Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr

Forum Post: Creating a List of Concrete Ideas

Posted 10 years ago on Dec. 17, 2011, 8:02 a.m. EST by arealpolitik (154)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Back in October, I joined the active ranks of Occupy protesters, picketing in front of Great Barrington's town hall. The movement was new and brimming over with potential. I fashioned a homemade sign: "$pe¢ial Intere$t$ have no pla¢e in democracy!" As the months have gone on, I've stopped attending weekly gatherings, more a function of my poor health and the volume of my studies than of waning interest.

But, I am still very much a demonstrator in spirit. I've made an effort to stay up-to-date as events have unfolded from Oakland, CA to Moscow. The Occupiers have had immense success in facilitating a switch to credit unions en masse and changing the national dialogue so it is primarily about fashioning an equitable society, not about indiscriminate fiscal austerity. Now that the initiation stage of the Occupy Wall Street movement is over, many people feel the need to move toward a more defined set of goals and proposals.

On Twitter, @OccupyIdeas is harnessing the collective brainpower of concerned intellectuals. You can add your own idea to the mix using the hashtag #ConcreteIdeas. So, this article is comprised of a few of mine. How can we create a strong economy that works for everyone? I hope you'll consider these potential solutions and add a few of your own in the comments or on Twitter (the web hub of the Occupy movement).

  1. Get tough on corporations.

Corporations have a huge influence that permeates almost every segment of our politics, corrupting the system and impeding progress. Overturning Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that let corporations spend unlimited amounts on campaigns, would be a good first step to clean up Washington. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has already proposed an amendment to the Constitution that would do so. The major issue with corporate personhood (which enables companies to exercise their right to free "speech" to begin with) is that a corporate entity cannot be jailed for its offenses like a living, breathing person can. How about legislation enabling confiscation of 50% of a firm's annual revenue or total assets (whichever is higher) as a toothy punishment for not abiding by the rule of law? Maybe then large conglomerates would think twice about fouling the air, cooking books, and maintaining unsafe working conditions to pad their profit margins. The sticky point with cracking down on corporate misconduct is always the claim that it would hurt small businesses. It doesn't have to. We can pass much-needed increases in regulation and oversight of multinational corporations while simultaneously creating legislation to alleviate the regulatory burden on local businesses, making it easier for them to create jobs.

  1. Reform the tax code.

Call it a six step plan. Step one in crafting a fair system of taxation is zeroing out all loopholes, industry subsidies, and credits of the sort that allowed General Electric to pay $0 in taxes. Step two is equalizing the brackets for capital gains and income taxes so that people pay the same rate on money earned in a stock trade as they do on money earned doing real labor. Step three is letting the Bush tax cuts expire to the tune of massive long-term savings. Step four is lifting the payroll tax cap. Step five is placing a tax on companies that ship American jobs overseas. Step six is creating a few more brackets with higher rates, thereby increasing revenue and making the system of taxation more progressive and more similar to how it was in the prosperous post-WWII years.

  1. Address the problem of poverty.

There are more people living in poverty now than at any other point in US history. Social mobility has markedly decreased since the 1980s. How to remedy these vexing problems? One part of the solution is fully funding and improving the efficacy of our education system so that it is better able to give children a one-way ticket out of poverty. Another is increasing the availability of affordable housing. However, the number one thing that can be done in my estimation is to increase the minimum wage to the point where two full-time minimum wage incomes are sufficient to keep a family of four comfortably above the poverty line. The minimum wage needs then to be tied to the cost-of-living index so that working class Americans will not be the victims of future Congressional impasses. Finally, the wages of every member of Congress should be the same as the median household income in America. That way, lawmakers have a direct incentive to increase prosperity and ensure that any rising tides will lift all boats.

Agree? Disagree? Qualify?

Did I leave something major out?

Please let me know your thoughts, and thanks for reading this latest musing.




Read the Rules
[-] 2 points by scvblwxq (155) 10 years ago

A value added tax of around 20% on imports to protect our manufacturing jobs and maybe get some back would help.

All of our major trading partners have one and 140 countries have one, it was assumed that all of the countries that joined the WTO would enact one.

I guess the US corporations wanted to move their factories to China and import back to the US to take advantage of China's devaluations which made it possible to get 5 items(labor, materials, equipment) in China for the price of 1 when using US dollars and opposed a VAT.

[-] 1 points by Misfit138 (172) 10 years ago

You have a specific list of grievances and proposed solutions. Unfortunately, that is not what OWS is about, they just want to be a "leaderless" movement and protest. Why is it for all of the GA meetings that they haven't come up with anything concrete like your list? Simple, they don't want solutions, they want conflict and attention. This is why this post will fall to the bottom of the heap while some 9/11 truther post will get 300 hits or the latest Ron Paul posting will live for a week here. Sad, sad, sad.

[-] 1 points by Misfit138 (172) 10 years ago

3 hours later and no one wants to talk about the issues. This is why OWS is a failed movement.

[-] 1 points by fucorporatemedia (451) 10 years ago

why does everyone respond to trolls on this forum, but no one wants to brainstorm ideas or share facts?

Does anyone know what 'Proactive' means? Too many on this forum(and in America) are REACTIVE. We react to every stupid media story, following whatever bullshit they want us to, but we cannot seem to focus on actions that will really help. Why is that?

[-] 1 points by fucorporatemedia (451) 10 years ago

Alright, an important topic on this forum!

It seems to me that these ideas are in the far future, relying on Congress to actually act as public servants.

WE cannot wait for this Congress to act, as they have already been violating the Constitution and have no interest in upholding the laws we currently have.

"pass much-needed increases in regulation and oversight of multinational corporations"

We have laws on the books right now to protect us from the illegal behaviors of the corporations. We have government organizations whose sole purpose is to prosecute illegality. They are not doing their jobs. WE must Occupy the halls of justice until they do their jobs and hold people accountable for the illegal behaviors they are already involved in.

One example, illegal robosigning foreclosures are still continuing. Should we pursue a law to say illegal foreclosures should stop, or should we demand our justice system prosecute the law breakers right now. If we ask for new legislation, and the bastards keep breaking the law with no accountability, what the hell is the point of a new law.

Another example, Congress is trying to pass new legislation to make illegal insider trading illegal. Insider Trading for Congressional members is already highly illegal, as it is for every American. We don't need a new law, we need to Occupy the SEC and demand Congressional members are held accountable, this is an absurd abuse of power.

The reason Congress thinks they can get away with this is the corporate media, who exposed that Congressional members have been insider trading, then announced to everyone that it is perfectly legal (*and everyone believes them for what reason?) and everyone keeps repeating it, from Glenn Beck to the alternative press. It is really bizarre. There is absolutely no exemption protecting Congress, there is a faulty SEC and a corrupt Corporate media that is protecting them.

Occupy the SEC! Congress is Illegally Insider Trading, but SEC Is too Busy Cracking Down on Kettle Chips http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupy-the-sec-congress-is-illegally-insider-tradi/ WE have to occupy the SEC, and when they ignore us, Occupy the TV stations with concrete demands on our signs.

In Egypt, they surrounded the TV stations and would no let them leave until they told the truth about their movement.

more Occupy the TV stations- Surround the stations-Don't let them come or go until they tell the truth http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupy-the-tv-stations-surround-the-stations-dont-/

One more thing, on the problem of poverty....

Speculation is THE driving force in the cost of food, gas and heat right now.

The cost of living has risen sky high because Goldman Sachs created the GSCI to start gambling on our food prices and the Koch brothers created the oil derivatives so they could drive the cost of our gas and heating oil to new levels, just so they can game the market and make even more money.

There are people starving all over the world because of these greedy bastards.

The one easy, and very concrete demand....stop speculating on our necessities. There is absolutely no reason for the speculation, we haven't always had it...the cost of our necessities is at least twice what they should be based on speculation alone.

So we can protest all we want, Goldman Sachs and Koch are still making a killing off of us because you gotta drive to that protest and everyone has to eat.

"In the first 55 days of 2008, speculators poured $55 billion into commodity markets, and by July, $318 billion was roiling the markets. Food inflation has remained steady since.

Hard red spring wheat, which usually trades in the $4 to $6 dollar range per 60-pound bushel, broke all previous records as the futures contract climbed into the teens and kept on going until it topped $25. And so, from 2005 to 2008, the worldwide price of food rose 80 percent — and has kept rising. "

Excessive energy speculation today is at its highest levels ever, and even Goldman Sachs now admits that at least $27 of the price of crude oil is a result from reckless speculation rather than market fundamentals of supply and demand. Many experts interviewed by ThinkProgress argue that the figure is far higher, and out of control speculation has doubled the current price of crude oil. “ (and NO, it is NOT Peak Oil-U.S. Oil Exports Reach Record Highs; That’s Right…Exports)


[-] 1 points by TheTrollSlayer (347) from Kingsport, TN 10 years ago

Ending congressional insider trading is another. Making free trade fair trade as well.

[-] 1 points by AndyJ0hn (129) 10 years ago

did you see the declaration of the 99%

[-] 1 points by scvblwxq (155) 10 years ago

I e-mailed the site and asked them to put a moderated dedicated tab for ideas and suggestions, maybe you could ask also.

[-] 1 points by Ripple9 (1) 10 years ago

Target real vectors: For instance, the health care/insurance. If everyone canceled his/her health insurance and doctors refused to accept insurance, you would bring down the house of cards.