Saturday, April 28, 2018

We Endorse Andrew Yang 2020 (With Reservations)

As we have noted in the previous post about upcoming Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang, based on his stance on the issues, the TSAP hereby endorses him as our honorary candidate, albeit with the following reservations:
  1. First and foremost, the TSAP beleives that the Universal Basic Income (UBI) Guarantee for all should either be the same for all ages, or at least half the adult amount for unemancipated young people under 18.  And people 18 and over should get the full amount, period, without any conditions, and seniors over 65 should be free to choose between UBI or Social Security, but not both. Yang's proposal differs from that in that only people aged 18-64 will get it, and if you haven't graduated high school, you won't get it until age 20.  That is ageist, classist, ableist, and paternalistic, and thus will not eliminate poverty for everyone, defeating the program's purpose.
  2. Dovetailing with reservation #1 above, Yang's desire and ideas to help poor people and especially single parents (which the TSAP fully agrees with) kinda clashes with his age restrictions on the UBI.  Many younger mothers (and fathers) along with their children will thus remain locked into poverty until age 20 unless Yang removes that age restriction from the UBI.  And the effects of early childhood poverty can linger long after they are no longer poor.
  3. For the American Exchange Program he proposes, the TSAP has quite a bit of skepticism, both logistically as well as in terms of equity.  And the idea of tying it to the UBI for recent high school graduates kinda defeats the purpose of UBI.
  4. Nuclear power--the TSAP no longer supports expanding it any further.
  5. The nuclear family--Yang does seem to idealize it a little too much at times, though still far less so than Republicans do.
  6. His whole plank about the ubiquitous "kids and smartphones" issue, though more enlightened and nuanced than most proposals out there, does still seem to reek of ageism and paternalism a bit.
  7. He does not appear to be calling for free college for all like we do, but rather "controlling the costs".  The TSAP believes that, while a step in the right direction, it still misses the mark.
  8. He wants to "modernize" military spending, but says nothing about cutting it.  The TSAP says, why not both?  We need to cut our ridiculously bloated military spending yesterday, by at least half--and we will still have the strongest fighting force in the world, by far.
  9. He wants to reduce the student loan debt burden, but not have a complete jubilee like the TSAP recommends.
  10. And of course, not a single word about the FERAL Reserve and its usury-and-debt-based funny money that is the root of so many of our problems.  Which is understandable, since the banksters would like have him meet the same fate as JFK and Lincoln if he actually stood up to them and tackled this head-on while in office.
That said, the above reservations aside, we will nonetheless wholeheartedly endorse him for President of the United States.  Just about everything else on his platform we fully and enthusiastically support.  Given all the things he gets right, he will be a major asset to our nation and world.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

An Honorary TSAP Candidate, Andrew Yang 2020

Imagine if you were to indefinitely receive $1000 per month, with no strings attached.  That is a whopping $12,000 per year.  Not enough to live large on by itself, but most Americans can certainly use the help these days.  And the only catch?  It would be funded by a certain type of business tax of 10% on most goods and services, that would predictably be passed onto the consumer and thus result in an overall 10% increase in prices.  Clearly, most if not nearly all people would come out way ahead.  Would you take it?

If the answer is yes, then Andrew Yang is your man.  The 43 year old entrepreneur plans to run for President of the United States in 2020, and is promising something than Hillary, Trump, and even Bernie did not--a Universal Basic Income (UBI) Guarantee for all, which the TSAP has also advocated.  And the tax he is proposing is a value-added tax (VAT) that most other countries have, similar to a sales tax but collected a bit differently and built into the price of the affected goods and services.  He believes that robotics and automation will eventually take so many jobs that our collective hand will be forced to come up with a UBI, and his VAT idea for a funding source would theoretically be the best way to capture the gains that businesses make from robotics and automation (and thus internalize the externalities that the resulting losses impose on society).  

Granted, the TSAP proposal is a bit different than his in two ways . First, we do not consider a VAT to be our preferred funding source (though we do not oppose it), as we prefer either the Universal Exchange Tax (UET), progressive income taxes, land value and severance taxes on natural resources, carbon taxes, luxury taxes, money creation, or some combination of these.  Secondly, our proposal would have it for all ages, not just 18-64 like he wants, and under our proposal those old enough to receive Social Security can choose either the UBI or Social Security, whichever is higher (but not both).  And those under 18 would receive at least half the adult amount if not the full amount, with it going to the parent(s) or guardian(s) by default (or to the young person directly, if emancipated earlier than 18).  But otherwise, Yang's bold-yet-modest proposal is right up our alley.  It is high enough to eliminate absolute poverty completely and give workers much more bargaining power, while still being low enough for society to afford as well as low enough to alleviate the largely overblown fear of disincentivizing work (since it is highly unlikely that anyone can live comfortably on only $12,000 per year for very long).  And since there are no means tests or discrimination, and it is strictly individualized, that also means that there are no perverse incentives, welfare traps, or gaming the system either.  And it would be like a giant, permanent B-12 shot for our currently secularly stagnating economy.  It's a win-win-win situation for everyone but the oligarchs, in other words. 

Thus, the TSAP hereby considers Andrew Yang as an honorary candidate for 2020.  We are not sure how he stands on other issues--though we do know he's a Democrat--but unless his stance on other issues proves us wrong, we will nonetheless wholeheartedly endorse him in the meantime.

UPDATE:  Looks like his stance on other issues is also generally within the bounds of what the TSAP supports as well, including (but not limited to) single-payer healthcare for all.  Thus, we hereby endorse him as our honorary presidential candidate for 2020 unless he does an about-face and proves us wrong.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Quagmire Accomplished, 15 Years Later

What's left after 15 years since George W. Bush had the not-very-bright idea of invading Iraq in 2003?  One MILLION people dead in total, thousands of American servicemembers dead and many times that number wounded, trillions of dollars in the hole, the horrific scourge of ISIL that would not otherwise have even existed, and no one held accountable at all.  Add the 16+ year long Afghanistan quagmire to the mix, and the more recent incursion into Syria, and the death toll and total costs rise even higher still.

The moral of the story:  Wars have consequences, often serious and far-reaching ones.  So going to war should NEVER be done unless absolutely necessary, and certainly not willy-nilly.  Unnecessary wars of choice create terrorists faster than we can kill them.  And whether it's a "wham, bam, thank you ma'am" sort of war like Libya or a decade(s)-long quagmire like Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan, the end result is ultimately the same sort of disastrous failed state that becomes a magnet for extremists.  And once it becomes Quagmire Accomplished, whether we leave now, a year from now, ten years from now, or 100 years from now, the result on the affected nation(s) we invade and subsequently leave is basically the same.  Quick withdrawal is thus the lesser evil.

In fact, Tom Englehardt (Tom Dispatch) and Peter van Buren had the best idea of all--quick withdrawal, after getting ISIL where it really hurts by taking out their OIL.  Such targets--wellheads and oil trucks--are not at all hard to find, and are fairly easy to take out from the air.  And put diplomatic and economic pressure on Turkey and other so-called "allies" to stem the flow of Daesh oil as well.  Because oil is their primary source of funding, and removing that will cause them to quickly collapse of their own weight, and when they are seen as a failure then few would want to join them.  And once we take it out, then GTFO and let Daesh fall on their own sword.  (And apparently, we ended up doing a modest version of exactly that sort of oil campaign, with a fair amount of success, albeit late in the game and minus the withdrawal.)

The TSAP agrees with that idea, and we would also like to add to that.  Before withdrawing, we should give every *woman* over there an AK-47 and tell them to take over their country and mow down anyone who stands in their way. Let Allah sort it out. Problem solved. But of course, the mostly-male powers that be would not be too keen on that idea. After all, they wouldn't want women in THIS country getting any ideas, now would they?  (Of course, the TSAP believes that women should indeed take over the world in order to save it, so that wouldn't really be a bad idea, come to think of it.)

Honestly, it is certainly a better idea than arming questionable male "rebels" who end up turning traitor.  VIVE LA FEMME!