Ok... I realize that so far, I've been somewhat heavy-handed in the finger-pointing department. I've drawn a clear focus at what I perceive as the root of many of our problems: the Plutocracy.
What I haven't done yet is offer any solutions. I'd be some kind of asshole if all I did was bitch and moan about the way things are, without offering any way to fix it, wouldn't I?
Well, here we go...
Here's how I'll do this... I'll list the law, and then demonstrate it's need and impact. This isn't gonna be the same shit you've heard on TV or radio. These are MY ideas! Most of these aren't the ideas or thoughts that you've seen expressed anywhere else, so read on with the understanding that you're not just gonna see the same warmed over crap you've seen and heard on the radio and television. Sound good? This is gonna be fun!
- Tie Executives' personal tax rates on ALL INCOME, and corporate tax rates, to the amount of assistance their employees need. The more assistance (food stamps, Medicaid, etc.) their workers need, the more they pay in taxes.
Let's use Wal Mart as an example, here. The Walton family (the family who owns Wal Mart, Sams Club, Pets Mart, etc.) owns more wealth than the bottom 42% of all Americans COMBINED! They make OBSCENE annual salaries, while over half of their employees are on food stamps! On their disgusting salaries, they paid a family average of around 15% in taxes. So, not only are they paying their employees next to nothing, they're paying next to nothing in taxes, as well...
… but their salaries are costing the REST OF US a SHITLOAD of money in tax dollars! Because Wal Mart refuses to pay their employees a decent wage, the rest of us have to pay for the food stamps and other subsidies that Wal Mart's workers need to survive!
I think the WALTONS AND WAL MART should have to pay for those benefits, because THEY cause the need for the benefits! That gives them an option... either they can cut THEIR OWN salaries and pay their employees better, or they can pay 98% above $500k to meet the needs of their employees!
There you go... a way to reduce the wage gap, the wealth gap, and "spending" all in one... but I'm just getting started, here...
- If the press is to be free, as prescribed by the First Amendment, then it must be FACTUAL!
One of the biggest problems we have today, is our media. So-called “news” organizations lie freely and regularly to their audiences, which means that we do not have a reasonably informed electorate. All the major networks are guilty, and ESPECIALLY the cable “news” networks (Fox, above all).
The damage that's been done to our country by the utter failure of our media and press is insurmountable. Responsibility and ethics have entirely left the building. Something has to be done to fix this. The requirement of factual reporting would protect the spirit of the First Amendment, as well as help to break some of the lies that the public has been fed. Propaganda networks masquerading as “news” would no longer be able to get away with saying “Obama was born in Kenya” or “There are death panels in Obamacare” or “Trickle down economics is working”... people would be told the TRUTH, and would have to vote on the FACTS, rather than the BULLSHIT that's out there now!
This would also force news outlets to report stories that are otherwise quashed by their parent companies and advertisers. If they're going to be competitive, they would have to cover ALL the stories in a clear, concise, honest fashion; not just the ones that are convenient to their sponsors and ideology.
- If a Church or religious organization is going to preach politics from the pulpit, then they should pay taxes.
The First Amendment sets up a “catch 22” with regards for Churches. On one hand, you have the first ten words, which read, “Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion...” but later, it says, “... or abridging the freedom of speech...”
Arguably, if the Church has it's freedom of religion and speech, then saying that it can't impose itself on the law of the land, there's a conflict there. As a resolution, a deal was struck. The Churches were granted a tax exempt status, provided they stay away from political speech.
Several religious organizations, however, have not taken this to heart. Consider organizations like Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, and all the other anti-gay and anti-abortion groups, who believe that THEIR religious beliefs should become law. Obviously, they are committing a breech of their end of the contract, so in my mind, they should either lose their tax-exempt status or pay a fine. If they can't live up to their end of the bargain, they don't get the perks... it's that simple!
- Limit executive compensation.
Over the last 30 years, the wages of the people at the top have exploded, while the rest of our salaries have stagnated and/or declined. That's just a fact. We all know it. We've all seen it. If THEIR wages have gone UP and ours have gone DOWN, then it becomes obvious that the raises that WE were due were STOLEN by the people at the top! The executives have proven that they're not going to be honest or fair with regards to compensation, so steps have to be taken to restore balance.
If executive compensation were limited to 100 times (or even 150 times) that of their lowest paid employee, then things would have to change FAST! It would put more money in the hands of people who SPEND it rather than HORDE it. The increased consumer spending would create the need for jobs, which would lower the unemployment rate. On top of that, people would be making more money, so they would actually be able to clean up their credit, buy houses and cars, and regain their financial footing.
- Limit executive benefits.
One of the things we've seen over the years, is the slashing of benefits to employees. While the employees have to do with less, the people at the top remain comfy. There should be a law that says executives should receive the EXACT SAME benefits they offer their employees and NO MORE!
Executive bonuses would dramatically drop, as they would be forced to spread the wealth among ALL the people that worked to make the business successful... not just the shitwaffles at the top! A successful business is a TEAM effort, and the spoils should be shared by the WHOLE team; not just the coaches!
On top of that, the Executives would have to see the health care system in a more similar light to the rest of us! AND, if they get a pension, then WE SHOULD, TOO!!!
… and check THIS out... executives of companies that give their employees NO benefits (I'm looking at YOU, Wal Mart) wouldn't have THEIR benefits either!!! QUIT YOUR FUCKIN' BITCHING! TRY LIVING LIKE THE PEOPLE YOU'VE DEEMED YOURSELVES SUPERIOR TO!!!
- Break up monopolies.
Ahhhhhh... an oldie, but a goodie... revived from the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt; necessary once again. How about an example...
Have you ever heard of a company named Luxottica? Probably not, but they own an entire INDUSTRY! Wanna know what companies they own? Well...
Lens Crafters, Sunglass Hut, Target Optical, Sears Optical, Pearle Vision... just about every major optical chain you can find...
They also own...
Ray Ban, Oakley, Arnette, Vogue, Persol, Revo, Oliver Peoples, Steroflex, Mosley Tribes, and ESS... AS WELL AS the the optical lines for Anne Klein, Brooks Brothers, Bvlgari, Burberry, Chanel, Chaps, Coach, Fox, Dolce & Gabana, DKNY, Donna Karan, Miu Miu, Polo, Paul Smith, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Stell/McCartney, Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch,and Versace.
So, they own all the major chains AND most of the brands that are sold everywhere in the country... tell me how that's NOT a monopoly... where's the “free market,” here???
Consider this... Luxottica is just one of SEVERAL monopolies around the country. Want a few more examples?
Ok... How about this...
How many companies other than Comcast can you go to for Cable TV service?
Can you start an independent radio station?
Monopolies are EVERYWHERE, and if we want to offer any REAL kind of “free market competition,” the monopolies have to be broken up! Stricter regulations must also be put in place to prevent them from regaining their stranglehold on their various markets and industries.
- Create “Mediation Centers” for workers to address their grievances against their employers.
As union membership has declined, so have workplace conditions. Employers now openly and blatantly commit abuses against their workforce, knowing that people are afraid to lose their jobs if they speak up!
I think it's time to make it easier for workers to address their concerns without fear of retaliation. People should be able to speak their minds about their working conditions without being seen as insubordinate.
The people may have “freedom of speech” in society and with regards to our government, but when it comes to our places of employment, that freedom ends! People should be able to express their opinions without fear!
If concerns are presented to the “Mediation Center,” WITH EVIDENCE OF MALFEASANCE, then concerns should be addressed by means of mediation between officers of the company and the workforce. This would also have the benefit of dictating trends among the working populous regarding laws and regulations that are necessary. For example, if there are lots of people coming in complaining that their employers aren't allowing them to take breaks and it can be proven, then obviously legislation is needed to fix that problem. Or if unreasonable quota expectations are required... or if managers speak in a demeaning way...
The “Mediation Center” will also monitor statistics and trends regarding the workforce. It will be a direct link of communication between the government and the working class, which will give us more of a voice in government, bypassing the lobbyists who really don't give a fuck about how we're treated.
The goal with this is to make employers more empathetic to the needs of their employees. It will balance out the power that the rotten shitwaffles at the top have over the people at the bottom. It'll give a very clear picture of what the working class is going through and bring these issues more to the forefront. This can be paid for by fines assessed to companies who have high numbers of complaints. If they have more complaints, then obviously, they have a lot to fix and it's going to cost a lot to mediate that. However, smaller businesses that have smaller, minor complaints and will take less mediation don't have to pay anything (or very little) for their assistance. The companies that cause the majority of the problems pay more to resolve them... it's that simple. It'll teach a lesson to all the douchebags at the top who think they're fuckin' better than the rest of us... those fuckin' narcissists would get the lesson in humility that they SO DESPERATELY need!
There you have it. Seven simple laws that ACTUALLY fix shit! They punish the wicked and relieve the stressed. They inspire integrity, rather than underhandedness. They enforce the ideals that make America great! Mostly, they take power away from the people who have abused it, and gives it to the people they've FUCKED!
Maybe this is just a “Dear Santa” list, and nothing will ever come of it. Maybe our government is just so fucked up that necessity will never ring true. I'd like to think that's not the case. I'd like to think that there are enough sane people left in the country to fill the gaps left by the crazy and/or stupid people. I'd like to believe that things have a chance of getting better. I'd like to believe that we're rising above the bullshit that's constantly shoveled in our faces. I'd like to believe that those of us at the bottom still have a chance to disembowel the dastardly bastards who operate under the delusion that we're inferior to them! I'd like to believe that we still have the option of paying back those fuckers with a reality check!
Are these radical ideas? That depends on who you ask. If you ask the millions of people who are tired of getting fucked and fed bullshit, these things are probably just about right. If you ask the millionaire and billionaire executives from Wal Mart, probably not. However, I tend to fall into the “fuck 'em” category, because they've never shown ME (or the rest of us) any fuckin' respect, so why the fuck should we show THEM any? Every time we “turn the other cheek,” we get “the other cheek” slapped with a steel-toe boot, so why the fuck should we afford those assholes ANY slack? There's a time for Jesus, and a time for Hammurabi...
You know what I say?
… STOP… Hammurabi time! (Can't Touch This)