Citizens Action Plan
A Plan for Legislators from Average Citizens to Aid in the nation’s Turnaround.
Rowan Cabarrus Community College Adjunct Business Professor, Stephanie Anderson, MSM worked in conjunction with students from her business and law classes to conduct research, and draft a Citizens Action Plan or CAP. This plan is intended to voice the concerns of the citizens of our community, and offer suggestions on how best to help our community and country as a whole. We will provide input from our perspective because legislators who lead different lives may not be aware of the diversity of the lifestyles and the needs of individual Americans. The issues we are addressing come from interviews with co-workers, small business owners, neighbors, friends, and relatives. We asked them about their needs and how their government can be of assistance. We also asked what solutions they had for these problems and what mandated programs they felt deserved priority funding. The following Citizens Action Plan, list major issues that most people agreed were important. It details critical points we’d like our representatives to consider.
We, as citizens of the United States of America, have the authority to address the issues and policies that will rescue our distressed nation. We assert and reinforce our interests in the administration of our government and acknowledge our rights as US citizens to have our voices heard in all branches of government. Sixty percent of all Americans pay taxes, so that the government has funding to manage the necessary programs. As citizens, we are outraged that forty percent of US citizens do not earn enough to have taxable income1. We must have a focus on ending poverty through education in this nation. When we vote for our representatives, we expect them to do their best to govern this nation within the Constitution, and to be accountable for the management of the same. The American people should be able to trust that their leaders have 1 Stephanie Anderson, MSM~ Anointed Business Complex, LLC~ www.facebook.com/ABC.LLC ~ email@example.com
their best interests at heart, and those of the nation. We recognize that the US government is trying to improve the American economic crisis. The following is a list of the Concerns and Solutions we feel should take precedence.
In January 2008, it became clear that the economy was taking a turn for the worse although economists disagreed on whether or not we were in a recession. In September 2008, the government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and rescued the American International Group. The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and subsequently the sale of Merrill Lynch added to the financial fears of Americans. This is the worst economic loss the United States has seen since the 1990’s. The stock market is not doing well, and the cost of living is rising in all areas. Americans are concerned about losing their jobs and retirement. Jobs that could benefit Americans are going overseas because of the cost of labor and tax breaks 2.
Mortgages & Banking o Provide a one time 15 percent loss of value tax credit to property owners whose mortgage payments are current and who have at least 5 bank owned foreclosures within a 2 mile radius. o Provide a 90 day moratorium on foreclosure filings and sales.
o Companies with foreign ownership should only be allowed help through any
rescue plans proportional to their U.S. ownership.
o Require any bank that is receiving/received bailout funds to forgive past due
interest of homeowners in default that can prove that they can maintain ownership of their home. Banks should not become enriched at taxpayer expense. They should be considered made whole by the resources received by the bail out plan. o The interest forgiven can be deducted as a loss by the bank, but it can not be charged as other income to the homeowner through a 1099 or by any other method.
o The homeowner is responsible for paying all past due principal; however this
amount should automatically be added to the end of their loan if the
2 Stephanie Anderson, MSM~ Anointed Business Complex, LLC~ www.facebook.com/ABC.LLC ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
homeowner can pay a portion within 45 days of entering the new work out plan.
o Develop and provide a webpage link similar to the mortgage holder’s payment
site where homeowners can assess their account and enter into the work out agreements online and automatically.
o Force lenders to buy back “poor choice” loans that auditors can prove banks
or brokers made “under unethical circumstances.” This should also be a legal remedy if homeowners can prove they were charged unreasonable fees, high interest rates compared to their credit score or by any other predatory or exploitive means.
o Penalize and fine lenders that have a large portion of loans in default that
utilized risk based lending3 in a substantial percentage of their loans.
o Require lenders to provide FINAL HUD settlement statement ten days prior to
closing to give homeowners the opportunity to review the documents and terms prior to arriving to the closing table. Implement a liability clause that protects borrowers on closing documents.
o Revise the existing laws that regulate lending and encourage responsible and
educated homeownership across economic lines.
o Provide reasonable limits to interest rates lenders can charge. Homeowners
with a good payment record should not see an increase of 4pts when their ARM adjusts or when interest rates are down.
o Ban mortgage loans without verification of income. •
Federal Budget Deficit
o Force Iraqi officials to honor methods to repay or share in the cost their
defense cost taxpayers.
o Limit the amount of money borrowed from overseas banks. o Maintain better accountability of government programs and services.
o Raise Social Security Pay-In Limits to first $100,000 income from $83,000.00
o Rescind Bush tax cut for income over $500,000.00 single $1,000,000.00 per
couple • Job Creation
o Create more green jobs by using our resources here instead of engaging in
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o Give a $5000 dollar per worker tax credit to employers who create new jobs
here in the U.S. for the next ten years.
o Charge a $5000 dollars per job loss tax on any U.S company moving
American jobs overseas that wish to import their goods back into the US. This is in addition to all tariffs and taxes currently levied.
o Create and fund business incubators that encourage job growth in the small
business sector. Make business education classes required for executives and owners of companies receiving such funding. Require continuing education and a company mentor that assists in creating entrepreneurs both knowledgeable about their trade and business practices.
o Give overseas companies that bring new jobs to the United States a 10
percent business tax credit and eliminate all foreign tax penalties. o • Encourage Americans to purchase US made goods.
o Falling stock-prices have increased selling. Encourage investors to leave
money invested, by allowing investors to earn up to $25,000 per individual with no capital gains tax.
One of the biggest expenses Americans face is the cost of gas and transportation. With oil prices rising more often than falling, it is a pressing concern for most of us. While we believe that the focus should be on wind, solar and hydroelectricity, we do advocate an increase in off shore drilling which will help with forced export oil production, and lead to increased competition and lower costs. Since this will not be a quick or permanent fix to the problem, we must invest in finding other means to supply energy. We believe that using nuclear power for an energy source will not only provide the supply we need, but increase jobs in the United States. It must be done safely and efficiently.
The solutions for energy problems fall into two categories, transportation and energy. The development of alternative solutions will take a projected 50 years. Therefore both categories need to be broken into long term and short term solutions. 4 Stephanie Anderson, MSM~ Anointed Business Complex, LLC~ www.facebook.com/ABC.LLC ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Transportation Short term term Offshore Drilling Ethanol (E85 & E100) Expanding hybrid (batteries) of organics) Biodiesel (peanut oil) Conservation (fuel efficiency) Propane 100% Electric Conservation Long term Hydrogen Methanol Solar Short term Nuclear power Clean Coal Natural Gas
Energy Long Solar energy Wind Biogas (breakdown
o Encourage Americans to Conserve based on increases or decreases in
production by OPEC nations. America currently imports nearly 6 million barrels per day from OPEC nations. If that number were reduced by just 165,000 barrels per day it would lessen our nation’s share of the world-wide impact of decreases in OPEC’s production per 1.5million barrels per day.4 o Publicize this information so that Americans can make conscience decisions to conserve. Ex: National Gas Watch o o Drill in America to further reduce dependency on foreign oil. Divert energy credits being given to oil companies to new Green Energy Companies that develop Alternatives such as wind, solar and nuclear plants.
o Build more U.S. oil reserves while balancing our nation’s needs to protect
itself during an energy shortage.
o Gas & Oil are National Resources. Oil company profits must be capped in
order to protect our economy from artificial inflation by commodity trading, futures, price gouging etc. Economically Transportation/Gas Prices are the biggest threat to our country. Every aspect of our economy is affected by the cost of moving goods or people from point to point. The more expensive this becomes because of oil prices, the more expensive our goods and services will be. This will lead to MAJOR inflation if unchecked.
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The United States government must address the rising cost of energy. Our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels must stop today.
• We propose that congress implement funding toward the research of alternative fuel sources. This funding shall be distributed through January 2059 to develop a fossil fuel replacement such as but not limited to hydrogen, methanol, solar, wind, hydro, biogas and electric fuel cell technology.
Additional funding for short term solutions such as offshore drilling, ethanol, biodiesel, nuclear power, natural gas and clean coal technology should be implemented. Finally corporate tax incentives should be offered to auto manufacturers who have at least 50% of their vehicles fuel efficient (30mpg or greater).
Additional tax incentives will be offered to energy producers that operate on a minimum of 40% alternative fuels and any company that produces a product with a minimum of 40% reduction of energy consumption.
Redirect the energy tax credit given to U.S. oil companies to develop alternative sources of fuel or energy to green companies that are in fact developing the aforementioned sources5.
Start conservation education classes in middle schools and offer funding that can be used for classroom activities that reduce their carbon footprint.
Offer an annual $1000 tax credit to individuals owning American made vehicles with a 30mpg rate or higher and offer a $500 tax credit to individuals owning foreign vehicles with a 30mpg rate or higher.
Health Care Concerns
At this point in time, our country is facing many health care issues that relate to the current economic crisis. The most important of these issues is health insurance. Currently 47 million people are uninsured. We need to develop a plan that will enable all citizens to have affordable health insurance. Having affordable health insurance would also mean more money in Americans’ pockets and help stimulate economic growth as well. 6 Stephanie Anderson, MSM~ Anointed Business Complex, LLC~ www.facebook.com/ABC.LLC ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Health Care Solutions
Allow taxpayers to remove medical expenses from the Schedule A and have them added as a deduction from Adjusted Gross Income just as moving expenses reduce AGI.
All children up to age 22 must have full medical and dental coverage that includes a plan that allows them to use the doctor of their choice.
Provide all high school students access to one physical per school year, with optional drug screening, and mental health evaluations if the family desires. This will help identify those that need further care, thereby reducing the overall cost of treatment.
Senior citizens medical and dental assistance should be a priority. Lowering the cost of insurance and the deductibles will greatly decrease Americans costs to healthcare.
o Place a 1% limit that check cashers can charge on any government, federal, or
IRS check. The average check casher charges 3% to many Americans who can afford it least and do not have sufficient banking or access to banking in their immediate communities.
Maintain the requirement that all drugs in the U.S. market be manufactured and packaged in this country. This will ensure US standards are met, and prevent further job loss from the pharmaceutical industry.
Illegal Immigration Concerns
Another topic important to citizens is the issue of illegal immigration. For the most part, citizens believe that the US Border Patrol should provide more restrictions against illegal immigration. Some people also believe that if illegal immigrants are found, they should be returned to their country of national origin.
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As Americans we are proud to be the melting pot of the world. Legal immigrants shouldn't have to abandon their cultural traditions and identity to assimilate. They do, however, need to understand and embrace the ideals, heritage and democratic values of America that define us. What Government Can Do?
Declare English as the official language of the United States. Having a common language declared unites us, and it should not be used as a tool to divide any longer.
Allow bilingual education for legal immigrants only during a transitional phase to mainstreaming.
Revise the visa program to attract more skilled immigrants in high-tech fields and get them on a citizenship track.
What Businesses Can Do:
Give paid time off, or other incentives, for employees to tutor legal immigrants in English.
Provide classes for legal immigrants in financial literacy and workplace norms and customs.
Sponsor swearing-in ceremonies that are memorable, including distinctive venues and speakers discussing the value and obligations of citizenship.
What Institutions Can Do: • Churches, synagogues and other places of worship can reach out to new immigrants and invite them to join their religious communities.
Civic and professional groups -- from unions to political clubs and fraternal organizations -- should canvass for new members among recent immigrants.
What We All Can Do:
8 Stephanie Anderson, MSM~ Anointed Business Complex, LLC~ www.facebook.com/ABC.LLC ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteer to teach English to immigrants. Become a mentor to one immigrant, and help him or her through the entire process of becoming a citizen, from filling out forms to studying for the test.
Look for opportunities to bring immigrants into the larger life of the community -- for example, by inviting them to join your bowling league or accompany you to a PTA meeting.6
Although our education system is underperforming in many communities, it remains controversial to provide funds for students who choose private schools. This explains why parents are frustrated with our educational choices. States are fearful that the best students will be lured from public education if parents are able to “write off” the cost of their education. However, if they can’t compete, parents should have some incentive to educate their children elsewhere. We propose that the federal government allow a federal tax credit equal to the amount of private school tuition paid by the family in any school district or state performing below the national average.
Increased emphasis on science, math and writing in early, middle and high school years through innovative teaching techniques in addition to other resources. This would also strengthen America’s competitive advantage in the fields of science and discovery. We feel that more students would attend college if they were better prepared in these areas.
Updated textbooks or eBooks for all public schools, government funded colleges and technical schools.
Provide opportunities for interactive learning utilizing updated technology for all public schools, government funded colleges, and technical schools. Provide
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computers in all classrooms for public schools and government funded colleges, and technical schools. o o Require Masters Degree or higher for all educators teaching grades 8 or above. Merit Based pay and incentives for teachers in all public schools, government funded colleges, and technical schools. o o Psychological testing for all teachers and coaches. Increase federal and state scholarships and grants. Provide education credits in exchange for service.
Many of the solutions we have outlined above do not require any additional sources of revenue. In others, we have balanced the needs for additional funds by requiring penalties to be levied against policies that undermine America’s best interest, productivity, and our free market system. In conclusion, Americans are concerned about the current state of our government, and need to be more involved in the decision making process. The Citizens Action Plan has attempted to offer our concerns and solutions to our representatives in order that they may act on our behalf.
10 Stephanie Anderson, MSM~ Anointed Business Complex, LLC~ www.facebook.com/ABC.LLC ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Reference: http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/ff54.pdf . “During 2006, Tax
Foundation economists estimate that roughly 43.4 million tax returns, representing 91 million individuals, will face a zero or negative tax liability. That's out of a total of 136 million federal tax returns that will be filed. Adding to this figure the 15 million households and individuals who file no tax return at all, roughly 121 million Americans—or 41 percent of the U.S. population—will be completely outside the federal income tax system in 2006.1 This total includes those who pay no tax, and those who pay some tax upfront and are later refunded the full amount of the tax paid or more.”
Money Magazine, November 2008
This is the practice of charging more (in the form of higher interest rates and fees) for extending credit to borrowers identified by the lender as posing a greater credit risk. The lending industry argues that risk-based pricing is a legitimate practice; since a greater percentage of loans made to less creditworthy borrowers can be expected to go into default, higher prices are necessary to obtain the same yield on the portfolio as a whole. Some consumer groups argue that higher prices paid by more vulnerable consumers cannot always be justified by increased credit risk.
http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_move_impcus_a2_nus_ep00_im0_mbbl_m.htm US Imports by Country of Origin
All Countrie s Persian Gulf OPE C* Alger ia
404,85 398,714 401,007 404,983 3
78,071 69,679 75,951 71,747 77,269 75,582 198,10 183,947 187,870 183,696 182,518 189,756 0
13,674 18,945 19,210 14,753 14,136 16,416
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Ango la Ecuad or Indones ia Ira q Kuwa it Liby a Niger ia Qat ar Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Venezu ela
12,043 17,743 14,763 19,461 20,215 15,346
23,967 20,383 18,066 20,786 21,564 20,543
36,381 36,636 28,446 30,595 25,472 36,137
47,806 43,867 49,719 44,785 51,929 48,759
32,009 35,672 36,304 36,436 41,534 40,440
Some of these suggestions have been implemented since original produced. This document was submitted to all the candidates prior to the last election and revised 1/2012.
12 Stephanie Anderson, MSM~ Anointed Business Complex, LLC~ www.facebook.com/ABC.LLC ~ firstname.lastname@example.org