The Blueprint for a Better America is a crowd-sourced legislative package, driven by the constitutional duties laid out in the preamble. It enacts a universal basic income of $1300/month for adults and $433 for children, creates a public option for health insurance, reduces incarceration rates through sentencing reviews and reforms, ends the failed war on drugs, and reduces our global military footprint.
Political factions have always been part of the political landscape in the United States of America, so much so that our founding documents such as the Constitution could not have been created without compromise. In the same way, the Blueprint works on addressing issues that both parties say they want to address, such as reducing poverty, ending mass incarceration, and reducing waste in our military budget.
The electoral strategy focuses on individual candidates who are running for public office. Those candidates may be more interested in looking out for themselves, and their chances of winning in 2020, rather than blindly following their party’s entire political platform. Incumbents who accept these terms will be expected to act prior to the election.
Under the Blueprint for a Better America, every citizen gets an American Union job. As American citizens, we have duties to each other; the $300/week is a reminder of those duties.
American Union jobs value ALL work, including things like coaching a Little League team, volunteering for the PTA, or raising children. These things are currently not rewarded financially, which often makes it harder for individuals to do them. The Blueprint for a Better America recognizes that unpaid work often makes America better, and thus, provides some monetary support to encourage it.
The group fast is a way for people across the nation to participate, simultaneously and socially distanced, and is what Gandhian scholar Gene Sharp called a fast of moral pressure. This shared self-sacrifice demonstrates sincerity and a commitment to ending poverty, mass incarceration, and the endless wars. Gandhi, who recommended a dinner-to-dinner fast, said that when hundreds of thousands of countrymen fasted together, it ennobled individuals and nations.
At its most basic level, fasting is voluntarily giving up something that you could have had; in this case, forgoing food for 24 hours. This willingness is necessary to any compromise, like the Blueprint for a Better America. In addition, participating requires an individual action and intention in the real world. This differs from the digital sphere, where a person can quickly like, share, or retweet something without putting any “skin in the game.” Change starts with ourselves.
Fasting has been a part of human culture for thousands of years, and the vast majority of Americans can do so safely for 24 hours. Some people who should not fast are children, those pregnant or nursing, or those with a handful of medical conditions; individuals unsure if only drinking water for 24 hours is safe for them should check with their doctor. If necessary, taking fruit and/or juice is an acceptable way to participate; the important thing is the intention one brings to the fast.
Fasting is on the honor system; a healthy America is one built on trust. The monthly fast occurs on the 15th of each month; on the 16th, members of the American Union receive a survey asking if they participated. If so, they are then invited to vote on various positions and issues.
A social contract is a shared communal agreement that establishes societal norms, as well as moral and political rules of behavior. Within this agreement, people of a community are expected to compromise and cooperate to gain social benefits. Scholars behind the social contract theory believe that the government formed because members of society agreed to give up some freedoms, and agreed to be ruled. In return, these citizens are guaranteed protection in exchange for those lost freedoms.
Over time, the social contract has adapted to include changes in beliefs. For example, through the 20th century, marriage was widely seen as a union between one man and one woman. However, in the 21st century, the social contract evolved with popular opinion, and laws were changed to allow same-sex couples to be married. The culmination came on June 26, 2015, when marriage equality became the law of the land.
Because our current one is not working for the majority of the country. The gap between the rich and poor is getting larger, with the richest 0.1% of Americans earning 196 times more than the bottom 90%. In conjunction with this, there are also millions of Americans, disproportionately people of color, who are caught in the prison industrial complex, many for victimless crimes. We can do better in the 21st century by getting back to our Constitutional duties; establish justice, and promoting the general welfare, a word which means “health, happiness, prosperity; well-being.”
Michelle Alexander, lawyer-turned-author of The New Jim Crow, has documented how mass incarceration has disproportionately affected people of color. One striking example of this can be seen in the disparity of penalties issued for drug charges. For example, possession of a small amount of crack cocaine may carry a five-year minimum sentence; whereas more harmful behavior, such as drunk driving, might not have any mandatory jail time at all.
Our first duty under the constitution is to establish justice. Mass incarceration demonstrates that we are failing; we can do better in the 21st century.
Mass incarceration has destroyed millions of families. Over 5 million children have a parent who has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. Children do better when they are able to have relationships with both parents. By addressing root causes of crime, such as poverty, as well as implementing sentencing review and reform, we can reunite families and make America better.
The 300 million American Union Jobs which would be created by the Blueprint for a Better America are funded in three primary ways:
1) A national value added tax (VAT) of 15%. As a consumption tax, those who spend the least, pay the least, and those who buy super yachts, pay lots. $300/week would pre-fund the VAT on $2,000 of shopping, per person, per week.
2) Fee-and-Dividend models for pollutants, where fees are collected and redistributed to everyone. Those who pollute less than average keep the difference. Fees would start at $15/metric ton for carbon, and on plastic, 20% on the production of virgin plastic (thus encouraging recycling) plus $.05 per item, discouraging single-use plastic.
3) The creation of $2 trillion dollars in new money each year, which the Federal Reserve does on a regular basis for the benefits of banks. We can do better in the 21st century by ensuring everyone an equal share.
Yes. Many people hope that Congress will raise the income tax brackets appropriately to minimize additional tax burdens on those who are less able to afford them. However, an American Union job will still be considered income, and be taxed accordingly until Congress takes action.
The Blueprint for a Better America does not provide direct benefits for non-citizens, but there are indirect benefits. As we address poverty, crime will fall, making life safer for citizens and non-citizens alike. Non-citizens will also have greater entrepreneurial opportunities because Americans will have more disposable income. By putting millions of dollars into communities around the country, there will be a trickle-up effect, where small businesses can flourish.
To the extent that universal basic income is funded by a 15% value added tax (VAT), a one-time bump in prices is expected when that tax is implemented. However, businesses are well aware that consumers are price conscious, and rarely, if ever, pass all taxes onto their customers. Based on data from other industrialized nations who use a VAT, it is expected that about 55% of the new tax would be passed onto consumers. The salary for an American Union job was set with a 15% increase over the 2019 poverty line.
The UBI funding which comes from new money is not expected to cause general inflation. US industries are at about 70% of their productive capacity, which makes it very unlikely that they would reach capacity and cause shortages that would drive up prices. This is after the Federal Reserve has already printed slightly over $3 trillion in 2020 to help the United States handle the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mass incarceration exacerbates poverty. When families are broken up, it increases economic instability, which harms women and children disproportionally. In addition, when every American is lifted above the poverty line, the demand for additional assistance will fall. This will allow those agencies to better focus their resources on those still in need of a helping hand.
Although most industrialized nations have some sort of universal healthcare, it is not practical to immediately transition to that in 2020. However, a major step forward in improving healthcare is the public option proposed by Joe Biden. The Blueprint for a Better America includes this so that everyone can purchase health insurance through their American Union job, no matter where they live or what work they do. The public option will also reduce the burdens on many small businesses who don’t want to manage their employee’s healthcare.
To the extent that medical bankruptcies, which strike an estimated 530,000 Americans each year, still exist, all Americans will know that they will still have an American Union job and a guaranteed income.
The Blueprint for a Better America addresses wealth inequality through the 15% value added tax (VAT). Everyone pays into the system based on their amount of consumption. Those who spend the least, pay the least. Those who buy super yachts, pay lots.
The Blueprint for a Better America will end the federal war on drugs, and allow states to set their own individual policies. Those states that want to legalize drugs will be free to do so, without fear of interference by the federal government, who will set out a national framework for regulation and taxation. This will allow drug abuse or addiction to be approached as a medical condition, rather than a criminal one.
The Blueprint for a Better America includes a sin tax of 12% on the sale of recreational drugs, which will be used in part to fund addiction treatment available for those who want or need it.
Yes. Poverty exacerbates a large amount of societal problems, including stress, crime, healthcare utilization, suicide, gun violence and more. For example, 6 out of 10 gun-related deaths are suicides. With universal basic income addressing one of the root causes, we can better focus on the remaining individuals who need additional help.
The Blueprint for a Better America addresses this in several ways. First, it sunsets the 2001/2002 authorizations for military force (AUMF), forcing Congress to decide on what terms these outdated authorizations should be renewed. Second, the Blueprint for a Better America calls for local referendums around our 800+ foreign military bases. If the local populations do not want us there, we must respect their wishes and withdraw our troops. It is hoped that unneeded military bases and their existing infrastructure can be used as a partial solution to the world’s refugee crises.
The Blueprint for a Better America will also reduce the size of the military through attrition and by reducing demand for military service jobs. Currently, lower middle-class and poor-income recruits make up more than 50% of new military recruits. American Union jobs will enable Americans to have basic economic security without joining the armed services. The additional money in local communities will create job opportunities which do not require military service.
It is impossible to ensure 100% safety, but in any sort of conflict with any other military power, America would have an enormous number of advantages. They include our geographic location, our huge amounts of military infrastructure, and a military budget that, even if cut in half, would still be the largest in the world.
The Blueprint for a Better America does not make any changes to existing abortion laws, but instead focuses on what Americans agree on: wanting to reduce the number of abortions. One of the primary ways this can be done is by ending poverty. The Supreme Court has also said that private employer sponsored insurance can disallow certain choices when it comes to women’s reproductive health. The inclusion of a public option for health insurance will provide an alternative, so that more women have access to the care that they and their doctor feel is best for them.
The Blueprint for a Better America includes universal background checks for gun purchases, but respects the Second Amendment and does not ban any guns. To protect this compromise, a 2/3rds legislative supermajority will be required for any override.
The Blueprint ends poverty, ends mass incarceration, and ends the endless wars, but does not tackle climate change. It does address it indirectly through fee and dividends on pollution, and by reducing the US military, which is the largest single producer of greenhouse gasses.
The Blueprint for a Better America is a single, take-it-or-leave-it offer for candidates running in the 2020 election. Once organized as the American Union of voters, it is anticipated that new proposals will be offered for future elections, as incumbents seek contract extensions for their legislative jobs.
Joining the American Union for the calendar year is a $5 contribution to our super PAC. Only adult American citizens are legally permitted to contribute to political campaigns. This contribution serves a dual function; it confirms verification of citizenship, and it is also used as a funding mechanism for the campaign. Higher donations are very welcome, and encouraged; but $5 is intended as a low, but real token sacrifice to separate out those willing to put “skin in the game” of building a better America.
Yes, all American citizens willing to fast for peace are welcome.