November 8th, 2002

self portrait

Radical foundations

I have, of course, been thinking about politics a lot lately. Most of my friends can't stop talking about it and even at work we get into a discussion now and then. I like that, for the most part, I've participated only in reasonably polite discussions and ones not focused on ideologies.

Between posts from my friends drewan and laurel and even minnehaha, I've got to thinking about what it is that makes up my political views.

One way I look at is based on the classic hierarchy of needs:

  1. Air to breath;
    We mostly have this. It could sure be cleaner in a lot of ways, but, basically, everyone's getting enough oxygen in the country.
  2. Water to drink;
    Like air, we mostly have this. Could be cleaner, again, but there's no great shortage of drinking water.
  3. Food to eat;
    OK, now we're getting into trouble. There are many people, a lot of them children, that don't get enough to eat in this country (not to mention the world). I think that the Great Depression shows us that this is a solvable problem. We need to identify areas where people need food and provide food for them. This should be life-sustaining at the least and any efforts to make it tasty should be encouraged. For this, I'm willing to pay taxes and I think most other folks would be as well.
  4. Shelter;
    Now we're in big trouble. Big chunks of people without a place to live. My thinking here would be building free housing for folks. (Making many construction jobs.) My initial thoughts are for high-density housing, providing what would be little more than a comfortable prison cell. Someplace warm, dry and safe. There would also have to be people supervising such buildings (more jobs) to prevent the problems that have plagued such efforts in the past. There would also have to be training for those supervisors and people to oversee them so that they didn't get abusive of the position. So we're talking a lot of money. Out of it, however, we'd get a lot of jobs plus a large workforce with various skills (though probably on the lower end of the scale).
Once we get those problems out of the way, I think we can look for other things to work on, in increasing order of importance.

Apropos of nothing, the other political thought I had was the dichotomy I see in the two major political parties. (I base this on the main rhetoric I hear from the parties so it is a skewed view.) I see the Democratic party as the party of solutions and the Republican party as the party of problems. That is, that Republican rhetoric is more likely to say "X is a problem." While Democratic rhetoric is more likely to say "Here's how we solve Y." I don't think either is the full extent of the thinking of the leaders of the parties, much less their members but it is the impression that I developed over this last campaign.
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self portrait

Peter's radical tax proposal

What say, the people with the most wealth pay the most of the taxes? Total up all the wealth in the country. Then divide your wealth by the the total wealth, that is the percentage of the taxes you need to pay. Simplified example: In Drewantania, the wealth of all citizens adds up $100. The government $10 to run this year. I'm worth a whopping $10. So I should pay 10% of the taxes or $1. Bill Gates, on the other hand, is worth $80. He should pay 80% of the taxes or $8.

The result of this, of course, is that the more you have the more you have to pay in taxes. So buying a house hugely increases your tax burden. Owning a company hugely increases your tax burden. This seems like a bad thing, but I like the fundamental principle of everyone paying their fair share based on how much of the economy they control.
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