(UTOPIA) Tax Alert : Stop 150% tax pledge increase

Shane Hathaway shane at hathawaymix.org
Sun Apr 20 03:16:58 MDT 2008

Jonathan Duncan wrote:
> This has been the longest thread I have seen on PLUG in quite a  
> while.  And a good one at that.  I think we should all stay.  I think  
> we just had a very good conversation.  It might have even been more  
> entertaining over dinner.

Threads like this are indeed far more interesting in person.  I'd rather 
hear a shortened version of everyone's viewpoint rather than read all 
these essays.  OTOH, writing essays improves writing skills, so the time 
is not wasted. :-)

FWIW, I have my own take on tough political matters: I think we need to 
apply agile development techniques much like we do in software 
development.  In other words, we need to be more scientific.

Health care seems like a good candidate for this technique.  Many 
Americans need better health care, but can't afford it.  The right 
solution is not the least bit obvious, so we should test different 
solutions in different cities.  Some cities can try taxing the rich to 
fund universal health care, others can attempt to rely on donations and 
incentives, others can provide universal care for children only, others 
can create a donation system where health insurance policy holders 
voluntarily raise their premiums in order to fund others, and so on.

The tests must have a fixed time limit and each experiment must produce 
scientifically sound reports.  The best solutions will surface and will 
have not only opinion but facts to back them up.  There will be room for 
creativity and innovation, since individual cities will be expected to 
invent their own solutions rather than wait for the federal government. 
  Solutions that would require a constitutional amendment will be 
automatically disqualified.  Cities whose solutions were proven less 
effective will be required to adopt more effective solutions once the 
testing is over.

Are there downsides to this approach?  Formalized testing should 
dramatically raise the probability of overall success.  People will 
engage their own local government if they think they have a good idea 
for a solution.  Parties will continue to banter over solutions, but 
much of the arguing will be squelched when the best solution emerges and 
it turns out that neither of the leading parties thought of it.


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