NO to Wall Street Greed and YES to Saving Again
In light of recent proposals for a Cosmic ($1 TRILLION) Wall Street bailout, it seems to me that, as a LEGISLATIVE body, Congress should enact laws to nationalize ill-gotten gains (through fines and incarceration), rather than merely absorb lousy debt created by Wall Street pirates.
Encouraging Moral Hazard has failed to build and sustain our economy.
Incestuous corporate board room and CEO relationships should be rendered illegal. No corporate officer should be compensated in excess of 100x average worker pay at a firm. Corporate personhood, in the form of incestuous lobbying, which exploits and undermines our Democracy must be ended.
Now that excess is the norm, Congress must consider taxing away Wall Street's most egregious practices by, for example, enacting new Federal trading transaction fees (e.g. 0.25% of the dollar amount of each trade) and by raising, not lowering, capital gains rates (or simply taxing all active and passive capital gains as ordinary income). Only investment and saving can create stable jobs and economic growth. In contrast, current, mostly Republican led, economic policy has produced a fundamentally unstable American economy -- a house of cards built on a foundation of debt and speculation producing only bubbles and crashes.
A better future demands that America pay down its debts and save again.
To this end, Congress should enact a National Savings Plan -- to replace existing IRA, Roth, 401K and SEP accounts with a single, comprehensive national savings policy to cover both tax deferred and taxable retirement and savings accounts. Absent real alternatives to dollar destruction and Wall Street speculation and risk, Americans and their government will never save substantially and America will continue into decline, instability and class warfare.
Under a National Savings Plan, there should be a fixed yield option guaranteeing at least 5% annual interest, in addition to standard, high risk, equity-based growth options. Risk and inflation prevent and negate savings. In contrast, a reasonable, safe and non-volatile return on savings would do exactly the opposite.
One-time consumption, stimulus packages should be discouraged.
Exacerbating overspending will never fix America's negative per capita savings rate -- which has broken retirement for older workers and prevented younger workers from effectively participating in the U.S. economy.
Recent crises requiring drastic government intervention prove that current U.S. economic policy and structure is unsustainable.
Economic crisis must be replaced by economic stability, where policy success is measured by increasing wages and living standards -- not by useless, risk and inflation rewarding metrics like GDP growth rates and average wage statistics skewed by the high salaries of the wealthiest workers.
In short, it is time for bold action to reform U.S economic policy. The system is broken for the majority of workers, who are further burdened over and over and over and over to fund bailouts for failed Wall Street schemes and Republican robber baron ideology. Fix the dollar. Fix saving. Fix retirement. Fix America!
As Bob Reich has said, in a healthy democracy, "the economy should work for us [the majority], and not the other way around."