Our host asked us this morning to come up with something in terms of a vision. A floor! I said. Some base level below which we don't allow people to fall. On reflection, I thought that perhaps we are unlikely (at best) to provide a real social safety net. What we need, I think, is something to restore a sense of fairness in society. A badly missing sense of fairness, the idea of a commonweal, the kind of justice that begins with economics and ends with fair laws for everyone, because people no longer feel they are engaged in a vicious, social darwinist experiment.
This is my half-assed shot. This isn't much more than an off the cuff Quote For Discussion, except I'm quoting myself, so it's not as interesting. It doesn't deserve any recs! But I hope you'll read it, and think about it, a little 🙂
As of sixty days from the passage of this act, the following will become the law of the United States.
I. The Controlled Substances Act and all laws relating to the possession and sale of controlled substances are declared void. The list of all voided laws is contained in Appendix A.
a. All sentences, or portions of sentences, issued under the act, are declared void.
b. Released prisoners under this law are eligible for up to two years support under the current formulae for SSD payments.
c. Released prisoners under this law shall be provided with housing and transitional support.
II. All citizens of the United States will be issued biometric identification.
a. Issuance of said identification shall comprise registration for voting in all national offices and referenda.
b. The state of residence, where such residence is established by a registered presence in state over six months, shall comprise registration for state and local elections.
c. No legal location or residence shall be required for issuance of ID. Appropriate and timely assistance will be provided to individuals who cannot document birth or residence.
d. Privacy shall be safeguarded as outlined in Appendix B
III. All citizens, regardless of work history, shall be eligible for federal assistance at a minimum level budget sufficient for housing, food and basic communications in the event of disability.
a. Disability will not be assessed on a partial basis
b. Where appropriate therapy is provided under section VI, eligibility shall be reassessed no more or than every three years and no less than every seven.
IV. All citizens shall be eligible for up to five years of federal postsecondary education assistance, to consist of at least 90 percent outright grant, at an accredited institution.
V. All federal minimum sentence guidelines are hereby declared void. Sentencing shall conform to the maximum guidelines outlined in Appendix C.
VI. The federal programs Medicare and Medicaid are hereby abolished. Any citizen or resident making less than the deduction amount in section IX shall be included in the federal insurance program, to be assesed at ten percent of income over the current federal poverty level, such program to provide aid at the level of Medicare or Medicaid, whichever is greater. Future treatments will be subject to the current Medicare and Medicaid criteria for availability.
VII. No loan may be issued at a rate exceeding 20 percent annual interest, or 18 percent over the current federal bank rate, whichever is lower.
VIII. No civil or criminal financial judgment shall retain a force beyond five years on individuals earning below the federal deduction amount determined in section IX.
IX. The individual income tax deduction is set at sixty thousand dollars per year, in 2008 dollars, and shall be inflation adjusted annually to the current inflation rate or cost of living index, whichever is greater. The tax rate over 200 thousand dollars a year (adjusted at the same rate and by the same criteria) shall be set at 80 percent.
X. Past credit history shall not be used or evaluated for any employment which does not directly involve financial transactions where the applicant has the ability to set the amount handled. Past credit history shall not be used or evaluated to determine eligibility for rental housing, communications services, or basic utilities where the applicant provides the first and last month’s payment and a deposit equal to half of one month's estimated total payment.
XI. Citizenship shall vest after ten years residence in the United States, without exception or regard for the initial legality of entry or residence.