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An Economic Plan Worth Considering
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An Economic Plan Worth Considering
By Ziad K. Abdelnour
We've heard so far a number of economic plans from a number of the GOP Presidential candidates. Some very solid and detailed, others barely scratching the surface.
Given my 30 year experience on Wall Street, I thought I'd share some of my personal thoughts against the plans we've heard so far and maybe compare notes.
I believe the first thing to be done is to abolish the Federal Reserve. It is owned by and operated for the benefit of the biggest banks in the world. Its sole purpose has been to enrich the few at the expense of the many through its insidious use of inflation and debt issuance. It has been around for less than 100 years and has debased the USD by 96%. The U.S. Treasury has the authority to issue the currency of the country. It did so from 1789 until 1913.
The 2nd thing to do would be to have the Securities Exchange Commission be an essential part of the corrections needed on Wall Street because Wall Street's business ethics are frankly at the lowest they have ever been and Wall Street simply cannot be trusted to manage its business properly anymore. $34 trillion in wealth destruction since 2008 & bankers from major institutions still haven't been held responsible for financial crash. Insanity at its best.
The FASB would be directed to make all banks and financial corporations value their assets at their true market value. This would reveal the mega Wall Street banks and corporations like GE and the likes to be insolvent. An orderly bankruptcy of all insolvent financial firms involving the sell-off of their legitimate assets to well-run risk adverse banks that didn’t screw up would ensue. Bondholders and stockholders would realize their losses for awful investment decisions. The economic system would be purged of its bad debt.
The currency of the US would be backed by hard assets. A basket of gold, silver, platinum, uranium, and some other limited hard commodities would back the USD. If politicians attempted to spend too much, the price of this basket would reflect their inflationary schemes immediately.
The 16th Amendment would be repealed and the income tax would be scraped. It would be replaced with a national consumption tax. The more you consume, the more taxes you pay. Wages, savings and investment would be untaxed. The tax code is the source for much of politicians’ power. Its demise would further reduce Washington DC control over our lives. By the same token, Donald Trump's bold tax plan is something seriously worth taking a close look at.
All corporate, farm, education, and social engineering subsidies would be eliminated. All Federal employees would have their pay slashed by 10% and the workforce would be reduced by 20% over 5 years. Federal health benefits and pension benefits would be set at average private industry levels.
The Social Security System would be completely overhauled. Anyone 50 or older would get exactly what they were promised. The age for collecting SS would be gradually raised to 72 over the next 15 years. Those between 25 and 50 would be given the option to opt out of SS. They would be given their contributions to invest as they see fit if they opt out. Anyone entering the workforce today would not pay in or receive any benefits. The wage limit for SS would be eliminated and the tax rate would be reduced from 6.2% to 3%.
The Medicare system is unsustainable. It would be converted from a government program to private market based program. The Federal mandates, rules and regulations would be eliminated. Senior citizens would be given healthcare vouchers which they would be free to use with any insurance company or doctor based on price and quality. Insurance companies would compete for business on a national basis. Doctors would compete for business. The GAO would have their budget doubled and they would audit Medicare fraud & Medicaid fraud and prosecute the criminals without impunity.
The healthcare bill would be repealed. Insurance companies would be allowed to compete with each other on a national basis. Tort reform would be implemented so that doctors could do their jobs without fear of being destroyed by slimy personal injury lawyers. Doctors would need to post their costs for various procedures. Price and quality would drive the healthcare market.
The entitlement state would be dismantled. The criteria for collecting welfare, SSDI, food stamps and unemployment benefits would be made much stricter. Unemployed people collecting government payments would be required to clean up parks, volunteer at community charity organizations, pick up trash along highways, fix and paint houses in their neighborhoods and generally keep busy in a productive manner for society.
A free market method for stabilizing the housing market would be for banks to voluntarily reduce the mortgage balances of underwater homeowners in exchange for a PAR (Property Appreciation Right). The homeowner would agree to pay off the PAR to the Treasury (and administered through the IRS) out of future price appreciation on the existing home or subsequent property. The homeowner would be excluded from taking on any home equity loans or executing any “cash out” refinancing until the PAR was satisfied. The maximum PAR obligation accepted by the Treasury would be based on the value of the home and the income of the homeowner.
I’m sure there are many more solutions which non-captured, intelligent, reasonable citizens could put forth to save this country. None of these ideas would be acceptable to the country’s owners. They would reduce their wealth and power. What these oligarchs do not realize is that we are in the midst of a Fourth Turning. Those who experienced the last one have died off. The existing social order will be swept away. It is likely to be violent and bloody. Good people and bad people will die. When the Crisis reaches its climax we will have the opportunity to implement good solutions. There is also the distinct possibility that our increasingly ignorant populace will turn to a messianic psychopath that promises them renewed glory. Decades of delusional decisions will lead to a future that will not be orderly or controllable.
I just hope all those prescriptions will not go unheeded although they certainly go far, long-term, in fixing a system which is quite dysfunctional and broken.
Draining the swamp of our present economic morass will certainly require drastic action tantamount to a real revolution in both thought and practice.
The Old Order has gotten us into this mess, and cannot, or is unwilling, to get us out. It is past time for them to go.
Quick fixes to jump starting a moribund economy would include: blowing another bubble of some sort, and/or promoting a policy of economic growth driven by technological innovation (not likely due to policy constraints and dearth of investment in technology in this country); reduction in interest rates and/or taxes (interest rates cannot be further reduced because they are already close to 0%, and a tax reduction is not permissible in an environment of planned government expansion); stabilization of a tax code which promotes savings and investment (a real hot potato in a society guided by elites who are staunch supporters of egalitarianism for the masses); debasement of the dollar to stimulate export growth (with serious inflationary implications); and austerity (where the gains of the malefactors who profited in the economy’s demise will stay in guilty hands, and the ever-shrinking middle class which generally attempted to do the right thing will become progressively pauperized).
Nothing much in a positive, productive sense can be accomplished under our government, as presently constituted, as it has devolved into a Fascistic, crony-corporatist construct.
Government - and most specifically the US political establishment - is where the real change must occur. Our venal Solons should be term-limited to a maximum of two terms per position and have to live most of their lives as common citizens in the legal environment they have helped create. Campaign contributions should be tightly restricted and controlled (no more obscene, billion dollar campaigns). Congressional retirement should be provided only via Social Security or other funds which are open to all persons who choose to join – no more special congressional sweetheart programs. And health insurance would be afforded either privately or within the same public health program available to everyone else – no Obamacare exemptions.
Until those who govern are forced to experience outcomes consistent with those experienced by the governed, I am afraid the Republic will drift ever further away from the establishment principles envisioned by those rebellious Founders, who were intoxicated upon the fumes of liberty, fraternity, and equality of opportunity.
Ziad K. Abdelnour is a Wall Street Investor & Financier, Pres.& CEO Blackhawk Partners, Chairman of the Financial Policy Council and Author of Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics
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