There Are Solutions

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There Are Solutions

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Tax the Rich and End the Wars

There are solutions to the problems we face, and they often cost money. Right up front, however, we need to say real solutions donotalways cost more. Look at how utterly ineffective the war on drugs has been, with expensive militarization and excessive incarceration. Also look at the cost of preventive medicine compared to the cost of emergency medical services. 

“How do we pay for it?” is still a legitimate question, although it’s one that’s often thrown out as a deal-killer of better infrastructure and public services. Remember the presidential elections of 2016? (Pretty depressing, I know.) Among the half dozen candidates that year, there were two — Bernie Sanders, running as a Democrat, and Jill Stein, a Green — who talked about domestic policies that we should enact, like free universal healthcare for all and debt-free higher education. 

Other candidates called those ideas dreams, impractical, not politically viable in this country. Unlike Bernie and Jill, those other candidates took corporate money. Calling basic public services “pipe dreams” when other countries take them for granted is a deliberate attempt to lower our expectations of what is possible in our country. 

How can we pay for those basics? Tax the rich and end the wars. 

As to taxes, start with the extremes.Tax the billionaires the way they used to be taxed. When Republican president Dwight Eisenhower left office at the beginning of the sixties, the tax on the very top income bracket was 91%. In recent years the Democrats and Republicans staged a highly theatrical fight over whether it should be 35.9% or 39%. In Eisenhower’s time, even with high taxes, the rich could still get richer, just not outrageously rich.

By reducing their obscenewealth, besides paying for basics,we also reduce their obscenepower over our lives, and we give the rest of us more ability to make decisions affecting our own lives and those of our communities and our children.

As to the military, again, start with the extremes.There is no reason on earth to have weapons that can destroy the earth many times over. There is no reason to build more fighter jets when the cost of each one could pay for housing, hospitals, and schools. 

Taxing the rich and ending the wars are essential tasks when we want happier, healthier and safer lives for all of us.

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