Oh, how I yearned for a new America last fall as I approached the presidential election. Sadly, it remains politics as usual but with a better orator at the podium.
I yearned not for a revitalized America but a new America. The old America was driven by consumerism best described as "earn and spend." I believe the new America consumerism is best described as "earn and save."
The economic stimulus plan is premised on returning to the old definition "earn and spend." The plan is project based and government preservation at all levels -- top-down.
Wouldn't it be nice if the economic stimulus focused on individual Americans -- bottom-up. Wouldn't it be nice if the economic stimulus supported an "earn and save" America?
There are three distinct focuses of save in the "earn and save" America:
-- Save refers to making financial investments.
-- Save refers to preservation of our planet.
-- Save refers to caring for our fellow Americans, a replacement approach for government-based social services.
Instead of gifting tax dollars to banks and large corporations maybe we should make an individuals' interest income tax exempt (definition one). Individual investments in green technologies or conservation strategies should be totally deductible (definition two). Finally, increase the charitable mileage rate and expand the definition of charitable spending (definition three).
For example, individuals can claim as a charitable deduction up to 10 hours per year of paid time off from regular work for volunteer work at charities, community service, or public or private school service. The time would be noted on their W-2 line 14.
When individual Americans made sacrifices in the '30s and '40s, the greatness of America exploded exponentially. I believe the economic stimulus is long term focused when it supports action by individual Americans.