New Edition - America 2.0 - Inc. Take Stock In America
I have every expectation of winning the NOBEL PRIZE in Economics for this book.
If Microsoft never upgraded Microsoft Windows, we'd all be using pen and paper today. If they never improved the airplane or the automobile, we'd all be walking or on horseback everywhere today. If they never upgraded clothing, we'd all be wearing animal skins today. If they never upgraded food, we'd all be eating crap today. If we never upgraded our telescopes, we'd still think the Earth was the center of the universe If we never upgraded books, instead of reading this book in the many numerous ways that we do today8, we would all be carrying around heavy stones with these words carved into them.
Clearly we humans frequently upgrade every part of our daily lives, except for one thing, our system of governance, the way that we make communal decisions and attempt a just and equitable relationship amongst ourselves. Yet, this most important of things cries out for more frequent and thoughtful upgrades simply because it impacts all of the other things that we need to use every day.
But instead of upgrading our political systems whenever we find a bug in it, the way that I would prefer, we only upgrade our political machinery every few centuries if we're lucky, and only then, after many lives are ruined by slander, innuendo and even violence. There has to be a better way to run a country, a civilization, or a civilized planet.
America 2.0, Inc. is one attempt at an upgrade that makes sense to my mind. But before we consider some of what I believe would be some pretty good upgrades to the political machinery, let. examine what are the biggest parts of the system that are obviously broken and which could be fixed most easily.
First on my list is the horrific and humiliating event we see on the news of thousands of people lining up on the streets, stretching for miles outside of official places of voting, known as polling places. Some of these poor unfortunate people are forced to stand in line for hours, a half day, many of them an entire day before the line reaches the door of their designated polling place. Many of them, after waiting for hours, finally reach the voting booths only to be told they have come to the "Wrong Place" and that they are only registered to vote at another location some miles away. So, the most undaunted voters are then forced to get in their cars, and then get in another line to wait their turn to vote that may cost them another half day or even a full day of their lives.
Sadly, very few of us, in normal election years are willing to put up with all of this frustration and so less than half of eligible voters ever bother to vote in this country and who could blame them after going though a trial like this every four years, every two years for the most civic minded.
All of this wouldn't be so bad if it were not for the fact that even after going through all of this trouble to case one's vote, in Federal elections, all we get to vote for is Brand A personality or Brand B personality. Both of these brands, by the way, have been tainted by thousands of their best products doing very little to satisfy the voters most of the time, because most of the time, the Brand A and Brand B candidates are merely making campaign promises that they know they can't keep - just for the sake of being elected to one of the most powerful and financially rewarding careers in the country. In other words, most of the people we are forced to vote for every election really have only one thing in mind and that is their own selfish interests.
Most of us know this going into the transaction, but we want to believe in our flawed and antiquated system and hope for the best results given the herculean effort that millions of citizens put for in support of the system.
Is this effort a total waste of time, then? No, it isn't because flawed as it is, at least the results of an election, as painful and laborious as it is, as well as expensive, requiring literally billions of dollars to be spent by the winning Brand, it's the only game in town and at least, the majority who came out on the winning side can take comfort in the idea that perhaps all of their sacrifices made the difference.
In other words, flawed as it is, our current way of doing things in the political realm is the best that humankind has been able to produce in our Evolution thus far. Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater, right?
The basic premise of Democracy is that power should be vested in the people and the will of the majority of citizens thinking on any given problem and the related solutions should be the premier directive of the future for the rest of us.
But at what cost? The most obvious and simple fix to the problem of millions of us waiting in line for hours to finally reach our designated voting machine is that we can now vote by mail. This is something that was utilized by fifty million voters in the last election. And the only reason that we didn't have everyone voting by mail in this last election is because President of the United States, himself running in that election didn't trust anyone who voted this way and complained bitterly in every campaign speech in such a colorful way, actually calling mail in ballots illegal, that his supporters in large numbers believed him and stayed away from voting by mail. It is my opinion that this mistake, in fact, cost President Trump the election and denied him another four years in power. If he ever runs for office again, I doubt he will make this same mistake twice.
It is my fervent hope and I believe strongly that over the course of the next four years, after all the dust has cleared, all of the antipathy has died down and before the next Presidential election, we will all come to the conclusion that voting by mail is far superior to standing in line and giving up an entire day of one's life, and sometimes two or three days, waiting for the opportunity to cast our vote and that the vast majority of the electorate will use it next time.
In fact, this is the most obvious and easily achieved fix to the system. We should immediately pass federal legislation that makes it a requirement, under penalty of huge fines and jail time, that all states allow for their citizens to obtain a Mail-In Ballot for each election at least two months ahead of the election date and have the machinery in place to count them as they come in, with a final acceptance date of five days after the day of the election, if the ballot has a post-mark on it no later than the date of the election.
SO, the most glaring broken piece of our political system is easily fixed by applying a little duct tape of common sense.
But, we're just getting started. Hang in there. The rest of my book contains the best fixes to the most pressing and broken pieces of our democracy, at least in my humble opinion. All that I ask is that you keep an open mind and make no conclusions until you have read through to the end of the book. I hope to convince most of you by then, that these ideas, though completely untired and untested, radical in some cases and highly conservative in others, are ones that at least break new ground and require some time to debate in full by all of the American people and someday by the people of the world.
In considering some of my ideas, it will require you to think carefully and rationally using the organ in between your ears as you have never done before. I am going to force you to think outside the box. This will be painful to many of you, and so if thinking carefully and outside the box is painful to you, this may not be the book for you. If so, I advise you to put it down now and go find one that suits you better.
For those of my readers who enjoy a good think, enjoy a challenge to their often-held beliefs, this book may be for you -please continue reading.
This will sound crazy at first, but I am going to propose a new form of political machinery unlike any other ever tried before on the Earth. I want you to consider, for the next few hours, a system of governance that uses the by-laws and the rules that we will obey in the forming articles of a For-Profit corporation.
We can do this by simply adding a few words of incorporation to the Untied States Constitution because it allows the people to do so. This part of the idea is nothing new Amending our basic contract between the government and the governed has been done over the years 27 times. We can do it again given enough will and determination.
Think about it this way. Currently, the United States has no controlling documents regarding whether or not we should be a Socialist country, a Capitalist country or a Communist country. The Constitution is silent on this subject. The founding fathers simply assumed that all future generations of Americans would aspire to be wealthy slave-owning plantation farmers. Of course this vocation, if chosen by a young person today would land the in a home for the mentally deranged. That's how far we've come.
BUT, we have not advanced to more than twenty-seven changes that we've made to that same forming document, other than ending slavery, giving women the right to vote, giving the feds the right to take money from our incomes, etc. We are still not required by law to maintain a capitalist economy or a Communist one and this kind of misunderstanding is the subject of many billions of hours of useless and senseless debate that ultimately we can't even vote for, either way. We can't even come together on a health plan that is affordable and fair to the majority of us.
What a ridiculous exercise in futility our current system provides us. And remember, all of what we have been suffering these last few decades could have been avoided if we used our newest and best new invention, the Internet in more productive ways - not ways to make individuals wealthy beyond their wildest dreams as we have done, but to make every individual citizen, safe and secure in their homes and never living in fear or want.
How does one minor change in our basic contract between the government and the governed do all of this?
Here's one major CLUE. Under a typical corporate charter, there lies the notion of accountability of the executives vis-a-vis the shareholders. There is something deeply embedded in all corporate governance and that is - a fiduciary responsibility. This means that the executives of any corporation have the legal responsibility to act in the best interests, interests that are measured in dollars, for the shareholders. What goes along with that is the need for transparency and honesty in making any government reports to the shareholders. There are strict criminal penalties in place for any executives who break this rule and many thousands of "White-collar" criminals have spent many hundreds of years cumulatively behind bars for the various nefarious schemes that they have concocted in order to gain personal wealth that is not legal for them to collect.
Compare this, accountability that holds most chief executive officers to do what is best for their shareholders to the system we have not where it's not even illegal for our government officials to lie to the American people. Yes, believe it or not, it's legal and commonplace for our elected officials to lie to us and misrepresent the truth. They do it all day long every day and the only reason they do this is because they know they can get away with it.
By simply changing the form of our government to be held under the same or higher standards as our modern corporations, and all of a sudden, our elected officials cannot lie to us unless they want to risk going to jail.
Now, I hope you're still with me. If you are, you should now be wondering what about this 'For Profit' organization. It's never been done before in history - you say. And you would be right, but what if we never tried anything new only because it had never been done before? That wouldn't get us very far, would it? And, think about it for another minute. Our present government is in debt up to its eyeballs and it's in the trillions of dollars, a staggering debt that no economy can ever retire, so this means, we are destined to be in debt for several generations, if not for all eternity, unless we force them to balance the books at least once in a while.
Under any corporate charter if the chief operating officers of a corporation cannot make enough money every year to retire the corporation's debt, they are simply fired at the next shareholder's meeting.
And guess who it is that fires them? The shareholders, of course. And who would the shareholders be in a United States of America, Inc? You and me and every other living citizen of the United States.
So, I hope that things are getting a little clearer for you and you can accept this concept just a little bit more. Is it sounding more user-friendly yet?
SO - I want you to take a deep breath. Relax. Let it sink in what I've said so far. When you're able to put your mind into high gear again, come back to this point.
Because in the next chapter - Chapter One, I hope to convince you that this idea merits even more of your respect. I'm going to give you a sneak peek at the next shareholder's meeting where you and I vote on who our next Chief Executive Officers are going to be, BUT, you may have earned more votes than me, because you have more stock in the corporation. Or, I could have more shares than you. Your cousin Nancy, could have earned more shares that both of us combined and therefore, her votes will count more than yours or mine.
Doesn't seem equitable just now, does it. Why does some of the voters have more legal votes than you - you ask?
The answer to that major question you should be asking yourselves is coming up in Chapter One - you'll have that answer and believe me - it's a zinger.
ONE LAST POINT before you turn the page.
I need you to compare some of these new ideas to the ways that we do things now.