Everyday Americans get angrier and more hopeless given the insanely irresponsible activities of our non-representative government. It is often asked: “What can we do or how do we begin to straighten this mess out?” After gingerly side stepping the solutions that could get me arrested for/and convicted of subversion and sedition, if not treason, I came up with another silly idea I would like to credit to Melissa Harris Perry at MSNBC. It’s a little wordy, and somewhat heady, but it’s my proposal for collective fairness, choice and personal responsibility reform in America.
According to Perry, we are all part of a greater collective, especially our kids. I get it. We all have the same value to each other and we all should respect that value. Again, I get it. So how do we manage this lofty goal of social justice and equal shares in American prosperity prescribed by Ms. Perry without bankrupting the Republic? Moreover, how do we soothe the national fears about the future of America given the ongoing and unprecedented expansion of government spending and intrusion into our lives without devastating our national economy and our Constitution?
I have a lofty idea called “Melissa Perry Shared Responsibility Accounts (SRA).” Coupled with a few minor tweaks to existing law, instead of thousands of pages of unread legislation, this “regular guy” idea might just save America. Humor me.
According to my proposal, to live, go to school, work, or own a business in the US, you and your parents must be U.S. citizens. No guest worker crap, no student visas, no dual citizenship, just all of us, collectively functioning in a melting pot of a fiscally responsible U.S. society.
My plan proposes to eliminate all federal income taxes, payroll taxes, corporate taxes, estate taxes and replace them with a 15% consumption tax on U.S. made products, a 20% consumption tax on foreign made goods (this includes food). Also, Capital gains taxes will be charged on foreign investment in the U.S. and American investment in foreign companies at a rate of 20%. Capital gains acquired through investment in US owned ventures by U.S. citizens will no longer be taxed.
To make my plan possible, every American citizen will be assigned at birth and/or the day they are granted citizenship, a legitimate verifiable social security number (no more taxpayer ID). Every citizen over 16 years old will be assigned a “Shared Responsibility Account or SRA” which keeps a balance of their share of current government debt (now over $50K) plus any future additional entitlements paid out for support of there household and their dependents. A reformed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will establish a minimum monthly payment or Shared Responsibility Payment (SRP) based upon life expectancy and income (adjusted annually for reduced SRA balance) and that amount will be confiscated each month from your paycheck or bank account until you have paid off your debt to what I like to call, the new Melissa Perry American collective.
In keeping with the “collective” concept, parents will be financially responsible for any federal assistance received by their children until these dependents are of legal working age (16). In other words the kids tab, for government assistance, goes on the parents SRA account until the dependent child is old enough to work and start paying it themselves. Likewise the surviving children of a retired, disabled, or deceased parent become not only the heir to their parent’s estate, but they are also responsible for the accumulated unpaid debt share and federal benefits balance or Shared Responsibility Account balance for their parents. If a families Shared Responsibility Account balance exceeds the value of the family estate, the IRS can take ownership of said estate (can you say lien) until such time SRA balances are made current or resolved. This debt responsibility carries from generation to generation until the family is government debt free and becomes a net productive taxpayer.
In an effort to pay down the national debt and curb federal budget deficit spending, minimum “Shared Responsibility Payments (SRP) will be set at a minimum of 20% of a citizens monthly income until their SRA balances are paid in full. All working citizens with “Shared Responsibility Account” balances must maintain an income to shared responsibility payment ratio of 5:1. In other words you must pay 20% of your income every month of your working life until your balance is zero. If you keep your balance at zero you will not be responsible for any payment since you have already paid your debt to the new fiscally responsible American collective.
All citizens or shared responsibility account holders over the age of sixteen will have their accounts coded with a “Responsibility Lifestyle Score (RLS) similar to a credit rating. The lower your SRA accounts balance to income ratio the higher the RLS Score. This Score will become the new eligibility test for applying for federal education and mortgage assistance. In other words, if you owe the government or the “collective” too much money and/or aren’t making you monthly payments (resulting in a low RLS score) you will be declined any federal financial assistance for post secondary education or a federally backed home mortgage loan.
Also, if your shared responsibility account becomes unsustainable i.e. your are in danger of default. The IRS reserves the right to confiscate your income and place you on temporary budget control until you are able to live within your means and meet the minimum standards of your shared responsibility account obligations.
For those who cannot obtain gainful employment in the private sector, a job will be provided to you in the government or public sector and you will be paid the difference between your shared responsibility payment and your monthly income until such time as you find better employment and/or bring your SRA within acceptable and established IRS guidelines. Since everyone citizen must participate, this program would bring true diversity and a spirit of inclusion to our one sided and terribly complicated tax code.
Social Security would be phased out over the next 15 years for anyone under 49. It was a scam to begin with and its model is unsustainable. Sorry folks, but we were all had and American families will have to begin to accept that we are just as responsible for our aging parents, as they were for us when we were coming up. Taking care of Grandma and Grandpa used to be an honorable family tradition in America. To be blunt, our senior’s can be trusted to help raise our families a whole lot more than government subsidized daycare or Pre-K public education can.
As part of this plan, the Executive and Legislative branches (our elected representatives) will also share responsibility for any budget deficits accrued during their time in office. If the government, congress and the President overspend real tax revenue creating budget deficits that add to the national debt and by extension increase citizens balances in their Shared Responsibility Accounts (SRA), only states and congressional districts whose representatives voted for that budget will see increases in their account balances. In addition those representatives who supported deficit spending legislation will forfeit their salaries and their campaign funds until that deficit is repaid by their states constituencies.
Also this plan would include the elimination of not-for-profit status to any group except well defined charities who benefit the sick, elderly and the disabled. In other words Unions and PACS would now be required to pay taxes and “social welfare groups” like Obama’s OFA, who promote political agendas like income redistribution would no longer be permitted to operate tax free.
As crazy as this proposal may sound, ask yourself a few questions: Would government grow or shrink? Would anyone vote for candidates who support entitlement expansion and deficit spending? Would our nation be discussing Immigration Reform? How about healthcare costs? Debt ceiling increase? Inflation? Unemployment Rates? More importantly would it bring American families back together?
I know it all sounds confusing and ridiculous, but I would argue that this would cause a renaissance in both American politics and more importantly American culture. The level of public engagement in our collective governance would intensify, corporate influence and national campaigning would wither and the concept of the shared responsibility would become a reality. And it wouldn’t take amending the U.S. Constitution or break a single law.
More importantly it only took two pages to outline.