Friday, February 27, 2009

A Report From The Frontlines - Part 3

In the time it's taken me to post the complete "report from the frontlines" trilogy, President Obama has succeeded in getting Congress to approve a stimulus plan to keep us from entering a Mad Max future. Personally, I hate that this "bailout" is necessary, and there is a part of me that thinks "bring on Thunderdome Tina Turner" just on principle, as a severe act of fairness for those of us who did not live so beyond our means. But, I agree with President Obama (damn, that still feels so good to say) that extraordinary measures need to be taken to pull our economy out of the downward spiral that it's in - and, currently, the practical solutions me is winning the battle with righteous Thunderdome me.

So, here are some of my ideas on how we, and our government, should proceed...

1. As I mentioned in the last installment of this oh-so-compelling three part series, the banks need to immediately put a halt to the waves of short sales that are propelling the real estate markets downward. Homeowners need to have just two the mortgage or have your property foreclosed upon.

2. The federal government should force all banks to modify each and every homeowner's primary residence mortgage to 30-year fixed 4% rate product. This is the only fair solution that will stop the waves of distressed properties entering the market due to re-setting ridiculously adjustable interest rates, as well as provide a benefit to the majority of people who are continuing to fulfill their mortgage obligations. A 4% interest rate would also bring buyers back in to the market, helping to further stabilize prices and banking systems.

3. There needs to be regulatory legislation that requires a minimum percentage of down payment for any real estate purchase - possibly 10%, which would help prevent another housing bubble, and still keep home ownership within reach to a significant portion of the population.

4. Instead of pouring money into the sinking financial systems, we need to pour money into job creation through infrastructure investment. There is a lot of this idea in the stimulus plan, but I'd like to see it go further than it does. Americans need to see some real, tangible results from the biggest spending package that our nation's history. I'd like to see the billions of dollars invested in putting Americans to work building wind and solar farms, massive public transportation systems, and new schools. The factories of the Detroit automakers that don't survive because of decades of bad business decisions could be used to build a new America and a better world.

5. End marijuana prohibition now. Listen, I'm not a stoner. I don't like pot, and haven't smoked out in more than a decade. But, it's just absurd that tobacco and alcohol, both of which are extremely addictive, dangerous and harmful, are available at the grocery store, while we spend billions of dollars per year investigating, intercepting, arresting and housing people who buy and sell a prohibited plant. We would immediately save an estimated $7.7 billion in prohibition enforcement, and we would gain about $6.2 billion in annual tax revenue.

6. Bring the troops in Iraq home now. The War on Iraq was lost the day we realized that there were no weapons of mass destruction. We invaded on the premise that Saddam Hussein had terrible biological and chemical weapons pointed at the United States and our goal was to dismantle the weapons and the sinister government behind them. And, now, almost six years after the initial invasion, and the announcement that there actually were no WMDs, we're still there. We don't know why we're there. We don't have any goals, other than to bring democracy to the Iraqi people - who, for the most part, just want us to get the fuck out of their homeland. Let's bring home 100,000 of our young men and women who are currently patrolling the streets and deserts of Iraq. Let's get them back home and into the economy, and cut out nearly a billion dollars of spending per month.

7. In the near future, in order to stimulate a new economic model, I would support eliminating income taxes and the IRS, and switching to a consumption tax. Trust me, it kills me to agree with Mike Huckabee on anything. But, the truth is that our current system of taxing income has become so complicated that it's become more of an art than a science, and it seems like no one really knows how much income tax they're really supposed to pay. Tim Geithner, the person in charge of the economic rescue of our nation, couldn't even figure out how much he was supposed to pay! A broad sales tax of, let say 30%, would be fair in its even distribution, logical in its eas of implementation, and smart in its promotion of savings and less use of limited resources.

8. Universal health care. I can't imagine how anyone could possibly not support a national system of high standard health care available to all Americans. Medical bills are the number one cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States.

If I ruled the world, these would be some of my solutions to the mess that we're in. I think Obama's plan is a good one, and I'm hopeful that we are nearing the bottom of the spiral.

What are your thoughts?


Stimpy Stu said...

I wish you ruled the world.

Cyrus said...

If I did rule the world, I would have appoint you Cupcake Czar.