As part of our ongoing exploration of recognizing where our #CulturalInertia is holding us back and determining what needs to be done to break free, today we need to take a look at some important steps to avoid returning to a broken normal and create a better normal to move forward with as we come out of the pandemic that has exposed many of the flaws with our old normal.
Let’s start by taking a look at what we know now was broken about our old normal:
The United States has the greatest availability of advanced medical treatment in the world, and the least accessibility to it for the majority of its citizens of the modernized nations.
Many more jobs than we thought can be done as effectively, possibly even more effectively, while working remotely.
Jobs we thought were essential for the survival of our citizenry and economy turned out to not be as essential as we thought, and those in jobs our society undervalues and mistreats turned out to be vital to our day to day survival as a nation and as a people.
Tying the availability of health care access to employment turned out to be disastrous in the midst of a public health crisis that led to an economic crisis as many businesses abandoned their workers and thereby eliminated their ability to afford care.
Our nation has far more abandoned and empty houses than it has homeless people, and yet we refuse to house those homeless. We could house every single homeless family and still have millions of abandoned homes left over for migrant refugees attempting to find a path to citizenship.
Our schools, whether in person or remote, are designed as a one size fits all teaching methodology that forces all kids to conform to standardized criteria rather than teaching critical thought and real life skills. This is the result of years of corporate lobbying to churn out a workforce rather than enhance the evolution of a culture.
Teachers are underpayed and undervalued by a society that demeans their work with comments like “those who can’t do, teach” and a constant assault on educated expertise as elitist. As a result the best teachers burn out quickly to the detriment of those they teach.
Workers are terrified of losing access to health care and other vital necessities due to increasing automation of their job functions, because employers don’t have to pay computers and robots overtime or health benefits or provide them with sick leave and paid vacation. Computers and robots don’t file workman’s comp claims and hostile work environment lawsuits.
That’s just a quick overview of some the major problems with our old normal.
So, what might a new normal look like?
Let’s take a look at a few things.
Imagine the true freedom created for the people of “The Land Of The Free” if we could make this thought exercise a reality.
Embrace work automation. Allow and encourage every single job that can be automated to be.
End all corporate tax avoidance loopholes and increase the tax rate for businesses that draw over a few million net profit per year.
Create a single payer universal health care program that separates health care from employment, freeing corporations from having to provide and fund health insurance packages for their employees as well as eliminating the insurance premiums that consumers pay just to be insured, the vast majority of which funds the insurance companies business model, not the actual health care.
The health insurance industry could still thrive as a supplemental insurance covering voluntary procedures outside the scope of the government subsidized care.
Establish an income tax free minimum living wage universal income for all adults.
All people would then be free to pursue their own actual interests with their time and money. The vast majority would seek out training and work in the fields that actually interested them to supplement their income, instead of just choosing to work anywhere that would give them the paycheck and health care to survive long enough to work more.
Any income above and beyond the universal minimum living wage would be taxable.
Primary education could return to a focus on developing critical thinking and life skills, rather than churning out a economic workforce. A renewed focus on STEAM education; Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math; instead of the artless approach of STEM, thus renewing the nurturing of creativity across all fields of study. It could even proceed at an individualized pace instead of a uniform pace measured by one sized fits all testing.
Make state funded colleges tuition free for those who want to pursue a higher education. Private colleges could still charge whatever they wanted, but would need to find ways to further enhance their curriculum and experience to entice students from the state colleges to give those students a higher return on their investment.
Companies would have to compete for quality employees in those positions that could not effectively be automating, providing opportunities for those with a focused interest and ability in such fields to advance both themselves and their employers while increasing their available income for their families.
Imagine the productivity and creative advancement of such a society.
One where every one who was working actually wanted to be there and was appreciated and rewarded well for being there.
One where the arts and entertainment were advanced by nurturing the creativity of those drawn to them and they had the time and ability to seek the training to enhance their skillsets.
One where people were freed to focus on raising their kids instead of depending on schools to do so while they toil away at seemingly meaningless and thankless work just to survive.
One where the impoverished were not forced to choose which necessities of life to live without each month, or turning to crimes of necessity, just to survive.
Every individual that wanted to could become a sole proprietor of a small business for others interested in the goods or services they were interested in creating to purchase. If successful they’d supplement their income, if not, there would be no harm done to anyone and they’d still survive to pursue their other interests if they failed.
One where a representative government of the people, empowered by the people, would focus on being for the people that empowered it.
We could once again establish a socially democratic republic based on regulated capitalism with a conscience, protecting consumers, the environment, and the volunteer workforce needed to keep it all running smoothly.
Of course there would be people content to live upon the minimum universal income, but they would be doing so by choice, not necessity, and they would still be contributors to the national economy as consumers of the goods and services created by those choosing to do so.
Programs like SNaP, CHiP, and other social safety net services would become obsolete because those needs would be taken care of other ways.
All other programs subsidizing shortcomings in corporate wages could be eliminated.
At this point we truly would be the land of the free.
Nobody would owe their soul to the company store.
Imagine the wonders that such a society could create where everyone was free to pursue their interests and achieve their full potential.
Imagine how we would advance the culture of not just our nation, but the world, with the work product of people in such an unburdened society.