Nathan Duncanson commented on 15. Foreclosure Moratorium 2012-02-23 23:20:11 -0500 · Flag
A couple points:

1) Our economic system is designed in such a way that we only have the money necessary for a functioning economy if there is as much debt owing as there is money in circulation.

2) Because the banking institutions who create money only do so when they can also charge interest, they create a situation where the demand for money is always greater than the supply, even in times of hyper-inflation. It also means that defaults must happen, because there is not enough money for everyone to pay both their principal and the associated interest.

Until we address the root cause of our economic collapse, any band-aids to treat the symptoms will provide nothing more than temporary relief.
Nathan Duncanson commented on 14. Banking and Securities Reform 2012-02-23 23:14:19 -0500 · Flag
Since the banking and finance industry is basically running a rigged casino to suck money out of the 99% and funnel it to the 1%, the casino should be completely shut down.

Although banks and insurance companies do provide useful services to the general public (facilitating economic transactions and helping individuals deal with catastrophic losses) those functions would be more efficiently served by nationalizing those companies. Having a single, public bank would make it much easier to clear checks and process credit/debit card transactions. Having a single, public insurance pool would minimize premiums for everyone and enable the pool to handle not just scattered losses to individuals, but also losses to many individuals in a large region (like the hurricane Katrina disaster).
Nathan Duncanson commented on 13. End Outsourcing and Currency Manipulation 2012-02-23 23:04:48 -0500 · Flag
If we end the international trade in currency, then individuals and businesses that wish to do business in other countries (or foreign businesses doing business in our country) they would have to exchange real goods and services – not money – between each other. Do this would automatically force balanced trade.

As it is, the U.S. actually benefits from the trade imbalance. We send money oversees and receive back real goods and services. Of course, the flip side is that the money disappears into foreign hands, who then invest it in commodities, stocks, bonds, U.S. Treasury notes, etc…
Nathan Duncanson commented on 8. Debt Reduction 2012-02-22 01:02:55 -0500 · Flag
Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) holds that government creates money by fiat (regardless of the medium used) and that because government demans that taxes be paid with that money (and has the power to enforce the taxes), the money will circulate – with or without legal tender laws.

When MMT treats the U.S. Federal Reserve and the federal government as a single institution, it can accurately model macro-economic situations within the United States.

Now, to Robert’s comment: with our debt-based currency system, it is impossible for anyone to have a surplus unless someone else has a deficit. Further, the gross surplus is equal in size to the gross deficit. In order for the federal government to have a surplus instead of a debt, everyone else in the economy would be in debt. For the 99% to have positive savings account balances that are greater than the debts owed to other parties, the goverment must be in debt.

Only by fundamentally changing the underlying monetary system can we allow all parties to each have a positive, net financial worth.
Nathan Duncanson commented on 3. Eliminate Private Benefits to Public Servants 2012-02-22 00:40:30 -0500 · Flag
@Lou – David is correct. We cannot restrict the power of corporations without also restricting the power of unions. Fortunately, the need for unions will reduce as the power of corporations is reduced. Indeed, the whole reason unions came into existence was to combat the power of corporations.

As things currently stand, the 1% use the Union vs Business conflict to keep the 99% divided and fighting each other, instead of paying attention to the real problems.
Nathan Duncanson commented on Suggest a Grievance 2012-02-20 00:25:30 -0500 · Flag
Most of the grievances and suggested grievances look like symptoms of a much larger, underlying problem.

If we understand and correct the underlying problem, I think most of the other issues will either resolve themselves, or be a lot easier to resolve.

Major themes so far:
- Equal rights for all (regardless of age, gender, race, etc…).
- Stop harming the environment.
- Restore personal freedoms and liberty, restore constitutional protections for individuals.
- Our nation should provide maximum benefit to as many individuals as possible rather than to a few massive corporations and those corporations’ wealthy owners/controllers. Our government should be responsive to the people rather than to corporations.
- End unnecessary wars. Stop mistreating the people of other nations.

Many of these issues are interrelated. The existence of one problem causes other problems. Those problem cause still others and aggravated the initial problem. Any solution, or set of solutions, we propose should address all of these problems.
Nathan Duncanson commented on 21. Curtailing the Private Prison Industrial Complex 2012-02-19 00:26:17 -0500 · Flag
Agreed, the housing of prisoners is a community responsibility and should be borne and managed by the community (or the government as trustee for the community). Privatization is just a way for private corporations to gain a monopoly by which they can extract wealth from society while returning less in exchange.
Nathan Duncanson commented on 20. Reinstitution of Civil Rights 2012-02-18 02:43:01 -0500 · Flag
We need to go further and demand that our nation treat prisoners of war with the same respect I was taught during my time in U.S. Navy boot camp (in 1985). The atrocities commited by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan during the past 10 years should never have happened. Further, the way our nation is acquiring prisoners, holding then, transferring from place to place even into combat zones all violates the Geneva Conventions for the treatment of Prisoners of War – to which the United States is a signatory. These acts have directly or indirectly “allowed” our nation’s military and intelligence agencies to violate international treaties as well as our constitution.
Nathan Duncanson commented on 19. No Internet Censorship 2012-02-18 02:37:39 -0500 · Flag
We may need to go further and require that all media companies be split into small, independant companies. Then prohibit anyone from owning or controlling more than one media company at a time. That should enable newspapers, T.V. and radio news companies to properly perform their watchdog role over government and large corporations.
Nathan Duncanson commented on 9. Jobs for All Americans 2012-02-18 02:31:01 -0500 · Flag
For most of our society, there is insufficient money to tie employers to employees and sellers with customers.

Setting annual taxes on land and natural resources to the full market rent for the right to use the land and harvest the resources would provide the government with plenty of wealth. Most likely, it would far surpass anything the government needs to carry our its duties. The excess should be equally divided amongst all citizens and residents – thus acting as a basic income guarantee or a national dividend for participating in our nation. The wealth so distributed would greatly reduce poverty, increase economic demand for goods and services, and thus encourage employers to hire employees, reducing (and possibly eliminating) unemployment.
Nathan Duncanson commented on 8. Debt Reduction 2012-02-18 02:24:20 -0500 · Flag
Without changing our monetary system, every penny reduction in the Federal Debt will translate into a penny (or more) reduction in our nation’s money supply. Eliminate the debt and you eliminate money.

As much as I’d like our nation to get out of debt, I’d rather it be in debt and our economy functioning, than debt-free and our economy stopped due to a lack of money.

Since the United States government debts are all denominated in U.S. Dollars, our government can pay off the whole debt whenever it wants by simply printing more money. Doing this all at once might be inflationary, but simply paying off debts as they come due using newly created money is not inflationary. The key to ending the debt is to transition from our debt-based fiat currency to a debt-free monetary system. Instead of borrowing money created by the Federal Reserve, the government should directly create it – saving itself and our nation the interest expense on the money.

Also whole-heartedly agree with Scott that we should tax land (and all other natural resources) instead of people (income taxes, sales taxes).
Nathan Duncanson commented on 6. Healthcare for All 2012-02-18 02:11:31 -0500 · Flag
I think we need to separate health care from employment. Then grant ownership of health records to the patient (or the patient’s guardians). And also allow patients to receive their care in À-la-carte manner, if they so choose.

A coworker of mine has in-laws in Poland, were doctors write prescriptions for X-Rays and the patient then goes to their favorite radiology clinic to get the x-rays. This increases competition between providers at each step of the process, reduces the expenses of each clinic (because they are more focused) and helps reduce overall medical costs.

This might not be as convenient has having everything in the same clinic. However, when one clinic does everything, there is a huge incentive to use all of their services, regardless of cost.
Nathan Duncanson commented on 5. A Fair Tax Code 2012-02-18 02:02:35 -0500 · Flag
From my experience and training in real estate investing, I fully believe that most successful investors gain their wealth by monopolizing what ought to be public resources. Land is a natural resource. Real estate investors look to acquire land and then deny other people access to the land unless they first pay rent to the investor. In commercial real estate, the landlords own the land, but require the tenants to build the buildings, pay the taxes, pay the insurance, maintain the property while also paying rent to the landlord. There is something seriously wrong with this picture: namely that the landlord has done NOTHING to benefit society, yet extracts wealth from society. The full amount of that rent is nothing more than a tax upon society which is given in full to the landlord for doing absolutely nothing.

So if government were funded by collecting the ground rent (or the equivalent for other natural resources), the profit motive to own and control land would go away, reducing rents and making land (and other resources) more readily available to the rest of society. Further, the wealth collected for the government from this would far surpass the wealth extracted by income taxes and sales taxes. In other words, we could totally eliminate taxes on labor. Taxing land and natural resources to the full market rent would remove all the unearned income from private hands and make it available to the community. And since the wealthiest people and corporations tend to control the most resources in both quantity and value, the land and resource taxes are automatically progressive, requiring more from the wealthy and less from the poor.
Nathan Duncanson commented on 4. Term Limits 2012-02-18 01:39:04 -0500 · Flag
I like Maria’s idea. Select representatives at random, with some minor filtering (for age, mental competence, health or serious hardship), ensure they are paid well a reasonable salary and set to avoid poverty upon completion of their terms.
Nathan Duncanson commented on 5. A Fair Tax Code 2012-02-17 00:06:07 -0500 · Flag
We should do away with all income taxes, value-added taxes, and sales taxes. All these taxes add to the tax collection burden, are difficult to enforce, and require citizens and businesses to become unpaid agents of the government.

Instead, replace taxes with rent and fees for using land and natural resources. Land and natural resources exist in limited amounts, are required by everyone, and ought to belong to the community as a whole. Requiring everyone who uses land to annually pay the full market rate rent for the land would ensure that unearned income from land serves the whole community instead of a few privileged owners. Likewise, requiring those who harvest natural resources to pay the full market rent for the right to harvest those resources would ensure any monopoly profits are fully returned to the community rather than enriching a few at the expense of the many.

These changes to our tax system would vastly simplify the collection of taxes. It would also turn over to the government, and hopefully the rest of the community, the vast majority of unearned income in our economy. The other thing I should add, is that after supporting all legitimate government expenses in serving the community, is that the remaining funds should be equally divided and distributed to every citizen and resident of our nation.
Nathan Duncanson commented on 4. Term Limits 2012-02-16 23:52:55 -0500 · Flag
I must agree with previous posters that term limits should not be necessary. Especially as part of the reason our nation’s founders set up staggered, six year terms for the senate was to maintain institutional knowledge and a long-term viewpoint.
Nathan Duncanson commented on 3. Eliminate Private Benefits to Public Servants 2012-02-16 23:49:08 -0500 · Flag
I don’t know the details of federal benefits, but whenever I look at the wages offered by government agencies for the work I do in the private sector, the wages are significantly lower than my current, (and below average), salary. As such, we should remove the word “generous” from “… ONLY collect their salary, generous federal healthcare benefits and pension.”

Or this could be rewritten to treat the highest ranking officials (especially the elected and appointed individuals) differently than the rank and file government employees. The differences should be a matter of degree. Those near the bottom may have a serious economic need to take new employment wherever they find it (and generally have too little clout to cause serious harm) where as those at the top usually have enough resources to live comfortably while unemployed for 5 or more years (but also have the political connections and resources to cause much more serious harm).
Nathan Duncanson commented on 1. Eliminate the Corporate State 2012-02-16 23:29:57 -0500 · Flag
Change paragraph 2 where it says “… by concentrated sources of wealth …” to read “… concentrated wealth …”. Because the wealthy people and corporations are no more a source of wealth than the rest of us. However, they are in a position to receive wealth from the 99%, concentrate it, and then use it against us.
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