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Treasury Consumers Bill of Rights

TREASURY CONSUMER'S BILL OF RIGHTS

 

Note: a hyperlinked version of this text is available at http://bit.ly/TCBoR

 

We, the taxpayers of the United States of America, have the right to be free from government waste and abuse. Inherent in that right is:

 

1. The right to prevent our taxes from being used to pay banks to refrain from lending commercial paper and to small businesses. Section 128 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 allowed the payment of interest on bank reserve deposits by accelerating the date that Section 203 of the Financial Services Regulatory Relief Act of 2006 (bank deregulation) went in to effect, paying banks to lend money to the government instead of their customers. Destroying more than three centuries of commercial paper lending and in many locales the vast majority of shipping and commerce, that was the most regressive redistribution of wealth ever enacted by the Congress. Payment of interest on bank reserve balances must be immediately prohibited, and the commercial paper market must be allowed to return and replace the smaller Term Asset Lending Facility.

 

2. The right to immediate, equitable, mass refinancing of home mortgages and commercial real estate in accordance with the recommendations of FDIC Chair Shelia Bair to adjust both bank assets and liabilities as described at http://articles.latimes.com/2008/nov/18/business/fi-bair18 so that payments may proceed as if our leaders had not attempted to unwind the housing bubble by paying banks to stop lending. We know from http://cop.senate.gov/reports/library/report-021110-cop.cfm that commercial real estate could soon hit our economy harder than the mortgage crisis brought about by unsustainable property value increases prior to our leadership refocusing fossil fuel incentives to renewable sources, addressing flood insurance increases, and addressing the relationship between the size of the middle class and property values shown at http://equalitytrust.org

 

3. The right to prevent our taxes from being used to pay for underutilized capacity. There are so many unemployed people in this economy, but the employed people have never felt more overworked after decades of increasing productivity which have allowed modern day growth. Whether a four day work week or similar schedule adjustments, the middle class must be enlarged by dividing labor in a more equitable fashion. Similarly, we have the right to prevent our taxes from paying for underutilized real estate capacity by creating affordable housing as described in http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=gentrification_hangover -- There is plenty to do if we hope to achieve the benefits of smaller class sizes, and because the benefits of education are so great, we must hire as many teachers as it takes, and at better salaries to attract the best, so that our excess labor capacity is utilized and the unemployed are promoted to useful society.

 

4. The right to a Treasury which negotiates tax haven treaties globally, at the United Nations, instead of piecemeal and pairwise with individual countries. The wasteful practice of negotiating tax avoidance enforcement treaties with individual countries must end and the Treasury must join with the State Department to establish global tax haven avoidance treaties with all the civilized nations so that we may all benefit from greater equality, greater fairness, less organized crime, fewer corporate abuses, without the threat of capital flight across borders when the rich seek to exploit countries who allow their people to be exploited. For more information see http://taxjustice.blogspot.com , http://taxjustice.net , and http://ctj.org.

 

5. The right to prevent our medicare health care dollars from paying for a needless layer of un-credentialed bureaucracy which exists only to deny health care, shorten lifespans, and costs so much more money than the single payer systems used by the vast majority of the civilized world. People who work at insurance companies could be distance educators, telecommuting to teach or working in more productive roles in our communities. For more information, please see http://www.pnhp.org/facts/single_payer_system_cost.php , http://bit.ly/planObamaProposed , http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1079830 , and http://nastechservices.com/HealthInsurance/HCCost2.gif . We have the right to see that our Medicare dollars are used to pay for Graduate Medical Education which pays teaching hospitals to produce as many general practitioners and gerontologists as we need, with reimbursement rates which encourage physicians to work in the areas where they are needed most.

 

6. The right to prevent our tax dollars from financing more debt when we could easily balance the budget in a way that would grow the middle class. In 1957, the economy and the middle class both grew fast. In 1957 the top bracket income tax rate for individuals was 88%, and for corporations it was 52%. If we used a 88% top bracket income tax rate for corporations and a 52% top bracket tax rate for individuals earning more than $250,000 per year, we would not have to waste money on financing debt and we would still enjoy the benefits of a growing economy and middle class.

 

7. The right to be free from foreign money influencing United States political spending. Multinational corporations, including tobacco companies who kill more than ten times as many Americans each year than terrorism and war killed from 2000 through 2009 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Preventable_causes_of_death.png – want to spend more money to lobby for their special interests in Congress. So do fossil fuel companies who want to profit from your increased flood insurance bill. We must not allow this to happen. We must prevent foreign money from influencing American politics by careful adjustments to and careful enforcement of the tax code.

 

8. The right to prevent our tax dollars from being used to enforce government prohibitions which have been shown to cost more money than they save. This includes prohibitions on drugs which have been successfully decriminalized in Portugal, where both prison and morgue expenses sharply decreased after legalization -- see http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=portugal-drug-decriminalization and http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.html -- and prohibitions on sexual activities such as the teaching of sex education and prostitution -- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16335539 -- which similarly have reduced health care expenses, child care expenses, victimization, and related crimes where they have been decriminalized.

 

9. The right to prevent our tax dollars from being spent on wasteful defense programs, such as long range missile defense against countries which would have every incentive to prevent disclosure of a ballistic return address, and mismanaged new projects inferior to incremental improvements of earlier projects.

 

10. The right to a government which can figure these sorts of things out without having to have them explained in petitions like these. Please, start following the advice of Sheila Bair and the government economists who do not want to destroy the economy to make a crass political point. Thank you.

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Idea No. 32