We have dug ourselves into a self-serving hole in America over that last 90 years. Before I get to the specifics of this commentary, I want to point out that we collectively can't get enough of what we don't want.
Why do we think that Employers owe us (the workers) anything outside the purview of business. I can understand vacation time, I can understand holidays. I do not understand PAID vacation time and PAID holidays. I do not understand Employer paid or partially paid health/dental/vision care plans or Employer paid or partially paid retirement plans. Or rather, I do understand how it all happened, but, for Pete's sake, enough! The one thing Unions seem to have gotten right (at least on paper) is Union retirement/disability. That is certainly more rational that Employer paid. Employers have the incentive to have a regular turn over of employees so that the older ones (that cost a lot more money in pay and benefits) are laid off. We have laws about that, but we only need those laws (mostly) because the current system is too fragile and far too irrational.
Government, single-payer health care. Taxes sufficient to pay for it. Regulation sufficient to keep costs rational. My notions go far beyond these, but I would incur the wrath of everyone if I denoted them. Let me just say, "rational" should always win over "emotional" in the delegation of health care services. Limited resources and all that. If I, at sixty, were diagnosed with a serious cancer, for instance, that had a very poor prognosis, and, I had a complicating issue of congestive heart failure, I don't want anyone spending tens of thousands of dollars making my remaining time miserable in the off chance that I might get a couple more years. Put that replacement heart in a better candidate, save those limited chemo drugs for a better candidate. Really, I will be pissed if resources are wasted on me because of some emotional, irrational desire. The Terry Schiavo case
is an excellent example. The woman was dead in every way that mattered except for the emotional lunacy of Robert and Mary Schindler. All the damn way to SCOTUS!
Forced retirement plans in which the government collects a percentage of gross income and hands it to the 401K (or similar vehicle) of your choice. You would get to say how your money is invested, but not IF it is invested. A modified Social Security system. Actually, an unmodified SS. Lets go back in time when SS was JUST retirement income. No payments to the children of dead people just because the dead person died. I think disability retirement should still count, but some rational idea of what disabled means. Differently-abled is not the same as disabled. It was not all that long ago, that retirement was or or less an euphemism for death. The whole idea of living a life of travel and golf (or whatever dream you might have), is NEW and generated by ADVERTISING to sell Sun City in Arizona. I remember that ads. I remember my father saying that it was a giant scam.
Tax fairly (that really does mean progressively) with few, if any, deductions. Tax on gross income. Other forms of tax and use fees should be severely limited. Tax those things we want less use of and don't tax things we want more use of. For example, booze tax, tobacco tax, gasoline tax and no tax on renewable energy. Do away with the whole notion of tax credits. Further, do away with the tax break deals that local governments give to businesses to "bring jobs" to their area.