With the attention of the country shifting to the fiscal cliff issue, I think there's some context to raise here. Many times people protest that we pay a lot in taxes. Unfortunately, that's not correct. Let's consider, for example, the case of wages for the poor, and working class.
Middle class wages have risen barely in pace with inflation during the past 40 years which is about 2% a year in real dollars. For the poor, those wages have risen even slower, at a pace of 1% per year. With the middle class making up the bulk of the number of people, as well as the shrinking of tax rates due to the right-wing political movement...it's completely understandable that tax revenues are shrinking. Income growth is stagnant, and the cost of living increases every year at a normal and nominal rate. It's reasonable to assume that the reason that tax revenues are shrinking is because incomes are shrinking. The blue collar job market is vanishing more and more as firms ship jobs to The Third World to take advantage of cheap labor. However, this is the trap.
Low incomes equal low tax revenues. So if you want to bring tax revenues back up to snuff with the budget we have (which by the way is the budget we should have had from the middle of Bush '43's term to now), bring incomes back to the US, companies need to reassess their priorities and provide middle-class incomes to people who deserve to have them. If you run a US Business, you have an obligation to use US manufacturing.
To fix this problem, I propose the following;
***End free trade with China and other 3rd world countries, and apply tariffs to all imports from nations with lower standards of living than our own until the standard of living in those countries meet or exceed that of the US. China and other nations that manufacturing outsources to need to have taxes applied to their imports so the prices of these goods are pushed up higher, which means local manufacturing can compete and pay livable wages. In this instance, let quality be the deciding factor of whether someone should purchase something or not.
***Strengthen the worker safety-net by requiring businesses to provide 18 days of paid sickleave per year. (measured by the average worked horus over a 365 day period, to accumulate immediately, with the first 30 days being given 12 hours and the 2nd 30 days given 12 hours, then averaged by average hours worked afterward.)
***Increase the minimum wage to $9.75 over a period of two years, then adjusted to the CPI every year after that. The minimum wage mandates a minimum standard of living, increases class mobility, and overall increases household security. Further it'll also push the wages of other job categories which are closer to the minimum wage higher as well. The net result is an overall increase in wages across the board, and while I would expect an increase in some prices, that's OK too. Higher prices as a result of higher wages is overdue. We cannot keep holding prices down when everything else associated with prices demands their increase.
***Devote more public money to education programs, to post-secondary education, and begin investing in public trade schools as well to teach job skills to people. It is so important that people have access to basic job skill education, as well as academic education...whichever they choose to pursue.
***Reallocate about 30% of the defense budget, cancelling contracts with private contractors and having the military doing the jobs the military used to do itself before outsourcing became commonplace, and reallocate those resources to other priorities.
***Finally, workplace security must be law of this land. Citizens must feel safe and secure in their jobs by making sure that there is an employer-consequence to terminating an employee. A mandatory 30-day dismissal notice IF the employee is being dismissed due to downsizing, reduced demand, or other such needs. Otherwise, said employee should be paid a severance package equal to that of two weeks of pay.