THE BIG DO-OVER – Part 1
Getting back to basics is a very good idea. I think this is what folks mean when say, “We want our Country back”. The following “new rules” will demonstrate how the Federal Government system can change without reinventing the wheel.
Restructuring Social Security
1) The States will get involved in running a “public” retirement
account that will be a duplicate of the existing Federal Social
2) Anyone who has contributed to their Social Security account,
and has paid less than $2,000.00 at the Federal level must transfer
what they have on deposit at the Federal level into their State of
residency retirement account, or a Private Sector retirement plan.
When they are out of the Federal system, they must deposit, from
their paycheck, the same amount of withholding money to their
new plan as they did to Federal Social Security. This will be
applicable only to those who have paid less than $2,000.00 into
their existing Social Security account.
3) For those who have paid $2,000.00, or more, to Social Security,
they can transfer out of Social Security and into their State plan, or a Private Sector plan, or stay with their current Social
Security plan. When they opt out of the Federal system, they must deposit, from their paycheck, the same amount of withholding money to their new plan as they did to Federal Social Security. This will be applicable
only to those who have paid more than $2,000.00 into their existing
Social Security account.
4) The State run retirement accounts will accrue no interest, as in the
current Social Security scheme. The Private Sector accounts will be
interest bearing at rates that are normal to investment, annuity, or
stocks and bonds. The individual will be able to set up retirement
accounts offered by any financial institution, private investment plan,
any Corporate sponsored retirement plan, or any Brokerage program.
The plan owner, not the plan administrator, will decide on just how
much risk to take in any of the Private plans they choose.
5) Both State run and Private Sector plans will be fully portable and
transferable in the total amount available – minus a standard $50.00 fee.
Example: If an individual were to move to another State the amount in
their current Private Sector, or State account will be transferred to either
the State run program, or any number of Private Sector retirement
programs in the new State of choice - minus the $50.00 transfer fee.
If available, they may stay with their current plans. The money available
for transfer will be transferred in full to a new plan only after any residency
requirement has been fulfilled in the new State. The individual plan owner
will be responsible for all appropriate paper work for the transfer from the
old State and to the new State, and complete the transfer in a timely fashion.
If you currently have paid $20,000.00 into a New York State plan, and you
move to Wisconsin, you will have to leave your money with the New York
State plan for the six months required to establish legal residency in Wisconsin
(legal residency wait periods vary from State to State, so your transfer will be
conditional on the new State’s requirements). A waiting period is not necessary
for Private Sector plans. Only at the end of this waiting period can you move
your retirement monies from the old State to the new State – again, minus
the transfer fee of $50.00. The $50.00 transfer fee will apply to each
6) Early withdrawals from any of the new plans will result in fees and
penalties similar to those set out for IRA’s, 401-k’s, etc.
This is a way to wean the current generation off Social Security and into a
State-run plan, or a Private Sector plan. The number of people who are
eligible and opt to stay in Federal Social Security will become an
ever-diminishing number of people due to simple attrition. As the Federal
level declines, the State and Private levels will increase until there are no
longer any participants in the current Federal plan. With these retirement
plans at a more local level, there will be more conscientious oversight, and
less room for fraud. Also, the States will be barred from ever using the State
Retirement plan as leverage for bond ratings, and/or borrowing, and/or
outright spending. Creating these State level and Private Sector retirement
plans will result in more money circulated into the National economy, and
have the effect of creating more small businesses and more jobs. This, then,
leads to a more firm middle-class tax base on which to run governments at
the Local, State, and Federal levels. Of the six basic statements in Preamble
of the United States Constitution, this one movement satisfies most of half
of them; “insure Domestic tranquility”; “promote the general Welfare”;
THE BIG DO-OVER – Part 2
Restructuring the Standing Military
“...provide for the common defence...” Nowhere in the Bill of Rights and/or the full U.S. Constitution is there the word “offence” when related to any mention of a military force for the
United States. The word “offence” is only used in conjunction
with Justice and the Legal structure of our Society. Defence as a
military concept applies to “a well-regulated Militia, being
necessary to the security of a Free State...” (The Second Amendment)
The phrase, “...of a free State...” points to a condition whereas individual
States will maintain sufficient Militia as to protect the Nation. This covers
a State-by-State obligation to form what we would consider the National
Guard. Nowhere in the Constitution is a standing military mentioned. This
might lead to a reasonable conclusion that our current National, standing
military force exists solely for “offence”. If you take this conclusion to the next
level, you can easily surmise that the formation of a standing military was for
protecting our “overseas” interests. By having “overseas” interests, are we not
in the business of Colonialism? This would seem strange, as Colonialism is a
big part of why we revolted against Great Britain; indicating that we might
not be too fond of “lording” over other sovereign Nations, or Nation States.
Now, one could make the argument that our standing military is
unconstitutional. Some may argue that the best defence is a good offence,
and thereby the justification for a standing military. Either way, nothing
about a National standing military is mentioned by our Founding Fathers.
The first one hundred years of our Nation’s existence actually saw invasions
on our claimed and/or sovereign territories. We were visited by the British a
few times; by Mexico a few times, and the Native North Americans along
with the French tiptoed over the line occasionally. All of that action could
have easily been taken care of with a “well regulated Militia” drawn from
each State without the need for a standing Army. And, from time to time,
we found it necessary to venture outside our Borders to “protect our
National interests”. That just sounds too much like good old Colonialism to
me. A cursory look at our history indicates that we've been doing this
“offence” thing for as long as we've been a sovereign Nation. As of late, we
don’t even bother to declare War on anybody; we do it by Congressional
Resolution, or Executive Order.
Currently, there are more folks in the National Guard and Reserves than
there are in the all-volunteer Military. Logically, this would seem a pretty
good time to dissolve our standing volunteer Military and revert to the
original intent of our Constitution by organizing a “well regulated Militia”.
The military/industrial complex could still produce our weapons of mass
destruction, and we could put them on display on a regular basis to
discourage any thoughts of invading our shores. Reverting to a “Militia”
status might have a beneficial effect on our “intelligence” community.
We could afford to meld the best of our current “intelligence” Agencies into
one entity that would serve our National Defence. There would have to be
outside counsel to figure out what to do with the Pentagon; perhaps a
National indoor sports venue could be the result of dissolving our
overwhelmingly burdensome Department of Defense. Also, the last
paragraph of Article 1, section 10 of the Constitution needs a rewrite
based on the States providing a “well regulated Militia”.
THE BIG DO-OVER – Part 3
Restructuring our Education System
When it comes to our National education system, the most urgent bridge to cross is that of duplication. If you haven’t seen the organizational chart of our Federal Department of Education, you really should look at it. The way in which it is put together leads one to wonder what, if anything,
productive and/or useful comes out of this monstrous bureaucracy. Having perused at the Federal level, go check out your State’s Department of Education.
Lay the Federal and the State side-by-side. Do you see any
redundancies? I have done this exercise with the New York State Department
of Education, and found the Federal Agency is almost a carbon copy of the
State’s Agency. The most efficient way to run an education system is to bring
it down to a local level where it is manageable. The States could easily take
this on and use a Federal Department of Educationally for guidance in
curricula and some basic standards to achieve a National benchmark.
This can be accomplished with about ten percent of people current working
at the National level. The folks who no longer have a Federal job can work
at the State level, and, probably, produce a better product than they do
sitting in Washington DC.
THE BIG DO-OVER – Part 4
Restructuring the Electoral System
The U.S. Constitution spends a lot of time and effort on our elected officials,
the makeup of our Legislative Branch, and how we are to conduct National
elections. Two omissions that were probably taken for granted at the
beginning are any formal mention of term limits for our Legislators, and
that elective office was not meant to be a career. I don’t suggest that I have
the exact number of years a person can serve, but there has to be a reasonable
number that we can all agree on. My personal preference would be four
terms in the House of Representatives, and three terms in the Senate.
The Executive Branch might do better with a three-term limit. It seems
there is a lot of unfinished business with the current two-term limit. Three
small changes involving the Supreme Court might be in order. First, let all
the judges be elected by the citizenry they are supposed to represent.
Second, increase the number of judges from nine to eleven. These changes
would more fully cover the will of the people and add a broader dimension
to court decisions that affect the whole Country. Thirdly, apply term limits
to the Supreme Court. I don’t think it is fair, or just, to have, for instance,
an octogenarian ruling on cases that involve current issues that they don’t
understand. Another concern is that of our “Electoral College”. This is such
an antiquated mechanism that it has become the main reason why people
don’t turn out to vote on a regular basis. When our citizens don’t vote, we
have lost our democracy.
THE BIG DO-OVER – Part 5
Re-defining What Issues Do Not Belong at the Federal Level
Our Supreme Court and the rest of our Federal Government have no
prerogative to weigh in on issues such as abortion, birth control, same
sex marriage, whether Corporations are people, etc. They should proclaim
that these categories are not issues that should involve government, and,
therefore, have no place in the Federal Justice system. The Legislative
Branch can produce Law that the Federal government does not have any
obligation to, nor will they pay for, categories such as abortion and
contraception. A strong and rational moral fiber of the citizenry should be
deciding these issues, not the Federal government. Most of these
“controversial” topics were left out of our Constitution because at the time
there was no perceived need to address them politically.
THE BIG DO-OVER – Part 6
Re-sizing the Federal Government
As previously mentioned in reference to the organizational chart for the U.S. Department of Education, you can skim through every other Departmental and Agency organizational chart to get an idea of the sheer weight of our Federal Bureaucracies. When you sink your teeth into one of these Departments, or Agencies, you quickly realize that not only is there redundancy at the State level, but also the job they claim to be
doing can done with less than half the staffing they currently have. There a
lot of arguments that would have you believe that shrinking the Federal
government would create an unemployment fiasco. Granted it may sting a
bit at first, but in fairly short order the States would take up some of slack,
and, by infusing the economy with more money from consumers, there
would be more opportunity in Private Sector employment. Rewriting our tax
laws would go a long to achieving close to full employment, as would
reconstructing, or throwing out, a lot of our Treaties and Trade Agreements.
If we can’t take care of ourselves, how on earth can we expect to take care of
anyone else? The serious and responsible avenue would be to get our own
house in order, then try the broader, international thing without being
“colonial” about it. Nobody is going to take us seriously if we don’t fix
what’s wrong inside our borders first.
Restructuring Social Security
Restructuring the Standing Military
Restructuring our Education System
Restructuring the Electoral System
Re-defining What Issues Do Not Belong at the Federal LevelResizing the Federl Government