Democrats & Republicans Should Come Together To Support A Future Of Abundance

from the a-proposal dept

As a therapist would tell a couple bickering over each others’ working and spending habits, Republicans and Democrats now quarreling over the federal budget should change the framing of topic. Instead of focusing only on how much the government should tax and spend in the economy we know, the leaders of the opposing parties should look at what the economy could quickly become if government passed laws encouraging productive private sector investment in growing technology-driven markets.

Forbes Magazine has just run a cover story on how the $3.9 trillion education market–$1.3 trillion in the United States alone–is about to be radically transformed by a new breed of venture-backed disruptors. Almost half of the education venture deals in the last decade have closed in the last two years. Investments in digital health care start-ups in 2012 are up 73% from last year. Health care start-ups exceeded all other sectors, including software, as the largest recipient of angel investments.

Four major national carriers, and other regional firms, have raced to build the largest deployment of high speed mobile broadband in any large country. Cable, telephone, and satellite firms are offering faster broadband, with WiFi connectivity taking on new and better dimensions in innovative network architectures. On these new platforms, e-education, e-health ventures and all manner of e-services based on government data can proliferate.

For the two political parties wedded together against their wishes by the will of the voters, common ground for agreement can be found in asking how government can help more services be created more rapidly on the knowledge platform that already hosts the most exciting business developments in the economy. Here are four examples of a multi-step program for going along and getting along.

  • Step one: Congress should require the Executive Branch to implement the recommendations of a group of a high-tech CEO council that identified about $1 trillion in savings achievable by 2020 through better use of technology.
  • Step two: Congress should overhaul corporate taxation so as to reward job creation, expand research and development, encourage long term and sustainable equity growth, provide regular returns to shareholders, sustain sensible balances of risk and reward, and applaud success in exporting goods and services for sale in other countries.
  • Step three: Congress should require the Executive Branch to aggregate its purchases of bandwidth so as to drive increased capital into new networks, and to move all government services into digitized forms delivered to all broadband customers.
  • Step four: Congress should require that all classrooms and libraries have the opportunity to win major monetary awards from government for providing breakthrough e-learning capabilities to their communities.

Inside the Beltway, years of irresolvable debate have left many Republicans and Democrats discouraged and distrustful of each other. Their battles against each other have produced a war against new ideas that they both have sadly won. If they looked outside the Beltway, they would see an America brimming as never before with hope for technological change. Our government’s leaders can surprise themselves and delight the country by passing useful laws and delivering an improved standard of living for all — and full employment. Then — just as occurred when a trillion dollars of private investment built Internet 1.0 in the 1990s — a rapidly growing economy would do more to balance the budget than any imaginable combination of tax increases and spending cuts.

Reed Hundt was chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 1993 to 1997. Blair Levin oversaw the creation of the National Broadband Plan and is now a fellow at the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program. Their e-book, “The Politics of Abundance: How Technology Can Fix the Budget, Revive the American Dream, and Establish Obama’s Legacy” details the plans in this article. See for a slide presentation and to download the e-book from any major e-publishing site.

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Comments on “Democrats & Republicans Should Come Together To Support A Future Of Abundance”

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cosmicrat (profile) says:

Don't want to get fooled again

While I support technology growth in general and believe the law and government support could be tweaked a bit to help startups, I am very leary of the implications of some of your suggestions. Specifically in education, the interest of venture capitalists in exploiting the education market all to often harms students and the school system in general. The public school system is being gutted of its tax funding as that money is diverted to for profit private schools that offer in the end less educational quality than their public counterparts (while using unfair comparisons to make themselves seem better). And teachers lose living wage, union jobs with health insurance to be replaced by near minimum wage slaves without benefits. Entrepreneurial exploitation of the education market is as much a danger as an opportunity.

out_of_the_blue says:

More of the neo-con libertarian privatizing CRAP


Actually we need New Deal policies: moratorium on debts, build actual infrastructure with direct gov’t employment, protectionism, clear the non-violent from prisons by legalizing drugs, DE-MILITARIZE, and above all, TAX THE HELL OUT OF UN-PRODUCTIVE SHEERLY FINANCIAL GRIFTING, not least with a 1% transaction tax on stock trades.

The above notions simply continue politics as usual by pretending only the R’s and D’s matter, when both are just wings of the same corporate oligarchy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: More of the neo-con libertarian privatizing CRAP

Only problem is New Deal policies produce New Deal results.

Do not forget that Hoover was a socialist and that Roosevelt only continued and expanded them while bragging in the press about all the great things he was doing and condemning the Republicans as loud and as strong as possible. Results 10 years of depression which would have been 50 years except WW2 intervened and destroyed a majority of world productive capability while removing a significant portion of world labor supply.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: More of the neo-con libertarian privatizing CRAP

Also, as much as my parents think they have to hide under their beds from nukes and watch over their shoulders for the reds, “socialism” isn’t a bad word. No worse than “democracy” is, at any rate. It’s what the people do with them, which makes them good or bad.

If you have a socialist society where the people in charge are skimming a lot off the top for themselves, then it will fail.

If you have a democracy where the elected officials are all in the pockets of lobbyists and not its’ citizens, then it will fail.

The system is less important than the people in it.

DataShade (profile) says:

Re: More of the neo-con libertarian privatizing CRAP

OBJECTION: out_of_the_blue didn’t call Hundt and Levin neo-con libertarians, he called their *proposals* neo-con libertarian crap. Which … at least partially … they are.

Financial incentives for libraries? CEOs – no public interest groups or their representatives – should be given, by Congress, mandatory binding “recommendation” power over the Executive Branch? Those all sound like the ideas I’d expect out of condescending aristocrats trying to soft-sell central-planning.

The whole “a trillion dollars of private investment built Internet 1.0 in the 1990s” thing is also kind of nonsense. What about Eben Moglen’s “Innovation Under Austerity” speech from earlier this year?

“The very point about what’s happening to information technology in the world right now, has to do with scaling up our late 20th century work. We created the idea that we could share operating systems and all the rest of the commoditizable stack on top of them. We did this using the curiosity of young people. That was the fuel, not venture capital. We had been at it for 15 years, and our stuff was already running everywhere, before venture capital or even industrial capital raised by IT giants came towards us. It came towards us not because innovation needed to happen, but because innovation had already happened, and they needed to monetize it.”

At best these are noble ideals, but the details are all wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Step four: Congress should require that all classrooms and libraries have the opportunity to win major monetary awards from government for providing breakthrough e-learning capabilities to their communities.”

How about no. If they want to provide “breakthrough e-learning capabilities to their communities”, great! But we don’t need “prizes” for that. Is a library going to spend tons of money on a project in the hopes that maybe they’ll win an award? If they do, is this a GOOD thing? If they don’t win, aren’t they going to be hurt by the diversion from their core mission? If they win, is it right to give a school district in a rich suberb money while another district struggling to provide a basic education doesn’t get any? Shouldn’t local libraries and schools be supported by the local community?

I always have a problem when the federal government feels like it has to stick its nose into things that should be local. It’s another layer of bureaucracy.

“Step two: Congress should overhaul corporate taxation so as to reward job creation, expand research and development, encourage long term and sustainable equity growth, provide regular returns to shareholders, sustain sensible balances of risk and reward, and applaud success in exporting goods and services for sale in other countries. “

HAHAHAHA. Both parties will agree with you. And they’ll propose plans that are exactly opposite. Without specifics, this proposal is meaningless.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: More of the neo-con libertarian privatizing CRAP

Well, lets see. You have one class of people who are struggling for enough money to live (that is, the ones who haven’t had their homes ripped out from under them already), and one class struggling to afford their 3rd vacation house AND 5th car. I’m pretty sure one can handle a higher tax greater than the other.

Anonymous Coward says:

Require the executive branch?

“Step one: Congress should require the Executive Branch to implement the recommendations of a group of a high-tech CEO council that identified about $1 trillion in savings achievable by 2020 through better use of technology.”

“Step three: Congress should require the Executive Branch to aggregate its purchases of bandwidth so as to drive increased capital into new networks, and to move all government services into digitized forms delivered to all broadband customers.”

I have no idea what was suggested by the CEO’s and no idea whether aggregating bandwidth purchases is good or not. But if the parties are working together, we wouldn’t need a law, because the executive branch would just implement these on its own, right? You’re not gonna get a law passed without Obama’s signature, and he’s the one in charge of the executive branch in the first place.

Michael (profile) says:

Require the executive branch?

Never underestimate the crippling weight of bureaucratic nightmares and the covetous ‘Not Invented Here’ / NIMBY (but I want cheep/fast/good/experienced without prior tests or entry level hires; oh and beneath market rate pay) short sighted me first roadblocks that infest such systems.

Sometimes I think the founding fathers /did/ well know of that type of threat, since human nature is sadly very little progressed from back then (though, in contrast, social nature has managed to improve and rid us of official slavery (substitute wage slaves) and also has allowed significant portions of the population the right to vote as citizens (not just landowning white men…).

Nick Taylor says:

Education is not a “market”.

Christ, when will you people learn? Isn’t “the prison industry” enough of a debacle for you? The “health industry?”

“Investors” are usurers… they’re people driven by institutionalised greed who want more out than they put it.

Basing society’s life-support systems on usury is like trying to overcome the laws of thermodynamics with IOU notes.

Greevar (profile) says:

Your aim is off.

You think the solution to all this is political, when the real solution to this is technological. Technology solves problems, but politics make up rules that say you can’t do the thing that causes the problem. Why can’t we bypass the bandage solution and go right to the real thing?

Imperative one: Energy

We have to get ourselves off of chemical fuels and on something that is renewable. Better yet, an energy production system that is also distributed. No centralized power plants anymore, put the power where it’s needed. Once we have energy production fully automated, abundant, and decentralized, we’ll have no need for the energy industry. The problem is that truly abundant energy will kill the profitability of the energy industry. There’s no way that Big Oil, Big Coal, and Big Nuclear will ever allow that to happen without a fight.

Imperative two: Food

We must automate our food production industry. With automated, abundant food, there’s no excuse for anyone to go hungry, regardless of their ability to pay. We live in a world where some people get too much food and some don’t get enough merely because those that don’t get enough don’t have the money. There’s plenty for everyone, but the food industry can’t let people have the food unless they get their money, even if they’re dying from starvation. We need to change the system so that everyone gets the food they need regardless of the money.

Imperative three: Property

This one is really going to ruffle some feathers, but here it goes anyway. Property creates two classes of people. There are the owners and the owned. How do you know which of those you belong to? It’s simple. If you have a job, you’re the owned. The owners use this to leverage the needy as chattel that labors to sustain their opulence. Those that need to work for their food and shelter are subjugated by the owners.

What needs to be done about this is to throw out the entire idea of property. It’s entirely a man-made concept, property doesn’t exists in nature because property is enforced by a consensus of the people, and lots of violence from an authoritarian force (i.e. the government). Animals don’t follow this, they know that it’s only yours as long as you’re there to keep it. We can posses most anything so long as we are making use of it, but as soon as we cease to use/occupy it or we expire, it becomes available for someone else to use or occupy (sort of like a library book). So we need to provide ourselves shelter and material goods that are designed around human needs and available resources, utilizing production methods centered around renewable design. This also means we must get rid of the concept of money and trade because these are merely mediums by which property is exchanged.

The means of production must be distributed equally to all people so that none can assert ownership over another by way of holding back the means for that person to sustain their self. This, in a way, is already happening with 3D printing. This way, all people can provide their own shelter built directly to their needs. They can feed and cloth themselves as needed, all without submitting to an owner or owners of the means to production.

I know this will set some hotheads off on their “How dare you?! Capitalism is great! Capitalism is freedom!” mantra. So here are a few choice words you may like to throw at me:


iambinarymind (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Your aim is off.

“..even democracy.”

Especially democracy.

Throughout history “democracy” has always been viewed as one of the worst forms of government. It is the tyranny of the majority. If 51% vote to have you killed, that’s “freedom” because “it’s the will of the people”.

I prefer consensual relationships based on individual self-ownership derived property rights.

MaJoR (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Your aim is off.

Politics have a term for that: anarchy. Complete and total freedom is impossible to sustain in a civilized world. Sometimes people disagree, sometimes people steal, sometimes people kill eachother for dumb reasons, on and on. These things happen in the animal kingdom, and the only solution is to steal back, kill more, etc. But with humans, we have intelligence and communication that animals do not have, so in a lack of structure, a thief and a killer can assemble other thieves and killers to create a mob, to better steal and kill. Then the people outside the ruling class get sick of the ruling mob, and make their own mob and they kill eachother. Then whoever wins makes a new structure. This is how governments were made.

There is no way for us to exist without structure like government. Having structure is why we are civilized: we need something to say what is wrong and right and to punish those that break those boundaries. The idea of democracy is to accept these truths, and build a structure that we can can all agree on, and adjust as we go. It’s not perfect, but it certainly beats the rule of strongest mob.

That being said, our current government is way overkill. But that is no reason to throw the baby out with the bath water, as the saying goes.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re: Your aim is off.

No, the internet is the next logical step in human communication, which is something that does exist in nature. All species communicate, we are the most skilled in that regard. Property is a recent intellectual construct (much like IP) that only came about around the time the first authoritarian organizations that cropped up. It was implemented to prevent the “have-nots” from taking away the wealth and power of the “haves”. They knew that having property gave them power and that power corrupted them. They figured out early on that such power could be used to subjugate people into being bound to your service, all without them realizing that they are.

My logic only seems absurd to you because it goes against everything you’ve been told to believe. They are old ideas that only apply to an old world that doesn’t exist anymore. We have the means to form a society that doesn’t need property law and that will set everyone free. People won’t have to go through the drudgery of a mechanical tasks day after day just to attain the means to exist. Machines can do that job for us, while we explore new ideas in science, art, existentialism, exploration, technology, and philosophy.

Eric Cohen (profile) says:

starts at the bottom

A democracy is useless when the population has no idea of who or why there voting for a candidate. Hence the biggest repercussion of the 2 party system. A generation that is uneducated and unaware of what should be done for the common good. Screw the 2 parties and your allegiance to them, let us become a generation of educated rationale people, guided by common sense and rationale, not by the members of the party we most likely have no idea why were registered too. I am a proponent of the fair tax system, an idea that taxes what you spend not what you earn, thus the people paying the most taxes are the ones that are spending the most on non essential items. As far as businesses goes we might be to far gone, capitalism is suppose to give every business the freedom through a free market to have no limits or government ceilings to it’s financial growth. But because of the value consumers put on price rather quality, convenience over service and countless tax breaks, under the table deals and mass land acquisitions, capitalism has created an economy that is monopolized by very few. At it’s core this form of economy will always eat up the middle class. It has a peak, when companies cost go down the more product and land they purchase they then can not only buy out the competition, they can expand to become every small retailers competitor. IN the 60 and 70’s Wal Mart and Target would have been between 20-30 small business’s we the consumer have allowed 20 small business owners become 20 employee’s at wal mart. Our lack of foresight, blind acceptance of the 2 party system and buy now pay later mind have set us on course for a 2 class society. Very rich, and very poor. An us and them America which set’s the table for corrupt politicians and idealist to be elected as our leaders out of desperation. Start with un bias education of children,realize the importance and power of the people’s ability to change things. We the people have to take the country back, take time out of our lives and dedicate it to organization and strategic action to set the wheels in motion that will create tangible, timely real changes to ultimately create a better country and world. Stop taking for granted the power of “we the people” the ability to create and change our own fate given to us by men that put it all on the line and sacrificed it all for us. I doubt they envision the helpless, complaining , apathetic pass the buck selfish generation that we are.

iambinarymind (profile) says:

The so called “solutions” provided in the article are all based on State force/coercion.

You want prosperity? Allow individuals to voluntarily exchange without intervening with aggression (i.e. “taxation” [theft], “regulation”,…etc).

Many of the comments in this thread are quite disturbing. Questioning property rights? All rights are property rights. Property rights are an extension of self-ownership. Hence why “taxation” is theft (as through “taxation” the people calling themselves “government” stake a claim of the fruits of your labor and your labor is an extension of your time and your actions).

Complex social issues cannot be solved through violence/coercion. In the long run it only makes it worse.

Two core principles to bring prosperity:
1. Respect for property rights as a logical extension of self-ownership.
2. Adherence to the non-aggression principle (the initiation of force is immoral, self defense is valid)

That’s it. 1. Don’t steal. 2. Don’t hit.

You learned it as a child.

Please stop advocating the use of force against me.

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