Wednesday, February 17, 2010

American crisis – imagining a way out

This betrays a certain lack of historical perspective. We’ve been through worse, other nations have been through much worse. Compared to the American Civil War, the Black Death, or even the many versions of “great” Depressions we’re in pretty good shape.
Not that success is guaranteed, but it’s quite easy to imagine.
As a starting point, I’d suggest some subset of this list would suffice:
  1. Political reform. I’ve got another post brewing on this. Fourteen years ago I satirized “public incorporation” of representatives, but now we have corporate persons with political rights. We’re in trouble. Many current Senators appear to have early dementia, and our political candidates are often lousy. We need to rethink who we elect, how we elect them, and how old they can be. We should draw on ideas from professional training and licensing and from jury selection.
  2. Taxes. We’re going to raise taxes – a lot. We should do a Carbon Tax. We will do a VAT equivalent. We’ll do “death” taxes – again.
  3. Immigration - Oh Canada: Canada figured this one out years ago. We have too many decrepit boomers. We  need to balance my generation with vigorous, energetic highly talented youth. So let them in based on professional and academic qualifications and business guarantees.
  4. Inflation: 3% should help whittle down those foreign debts. Don’t say you weren’t warned China.
  5. Give up on the Empire. The Soviets couldn’t afford their empire. Guess what? We can’t either.
  6. Delay Dementia: We’re all going to have to work longer, but we can’t all bag groceries. For one thing, that job’s going to a robot someday. Unfortunately, normal brain aging means most of us won’t be good for much more by the time we’re 72. We need a ton of research into slowing the inevitable onset of dementia. (Ok, so if you die it’s not inevitable.)

Note that my list doesn’t include “controlling health care costs”. That one’s simply inevitable, so I don’t bother with it.

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