Saturday, February 13, 2010


I saw an excellent comment from "milleniumfalcon" on the Motley Fool's website. The author's comment relates to our current economic crisis. The author promulgates several interesting ideas. For more, see below:

1. Create jobs. More jobs = more tax revenue. The question is how to create them. Well for one, how about truly funding and streamlining the SBA loan process, since small business creates most of the jobs.

2. Invest in new technology. Eventually (and we all know this) oil prices will rise to the point that using it is not economically viable. The time to start this process is now. Turn those old Saturn plants into wind turbine factories. Turn the closed Chrysler plants into solar panel R&D and manufacturing factories. Get into the business of partnering with business, much like large corporations do when they "incubate" a business before spinning it off. Not takeovers, but investments. Part of what an intelligent government does is invest in the items of the future that don't have an immediate payoff. (Like stem cell research, for example.)

3. Invest in education. I am a college professor. Let me tell you, I see the pablum that comes from our educational system and it is not pretty. MOST OF YOUR CHILDREN have pathetic reading skills, sickening math skills, and the creative resources of your average fruit fly. They can't think outside the box, because they haven't learned a bloody thing INSIDE the box. Kill the U.S. Department of Education. Keep that money local, the way ti is supposed to be. Get rid of NCLB: teaching students to take a test is not actually teaching student. (Besides, this [law] has become a racket--states keep lowering standards so students can "pass." If we don't get back to basics, your kids will have exciting careers asking, "Would you like some vanilla in your latte?" (Okay...rant over.)

4. Level the taxes playing field. Under the current tax code, people who labor (you know, work for a living) have a higher tax rate than those who make most of their money through investments. Raise the rates and make them equitable. Let's go back to the 90's tax rates. [Note: I do not agree with going back to the 90's tax rates.] Let's get rid of the $90,000 "cap" on taxable salary for social security. [I do agree with raising the Social Security taxable income ceiling.]

5. Take the idea of a flat tax or a value-added tax (VAT) seriously. It works in other countries, so why not here? It solves a couple of problems. There's no use for an enormous IRS. There are fewer ways to cheat. Make exemptions for the necessities of life only: food, clothing, shelter.

6. Really reform healthcare. As it stands, 50% of healthcare costs are covered by the government, between the Feds and the States. What we need to do is cut the costs of healthcare before adding anyone else to the rolls. How do we do that? There must be downward pressure. Repeal the part of the "drug bill" that does not allow Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate lower prices. Allow the importation of cheaper drugs from countries with good regulatory systems (Canada, Germany, etc.) Allow competition across state lines. (Here in MO, one company has a lock on 87% of healthcare coverage.) Tort reform. And for God's sake, get the fat people on a diet. We lowered smoking rates in this country from 45% in the '60s to 21%. And most of that was done via peer and cultural pressure, not laws. If we can do that with smoking (an addictive habit--I know--I was one of them), why can't we do the same thing regarding the fat b*stards in our populace. Dropping weight = dropping costs. (I know this too, because I was 50 pounds overweight. I lost a lot of it and my blood pressure dropped, my cholesterol went down and I'm generally in better shape. All that and more with no drugs.)

6. Really dice up the defense budget. Bring our men and women in uniform home from Iraq. Seriously. Do we need more tanks? Really? Really? Must we have troops in Germany? Really and truly? Let's stop playing cop and let most of the rest of the world learn some responsibility. (And let the National Guard do its real job to boot. Helping people here after a disaster. We need no more Katrinas.)

7. Rebuild. New Orleans.

I'll shut up now.

I can't remember the last time I read a comment that made so much sense. By the way, when I visited New Orleans, the French Quarter is completely intact. When the author talks about rebuilding, he ought to mention roads, bridges, etc. Otherwise, however, many of his suggestions make sense.

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