Friday, August 3, 2012

Blog Series #2: Solutions to Big Problems


Major Ideas to address the major problems detailed in Blog Series Part 1-America's Problems And How To Solve Them:

Politics and Corruption
  1. Get money out of politics. Go with all Federal money for national campaigns--no private contributions permitted (with the exception of $200 or less??). This would ban lobbyist money too.  No SuperPacs.
  2. We need the "fresh air" of shareholder democracy at our corporations.  Pass rules that shareholders must approve executive pay packages including stock options, etc. Complete disclosure of pay packages must be made for shareholder vote.  Major investors like public pension funds must be on the Boards of Directors-by law.  
Overcoming Loss of Demand and Sluggish US Economy 
  1. Defeat Obama in the upcoming election. It's true that the President is a fairly weak effect on the economy but the current president and his administration together are the biggest "wet blanket"  to job creation ever  (as Democrat Mort Zuckerman termed it) .  I predict that there will be an economic rebound due to pent-up demand when he is defeated.  How long it lasts is debatable.
  2. A bipartisan effort to repatriate jobs back to America from Asia:  offer businesses/entrepreneurs incentives or even "tax holidays" to bring jobs back to America.  Improve US trade balance (also see Energy revival section below to improve trade balance).  Make a big patriotic splash to encourage this. Enact incentives to make this happen.
  3. Lower corporate tax marginal rates to more world-competitive levels.   Reform tax codes to raise the currently insufficient "effective" corporate tax rate.  A lower marginal rate should bring capital and jobs back to the US as costs in China and Asia have risen sharply in several years.  (Individual tax reform is covered in another blog)
  4. A presidential announcement of a moratorium on further regulation (or, better yet, a rollback of regulations) by the EPA, NLRB, etc.  
  5. Expand immigration (see Blog Series #3)
  6. Have a Presidential-led,  bipartisan State Governor's summit to discuss possible infrastructure projects that improve future US productivity (the lifeblood of real growth).  There may be some Federally supported infrastructure 'works' that have real economic benefit.  The problem is that it will take years to plan, appropriate and engineer projects before many jobs are created.  This was the problem with small amount of infrastructure spending in the first $700 million "stimulus".
  7. Embrace the shale energy boom and conversion of transportation to compressed natural gas (see following blogs in this series)
  8. A bipartisan deal on closing the impending Federal debt "train wreck" that has business and investors worried (see Improve Fiscal Administration, Improve Education, and Lower the Cost of government and Reduce Medical Costs in  Blog Series #3: More Solutions To Big Problems and  Blog Series #4: More Solutions..  ).
  9. Expand energy exploration in the US (on Federal land).  Approve Keystone pipeline.  Take advantage of every opportunity to create jobs.  (see Blog Series #4: More Solutions...)

Banking and Financial Reforms
  1. Re-institute a monetary gold standard to guide monetary policy, remove the "full employment" mandate from the Federal Reserve. The Fed Reserve should renounce further Quantitative easing now. 
  2. Consider downsizing the Federal Reserve's size and purpose--since it's failed miserably over the long term. 
  3. Reinstate normal interest rates now to 2 or 3% (set short-term interest rates at 0.5% higher than inflation rate) to stop punishing retirees and savers.  See my blog US Gov't (Federal Reserve) Policies Are Not Working
  4. Repeal Dodd-Frank (it's already 5200 pages and not finished nor implemented) and break up the big banks into investment companies and conventional banks as in the days of 'Glass Steagall.' Limit leverage in both entities to 12 to 14 times capital (conservative). 
  5. No off-balance sheet items---make everything clearly stated on the balance sheet. 
  6. Put derivatives on exchanges and have banks/investment houses mark-to-market all hedging positions at the end of each day. 
  7. Return to conventional banking and loan-making for newly split-off banks with low leverage requirements 
  8. Make bankers responsible for bank failures. Pass laws to require jail time and salary claw-backs for serious "financial malfeasance."
Please proceed to the next Blog in this Mega-Series: Blog Series #3: More Solutions To Big Problems

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