4. NATIONAL UNIVERSAL SERVICE ACT
As a problem-solving process, politicized Washington is not working. One can accurately view Washington as "obese and musclebound and having lost its capacity to perform. It's senile to the point of being incontinent, and it ought to be in diapers." If the problems of the heartland and backbone of America are to be solved, the problems must be defined at the source, not in some distant seat of corruption and incompetence. The organization of the people to rule their problems out of their lives requires a National Universal Service Act: Every able-bodied person must give a certain number of hours each year to solving America's problems. Anything less will not do.
A National Universal Service Act is more than a philosophical possibility; it is a pragmatic necessity. In recession-plagued America, we cannot even afford to hire reputed "problem-solvers." Tax dollars are simply not the solution. The solution is to tax people directly in time because taxing in the current symbols of their time (dollars) is no longer possible.
To implement direct taxation (in time), the people must control a National Universal Service Act in a democratic manner. Politicized control will not work. Did politicized management of tax dollars solve the problems? No. Politicians did not organize a productive use of the symbols of our time, nor will they constructively manage the substance of our time.
Dual Meaning of NUSA
NUSA has a dual meaning; National Universal Service Act is one meaning. As an acronym, NUSA describes not only the means for solving America's problems but also the end result: a New United States of America. Literally, NUSA unites the means and the ends. When people are democratically organized to solve their problems, the problems will be eliminated. A democratic National Universal Service Act will be the making of a New United States of America.
Democracy is the only way that a people's problems can be ruled out of their lives. If you don't live with the problems, you don't know the problems well enough to define and solve them. Politicians living in Washington, especially habitual incumbents, will never solve the problems. The people themselves must be divided up to define and prioritize their problems. Using the colfilperhone* process to identify general problems, NUSA will be used to establish decision-making hierarchies for solving problems. The colfilperhone process will be used throughout these organizations for
collecting, filtering, percolating, and honing
Each NUSA operation and service will have an executive hierarchy whose members are selected through the colfilperhone process.
In addition to effective problem-solving, the National Universal Service Act will result in people having more wealth. Problems will be fewer and the inflationary cost of unsolved problems will disappear. The material wealth of all Americans will be more secure. Also, between workweek compression and NUSA, people will have richer mental and physical lives.
Need for a National Universal Service Act
There is a growing mass of unsolved problems in America. Some people expect government to take care of the problems through taxation. However, each month shows that the economy is less and less able to provide tax dollars for government functions. Traditionally, tax dollars have been used by the government to hire regulating "problem-solvers." There are increasingly fewer tax dollars for this approach to solving problems.
Opposite those who want more tax dollars for government regulators is the group who thinks that deregulation will solve the problems. These people seem to think that problems are caused solely by government. But as the Reagan administration demonstrated, cutting taxes and deregulation do not solve problems any better than increasing taxes for more regulation.
Rationally and practically, the only way that the problems of a people are going to be solved is if the people organized to prioritize and define the problems. The rising cost of problems has decreased the taxable incomes; among these problems are inflation and unemployment. Proof of the dwindling supply of tax dollars can be seen in the ballooning federal deficit.
Rationally and practically, if America's problems are to be solved, a national universal service act will be needed to organize the people. The politicians will not do it; an organized populace would weaken their self-serving grip on the power to solve problems. If America is to have a New United States of America, she will need a well-structured growth beginning at the grassroots.
Taxes: Dollars or Time
Directly taxing people--in lifehours* under a National Universal Service Act--is timistically* no different than taxing them for their dollars. After all, dollars are a form of currency, and "currency" is derived from the expression, "What is your time currently worth?" When people are taxed in currency, their time is being taxed through the symbols of that time. When the government raises your taxes, it indirectly increases the amount of time that you work for the government. This increased control of the symbols of your time reduces the amount of time that you actually work for yourself.
With rising unemployment, however, there are fewer symbols of time (tax dollars) available for governmental collection. Such is not the case with the substance of time. With rising unemployment, the amount of time that the government can directly tax is actually more abundant than currency. Therein lies another difference between
indirect taxation through the collection of symbols of time and
Throughout history, the downfall of uncounted governments has often been rooted in an over-reliance on taxation in currency to solve problems. This process requires the collection of money to hire a third party to solve problems. It also means the development of an isolated class of regulators. Subsequently, those who are most knowledgeable of and suffering the most from the problems are separated from the problem-solving process: problems are not solved.
On the other hand, if a government taxes people's time directly by democratically organizing them to spend that time on solving problems, the problems will be solved. A more effective problem-solving process will leave people more time for work, leisure, or further problem-solving. There will simply be fewer time-wasting problems.
One can readily see that if the politicians continue to tax the people through the symbols of time, the federal budget will continue to be unbalanced ... until the country is bankrupt. However, taxing in time will allow an immediate balancing of the budget. If a National Universal Service Act were passed requiring that each person spend 200 hours a year in the service of the government (an average of five hours per week), billions of problem-solving dollars would be available. To those who say they don't have the time for solving public problems, they need only remember that their lack of time is due to unsolved problems. Either we stop the problems or the problems will stop us!
There are many precedents for a National Universal Service Act. The military provides an excellent example. During war, people are taxed in time to solve a national problem, i.e., they are drafted. In times of a national crisis, there is no way that a government can compensate people with money for what has to be done; to do so will merely exacerbate the national crisis.
In times of national crises, that is, when a nation is plagued with massive problems, the solution is not taxing people's time through currency. The solution is the same as it has always been: tax in time and productively organize the time. We did not win the war because we paid our soldiers better; we organized the time of the nation's people better. Rome did not originally have paid armies. The landowners went to war between crop planting and harvesting--the campaign season--without pay to resolve the threats to their standard of living.
A more peaceful example of an effective National Universal Service Act are events in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where "Thousands of citizens help without pay, allowing the city to save more than 1 million dollars a year in payroll costs without dropping any programs." Among the areas of assistance are police assistance and recreational events for the handicapped.
The call for a National Universal Service Act merely puts into action what John Kennedy said many years ago, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." There are many people willing to put time into helping America if their time will produce tangible results. There is no leadership in Washington for productive direction. If the people are to have leadership and direction in dealing with the problems in the proper order, it must come from them. NUSA is the means for instituting the spirit of Kennedy's request.
What can you do for your country? Dedicate a portion of your leisure time to promoting Democratic Capitalism*. Through democracy per diem and capitalism per capita, NUSA will make America richer in material and mental wealth. Read and learn relevant information. Start with these writings and get a potential tax credit if you are one of the first Democratic Capitalists.
What would it be like if people gave a few hours each week to the common weal? Look at the Mormon Church. Committed Mormons devote a few years of their lives to furthering the common good of the faith in which they believe. Aside from any question on theological dogma, one must admire the balanced growth of the Mormon Church in a world where many religions have become dis-organizations or bingo parlors. As a modus operandi, instilling a sense of duty to the common good and a specific commitment of time apparently does wonders; small miracles add up to the large ones.
If this direct "head" tax is to solve the problems of America, it must not be spent in makeshift work. Most politically-inspired public projects never solve any problems for one simple reason--politicians never pass a public work bill that competes with the private price-gougers. Price-gougers are the source of many public problems, as are corrupting campaign contributions. Therefore, if the direct taxation of Americans' time is to solve problems, the direction of the time must be determined by Americans.
Calls for volunteerism can be classified as either democratic or despotic. With democratic volunteerism, the people themselves call for everyone to give some time to a project selected through a democratic process. This is the gist of NUSA and the purpose of colfilperhone. Democratic volunteerism is grounded in the grassroots and is synonymous with democratic teamwork.
Opposite democratic volunteerism is a centralized power calling upon people to make sacrifices and to volunteer for bureaucratically-selected projects. Anytime a decision for a people originates from a centralized apparatus rather than a democratic process involving the people, the process is despotic. Despotism, as defined in a dictionary, refers to the over-centralization of decision making power. When the Reagan administration called for and initiated volunteerism, was it democratic or despotic volunteerism?
There are those who will argue that NUSA is a form of socialism, communism, and nationalization. Not true. Some people will utter these falsehoods because of insufficient understanding of Democratic Capitalism. Many of these people will be listening to those who knowingly resent NUSA for revealing them for what the are: despots and decapitalists!
NUSA is for democracy per diem and capitalism per capita. As such, it cannot be socialist, communist, or public nationalization. Democratic Capitalism is the people organizing themselves to solve problems, save time, and keep the profits from such endeavors in the hands of the most productive.
If the organization of a National Universal Service Act would solve problems, and everyone was taxed an equal amount of time, would you give a few hours a week for America?
Genesis of NUSA Organizations:
The ease of creating NUSA and its problem-solving branches could be greatly affected by interference from the existing political parties that the Democratic Capitalists intend to replace. Barring any major setbacks, however, NUSA will grow by establishing branches in each Congressional District. The expansion will be rapid, since NUSA is be quite controversial and a breed above the rest. Not everyone who learns about it, will join, but it takes only a few good people, properly organized, to provide the leadership to solve the problems of many.
When enough people join to recall the Democrats and Republicans in Congress, the NUSA re-presentative for each district will receive notification, petitions will be signed, and the recall initiated. If an actual recall is necessary, the politicians will lose their pension benefits. The governor of the affected state will undoubtedly appoint the NUSA re-presentative as the replacement: Under the circumstances, wouldn't you?
Tax Credit Compensation
No one will receive monetary compensation for his service to NUSA. All direct compensation will be in future tax credits to be legitimized when the Democratic Capitalists control Congress. Prior to this, people will receive job-by-job invoices and monthly statements of the time they contribute to democracy. After tax-credit compensation is legitimized by Congress, the individual will receive twenty (20) certificates listing 1/20 of the number of average lifehours* given. The certificates--checks--will be payable to the Internal Revenue Service for use against regular dollar taxes over the next twenty years.
As past contributions are legitimized, the formal National Universal Service Act will be enacted. Thereafter, each able-bodied citizen will be required to give a certain number of hours each year to public problem-solving.
Each individual effort can be easily quantified and qualified. The award of tax credits will be tied to the relative quality of one's problem-solving and the quantity of time. The wage unit is the work lifehour. The dollar figure for the work lifehour will be the national dollar per hour average for workers. In the fall of 1981, the figure was approximately seven dollars. All NUSA wages will converted to lifehours to correspond to the quality of the workhour that the executive or legislator contributes to solving problems. The higher one goes in the problem-solving hierarchy, the more lifehours one receives for each of workhour.
The lifehour*, as a unit of currency for what one's labor is currently worth, unites the symbols and substance of time. When currency is measured in dollars, francs, or marks, it easy to forget that income should reflect what one's time is worth. For example, if a worker could see how many lifehours he receives for his work he might wonder if he could have had more leisure lifehours if he had not pursued so many symbolic lifehours? Furthermore, a union member who strikes for wages would see that over the last few years he was not receiving more "time" for his worktime. He would see clearly that his net income was dropping in lifehours even though he was working the same number of hours.
The basic wage for any work in NUSA is a lifehour*. Central to the establishment of tax credit compensation is the awareness that one's effort will correspond to one's level of election within either the executive or legislative colfilperhone process. For instance, if one is colfilperhoned to a higher position, one will be paid more for each work lifehour accordingly.
Full-time Problems, Part-time Work
The hourly wages for NUSA activity may not seem like much initially, but keep in mind that this is part-time work. In order to encourage the participation of as many concerned citizens as possible, NUSA work hours will be between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.. With congressmen who spend 3/4's of their time politicking, America already has part-time problem-solving. However, NUSA will organize the problem-suffering, problem-knowledgeable people to prioritize, define, and solve their problems. What has Congress done lately?
In conjunction with workweek compression, everyone will have a full-time job from which to derive regular income. Through NUSA, productive government deregulation will occur naturally as problems are simply regulated out of existence. The primary purpose of NUSA is to organize people to solve the inflationary problems that are reduce their net disposable income. In addition, the tax credit lifehours are wages that may be used to reduce the taxes on one's regular wages. For some people, tax credits will eliminate taxation on their income altogether. Overall, many national problems will be solved at a lower cost.
Executives of NUSA: Selection and Compensation
Executives for the various NUSA positions will be selected through the colfilperhone process. Candidates will nominate themselves and enter their names at the initial level by submitting an application.
Within the various NUSA organizations, many will rise to their level of incompetence, but none will remain there for longer than one term of office. This is the reverse of the Peter Principle and can be appropriately called the Salt Peter Principle. The Salt Peter Principle is an elective process whereby inadequate decision-makers are automatically turned out of office when they don't get promoted. Policy-makers who are sterile and unable to grow will be prevented from remaining in office.
Using democracy, colfilperhone, and the Salt Peter Principle, NUSA will not saddle America with a bloated bureaucracy that is at odds with itself. Such a bureaucracy is what America has under the politicians, as the following excerpt conveys.
"The politicians hire their buddies, but when there is a change of administration and the secretary and undersecretaries resign, their buddies stay on, protected by civil service rules. Often they can't be fired or demoted outright. For example, when Bergland came in [as Secretary of Agriculture], his people didn't trust anyone who was appointed by Butz (his predecessor). They tried to run them off by insulting them, ignoring them, threatening them--doing everything they could without breaking the law. If this didn't work, they gave them insignificant jobs and hired their own buddies.
The amazing twist on the above example of political bureaucratization is that Bergland and Butz were from the same political party! There was no change in control of the White House. The author continues, "It's been going on for years. That's why this place is filled with a bunch of people who do nothing until they retire or their own party comes back in power."
An extreme example of this political stuffing occurred when Reagan became President. Was the following incident an instance of the anti-inflationary, anti-bureaucratic leadership that was promised?
President Reagan has made a Solomonic decision to split a top Agriculture Department job in order to avoid angering two powerful Republican Senators who have different candidates ... They won't split the salary, however. Both will be paid $52,750.
Regardless of who succeeds Reagan as President or John Block as Secretary of Agriculture, the Department of Agriculture will now have two more highly-paid and highly-ignored bodies draining public coffers. Colfilperhone and the Salt Peter Principle could quickly wash away the bureaucratic remnants of old political alliances and feuds.
Lifehour Tax Credit
Since the politicians are not going to initiate change, the people must. If this change is to be efficient, effective, and fast, the people must be organized and the organizers rewarded. The rewards must complement the quantity and the quality of the effort. The mechanism for recording the rewards is the Lifehour Tax Credit.*
For example, the idea of post-dating the checks, based on the enactment of certain conditions, has many precedents: Amoco, Mobil and Reader's Digest. These firms sent out "checks" that were good if the customer used them as the company saw fit. Lifehour tax credits are conditional checks compensating people for working toward a better America in accordance with the principles of NUSA.
The idea of compensating people for their "campaign" contributions is not new. Politicians have consistently run on the plank of tax supports, exemptions, or avoidance for those who contribute dollars or time to their campaigns. Ronald Reagan's "voodoo" economics rested on wholesale tax cuts for his special supporters. Future tax rebates for political contributions are already quantified under the present system:
Uncle Sam will pick up part of the tab for contributions to help elect political candidates. You subtract from your tax half of your donations, to a maximum of $50 for individuals, $100 for couples.
This report also notes the use of tax rebates for donations to political newsletters. Nor is the idea of using the tax system to compensate campaign workers for their time without precedent:
Among the maudlin outburst for departing colleagues, the House and Senate leadership quietly took a minor bill and added a rider to enrich the pension of the retiring Senate sergeant-at-arms and nine other congressional employees. The measure allows them to count their time working for their parties' congressional campaign committees in computing their benefits.
Presently, tax rebates for political contributions prolong the mess of demolections. Lifehour tax credits will nurture democracy.
There are two differences between the lifehour tax credits and the tax promises offered by the politicians. Politicians sell tax-avoidance to the persons with the most money, regardless of whether the contributor earned or stole the money. Similarly, the tax credits of the politicians are not restricted to productive uses of the tax system. Those who benefit from legalized inflation invariably earmark part of their inflationary gains for further monopolization of the politicians' ears.
The lifehour tax credit corrects these two deficiencies. A person's time at solving public problems will be quantified. The tax credits are restricted to productive, public activities that solve common problems. Unlike political tax actions, the lifehour tax credits are awarded to those who solve the problems of the nation, not the campaign problems of an individual politician.
The awarding of future tax credits through the "Omnibus Check" will change when the NUSA Omnibus bill passes. Upon passage, the National Universal Service Act will tax each American a certain number of hours each week, e.g., 2 to 5. At that time, the hours that one works for NUSA will become hours worked in fulfillment of one's national time tax. Hours in excess of the national requirement will be credited in dollars toward one's income tax. Naturally, a limit will be set on how many of one's community service hours can be tax-deductible.
Donations and Dues in Time*
Lifehour tax credits will quantify the direct contributions of time to NUSA as well as the indirect contributions of time through donations and dues. Like contributions in time, donations and dues will be quantified with a lifehour tax credit receipt. Thus, upon passage of the National Universal Service Act, these receipts will be worth 100% of their value toward one's federal taxes.
Each Democratic Capitalist is expected to pay one hour of wages per month as dues. This is similar to the Polish Solidarity movement which required its members to pay one percent of their wages to support reform. Democracy and capitalism cannot thrive solely on people giving time. Dollars are needed to pay for the telephone bills, office supplies, and other things. None of the fees or donations will be used for salaries or wages, since all direct time is compensated for in lifehour tax credits.
The received money will be apportioned to the various levels of democracy within NUSA according the following profit splitting principle: Half stays in the receiving unit and half is percolated to the next level.
Donations: Dollars, Equipment, Space, Service
One can give more than his required dues for democracy. Donations in dollars will be recorded as lifehour tax credits. Donations can be in other forms, too. Equipment, goods, and services may be donated by individuals or industries that believe in the benefits of democracy and capitalism.
Unique Uses of Lifehour Tax Credits*
There are special uses for lifehour tax credits. One involves the process whereby issues are regularly collected, filtered, percolated and honed. The second involves special checks for the initial members of the American Economic System Of Production. A third rewards members for their recruitment efforts.
Within NUSA, a call will be issued for law proposals as frequently as needed to solve the problems of the nation. Citizens concerned with a problem can submit their proposed solution through a mass colfilperhone process. The applicants for the colfilperhone process will be divided into groups of seven. From each group, a person will be selected to "re-present" his issue at the next level. By repeating this process, an issue (problem definition and proposed solution) will be selected as the main concern of the District, the final level.
For the effort and time contributed to the colfilperhone process, the participating citizens will receive lifehour* tax credit receipts. For submitting an issue and participating in the first level, a person would receive one hour of credit. As a person is selected to go to the next level, he will receive two additional hours of credit at each level. The credits are accumulative; progressing to the next levels adds credits to the existing accumulation. Through this process, the person will be capitalistically rewarded according to the quantity and quality of his problem-solving effort. The person who democratically sails through several levels will have more tax credits than the person who competes on only one level. This is the colfilperhone aspect of the "Omnibus Checks" as a means of organizing and rewarding problem-solvers within America.
A special use of lifehour* tax credits is the original or charter member award. A few people will recognize the validity and necessity of democracy and capitalism. These initial believers in NUSA will recognize that the road to these ends may require a slow, consistent effort. For their faith in democracy, capitalism and America, these special citizens are rewarded with "Members First" credits.
Another special, initial use is in recruiting of new members to NUSA. A existing member will receive one lifehour* credit for each new member recruited by that person. Of course this use will be irrelevant when NUSA is the law of the land.
NUSA will incorporate existing and new services. Members will approach existing volunteer organizations to see if they would like to endorse and join NUSA. Other services will be started to compete with existing services.
Among the existing volunteer services that can be incorporated are neighborhood watches and litter patrols. Volunteer services will be started to replace public servants, e.g., school crossing guards and toll collectors. Some private services will be eliminated by developing services with little or no overhead, e.g., insurance. NUSA sponsored insurance will be the least inexpensive around because it will have virtually no overhead and will have policy holders of the highest productive caliber. The latter means lower claims.
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