Here are some solutions to the problems of our economy and society today. Label me or pigeonhole me as you will (or already have).
1) Re-re-distribute the wealth in this country. In 1981, the president-who-shall-remain-nameless (or you-know-who) set about crushing unions and giving greater consideration to CEOs than line-workers and, thus, gutted the middle class. Money was taken from those who earned it and palmed off to those who inherited it. The lower the socioeconomic class of the people who receive money, the more likely it is to remain here.
2) Cut the defense budget significantly. By that I mean, cut most of the new weapons systems and a lot of the money for overseas exploits. We are not the cops of the World. We alienate others and cause more attacks than we protect ourselves via overseas presence on the scale at which it exists today. Take that money and invest it in infrastructure—bridges, highways, passenger and freight rail. We can move some of our military personnel over to these activities and train many people to engage in the work.
3) Get religion out of education. If people want to raise their children in a particular religious way of thought, they may do so on their, or their church’s or synagogue’s or mosque’s or temple’s or whatever the structure is called, own dime. After all, religious institutions receive a big enough break via tax-free status. We need to teach about real science, history, math, foreign languages—latest polls say Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic—as well as English.
4) Reduce the student-to-teacher ratios in our schools. One teacher has difficulty teaching 35 students. Education probably is the greatest elements of our infrastructure. More teachers will help.
5) Give greater incentives to people to teach. I mean jack those salaries and perks for people who really are qualified (like my friend Jon Easter). We need more of them and fewer teachers hired primarily as coaches and secondarily as teachers.
6) Legalize all drugs. By that I mean we fully should legalize drugs, not simply decriminalize drugs. When I first suggested this on TV in 1976 (when I received equal time on Channel 10 in Terre Haute—"And now Mark Small, Student Body President of DePauw, will give equal time to voice his opinion...) many thought the idea too far-out. Today? The War on Drugs was lost long ago. Legalize drugs and tax them. They would be sold in stores licensed and monitored by the State. Prices would be lower. There would be no gang crime. (Remember Prohibition? Gang wars over booze ended right after Prohibition ended. We would have far less gun violence.)
7) Release from prisons those people incarcerated only for drug crimes. After all, if we now have legalized drugs, why incarcerate people for matters no longer illegal. If the person in question also is incarcerated because he or she shot somebody, that is a different matter. Drop the drug offense from the conviction, but keep the other offense(s) as is or are.
8) Ban privatized penal facilities. CCA’s model contract requires a signatory governmental entity to provide enough inmates that the facility or facilities maintain 90% capacity. This is supposed to be "the land of the free." We have 25% of the World’s prison population but 5% of the overall population. We should not provide incentives to place people in prison.
9) Adopt single-payor health care—i.e., national health care.
These are a few of my proposals. I posted (or tried to post) part of this on Doug Masson’s blog earlier this morning but am not sure I was successful. If I was, cool; if not, here is a part of the platform I would advocate for "real" change.