Common Sense – Green Libertarian Movement
Common Sense 3nd Draft 5/2/2012
Poisoning land, air, water, or food is a violent crime. It shall be understood and punished as such.
This is a pretty radical break from the way people have seen things till now, and it may take time for the idea to settle into a person’s mind. I think it is worth the time to simply imagine the world or the country arranged this way. I hope you will give similar thought to all of the ideas here. What would a Radical Green Libertarian do? What would I do if I could? Here are some of my thoughts.
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND STEWARDSHIP
Poisoning land, air, water, or food is a violent crime. It shall be understood and punished as such. Past poisoners of land, air, water, or food may receive suspended sentences if they cooperate completely with prosecutors and express remorse. Trials shall be webcast, broadcast, and publicly archived, as shall all other ‘public’ meetings of government or the corporate sector.
Corporate Officers, Boards of Directors, and senior management shall be held personally culpable for crimes committed by the corporate entities they control. Corporate crime, including violation of health, safety, or environmental regulations, that results in human death or poisoning of air, water, land, or food shall be considered Violent Crime. Corporate killers and poisoners will go to Prison with the other murderers and rapists.
TAXES AND PUBLIC ASSISTANCE
Cash transactions under $10,000 will be untaxed and largely unregulated. If a person can make a living on cash alone, he or she can avoid taxation.
The Federal Government will offer a secure credit card to compete on the open market with other credit cards. The government credit card will only work in the hand of its owner (or with some other excellent biometric security to prevent fraud and theft) and charge a maximum interest of 12-15%. Profit from the national credit card will offset revenue lost abolishing income tax. This card will be legitimate service nobody is forced to take. People just working to make money would not be taxed.* The current system punishes work and saving and rewards debt and indolence, and the system I am envisioning would do exactly the opposite, leaving work and saving untaxed, and taxing people based on their tendency to get mired in debt. Still, being mired in debt at 12%-15% for the public good is better than being mired in debt at 25% plus for some investors based in South Dakota.
*(Business should not be taxed, but people have a right to expect other people’s businesses to carry adequate insurance.)
Seemless Safety Net
Those who cannot keep up with payments on this credit card will be de facto ‘on Assistance.’ (I am assuming the private for-profit credit services will have already given up on them.) When somebody gets into economic trouble, an economic social worker will work out a strategy with them to address whatever the problem is, which should be obvious enough from having all the purchase records and possibly a home visit. Account restrictions will stop that person from making certain purchases (porn, alcohol, Harley Davidsons) while allowing purchase of household essentials, healthy foods, etc. The economic social worker will receive a bonus each time a ‘problem’ account regains solvency, so it is in their interests to ‘lose’ all their cases by having them regain solvency as quickly as possible. The position of economic social worker will be one of considerable stress and power, and it’s important to set up the system of incentives for them that helps keep them on track. The economic social worker should be firm, but kinder than a collection agency. The economic social worker is a professional equipped to help the individual figure out what’s wrong and fix it. For those who stay in arrears, or chronically have to be bailed out by they system, an additional social worker may be assigned, specializing in substance abuse, or care of the functioning insane, or Alzheimer’s Disease, whatever the trouble seems to be.
Tax Electronic Funds Transfers.
I would replace other taxes with a user fee on each electronic transaction, usually amounting to less than 1/100th of 1 percent on large transfers. In exchange for this fee, the Federal Government will be responsible to guarantee the integrity of the currency and the electronic funds transfer system, providing enforcement against fraud and theft, and insurance against losses of those victimized anyway. If some transactions seem likely to contain money from crimes, the rate the government charges to insure the transaction may be considerably higher, but nothing like the burdensome amounts we have come to associate with conventional taxation. The government will keep all transactions transparent, and it will have a powerful interest in sniffing out anyone transferring funds in secret. So instead of taxing work and frugality, we will tax credit and speculation.
DRUGS AND GANGS
Drug addiction is a serious problem, but it is a medical and social problem. It should be addressed in a medical and social way. Addicts should work with doctors and nurses to determine the best strategy to either get clean or cope with addiction as a chronic medical condition, treatable by controlled doses of whatever they are addicted to. Dependency on heroin can be handled with exactly the same tools as dependency on Zoloft, Ritalin, etc. This will largely destroy the business of smuggling or selling illegal drugs, kicking the legs out from under Mexican and Chinese criminal networks operating in the US.
Drug abuse will not end, of course, and some addicts will ‘pad’ their official dose of whatever it is by buying from another addict who has extra, but the profits will drop to nil, and hence the motivation of criminal gangs.
If the lives of all ordinary people are going to be an open book, then it is essential that our institutions become so as well. The Constitution provides that much of the work of government be done ‘publicly’ and that records should be kept. At the time, this meant open on that day to whomever had the time and the interest, and records kept with ink and paper. But today there is no reason why everything that is meant to be ‘public’ cannot be webcast and archived electronically as video, audio, and text. That way anyone at any time could search a data base and find anything they wanted to know.
I would repurpose FBI to
1) enforce transparency and public archiving and translation into plain language of all government and corporate decisions and actions, and
2) keep an eye on all those retired federal agents and spook networks from the DEA, BATF, IRS, FEMA, DHS, all of which will be abolished, and their records become public domain. Even the FBI’s own documents will become public domain, which will give agents a powerful motivation to expose anyone who imagined their secrets should be more secret than the FBI’s own.
Focus federal money on the first years of education instead of the last. By age 7, every child needs to know how to read and use a computer, and every 10-year-old should understand basic mathematics. Those who are effective in teaching problem children to read shall be paid as much as corporate lawyers. After the age of 10, for a child who has demonstrated the ability to network through a computer (or whatever replaces it), read, write, and handle mathematical constructs, many of the functions of ‘school’ like those of ‘prison’ can be managed with tracking technology and a computer. Schools will continue as all-ages learning and craft centers.
Money, research and attention will be focused on the health of children and child-bearing women, again, the first years instead of the last. The US will End Lead and Alcohol Poisoning of child-bearing women and children. The US will aim for an infant mortality rate better than that of Cuba, instead of worse. Experience in the US has confirmed what most of the industrialized world knew as Common Sense years ago, that if hospitals and health insurance are handled in a strictly for-profit way, the result amounts to cruel and unusual punishment of people for getting sick, getting hurt, and/or being poor. We shall have Single-Payer Health Care, just like the Civilized folks.
Big Pharma can be bought off because we will effectively give them the trade in drugs that are now-illegal. Others in the Sickness Business can be neutralized by putting them on public trial for the thousands of unnecessary deaths their business decisions have caused.
Which brings up
No non-violent offenders should be incarcerated. All non violent offenders should be managed through tracking technology that mainly prevents them from doing whatever they have been a problem doing before, or at least will reliably place them at the scene of any similar crime.
Crime will not be much of a problem without the drug trade and with the explosion of small business that will result from legalizing cash. Closed circuit cameras and theft-proof cars are making street crime rare, even now. Murderers, rapists, both the normal ‘retail’ variety and the corporate ‘wholesale’ type shall serve their time in the super-max facilities that are the flower of our age.
MILITARY LAND FORCES
The US military land forces shall be replaced by locally controlled militias, as specified in the 2nd Amendment. They will be advised and supplied by Officers of a much smaller US Army and Marine Corps, as well as State Police. Part of their task will be the testing and training of all 16, 17, and 18-year olds in Summer ‘Militia Camps.’ They will be trained in basic military discipline and in emergency response appropriate to their age and ability (based on the testing.) At 18, those who succeed will be issued a rifle and a networked communications device like a Blackberry with encryption dedicated to Militia communications, and they will be part of the Citizens Militia. This would replace not just the current land military forces, but DEA, BATF, IRS, FEMA, DHS, most other Federal police/spy organizations, and local police. The Ultimate Force in a given area will be under a local command structure voted into place by its active membership. But by an act of Congress, the Militias can be ‘Nationalized’ and placed under the command of the Officer structure which till then had only been advising and supplying them.
Thus it is possible for localities to be free to govern themselves and prepare themselves for whatever emergencies they anticipate, whether flood, fire, storm, terrorism, or outright invasion, but it is also possible for Congress to mobilize the entire country overnight if that is needed. But there should be No US Troops permanently stationed in other countries.
If a military presence is truly required somewhere not in the US, then it should be organized under the auspices of the UN, or whatever more effective Network of Nations may one day replace it. Troops for such deployments will be drawn from the militias based on training, testing, and desire for more pay.
In the past, the US has refused to sign agreements to extradite war criminals for trial, because conservatives argued that American service personnel could be sent overseas and tried for trumped-up war crimes they did not commit, and then punished in barbaric ways. The US refusal has earned the US the reputation as a haven for war criminals, and given many the impression that conservatives are providing cover for US service personnel to commit war crimes and get away with it.
We will remedy this. Charges of war crimes against US personel will be investigated by independent prosecutors, not the military or Federal authorities, and if the charges seem to have some merit, then the accused may be extradited to the country where the crime is alleged to have taken place. This will happen only if the likely punishment is equal to or less than if they had done the same thing in a shopping mall in Houston.
NAVY AND AIR
The Navy and Air Force shall be repurposed to protect the environment against polluters and free trade against piracy. The budget for the Navy and Air Force should be entirely paid by taxes from foreign or multi-national corporations that sell products to the US, and from the fines they levy on industrial polluters. After all, they are the beneficiaries, so let them pay the bill. The Navies of the world are actually necessary to keep peace on the high seas and address the problem of piracy. They should work together to accomplish just that.
PUBLIC FUNDING OF CAMPAIGNS
Direct cash payments (campaign contributions) to our elected officials are bribery, plain and simple, and they must be stopped. Public financing of elections is the obvious solution, a fall-back position is that public bribery must be Transparent, and should be heavily taxed, partially to pay for rigorous enforcement of the transparency laws. If transparency cops find under-the-table money, they should get to seize it, which will make them extra vigilant.