A Proposal To Reduce Our Nation’s $14 Trillion Plus National Debt Immediately
This proposal is predicated on the following:
I feel extremely lucky to be an American. I bet my fellow Americans all feel the same way, despite not uttering the words. I’m glad I don’t live in China or Russia or Afghanistan or Iraq or anywhere in Africa. I haven’t heard anyone lately saying “I want to get Bulgarian citizenship and give up my US citizenship.”
I remember as a youngster attending parades and celebrating “I am an American day.” (Whatever became of it?) I have a hunch if we had such a day today most of us would be a no-show. President Bush and now President Obama tell us we are at war. When I was a kid in the 1940s, not only did we know who the enemy was that we were fighting and why, but we made all kinds of sacrifices. Today no one has asked us to make any sacrifices, we don’t make any and we go about living our lives as we always do in peace time.
In 1958, I was inducted into the Army and was very fortunate it was peacetime. But I had to give two years of my life to the service of my country. You either enlisted or you were drafted into service. Like it or not, it was something you had to do for your country. And most of us, maybe all of us, didn’t like it. But you know what? As trite as it may sound in the decades that followed our discharge, all of us who served in the armed forces have always had a feeling that we did something for our country.
Since President Nixon did away with the draft, no American has been required to do anything for his country. In my opinion it’s led most of us, and certainly our youth, to have no feeling of patriotism and no feeling of being glad to be an American or desirous of celebrating an “I am an American day.” I happen to think it long overdue that we set up a federal program requiring a period of some kind of service to country upon completion of schooling and before entering the workaday world. The service could “do good” and instill a feeling of “I did something for my country.”
Today there is little admiration and respect for our political leaders. In fact the bickering that has been going on about doing something about the deficit and the debt seems more about which political party will win a battle then about fixing the nation’s financials. It will certainly be interesting to see if the severe partisan politics will lead an impressive group of frustrated Democrats, Republicans and independents, called Americans Elect http://www.americanselect.org/ to bring about some real change.
Since as I said previously I haven’t heard anyone lately saying “I want to get Bulgarian citizenship and give up my US citizenship” I think it would be wonderful if some people who can afford it should say “I want to do something for my country, especially now in its time of serious economic need.”
Some 14 million American taxpayers apparently pay some 70% of the more than a $1.2 trillion of federal individual income taxes and 10% of those taxpayers actually account for some 40% of individuals’ federal taxes or close to $500 billion. And the average tax rate paid is actually about 20%.
Now I have asked myself if I were earning $2.5 trillion (20%X = $500 billion so X = $2.5 trillion) annually and I lived in China or Russia or Afghanistan or Iraq or an African country or in Bulgaria would I be willing to pay a year’s earnings to immediately become an American citizen?
I think you know my answer and you get the idea.
Ala Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett asking the nation’s billionaires to pledge to give at least half their net worth to charity, in their lifetimes or at death, how about all who earn seven figures or more or have nine figures or more of net worth changing the face of the US debt? They might contribute one year’s earnings or some major fraction of their earnings and the rest of the top 1% of tax payers and the top 10% might join in with a lesser yet substantial payment.
How about viewing such a payment as the “I am glad I am an American” payment, made to save my country from going down the economic drain pipe? By reducing the national debt by the several trillions we contribute we will certainly benefit because with the country’s finances in better shape we ourselves will stand to benefit as well. Ask yourself the question: can I afford not to give up one year’s earnings for my country? Nathan Hale said “I regret that I have but one life to give my country.” In that context what is the big deal about giving up a year’s earnings for my country?
Is not now the time to come to the aid of our country which is a country that has allowed us to earn as much as we do and have as much as we have?