Right now, most people interested in our nation’s politics are concerned with the next election cycle and are counting on the necessary change to take place when we are able to put a new face in the White House. What most don’t realize, however, is that we might not have the time to wait for the changes that typically come with the election of a new President. It has to happen now.
There is no doubt in my mind that unless drastic steps are taken to prevent the US from suffering a severe economic collapse in or before the month of September 2015, we will find ourselves in a state of financial turmoil unlike anything this country has ever experienced before. The financial collapses experienced in 2001 and again in 2008 pale in comparison to the fate that awaits us in September if we stand by and do nothing. Beyond the US, most of the global economy operates on the US Dollar as the standard of trade; a financial collapse in the US and subsequent devaluing of the USD would cripple the foreseeable future of not only our country’s economy, but that of many other countries as well. Below, I present an outline of drastic measures that need to be taken within the next four months to try to prevent such a tragedy from destroying the lives of everyday average citizens like you and me. This outline is neither my personal bid for election to the Presidency, nor is it a formula for the policies that you should look for in the candidate you should vote for in the coming election; this outline frames what I think are some of our only options in order to prevent national tragedy. This has to happen now. Mr. President? I’m looking at you.
Incentivize Alternative Energy Production and Organic Farming
Around the country and around the world, people’s attitudes towards energy and food production are changing. To the untrained eye, the low prices of gasoline might be seen as a sign that oil is still a thriving business and the low prices are simply a sign of prosperity, but the worldwide use of fossil fuels is on its way out the door. The price of oil—and subsequently the price of gas—is directly tied to the value of the USD and those low prices at the pump are merely an attempt to keep inflation rates from spiking (as evidenced by lower gas prices prior to the crash of 2008). This—paired with the Fed’s reckless printing of money—is causing governments around the world to desire a shift away from the USD as the global trade standard. When this happens, the US will no longer be the one who gets to set the price of oil. The other half of this equation is organic farming; the insistence by the US government and global corporations that GMO crops do not have a negative impact on health are being met with strong resistance from other nations. Not only have other countries seen that, over time, organic crops have better yields than GMO crops, they have also become privy to the fact that GMOs have a detrimental effect on both nature and human health. If our government is willing to incentivize those industries to make moves towards alternate forms of production, we might have a chance of remaining on the world stage as an industry leader instead of being left in the dust of other nations who are willing to hear the voices of their people.
Stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
Contrary to popular belief, this agreement is not the salvation for the US economy as it claims to be. There are two major pitfalls to this agreement: (1) if this agreement takes place, it will force other nations who have taken steps towards the removal of their GMO crops to continue doing business with corporations like DuPont and Monsanto because it will protect those corporations’ rights to personhood on a global scale; (2) it will not ensure more job opportunities for Americans, rather it will do just the opposite. Stopping this agreement will show nations around the world that we do not intend to force their hand when it comes to who they choose to do business with and it will also prevent major US corporations from shipping their jobs overseas prior to an economic collapse causing them minimal financial losses.
End Corporate Personhood
This one seems all too obvious to me, but for the sake of argument I will elaborate. Right now, because corporations in our country have been granted the same protections under the law guaranteed to its citizens, we have seen that when corporations and people are treated as equals, money is always the deciding factor. Amending the laws that grant corporations the status of personhood would be in the best interests of the people and start a chain reaction to ultimately reverse the course that our economy is headed, which as of right now is off the edge of a cliff with no view of the bottom. There is too much information regarding this to include here—or to even digest in one sitting—so I recommend visiting the site http://movetoamend.org for more information.
Raise the Minimum Wage
This one is almost too simple: raise the minimum wage. To quote our country’s former President and potentially first First Gentleman: “If you raise the minimum wage in a phased way, it always creates jobs. Why? Because people who make the minimum wage or near it are struggling to get by, they spend every penny they make, they turn it over in the economy, they create jobs, they create opportunity, and they take better care of their children. It’s just the right thing to do, but it’s also very good economics.” Thanks Slick Willy.
Suspend Loan Repayment and Interest Rates
This point is not necessarily the linchpin in the proverbial economic axle, but it may prove to be one of the key components to help our economy keep its head above water. If, for even a few months (ideally longer), we removed the burden of debt that looms over nearly every American’s head, our economy might be able to continue limping along until long term solutions begin to have their effect. I liken this piece of the puzzle to a tracheotomy—an emergency medical procedure where an incision is made in the neck for a person who unable to breathe through their nose or mouth due to an obstruction in the windpipe—though it is not a long-term solution, it can save someone’s life. As of right now, our economy cannot breathe; maybe, just maybe, if we give the American people that little extra hole to breathe through, we might survive.
When most people hear the word hemp, they immediately think of hippies, and the only reason for its legalization would be for all those pot smokers to get their fix (we’re not there yet, that’s the next point). For those who don’t know, no, hemp does not get you high. You can try to smoke it if you so choose, but most likely the only “high” you will get from it is the high five from your buddies when you’ve finished paying them the money you owe for betting that it would get you stoned. Hemp is one of the cheapest and most renewable resources on our planet and legalizing the use of it for industrial use would open up an entire new industry, creating hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of jobs almost overnight. There are no shortage of entrepreneurs who would love to jump right in given the opportunity. Hemp can be used for paper, plastics, textiles, building materials, cordage, and health food products, just to name a few. Additionally, it is a much more renewable resource (growing at a rate ten times faster than trees) with far less environmental impact (compared to the toxic plastics accumulating in our landfills and our oceans). The only thing preventing our government from legalizing its use is outside pressure from corporations who find the more harmful, toxic, and destructive alternatives much more to their liking due to the only advantage that these alternatives have over hemp, higher profit margins (no pun intended).
Decriminalize Drug Use
Who really benefits from the criminalization of drug use? Is it us, average citizens, who need protected from the big, bad drug dealers? Or is it the government, who makes more money when it is illegal due to the income generated from costs and fines paid by non-violent offenders, contracts with private prisons, and having control over the flow of drugs into the country? (On that last point, there is evidence that proves the CIA has had a hand in recent history in trafficking drugs into our country and further speculation that they continue to do so as our country has seen a major increase in the availability of heroine at two major points in our history: during and after our wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan.) Decriminalizing drug use is not the same thing as turning a blind eye towards abuse and addiction. If we follow the example of other countries that have stopped treating addiction as a crime and started treating it as a medical affliction, not only would we create job opportunities in the drug addiction and counseling field, we would also be doing a service to a currently unknown number of addicts who keep their struggles private out of fear of consequence instead of facing the music and receiving treatment for their affliction. Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report in favor of decriminalizing personal drug use so, if you can’t take my word for it, you should at least consider the opinion of the organization whose sole purpose is to determine what is best for public health.
Cut Military and Police Spending in Half
For too long now, the world has looked at the US military budget and laughed. Our country has historically spent more money on its military-industrial complex than the next 10 nations combined. Such exorbitant spending in that one area of our budget has been detrimental to other equally, if not more, important areas such as education, healthcare, veterans’ benefits, science, etc. The looming threat of an economic collapse appears to have had the opposite effect on the government’s view of how much money should go into the military and police force. Instead of taking that money away from the military to prop up the other areas that are suffering most, the military now has a presence in at least 10 states (at least 40 have seen an increase in military vehicle traffic) under the guise of a drill known as Jade Helm. The information about the exercises can be found on government websites but these drills may just prove to be the Trojan Horse that allows the military to take control in the event of economic collapse and national chaos. In at least 5 states, Wal-Mart closed multiple stores all for the same reason, plumbing. In Canada, their military is running similar exercises known as Maple Resolve that also coincide with the closings of Target stores across the country. Skeptics look at these coincidences and suggest that those facilities could be used as either bases of operation for the military or, the more sinister alternative, temporary detention facilities for those deemed most threatening to the public order. More information is coming out now that suggests every country in Europe as well as a few other nations largely dependent on the USD are doing more or less the same thing. If their motive is to establish order in the event of an economic collapse, I fear that they have put all of their eggs in the wrong basket and perhaps already sealed our fate by not having faith in the American people and our ability to play our respective roles in salvaging a broken economy.
Enact the Polluter Pays Principle and the Profiteer Pays Principle
If everything else fails, why should it be the American people (and the rest of the world) who are left holding the bag when the people who are truly responsible for us standing on this precipice are the top 1% who believe that they have made off with “their” money scot-free? The polluter pays principle comes from environmental law and holds the party responsible for the pollution of the natural environment to pay for the damage done. Companies like Monsanto and DuPont, who have left a wake of destruction in third-world countries for pushing their GMO crops on poor farmers who are now left with land that is barren, pay up. Companies like Nestlé, Kellogg’s, and Pepsi, who are main contributors to deforestation in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia in their quest for the cheapest acquisition of palm oil, pay up. In reality, these companies have done more than just destroy our environment, these acts are crimes against the human race. To take it a step further, the profiteer pays principle refers to holding businesses and corporations accountable for their excessive profits from illegal business practices. Companies like Nike and AT&T who have shipped American jobs overseas to save money on labor, pay up. Companies like Apple whose factories have been likened to concentration camps save for the one fact that they charge rent for their dorms (regardless of whether or not you choose to live on or off the campus), pay up. The list of corporations that (or should I say who since they are considered “persons” by our government?) should be held responsible for the destruction of the natural environment, affronts against the human race, and general moral ineptitude is too long to name here. The evidence of their actions is impossible to ignore, so why does our government continue to?
We have four short months before the ground falls out from beneath our feet completely, but there may still be time to take action. My hope is that by writing this, we find a way to shake our President and other elected officials to their senses. To them I say: Have you given up on the American people? Have you given up on the citizens of the world? Have you resolved to make an enemy of the very same people who trusted you with positions of power? Have you resolved that we are past the point of no return? There is another option. You can fight on behalf of the very people who rely on you to make the right decisions. You can choose to not give up until your energy is completely spent. You can choose to do the right thing. History will judge you for the decisions that you make in the next four months. Your names will either go down in the history books as the people who stood up for what was right, or you will be forever remembered as the infamous leaders who let the world crumble around them. If you choose not to act, there will be no victors. There will be no opportunity to write history in your favor because there will be no one to write it. You have been given a great burden of responsibility and my final words to you are this:
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” – Luke 12: 48