“BothLibertyandJustice” is an attempt to reconcile “freedom” and “responsibility” within our constitutional framework – without authoritarian measures – whether from the left or the right. This approach of “peer accountability” uses tax responsibility within interest groups to address injustices, save our environment and economy, maybe even make our country great again. As one example, “taxation with representative responsibility” raises money from pollution, creating jobs while supporting transitions to sustainable industries, offering both industry and citizens options for tax relief.
This framework can be applied to many present-day crises, like reconciling safety with justice, possibly more effective than regulations or command-and-control enforcement. In each of the following essays, there is a repeating theme of a kinder, gentler, proactive approach that might contribute to criminal justice reform, healthcare reform, and environmental repair.
Representative taxation takes “taxation without representation” one logical step forward where responsible taxes represent a commensurate cause-and-effect link to the source of a problem. A “tax shift off our backs and on our side” can raise revenues from fees on science-assessed “externalities” (second-hand costs), revenues that can be applied to our most pressing problems, where incentives and deterrents support “both liberty and justice.”
In our new-COVID-abnormal, we can create equal opportunity jobs, AND save human, environmental and economic health. Let’s start with a back-to-work program long overdue:
Essay 1: Save our Forests, and our Economy.
Fire-safe forest treatments plus noxious weed control create livable wage, COVID-safe outdoor jobs. Make a deal with taxpayers: Exchange carbon tax hikes for property tax breaks – a tax shift. Without a carbon tax, we can’t finance jobs and climate change will torch our forests. Without property tax incentives to motivate prescribed burns/thinning and noxious weed control, we will lose our forests to megafires or epidemics of invasive plant infestations.
Essay 2: “Donate your diet to Science” is an example of responsible taxation: cause-and-effect taxes that link unhealthy junk foods to the funding of health care.
Essay 3: The “Policing Reform” page offers a “purse-string” proposal that could save lives of both the public and the police. Yes, black lives matter, all lives are precious. Let’s find a way to move beyond retaliation, treat each other like family, better than family, with civility even if we’re having a bad day.
Essay 4: The “Jury of Peers” essay is a conservative response to our lock-em-up mentality. The essay is an exact copy of a handbill that has been handed out at the entrance of a county courthouse effectively monkey-wrenching jury pools. Jury disobedience is a suggestion to prosecutors that “jury nullification” is a constitutional check and balance on hypocritical laws and overzealous prosecutions that have resulted in tragic numbers of citizens behind bars.
Essay 5: “Fare Enforcement and Riders’ Rights” is my pet peeve to a local issue with national implications. I hope our political leaders can rethink Sound Transit 3, with its flawed taxation and policies that disrespects citizens, doing little to keep our economy flowing.
These writings are a response to reactionary populism and our slide toward authoritarianism. The proposals share fundamental concepts: free will, personal and peer accountability, respect for science-based statistics, and a conviction that Responsible Market Economics (full-cost accounting) can have better social and environmental outcomes than caps-mandates-goals-standards-targets and regulations… all political compromises that will be too little, too late.
At its core, the root challenge of liberty is its conflict with social injustice and environmental degradation. It goes back to our country’s original sins: the “plunder of not just the bodies of humans but the body of the Earth itself (author Ta-Nehisi Coates).”
It is the core unwillingness to accept responsibility, the unwillingness to pull our weight and pay as we go, and the unwillingness to compensate for damage we do to others.