Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent Senator from Vermont, posted a Progressive Agenda on his post on Huffingtonpost.com consistent with yesterday's post, "Steal From The Rich, Give Back To The Poor," (http://www.criminalizeconservatism.com/2012/09/steal-from-rich-give-back-to-poor.html) with the following recommedations:
"First, at a time when the effective tax rate for the rich is the lowest in decades, we must repeal the Bush tax breaks for the top 2 percent which will reduce the deficit by $1 trillion over the next 10 years.
"Second, we must recognize that Wall Street caused the economic crisis, and that it has a responsibility to reduce the deficit. Establishing a 0.03 percent Wall Street speculation fee, similar to what we had from 1914-1966, would dampen the dangerous level of speculation and gambling on Wall Street, encourage the financial sector to invest in the productive economy and reduce the deficit by $350 billion over 10 years. Importantly, this fee, like similar levies in many other countries, would not apply to ordinary investors, retirees or parents saving to send their kids to college. Rather, it would apply to Wall Street investment houses, hedge funds and speculators who sell credit default swaps, derivatives and operate other risky financial schemes that nearly brought down the entire economy.
"Third, we have got to prohibit offshore tax shelters. Each and every year, the United States loses an estimated $100 billion in tax revenues due to offshore tax abuses by the wealthy and large corporations. The situation has become so absurd that one five-story office building in the Cayman Islands is now the "home" to more than 18,000 corporations. According to a recent report by James Henry, a former chief economist at McKinsey, the wealthiest people in the world are hiding between $21 trillion to $32 trillion in offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes. About a third of this amount, according to one estimate, is from wealthy Americans. The wealthy and large corporations should not be allowed to avoid paying taxes by setting up tax shelters in Panama, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas or other tax haven countries. Cracking down on these tax evaders could reduce the deficit by about $1 trillion over the next decade.
"Fourth, at a time when we have almost tripled military spending since 1997 and spend nearly as much on the military as the rest of the world combined, we must reduce unnecessary and wasteful spending at the Pentagon. According to a number of experts, the Pentagon today cannot account for hundreds of billions of dollars in its budget. Even Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), perhaps the most conservative senator in this country, believes that we could reduce defense spending by $1 trillion over a 10-year period while ensuring that the United States continues to have the strongest and most powerful military in the world.
"Fifth, we have got to eliminate tax breaks for companies shipping American jobs overseas. Today, the United State government, despite our losing over 55,000 factories in the last 10 years, continues to reward companies that move U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas through loopholes in the tax code. Eliminating these loopholes would raise more than $582 billion in revenue over the next ten years and bring jobs back home to America.
"What else? Ending corporate welfare for big oil, gas and coal companies; requiring Medicare to negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices; taxing capital gains and dividends the same as work; establishing a progressive estate tax; and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse at every agency in the federal government would reduce spending by more than $350 billion and raise a significant amount of revenue without harming the middle class.
"Taking these steps would reduce the deficit by more than $5 trillion.
"Finally, and importantly, with these kinds of savings we could invest aggressively in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels and restoring our manufacturing base. That investment could create millions of decent paying jobs, make our country more productive and help us lead the world in addressing the crisis of global warming."
Other changes needed to advance our democracy include a Fair Media Act, reinstating Glass-Seagal, Medicare for all, elimination of voter fraud and suppression, increased funding for public schools and the elimination of for-profit charter schools, and a host of others.
Barring another American Revolution, these steps, and the steps outlined in yesterday's post, haven't the chance of the proverbial snowball in hell of happening unless an avalanche of sympathetic progressive politicians are placed in Washington. In a society with Conservatism made criminal, these and other changes in laws will foster the democracy envisioned by our Founding Fathers.
"First love is dangerous only when it is also the last."
Branislav Nusic ( Serbian novelist of Aromanian descent, playwright, satirist,
essayist and founder of modern rhetoric in Serbia. He also worked as a
journalist and a civil servant. 1864-1938)