Well, I’ve got to admit that this Presidential Candidacy business can be pretty tough. This week instead of adding new potential voters, two readers expressed decidedly pessimistic opinions about my proposals.
Don’t lose heart though. It’s early in the battle and election day is two years away. Time is on our side. Let me bring you up to date. One of the negative readers is a street musician in San Francisco. Not a bad gig, apparently; he owns a house there, which is no mean feat, and on good days, when the crowds at Pier 39 are heavy and in a good mood, he can sometime earn $1,000 in a five-hour music session.
The other fellow is a recently retired financial adviser stockbroker, nowadays hanging out in Mexico. This guy has also done pretty well in his business. After all, he lived in Marin County, one of the top five wealthiest counties, where the money flows fairly easily about.
In any case, the musician, upon reading my presidency plans, said he thought trying to get Americans to think in a new way about our country was an uphill struggle, and he didn’t hold out much hope for my success.
The stockbroker retiree, took a slightly different tack. After I wrote about my plan to create new small industrial towns away from big cities, and arrange for all Americans by birthright to own at least one piece of housing real estate, he replied to me:
“There are currently limitless, cheap places to live but most people want to live in the most desirable places. Your approach would only work with coercion. It’s just that people don’t want to live in places where the weather is lousy and jobs few.”
Now, that threw me for a loop. My proposal was and is not simply about housing. It is about designing new industries that create income for people now without income. And I never suggested people live in undesirable places with bad weather. Where’d that come from?
Rather, I suggested that Federal, State, and County/City property be provided to all real-estate-poor Americans at a greatly under-market price. And that we, by design, create new jobs meeting the product and service needs of emerging nations.
He then followed up with:
“Now in a place like England, the situation is different because every bit of the country is developed and owned. Homesteading is still an option in Alaska . . . Instead of moving people out into the country, you can also build high rise tenements.”
Huh? He lost me there. What is his point? I’m not sure.It appears to me he sidesteps the points I am attempting to make. I am proposing that every American now without real estate be provided at birth a tangible real estate asset from which to rationally begin to function in our economy.
Further, that a second real estate market, configured most likely as a new cooperative exchange, be established allocating, at a reasonable price, ownership to each and every newborn American, including those now totally real-estate-poor.
I propose that we proactively create new smaller communities, away from our most expensive, homeless-crowded cites, that include from their conception specific new service and product industries. These could actually be profit-earning corporate cooperatives, owned by the citizens living and working there.
The private housing real estate in this separate market segment, as personally owned property, would be aligned with a common escrow account. When an owner “sold” his property, the funds would devolve to the escrow account in his name.
These pieces of property, or the cash from their sale, would never be abandoned by their owners. One would always own either a piece of home property, or funds would rest in the escrow for people to use if and when they wished to take possession of another piece of cooperative property.
These real estate pieces would probably have a limit (10%?) in price rise upon sale, and never be placed on an entirely second level of a freely speculative real estate market. The entire purpose of the cooperative pieces of real estate would be to insure that all Americans always in their lives have a permanent home from which to function.
The initial point of my proposal was: why do we allow the Federal, State, and Local governments to own and control so much land, when much of it could be owned by individual citizens by birthright through legal citizenship?
Why should it not be personally owned instead of held in trust by government that presently is unquestionably dominantly controlled by giant corporations?
I believe the two negative opinions mentioned above essentially demonstrate a Nihilistic mindset Americans have developed in a nation now dominated by an ultra self-obsessed take-all-prisoners capitalist system, aptly symbolized by our current president and his profit-hypnotized corporate allies.
Have we reached the point that we can no longer think creatively and devise a new way of managing our capitalism that incorporates well-designed social support for all Americans, while retaining its financial individual incentive?
Politically, we are now being torn asunder by a Capitalist/Socialist confrontation. America has become a conflict of opposites. It needs to become a collaborative combination of both.
That requires we all begin again to nurture our ability to think creatively, not with simplistic naked self-interest, but with an eye to the well being of all of us. We need today less dollar competition, and more quality collaboration to support our economic system by placing our ultimate value on people rather than solely on profits.
Mr. Lincoln once said: “We must ask where we are and whither we are tending.”
Not a bad idea, Abe.
Where we are and where we are currently tending are not good. We need to reassess who we are and who we wish to be. It all has to happen right between our ears. And that is a matter, as Agatha Christie’s detective Hercule Poirot would say, of turning on once again the little gray cells of our brains and using them anew.