I’m seeing the debates raging on Facebook and frankly, I’m tired of the “You don’t understand!” going on on both sides. I think we can agree on a couple of key concepts:
1. 1. People who can work should work
2. 2. People who work should pay a fair share of taxes to help run this nation.
3. People who cannot work should be given some help to make it until they are able to get back on their feet.
So, if I were ruling this country (and frankly, I do not want the job with the government in its current state), I would propose the following:
1. 1. Everyone above poverty level pays a flat tax on all income. No exemptions. No incentives. No exceptions (except for 2c). No graduated rate.
--There would have to be a study to determine proper poverty rate and appropriate flat tax level, but then everyone—whether you earn $20,000/year or $2million/year—pays.
2. 2. Everyone who can work but is not employed would report to the welfare office each day for employment.
a. These people would be given a job commensurate with their skills (Unless enrolling in a federal university to learn a trade or skill –i.e., NOT women’s studies, French Literature, or art history and the like.) These jobs would be everything from road repair to clerking duties as determined by government needs.
b. These people would work under a supervisor, who would certify at the end of the day that they did an adequate job at work.
c. These people would be paid a fair day’s wages, tax free (Why? Because it’s stupid paperwork to have the government give them money and then take it away.)
d. If you don’t do adequate work, you don’t get paid.
3. 3. Those who qualify to learn a trade would enroll in a federal university for free and work part time to earn a small stipend.
4. 4. Those who are unemployed and ill would report to a hospital arm of the welfare office and receive diagnosis and treatment for free. Those too sick to go will call in for a house call.
This would take a major restructuring of the welfare and tax system. Jobs will be lost in the change. Others will be created to support the new system—including professional jobs like physicians and professors. But you know what? People would work for their money. Those who can’t work would get care. Neglected projects like road repair, etc., would get done because the money would go into labor for improvements and not handouts (deserved or not). People in need would get care.
I’ve probably oversimplified the whole issue, and I know there’s no way our current congressional system will ever agree to this, but for the record, this is how I feel and what I’d do. Violent revolution and sniping about the current system will solve nothing. We need some common sense, a congress that will agree to work together, and a president who doesn’t want to pander to the people, whatever his party, but stand up for the things that make a nation work—people producing and taking responsibility for their own lives, with help only when they truly can’t help themselves.