick and substantial inroads to reducing the debt. Years ago the Grace Commission was set up to look at the government budget to make cost cutting recommendations. The legislators did not use even one recommendation at the time but was forced to enact some measures by budget watchdog groups over time. Congress needs to pass legislation to establish another commission and require itself to enact the cost saving measures the committee recommends. There should also be a freeze on all non-essential spending until Social Security and veterans’ care are protected, national health care funding is established, and sufficient money for education and law enforcement is available. Most if not all subsidies to businesses should be eliminated. We need to return to a free market environment where supply and demand determines prices and which businesses survive. It is not up to the taxpayer to support inefficient and ineffective businesses and business practices.
We should help agriculture survive by becoming profitable, not by subsidies. Many of the farm subsidies are an absolute joke. An example is that one man who bought some land that was being subsidized continues to receive a subsidy check every year even though he has never farmed at all. The government should set a base price for commodities based on a break even point of production costs to help agriculture survive. We absolutely need a balanced budget amendment.
We need a new energy policy that is not based on foreign oil. In the 1970’s Brazil and the United States were both importing about 45% of the oil needs. The United States now imports 60% of our oil while Brazil is an oil exporter. Brazil’s leaders met the challenge while ours did nothing. Now we could follow Brazil’s lead with bold and capable leadership. We need to expand the use of alcohol and other biofuels as fuel sources. The fuel is renewable, less polluting than fossil fuels, good for agriculture, and make us less dependent on the Middle East thereby less susceptible to disruption of supplies. To accomplish this we must mandate that all new cars be flex fuel compatible by the 2008 models. This could easily be accomplished because the technology exists and is already available on some cars here and all cars sold in Brazil.. With the present cars they can burn gasoline containing up to ten percent ethanol (E10). With flex fuel vehicles up to E80 can be used. Now with so few flex fuel vehicles it wouldn’t pay to produce E80 or put in separate pumps at gas stations. With one hundred percent of new autos flex fuel equipped there would definitely be a quick movement to handle the product. We must ensure that the price of fuel doesn’t get too inexpensive that investors in biofuels lose money by making the tax on gasoline variable based on the gasoline price. The government could increase the demand for alcohol fuels by taxing the fuel by the percentage of gasoline in the product; the higher percentage of ethanol, the lower the tax rate. We need serious alcohol producing plants and need to stop using corn which is only a feel good product and is too inefficient a process.
We need to encourage the use of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power. We need much stricter fuel mileage requirements for automobiles, and definitely not the CAFÉ standards that are used today. Energy standards should also be set for appliances. We need to expand mass transit and encourage private investors to rebuild the freight and passenger rail system.
We need to do more to protect the environment. We have to look at the reduction of and better disposal of nuclear waste and reducing the use of heavy metals and chemicals which are disposal nightmares. MBTE in gasoline should be removed. Stricter emission laws for power plants must be enacted. We need a tough schedule for the reduction of fossil fuel use. One plan I have been hearing discussed is to put solar collectors in orbit and beam the electricity down by microwaves. This will be a clean, green, efficient, and totally safe form of energy available 24/7. Our government should be doing its part to make this happen as quickly as possible.
Alcohol fuel can be an excellent renewable fuel but only if made from the right plants. Corn based alcohol is a feel good fuel which is actually very inefficient and not a positive move towards oil replacement.
Campaign reform is crucial if we want to have a government that is responsive to the people. The ability for a candidate to win as an independent or third party member is infinitesimally small because of the money thrown at the Republicans and the Democrats. There has to be a method where campaign contributors donate to a national elections office and the money is then distributed evenly to the candidates. Only then will voters see an open debate on the issues and voters can hear fresh ideas instead of incumbents bombarding us with ads full of rhetoric and past accomplishments. If special interests can no longer contribute directly to a candidate or political party, maybe elected leaders will once again work for the people. Term limits are crucial to keeping new ideas flowing and limiting the power of individual politicians. An unpopular idea but the right approach is to eliminate pensions for elected officials. It is a volunteer position after all. Ending pensions would drastically shorten the number of terms served.
Education reform that works. We need to get rid of the bureaucrats in Washington sucking up money that could go to educating our nation’s children. We need to realize that standardized testing is only a guide because education in poor communities is not going to be as good as in more affluent communities. We need to pay educators who have run innovative and creative programs in private and public schools to travel the country putting on seminars to show school boards and administrators how to have more effective schools. We need to empower the teachers to allow them to be disciplinarians when required and have parents support them. We need to require parents take a more active role in the schools, and be participants in their children’s education. I believe in merit pay for teachers so the best ones will be rewarded for exemplary performance and encourage others to improve. The least effective teachers who aren’t motivated to improve will change careers. I would only support it though if 1) the teachers support it and 2) there could be a fair an effective way of judging teachers. We have to be willing to spend money to replace schools, buy books, and buy computers. Schools should have a life skills class which teaches basics such as checking accounts and long term saving for one's future.
Our not having an effective immigration policy in the wake of terrorism, illegal drug trafficking, and lack of control over people entering is irresponsible to say the very least. The most efficient method is twofold: 1) Guard the entire borders between Mexico and Canada. 2) Stop all immigration for a period of one year to allow the immigrants already present to become assimilated.
I propose looking at the judicial system to see where we can eliminate loopholes from convictions for the guilty while making sure that innocent people aren't wrongly imprisoned. We must work to make the justice system equal for every race and economic level. No longer should it be based on how much justice one can afford. We need tougher sentences for violent criminals; rapists and pedophiles should get life sentences so they can't ruin any more lives. The government must make sure law enforcement has the money it needs. We need tough measures to reduce drug use. Mandatory severe sentences for drug dealers are important to take away the sales networks for the distributors. We need to stop spending money for jailing drug users and spend that money for more treatment opportunities for addicts. We need to protect victims of domestic abuse better. I have a radical, effective, but controversial solution to the problem.
We need reform tort law to have a fairer and simpler system. You have probably all heard of the case where the woman washed her dog and placed it in the microwave to dry it, or the woman who spilled hot coffee in her lap and successfully sued McDonald’s because the coffee burned her. These are but two of the thousands of ridiculous lawsuits that clog our court systems and cause liability insurance to be so expensive for businesses. It isn’t all about ridiculous lawsuits, it is about lawsuits with merit in which people with no knowledge of facts about a profession are asked to make an informed decision. The jury has to decide whose paid experts are the most convincing, not a sound method of deciding a lawsuit which could affect the rest of both parties’ lives. My plan is to license professionals and businesses for a small administrative fee such as $50.00 to $100.00 a year to register and use the money to handle legal expenses. When one has a complaint against a business or professional, he or she would file with a complaint board which is composed of specially trained paralegals and an administrator. The administrator would set up a board from the profession to which the defendant belongs to hear the case who has no relationship with the defendant while the paralegal would gather evidence, set up witnesses, and check legal issues involved. When the case is presented the plaintiff, the defendant, the paralegal, and the board would be present. Each side would state their case; the paralegal would introduce any witnesses, evidence, and relevant legal information. The board can then make an informed decision. There would be no legal precedent in these cases; each case is separate from one another to enable the board to make the proper decision with no fear of a finding that could affect the board members sometime in the future. This would assure impartiality. A finding against the defendant would be recorded with the licensing board available for anyone interested. The advantages are many: anyone wanting to check on a business or professional would have easy access to the record; the cost for the defendant would be slight to none; it would reduce insurance costs and, in some cases, eliminate the need for insurance for certain businesses; having informed jurors would result in more accurate decisions, not a guess as to which side is more credible; and plaintiffs would keep their settlements since they would not have to pay lawyer fees and expenses so awards could be reduced with the plaintiff ending up with more. It needs to be done on an experimental basis and work out the system to get our tort system under control soon.
We need to make the roads safer. Since so many states are too easy on drunk drivers we need a federal law to prevent repeat offenders. If someone is picked up for DWI, the car should be impounded and held until a breathalyzer interlocking device is installed which prevents the car from being started if the driver is impaired. Another license is issued which designates that a device is required on the car. The device is required to be checked periodically to make sure it is functioning and if has been disabled the car would be taken and sold and the offender would be given a mandatory jail sentence. If the driver is stopped using a vehicle not equipped with the device the car would be taken and sold. I believe that the majority of drunk drivers are not habitual but rather just young and dumb so after five years they could have a hearing through the DMV presenting witnesses stating their behavior has changed and they are no longer a threat to drink and drive so the license designation would be removed and no longer would require the interlocking device. We also need to control negligent drivers by allowing insurance companies to charge much higher rates for gross negligence acts such as racing through red lights and stop signs, driving in the breakdown lanes, and exceeding the speed limits by set amounts. When involved in an accident resulting from gross negligence, the insurance companies should be allowed to be compensated by the offender. When death is a result of impaired driving or gross negligence it should be treated as a homicide case, not a vehicular homicide case with a very lenient sentence. This may seem extreme to some but just talk to someone who has lost a loved one needlessly.
We need mentoring and activity programs for children with an emphasis on at-risk youth. Children who are kept busy and are having fun are less likely to use drugs and get in trouble. This would be less expensive than imprisonment and rehabilitation later. My idea is to make federal assistance a two-way street; people getting help must in return work in some capacity with children as tutors, big brothers or sisters, running athletic programs, early education aides, or teaching creative activities (for example sewing, cooking, and woodworking). It could be used for helping eldercare also. If elected I will introduce a comprehensive bill called A Hand Up Not a Handout.
Veteran programs must be fully funded. There are billions of dollars wasted every year while Congress and the White House won’t appropriate enough money to take care of our veterans. Veterans put their lives on the line for our country and we in return must do what is right for them. It is hypocritical of Congress and the White House to send our young men and women to war while cutting the Veterans Administration’s budget.
Better protection for small business. The people running this country seem to ignore the fact that small businesses employ most of the people in this country and as outsourcing is allowed to continue, will employ an even larger percentage. It is important that small businesses do well because as small businesses go, so goes the country. Passing a bad check and not paying for products or services should be a criminal matter, not civil. One should be able to turn the problem over to the police to collect, with a reasonable fee for the police department’s cost added on to the collection amount. I can talk from personal experience about the pitfalls of dealing with dishonest people under the present system. Small businesses are the backbone of this country and we need to do the right thing to help them flourish. Tort reform (see no. 12), income tax reform (no. 1), and a national health care system (no. 4) are all programs that will help businesses thrive.
Strengthening consumer protection. We must always be looking to protect consumers. One crucial piece of legislation needed is to change payments due to financial institutions from a due by date to a postmarked by date instead. Financially strapped people who must wait to the last possible moment won’t be penalized when the payment is late due to a delay in the mail.
A step toward world peace. This was the main reason I cared at all about winning either election. I wanted to take my peace plan to Washington because I believe this could be the greatest time to establish world peace than at any time before. We could use economic leverage by the United States and our allies to encourage all countries to sign a treaty of non-aggression which would be an agreement by leaders that their country would not take military action against another country and would accept an international peacekeeping force to intercede on their country’s behalf in the event of an attack. By signing the agreement, each country agrees that they will have no economic relationship with any country that refuses to sign, and also they are subject to prosecution by a world court for violating conditions of the agreement including human rights protections. The agreement would have provisions for mediating disputes between countries. The US should start with its closest allies and work out from there. No country is an island at this time of globalization so agreeing to these terms is essential for economic survival. People ask me what about China and North Korea? China would be quick to sign on because trade with us is crucial to their economy. North Korea I believe would happy to sign as long as we agreed to give them economic aid and food. Human rights would be protected and I feel it would reduce terrorism by showing that the world wants peace and is united in preserving and protecting it. There will always be terrorism of some sort in this world because there will always be lunatics, fanatics, and irate people wanting revenge for real or perceived acts. I am focusing on religious terrorists, specifically Al Queda in this book. We all know that they say they want to kill the “infidels” but there is more to it than that. Look at who they target and we can see a pattern. They target the United States, France, England, Spain, Japan, all allies to the United States. Why don’t we hear about attacks in the Scandinavian countries? The answer I believe lies in the fact that those countries aren’t active with the United States in imposing foreign policy, and are not participants in Middle East affairs. Terrorism is a state department issue, not a military issue. The extremists may still want to harm Americans but they will have far fewer people behind them if our country works to make the world better, not more American friendly.
Even if the first try fails, the other countries would know that we are serious about establishing world peace, and subsequent tries would prove more beneficial.
Presently in this country we spend almost a billion dollars a day in war preparations. I will say for the record that our politicians want us to have an enemy because then we will have to spend huge sums on weapons. The military-industrial complex has too much money to lose if we have world peace so the military contractors invest a huge amount of money to get the right candidates elected. We as citizens have to decide what is best for this country and act because I don’t believe our politicians have the people’s best interests at heart when it comes down to forgoing the big contributions.
A Change in our drug policy. Our so-called war on drugs is a disaster on several levels. First, we are locking people up for being drug users who are hurting only themselves. I say we let them destroy themselves as long as no one else is physically harmed or their property is damaged until they kill themselves from their abusive behavior or they are ready to get drug treatment to end their dependency. The efficacy and the government’s right in locking people up for drug use just aren’t there. It should be the same principle as alcoholism where people have the right to drink themselves into a stupor, but their rights end when they get in an automobile to drive.
Secondly, we have to decide as a nation if we want certain drugs to remain illegal and, if the answer is yes; have a serious war on drugs. The drug enforcement leaders should learn from our military leaders and conduct their war similarly. The objectives in war are to kill or capture the enemy’s soldiers to destroy the enemy’s ability to wage war. In our so-called war on drugs we quite often capture the drug kingpin’s foot soldiers, the local drug dealers, and give them a slap on the wrist with suspended sentences, probation, and short jail terms which is not a deterrent to making fast, easy money dealing drugs. Give these people long, harsh sentences which will deter others from becoming dealers, and take away the needed foot soldiers for the business to exist. Another effective tool at the government’s disposal to fight the drug war is to change the currency. The treasury should change the color of money secretly, and make an announcement, that as of today the money is now this color, and two days from now the previous currency will no longer be worth anything. Then have treasury agents at the banks to check everyone for a Social Security number, and income tax filing status for the previous year. This will greatly disrupt many illegal activities including drugs, prostitution, and theft. It will be an inconvenience to most law abiding citizens, but a huge benefit to society in the long run, especially after several times doing it. Of course there will have to be provisions made for citizens traveling outside the country, or people that are in the hospital at the time, but it could be easily done.