I am participating in a series of quality political discussions on Facebook (gasp), and I wanted to replicate here a comment I just made in a thread about “what went wrong” with our country.
It’s true that it’s gotten bad. It’s true we’re in a bad place. But path that got us here is plain to see: it’s powerful people focusing on themselves rather than on everyone. it’s greed and self-interest–plain and simple.
When representatives are taking actions that help the whole vs. just themselves that’s when the system (our current system) works. Lobbying in its current form is getting lawmakers to take actions that they shouldn’t, in order to receive some sort of benefit for themselves. It is the epitome and manifestation of the very self-interest that is erroding our nation.
The answer is to decide what type of a nation we want to live in, as a group, and then build a system that incentivizes that outcome. Step 1–discouraging abject selfishness at every turn, and incentivizing activity that helps the overall health of the country vs. the individual financial success of oneself or his friends.
That sounds too soft, right? Well, how about this. We define a minimum state of a healthy worker’s lifestyle, at the bottom level, and we say they MUST have that. This is not a wage: it’s a lifestyle where the family with ONE adult in the workforce is able to provide food, clothing, full healthcare, excellent education through university, modest recreation, and a decent retirement–all from one salary.
That is America. That is EVERYONE being a consumer to some degree. That is a healthy America.
And what we do is say that the companies that provide those services and those jobs are PROHIBITED from making so much profit that it impedes the ability of the regular, hard-working family to have that lifestyle.
So if a CEO goes in front of his board and says I make 490K right now, and our profits are at 23%, but we’re paying WAY more in claims than we could to our customers. Profit is ok. Capitalism is ok. So why not raise our profits to 47%, raise my salary to 1.9M/year, and just lower the claims we put out?
If someone comes with that they should be punished. Shunned. Set aside. Discarded. Chastised. Why? For placing MORE profit and MORE success of themselves over THE MINIMUM of success for EVERYONE.
That is the only change we need in this country, and it’s a change that penetrates straight to our currently rotten core. Profit as religion. Individual success as religion. These are what eat away at us more than any other malady. Replace those with representation, and a national culture, of seeing ourselves as a unified people who have responsibilities to EACH OTHER and then we will return to the country we thought we had.