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Give The People What They Want! Taxes That Pay for Jobs, Education, Healthcare and Science

Listen up lawmakers. Doing what's right also happens to be doing what's popular.

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Medicare is pilot-testing such changes with promising results. Massachusetts lawmakers have already passed landmark cost-containment  legislation that will usher in this new form of payment across the state’s substantial health sector. We should be racing to implement these changes nationally. Since there isn’t a good estimate of how much could be saved in Medicare if such major changes were implemented, let’s be particularly conservative and estimate only a 5% savings. That would still shave around $400 billion from federal spending over a decade.

With these lower health costs, as well as smart reductions in military spending and limits on tax loopholes, we’ve tallied more than $4 trillion in savings over the next 10 years. Use a fraction of that to fund a job creation/infrastructure repairs program and we’ve still achieved around $3.5 trillion in potential deficit reduction. Since that’s substantially more than experts  recommend, we’ve actually freed up extra cash that could be used for any number of other priorities.

And all we did was pursue changes consistent with a people’s budget that clearly emerges from opinion polls -- though you can depend on Washington to ignore such possible reforms. The outsized influence of money in politics plus gerrymandered congressional districts are among the structural problems that reward our elected officials for serving narrow special interests instead of the will of the people. And though we the people have clear priorities, we don’t do a good job of holding our elected officials accountable for pursuing a roadmap for the greater good.  Still, that roadmap is there, if we ever want to use it.