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10 Ways To Revolutionize America

16 March 2009 12 Comments

Political debate is as hot as ever.  More Americans think our best days are behind us than ever before.  Have we seen the end of American dominance, economically and politically?  Here are ten ways to revitalize our country and ensure we stay at the top.

Shift Power Away From D.C.

1.  Give Power Back To The States

We have way too much centralized power in the hands of the Federal government.  Why does the federal government determine how much funding a museum in a small town in Iowa receive?  The earmarks (currently the way for representatives to send money back to their states) are out of control and are too often hidden in larger bills.  The states were originally in charge of the decisions inside their respective states.  Federal taxation and the size of the federal government is out of control.  Many federal agencies should be completely shut down, federal taxation should be all but eliminated, and the states should be in charge of infrastructure, welfare, etc.  Federal agencies that should close: IRS, Post Office, Homeland Security, the Fed, just to name a few.

2.  Term Limits On All Politicians

Next up, term limits.  What if no politician ever had to worry about re-election?  What if their entire focus was on the long-term, well being of our country.  Currently, our politicians only care about re-election.  They use focus groups and polls to determine the course of action and the words to use; instead of what is best for the country.  Make terms longer, and have a term limit set at one.  Say goodbye to the life time politician who will do anything to hold on to the perks of Washington D.C.

Foreign Policy

3.  Stop Running A Global Empire

We are spread way too thin, and we don’t have the money to fund it.  One of the major themes you will see here is getting our finances under control so we can stop borrowing money.  Let’s get back to focusing on America.  If a global empire is necessary to have a hand in the middle east’s oil or other similar reasons, this leads to my next point.

4.  Get Off Foreign Oil

This could possibly be the single biggest game changer for our country.  Not only would we stop sending all of our dollars overseas, we could stimulate job growth domestically with domestic energy sources, we could stop funding terrorist harboring states, and we could get out of the middle east’s affairs.  Also, if you are a climate change fanatic, it would be good for the environment!

Strong Currency, Strong Economy

5.  Go To A Gold Standard

Despite the global common belief that devaluing one’s currency is the approach to prosperity, it has never worked historically.  By going to a gold standard, we would prevent our government from debasing our currency.  Our dollar has lost over 90% of its value since the Federal Reserve was created early in the 20th century.  Also, the Fed is hugely responsible for the bubbles that hit our economy which are terrible for Americans.  While most view the recession as the problem, the problem is the bubble, the recession is the natural fix for the bubble.  By eliminating our loose monetary policy, we will prevent future bubbles and have a strong currency for generations.  By going to a gold standard, our government cannot rob us through the silent inflation tax.  Let’s preserve our future purchasing power!

6.  Stop Incentivizing Debt and Incentivize Savings & Investment

Why does our country encourage debt over savings?  You’re able to deduct interest you pay on a mortgage but you are taxed on the interest you gain from your savings.  Have you ever thought about how stupid that is?  It should be the opposite!  Unfortunately, our government clings to the idea that credit is the life blood of our economy.  Wrong.  Savings are the life blood of the economy because credit cannot exist without the savings that back it.  Savings result in investment which results in economic and job growth.  This would change the fabric of our society for the better!

7.  Get Rid Of The Income Tax

Did you know at one point, there was zero income tax in our country?  Now, our most productive citizens are taxed ferociously by the federal government.  We love to talk about stimulus these days.  Imagine the economic effect if all of a sudden the income tax were revoked?  The stock market might double over night!  Now, how can we fund government without an income tax?  Well, with the way government looks today, you can’t.  This is why I couple this idea with the other ideas laid out in this article such as getting rid of many government agencies, returning power to the states, putting an end to our global empire, etc.

8.  Embrace Risk & Consequences of Risk

Simply put, end this bailout nonsense that has defined the last year or two.  Currently, the government is the biggest mover in the market because there are many institutions that would not exist were it not for the federal government.  Whether a person bought a home they can’t afford, a company like GM is incapable of being profitable, or a bank loaned money to people and businesses that cannot pay it back, each entity should be allowed to fail.  Despite what you may hear today, companies going under is not a sign of capitalism failing, it is a sign of capitalism thriving.  In a healthy capitalist society, companies are allowed to go under so that the bad allocations of capital can be removed from the system.  How would President Obama define risk?  Think about it.

Family & Lifestyle

9.  Support Family Values

We need to focus more on family and what family used to be.  Years ago in America and currently in other countries, families look out for each other.  Today in America, instead of families providing for needy family members, we have way too many people looking to the government for support.  What if we got back to this idea?

Furthermore, men embracing the responsibility of being a father would change this country over night.  Children not having a dad is one of the biggest statistical disadvantages that exist.  Children of single moms are almost guaranteed to be poor.  Instead of worrying about offending every single mom, why don’t we focus more on what is best for the kid?  The statistics are undeniable.  Kids always do better with a mom and a dad.  Crime would go down, welfare would go down, our economy would grow, our government could shrink.

10.  Education

Why do we spend more per child on education in the world, yet do not have the best education system in the world?  Interestingly, American kids at an early age like 3 years old outperform their peers in other countries handily on testing.  Yet, compare test scores of 15 year olds in a similar way and America is way behind.  Kids actually lose ground the more years they are in the American school system!  What a joke.

Perhaps, we need to abandon the idea that school is for everyone.  We are used to political rhetoric like “No child left behind” and “college needs to be more affordable”.  Maybe not everyone is meant to go to college?  In countries like Italy, only the academically gifted continue on to higher levels of education.  The ones that do not go to trade schools and learn valuable skills that make them contribute to society and earn a good income.  Instead of trying to send every single kid to college, why not send kids who aren’t great at school to trade schools?  This would lower the cost of education for everyone at the same time.  Something needs to change because our expensive education system continues to deteriorate.  Or maybe we should abandon the idea that government should run it?

Why I Wrote This Article on 20smoney.com

This article is important for all 20-somethings because these policy ideas would help our country thrive economically and provide more opportunity for 20-somethings of every status or income level.  The more opportunity, the more freedom, the more wealth, the more safe our country becomes.

Post your feedback below in the comments section if you have any thoughts.  I look forward to hearing them.

12 Comments »

  • Jacob J Ordinaut said:

    I used to be for term limits and I fantasized about it a lot for a long time but I actually had a change of heart recently.

    It is very frustrating to watch despicable politicians who are provable liars get powerful positions in government because they come from very safe districts for their party and will probably never be voted out. Term limits do seem like a way to end this but now I think it would actually make the situation worse.

    If elected officials don’t have the opportunity to schmooze and form the kind of relationships that power players build over time, those relationships will still form but in the unelected, faceless party machinery. Decision making power will move from Congress itself into the party machine, and by picking and choosing which candidates a given party endorses the behind the scenes players will become near invincible power brokers, trading predictable votes on key issues for comfortable, profitable, high visibility Congress posts.

    No doubt that kind of thing happens today but I don’t think term limits would actually improve the situation.

    I kind of want to ban political parties completely so that everyone will judge each candidate individually. It would take a very carefully worded Constitutional amendment to do that, but I think it would be worth it.

  • Kevin said:

    Jacob:

    You make a great argument. And, banning political parties would be a great step in the right direction.

    Thank you for your comments!

  • Stephanie PTY said:

    I’d like to see some data to back up your assertions that “Children of single moms are almost guaranteed to be poor,” and “Kids always do better with a mom and a dad.” My research simply does not support that. From what I can gather, there are disadvantages for children living in single-parent, divorced, or same-sex households, but they are definitely not a guarantee of anything. At worst, it’s an “increased risk.” And the risk is greater when the family income is low, which suggests that it’s not family structure that has the greatest impact, but family income. Which makes sense: people who grow up poor tend to become poor themselves.

    Sources worth pondering:
    http://www.clasp.org/publications/marriage_brief3_annotated.pdf
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-08-27-single-moms-succeed_N.htm

  • Kevin said:

    I love the following comment in the usatoday article you referenced:

    “What’s important is not whether they are raised by one or two parents. It’s how good is the relationship with the parent, how much support they’re getting from that parent and how harmonious is the environment.”

    What a load of crap.

    I love how this article claims “sons from single moms CAN succeed” because of the example of Barack Obama. Thats like saying new research shows that nerdy kids can make billions and referencing the life of Bill Gates.

    I’ll have stats regarding children raised by single moms soon, I’m still compiling them.

  • Kevin said:

    Decent article:

    “Canadian Press recently published the results of a massive Statistics Canada study of 23,000 children across the country during an eight month period in 1994 and 1995. The central conclusion of the study is that children raised by single mothers face increased risks of emotional, behavioural, academic and social problems. (Statistics Canada)

    One in six children in Canada live in single-parent families, 93% of these headed by single mothers. (Statistics Canada)

    Social researchers have long known that growing up in poverty puts children at higher risk for problems such as hyperactivity, emotional distress or failing a grade at school. But, the agency found the incidence of such problems among children of well-off single mothers was generally higher than for children from poor two-parent familes. (Portia Priegert, Canadian Press)

    Such statistics do not mean single mothers are worse parents, rather they suggest that single mothers have a tough job juggling their responsibilities at work and home and have fewer resources than traditional families. (Carolyne Gorlick, social policy professor at the University of Western Ontario)

    And children may be more prone to problems because their parents have gone through painful divorces. (Robert Glossop, Vanier Institute of the Family, Ottawa)

    The fact that children raised by single mothers are at increased risk is found over and over again. Acknowledging that fact is the first step to changing our legal framework and cultural attitudes toward parenting and raising children.”

    continue reading at http://www.fathermag.com/701/Trev2/

    —————-

    I think people tend to push back on the idea that kids raised by single moms are at a huge disadvantage because they think we are attacking women and their capabilities. As this article mentions, it doesn’t mean the moms are bad parents but that it is extremely tough for them to juggle work, household, parenting by themselves.

    Also, yes your comment on being poor influences the kids to also be poor is correct. However, I’ve seen plenty of data to support the idea that this article also mentions which is that poor kids with single moms are much more likely to be poor vs a poor kid with two parents. Again, I’m still working on stats for all of this.

    Lastly, we haven’t even mentioned the increase in crime, academic achievement, etc. although it is all intertwined w/ poverty levels.

    Being against growth in children being raised by single moms does not mean I’m anti-women. It means that I strongly believe that kids are way better off with a mom and a dad. More stats to prove this are on the way…

  • Stephanie PTY said:

    Thank you for the article, it gave me further places to look. It took me a while to track down the actual study that the article mentions: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-553-x/89-553-x1998001-eng.pdf
    (See page 20 for relevant info.) I will concede that there is plenty of research that shows increased risk for socioeconomic problems in children that are raised, but I still think your claims are overstated.

    Also, the research I’ve cited (in the comment and the previous) indicates nothing of “not having a dad” being the important factor, or the need for a “mom and dad.” All that has been shown is that children fare better in households with two caretakers, rather than one. As I said, the statistics put children of remarried households, adopted households, and same-sex households on equal footing.

    There’s also the question of why – which isn’t easily answered by statistic data. Why is it that children are at a lower risk if they are raised by biological parents who are married to one another? There shouldn’t be any significant difference between that child and an adopted child, but there is. Perhaps the problem is a social one – social attitudes toward non-traditional families (with two parents) could be what causes there to be a risk. In that case, how will a so-called “return to family values” help these children?

  • Jennifer said:

    First of all, the title of this article is “How to revolutionize America”, not “How to increase the self-esteem of children raised by same sex partnerships”. Arguing that America would not be better off if Dads stayed and took responsibility for their families is silly. When dads defect, they leave fatherless families in which mom has to bear alone the responsibility of breadwinner and child rearing. Fatherlessness creates poverty to begin with. I am a wife and a mother who is very thankful for my husband’s selfless love, hard work and responsibility for our family. If more men were like him, America would certainly be revolutionized.

    I hope you realize that you are arguing that family values and dads staying would not decrease poverty and be good for children because you have digressed into the liberal obsession with the world being fair and everyone being on “equal footing”.

    Like most moral relativists who demand that abortion be available on every street corner until the second before the head pops out, you have created an argument —against family values! How shocking. Let’s get this straight, kids of same sex partners do not do as well because of “social attitudes” towards them? How about a kid raised by both biological parents has the most advantage because of the benefits that this situation provides – not because they’ve never in their life been looked at quizzically because after all they don’t have two moms.

    You seem baffled as to why kids with both bio parents fare better and end up blaming the very values that mom and dads that stay live by which gave the advantage in the first place-its their fault, because those that don’t have a bio mom and dad feel left out! This is like saying kids only fed McDonalds every day aren’t less healthy than the kids eating healthy meals because of the food itself, its because of socially constructed views about diets! If only “traditional families” would quit being elitist, the kids of single moms (and double moms) would feel better and not be at a disadvantage. Or maybe Obama can through a mandate in one of his spending bills (no one would even catch it!) that ONLY same-sex families be allowed. That way we’ll all feel better about our non- traditional families and we’d never again have to hear about “equal footing”!

    The problem is that you assume everything should be fair in the world and that there are no consequences of bad decisions. Then again, you probably don’t believe in bad decisions if you are a liberal. The fact is that kids with a bio mom and dad are at a greater advantage for many positive reasons. No, its not fair to the same sex and adopted kids who were given up by there selfish/young/fornicating unwed biological parents who were just nurturing enough not to dismember their tiny bodies in utero. Yes, it may hurt the feelings of same loving sex parents to know that they do not provide the optimal situation for a child to grow up in. But we are not talking about feelings, we are talking about facts. Delving into “maybe its the way they are judged by society that gives the disadvantage” is comical. The perpetual liberal battle cry – “Damn family values because they make other people feel bad.” Maddening.

  • Stephanie PTY said:

    Jennifer, I would call that a radical interpretation of the text. I’m looking at statistic trends and trying to use my background in gender studies to investigate causes. It’s well known that correlation does not equal causation – while we can see a correlation in the statistic between how a child is raised and their socioeconomic outcome, coming to a conclusion about causation is not as simple as that.

    You said “I hope you realize that you are arguing that family values and dads staying would not decrease poverty and be good for children because you have digressed into the liberal obsession with the world being fair and everyone being on “equal footing”.”

    And I would respond that no, that’s not what I’m saying, nor is it why I’m saying it. What I’m trying to get at is that the mom-dad-two-kids nuclear family evolved out of economic efficiency. Economically, there’s no difference between any two-wage-earner family with kids, and another two-wage-earner family with kids (controlling for income). So the difference in the statistics must come from social causes. And yes, how a child and their family is treated by the outside world is a social issue.

    I do not come from the “everything should be fair” school of thought, and I especially do not believe “the world should be made fair by unnecessary laws.” That’s tyranny at its worst. But a return to “family values” (which I have yet to see defined by the author or any commenters – what family values are we to return to, exactly?) simply because of a statistical correlation is foolhardy. There are more factors feeding into this issue than can be solved with a pithy saying like “Let’s return to good old-fashioned family values.”

    Also, I would appreciate it if you used facts and statistics to back up your views, and also if you would not make assumptions about my views and character based on limited information. We could all come at this using personal experience only, but that would lead to an extremely limited discussion.

  • Sam said:

    I’d like to rephrase Jennifer’s opening paragraph:

    (The ambiguous parent)
    Arguing that America would not be better off if parent 1 stayed and took responsibility for their families is silly. When parent 1s defect, they leave parent 1-less families in which parent 2 has to bear alone the responsibility of breadwinner and child rearing. Parent 1-lessness creates poverty to begin with. I am a parent 2 who is very thankful for my parent 1’s selfless love, hard work and responsibility for our family. If more parent 1s were like my parent 1, America would certainly be revolutionized.

    I think we can agree that the issue of fatherlessness applies with the issue of motherlessness as well: single dads do about as good as single moms. So, it looks like the issue is not one of “no father,” but of “one parent.” Two parents (whether it be mother-father, mother-mother, or father-father) do better than one parent alone. It’s a numbers game. I have a hard time taking care of pets on my own, I can’t imagine trying it with children.

    Let’s skip the part about abortion, since that’s got nothing to do with anything. Onward to: social problems are caused by… social problems?

    Jennifer said:
    “This is like saying kids only fed McDonalds every day aren’t less healthy than the kids eating healthy meals because of the food itself, its because of socially constructed views about diets!”

    What? No it isn’t. Children of same-sex, adopted, and remarried families aren’t at higher risk because of some magic pill being given by their biological parents. Breathing the air exhaled by bio-dad isn’t more beneficial than breathing any other air. There’s no biological reason why the kids do better, there are SOCIAL reasons. So, Stephanie’s proposal that children of married bio-parents are at lower risk because of social attitudes of the “traditional” family (a SOCIAL reason) is perfectly reasonable, while Jennifer’s insinuation of a biological cause is fairly ridiculous without any research to back it up, just more ranting.

    Jennifer, you mention “positive reasons” why children of married bio-parents are at lesser risk. Care to share them? ‘Cause all I see is ranting without anything to back it up.

    On a related note, now that I’ve gotten past Jennifer’s incoherent ranting, research has shown that step-fathers are 5-times more likely to kill their step-children than fathers are to kill their children. And, when these murders occur, they occur for different reasons. Step-fathers tend to beat their step-children to death during a rage induced by such things as, “He wouldn’t stop crying,” while fathers more often have a “rescue” motivation when they kill their children, often committing suicide shortly afterward. These are not differences that can be accounted for by poverty, general personality of someone who remarries, brood size, maternal youth, or duration of coresidency. The risk factor appears to be solely the fact that the stepfather is not biologically related. Why? Because of the evolutionary need to personally procreate and reproduce our genes. Raising children is costly, in a number of ways. If it’s not REALLY your child, sometimes it’s just not worth it.
    http://psych.mcmaster.ca/dalywilson/e&s207.pdf

    Now, while it appears that I’ve uncovered a biological cause for children of married bio-parents having lower risk, let’s be clear: the children aren’t inhaling a magic gas from bio-parents as Jennifer seems to suggest. We’re talking about a social result (lower risk) from a social cause (parents caring more for their children) that stems from a biological influence in the parents (evolutionary imperative to pass on one’s genes). And all that’s assuming that there is some homunculus in our brains saying, “Have children!” Is there? Who knows? But additional evidence suggests it might not be all in the biology.

    Right now we should all agree that parents of adopted children or parents in a same-sex relationship are in a different situation than a standard step-father.

    Your standard step-father marries a woman for the woman, and darn it if those brats come with her. Not my kids, not my responsibility, that’s all on her. Now if they’d just stop making so much noise…

    Now, parents of adopted children and parents in a same-sex relationship WANT kids and typically (certainly for adoptions) made the choice to get the children. This has the social result of caring more for these children that rivals the evolutionary imperative to pass on one’s genes, washing away the bio-dad effect when examining the differences between bio-dad and step-dad.

    So, this seems to indicate that having kids, getting divorced, and then getting remarried to someone else is bad for the kids (worse than single-mom? Who knows?), while planned configurations with two parents (including same-sex couples) should work out just fine without the step-father effect. I’ll also point out at this point that unwanted children, even with married bio-parents, do absolutely terribly, which overrides the evolutionary imperative for one’s children to succeed. As with most things in life, planning is key.

    Yes, I did just ramble on for six paragraphs to go nowhere, but at least I have research to back it up.

  • Bob said:

    Kevin–

    I think you have some excellent ideas, and many of them I completely agree with. But there is one nagging issue that I think deserves some consideration. I took paragraph nine and reworded it. The structure and basic meaning are still the same, but I’ve changed a few words that will hopefully illustrate my later argument.

    “We need to focus more on slavery and what black people used to be. Years ago in America and currently in other countries, white families looked out for their black slaves. Today in America, instead of slaves providing for their master’s family, we have way too many people looking to the government for support. What if we got back to this idea?

    Furthermore, white men embracing the responsibility of being a slave master would change this country over night. Negros not having a white master to look after them is one of the biggest statistical disadvantages that exist. Black children of single moms are almost guaranteed to be poor. Instead of worrying about offending every single black person, why don’t we focus more on what is best for the black race? The statistics are undeniable. Negros always do better with a white slave master. Crime would go down, welfare would go down, and our economy would grow, our government could shrink.”

    It sounds horrible and racist, but it proves my point entirely. You are suggesting that we embrace traditional, nuclear families because they are… well… traditional. But supporting a belief because “it’s the way we’ve always done it” demonstrates that you fear change. Now there are only two reasons to fear change: you either don’t understand the new idea, or it clashes with your existing concept of the universe.

    There may be many good reasons to embrace traditional family values. And maybe that’s exactly what America needs. But you’re not analyzing the problems of high crime, welfare abuse, an economic recession, or a bloated government and suggesting a corrective action. What you’re doing is saying “we need to go back to the 1950’s family model” and “oh take my word for it that crime would go down, etc”. That tells me that you’re not pushing family values because you think it would benefit America; you’re comfortable with the nuclear family and you don’t know what kind of impact these new values will have on the society you live in. That is the very definition of fear.

    And you might try and claim that we have a higher crime rate, a higher welfare burden, our economy is proportionally worse, and our government is excessively larger than the 1950’s. And you’re right. Guess what else has gone up significantly? POPULATION. That’s right, a higher population often translates to higher crime. Look at the first few results in http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=population+growth+increase+crime&btnG=Search for examples. I’m not suggesting that population growth is to blame for all of the issues you brought up, but you can’t reasonably point at 50 years ago and say “well America was better when we had traditional family values” because there are other variables (time, population, culture, the rest of the world, etc.) that you’re not taking into account.

    We previously established that you’re afraid of contemporary culture. The only question left to answer is: do you not understand it, or are you afraid simply because it conflicts with your existing beliefs?

  • jennifer said:

    Wow. Kevin at 20smoney writes that America would be better off if more fathers took responsibility for the families that they help create and readers take offense! Some go as far as to insinuate he is a racist, a sexist and a homophobe and “fears change”. Are these people oxygen deprived?

    Last time I checked, the welfare system is not overwhelmed with single dads on the dole. I’m pretty sure that is why Kevin targeted fathers sticking around and not mothers. As far as Kevin fearing change – let me clarify the “change” these anti-nuclear family people are advocating: casual sex resulting in children that are deprived of a stable home, involved in custody battles, deprived of a mother and father that love each other. Kevin, I’m scared of that, too.

    I love imagining a world where people waited until marriage to have sex. It’s not unreasonable – I was a 24 year old virgin the day I got married. In a world where everyone waits, STIs would quit spreading and be gone in a matter of years, there would be no more abortion, and most importantly a huge reduction in child poverty, child abuse and neglect. Also, marriages would be healthier because the mindset of having self control, waiting for your spouse and practicing marital fidelity to your future spouse comes in handy after the wedding day, too! The self control it takes to wait is required to keep you mentally, emotionally, and physically faithful once you are married!

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