Monday, December 20, 2010

Solstice Meditation

DaveJ at Open Left poses a discussion topic:
What are some things that a real, honest-to-goodness "far left" would be agitating for, and why isn't anyone doing just that?
Here's a start:
  • Nationalize the oil companies.
  • Guaranteed job or income for everyone, put to work on infrastructure investment projects, alternative energy projects, retrofitting buildings to be energy efficient, etc.
  • Cradle-to-grave Medicare-For-All.
  • Child care for all.
  • Eldercare for all.
  • 6 week paid vacation for everyone.
  • Triple Social Security's payments, lower retirement age to 55.
  • Worker representatives on Boards of Directors.
  • Limits to the how much of larger companies can be owned by a person or entity.
  • When companies reach a certain size they become public entities. (Because they have so much effect on everything.)
  • Companies responsible for externalized cost payback.
  • A person whose job is replaced by technology receives for life a share of the savings.
  • Bring back 90% top tax rates.  (OK I have been agitating for that one.)
  • Very very high estate taxes on very large estates.  Maybe up to 99% on estates over $1 billion.
  • Freedom from distraction.  We have a right to our own attention, free from advertising and commercialization.  The right to public spaces free from commercialization.
How many of these are even "far left" ideas? I'd agree with most of these.  Basically I'm describing Europe here, not Maoist China.  
I like most of these ideas. They seem somewhat left of center in the real world. Too bad I'm stuck in this one where we're taught to consider these ideas a far radical fantasy of socialism bent so far left its fascism, or something.
Some things I'd add:

  • A six hour work day in a four day work week at twice the current pay.
  • Political advertising provided free by communications media companies as a cost of their license to use our public airwaves.
  • Nationalization of all grids: telephony, power, rails etc. with a mandate to improve and maintain the best technology.
These dreams do not mark me as barmy. I have other signifiers for that. And so does everybody else. But dreams they are. That is my current point: As a Free society dedicated to freedom, equality, and technological progress we must provide a firm foundation to every member of our society. FDR called it the Four Freedoms. Truman called it the Fair Deal. JFK called it the New Frontier. LBJ called it The Great Society. But the point is for society to provide what is necessary to every member of our community so that they are able to contribute their best to our culture.
Now the American dream is a perversion of our national goals. We work harder to maintain less than our parents -- oh so briefly -- had in the fifties and sixties. Our children must accept even less because the surplus we make goes to the 2%.
The American dream requires Freedom. Who is free who is a paycheck away from foreclosure? Freedom begins when one's need for food and shelter are satisfied.  Freedom demands the best infrastructure to furnish basic needs with minimal effort; To provide the tools to make what mind can imagine. Freedom requires a well stocked and cultivated mind in a healthy body.
The American dream requires Equality. Equality does not happen when 2% of the people inherit more than 50% of our assets. It requires free education for all to the highest level they can achieve because that way we all can benefit from their best efforts.

The party that makes policies of these ideals is worthy of votes by the 98%. Any party whose policies increase the 2% primarily -- not so much.
UPDATE: 12/22/2010 I am reliably informed by The Kidtm, in the full glow of her newly minted A.B.Hist., that I blew it. (Did not use the in-house fact checker. Am lower than -- Ah-ah! be civil.) Indeed the synapse slipped and are now corrected above. Mr. Truman offered us the Fair Deal. It was the first President Roosevelt who demanded the Square Deal. As the French probably don't say: Chagrin c'est moi.

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