I am white, old, male, straight and privileged.
I cannot speak to the experience of being black, female or gay. I haven’t lived in your skin or seen the world through your eyes. I haven’t been preyed upon, eyed with suspicion or taunted based simply on the facts of my birth or skin color.
I have experienced the dignity and hope of working a full day and earning a wage which provided the opportunity for growth and the ability to put food on my table, a roof over my head and security for my family.
I believe that ANY plan which proposes to address the inequalities of our society must first address the fundamental loss of hope, opportunity and purpose which accompany the lack of meaningful employment.
The ills of our society cannot be met by individual actions, but can be addressed through the mass leverage of individual and corporate contributions through taxation and responsible social policy.
My idea is as follows:
- Identify the lowest 20 cites by earnings-per-capita (ex. here ) or similar measure.
- Re-evaluate this list on a three-year cycle to rotate-out those communities finding sustainability and rotate-in those next-in-need.
- Using the city charter and the current census, define the geographic boundaries and current population within those boundaries
- Establish a federal/state/local tax-free enterprise zone for that geographic zone and population.
- Earmark new state taxes to replace these foregone taxes and provide business grants. Note: Grants not loans. To break the current downward cycle, investment is required of the many to raise the few.
- Encourage, through business grants, the establishment of small and mid-sized low-tech manufacturing businesses to competitively replace work currently outsourced.
- Low-tech is emphasized to ensure that today’s workforce can be employed today and then that work force can be upskilled.
- Company size is restricted to ~250 to encourage entrepreneurship and discourage corporate carpetbagging.
- All employees must come from boundaries and population identified in #2.
- Mentorship program with state’s key businesses to advance integration with the wider business community
- In partnership with the local schools and community college system:
- basic education and vocational advancement training is required as part of the employment contract to underpin the opportunity for advancement, and
- child care is provided.
- In partnership with the local hospitals and medical facilities, health care is provided.
- While funded, salaries are capped at the 120% state average and profits are returned to the schools and community-improvement projects identified in #2.
- All businesses must have a 10-year strategy for migrating from a funded business model to an independent/employee-owned non-funded business model
This is an expensive plan, but what is the current cost of our lowest 20 communities to the state? What are the potential profits of a state where ALL communities are self-sustaining? What is the cost of crime, degradation and human desperation in those communities today? How much does the loss of hope and opportunity cost?
Make good work available in each locality. Build good schools. Provide positive examples of growth, opportunity, citizenship and self-pride. Protect your neighbors and neighborhoods. Make the pursuit of the American Dream the a reality for all.
This is my idea. What’s yours? Comment below…