Monday, October 12, 2009

A minimum utopia

1. Election reform. All single-seat elections should be held by instant-runoff vote. All multi-seat elections should be held by single-transferrable vote. Consider multi-seat elections for the House and Senate.

2. Referendum, initiative, and recall. Any legislative body should be able to put proposed legislation to the people for direct vote. The people should be able to propose legislation directly. Any elected official should be able to be removed from office. Each of these must, obviously, have some procedural system in place as far as quotas needed to achieve them.

3. Modify the Senate. Reorganize the Senate proportionally by state populations. Rather than have Senators serve indefinitely in six-year terms, have them serve only a single twelve-year term. The Senate can remain the "upper" house where more experienced legislators are able to temper the relative madness of the House, but it should not be a place where a few dozen men rule for life. The Senate should be thought of as a politician's final duty, where they go when they are ready for serious service without worry of reelection.

4. Depersonalize the presidency. Celebrity presidents are exciting but polarizing. The presidency should not be a glamorous job, it should be an administrative job. Replace the single president with a seven-person Executive Council, such that there may be divergent views held and voiced in the executive branch, but with the ability to settle them easily by vote.

5. Single-payer health care. This is so obvious that anyone who disagrees is plainly insane. And stupid. And an asshole.

6. Workplace democracy. End the concept of working for another person, and replace it with the mandate that we work with each other. All non-family businesses must be run democratically, one person, one vote. This doesn't need to apply to day to day management, but it certainly applies to hiring and firing the people who will do that management. Replace boards of directors chosen by stockholders with those elected by employees. Make all decisions regarding the fate of profit (which rightfully belongs to the people who earned it) democratically decided, such that if there is inequality in income among different employees it exists for reasons acceptable to a majority of those people, whatever they might be.

7. Social control of investment. This one is by far the one least likely to ever come to pass, even above reorganizing the Senate and presidency. Abolish Wall Street. Use David Schweickart's model of Economic Democracy instead: public banks give firms grants rather than loans, and the firms' capital assets are taxed to replenish the supply of investment money which is distributed back to the banks on a regional per capita basis. The public banks can have criteria for giving grants other than mere profitability, such as job-creation and environmental security. While private investment may (or may not) still exist, require that privately-held companies can only be sold to the government, who then convert them into democratic firms with public funding.

8. Government as employer of last resort. Establish a right to a job, and if the private sector can't find one for you, the public sector will. There are roads that need maintaining, parks that need cleaning, and a never-ending stream of other projects that could certainly use a few million presently-unemployed people.

9. Strong climate protection. Short term losses are worth it. The GDP won't matter when you're underwater or in famine. Commit to 350 ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Forget cap-and-trade, levy a straight-up carbon tax and redistribute the proceeds to everyone.


No comments:

Post a Comment