- Climate Change
- Domestic and Foreign Policy
- Defense Spending
- Child Care
These are all things that are important in America. I have a proposal that tackles all of these and more.
Trump has increased defense spending by $140 billion since being elected to office. I would like to increase that amount and re-appropriate it. That might sound odd, but if you give me a moment of your time I would be happy to explain:
The Department of Defense has said that the number one threat to the United States is climate change (source 1, source 2). According to various experts, we have about a decade to get it under control or we will face catastrophic and irreversible consequences.
There is precedent in using defense funds for public projects including Public Law 84-627 where President Eisenhower used defense funds to build 41,000 miles of our interstate highway system in 1956.
I would like to create a new branch of the military outside of the purview of the DoD. This new branch would function as a public works system with the goal of addressing the problems listed above. I will refer to this program as the “Fight to Unite Initiative”.
How does this work?
While not compulsory, every US citizen would have the option to join Fight to Unite. Just like the military, you would sign up for a 4-5-year term of service. Housing, meals, and healthcare will be provided for all individuals and would also include entire families. All adults over 18 years old would be allowed to join the Initiative.
After joining, you will enroll in an education and job-training program based on aptitude and preference. For too long, our country has focused on a 4-year degree being the only viable source of education and dismissed vocational skills. The Fight to Unite Initiative would offer training for jobs of all types. If an advanced degree is what a person desires or is best suited for, that will be available also. This would help provide new and repaired infrastructure, and a workforce specializing in fighting climate change as well as jobs for many other necessary trades.
Some of the jobs we need more people for:
- Healthcare (Nursing, Doctors, Equipment Specialists…)
- Green Energy
- Repair Technicians
- Legal Aids
- Computer Programmers
Many of these careers demand considerable on-the-job training. It is a good thing we have a never-ending supply of work that needs to be done.
Fight to Unite will need workers in construction and green energy immediately. Fight to Unite will increase housing needs to offer living spaces for those enrolled. Plumbing and electrical must be done in every building. Repair technicians will need to maintain the units and every single person will need food. As a country we have bridges that need repairs, roads that must be built, water pipes in cities like Flint that need to be replaced…the list goes on and on. We will need to build massive wind and solar farms and batteries to store that energy, with maintenance in addition.
We gave telecoms nearly half a trillion dollars to expand high-speed fiber optic internet across the country. They did nothing and taxpayers paid for it. Besides moving to make internet service a public utility, we will need to ensure that rural areas have access to the internet and a workforce to implement it.
Our elderly population is not cared for. We need more nurses to aid in memory care and retirement facilities. Despite being necessary, these hard jobs don’t offer living wages
Childcare is a struggle for many working parents. Fight to Unite will offer childcare services and pre-schools.
Many farms use government programs to import workers from other countries during the harvest season. Individuals will learn agricultural techniques on readily available government land and the food grown used to supply the Initiative. We will use surplus goods to create MREs and other emergency rations. We can grow versatile crops, such as hemp, to create paper and fibers used in the program.
Natural disasters cause massive amounts of damage and people are left without shelter or power for too long. When disaster strikes we can mobilize Fight to Unite and help our fellow countrymen. In 2017 Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and we threw them paper towels. Their electrical grid was destroyed and those Americans were without power for months. If Fight to Unite was mobilized in such a crisis we could rebuild the grid, provide shelter, food and medicine, and get our fellow Americans back on their feet in a timely manner. No longer would we have to rely on redirecting other branches of the military as though disaster relief was a side-job.
Expanding on local disaster relief: if successful, what if our efforts influenced other countries to do the same? We will only see more disasters worldwide as climate change grows worse. With international support, bases to provide similar relief would spread throughout the world. Imagine if the NATO budget didn’t all go to bombs and guns—instead going to supplies and building relationships.
Economics of the Fight to Unite
A large portion of the program will come from the Defense budget. I believe we should spend less money killing people and more money defending Americans from active threats, like lack of economic, health, and climate stability.
Private companies who already excel in their fields will perform much of the training. Fight to Unite can then provide employees to companies in need of skilled labor. If a machining company needed skilled machinists, Fight to Unite could provide workers on a percentage scale.
- If Company Name, LLC has 49 employees and needs to hire a machinist for 1 year, they would agree to pay an additional amount of tax equal to the total employment percentage of leased workers.
- Company Name, LLC after hiring would have 50 total workers with 2% of their workforce being leased workers from Fight to Unite. At the end of the year, their tax liability would increase by 2% of their profits. If Company Name, LLC has a total profit of $2 million, their tax liability would increase $40,000.
- If Company Name, LLC hires 49 machinists and now 50% of their workforce are leased employees, on a profit of $2 million they would have an increased year-end tax liability of 50% of their profit equal to $1 million.
The costs per leased employee would depend on the industry, and the supply and demand of locally available workforce. The goal is not to take jobs away from currently available workers, but to help assist in training and shortages of available workers.
Everyone enrolled in the Fight to Unite Initiative would receive healthcare, housing, food, a taxed salary, and vacation time. If you have enrolled and already have a mortgage, your bank would be required to defer mortgage payments while in the program. For established families this ensures that you will not have to worry about financial hardships while job (re)training. If you must move for training, a maintenance crew will ensure your home’s safety in your absence.
Benefits of the Initiative for the Disenfranchised
An estimated half-million Americans are homeless, many of whom struggle with mental health issues or drug addiction. Enlisting in Fight to Unite will offer the mental health services that necessary for recovery. Addiction is a disease, and that should in no way disqualify you from being able to live a comfortable life in the richest country in the world.
After your term of service you will have the option to continue working for Fight to Unite or you will be free to find employment anywhere you like. If you do not complete your full term you will have a mark on your permanent record similar to a felony or dishonorable discharge.
Non-American citizens are free to apply to this program as well. Terms can be longer resulting in citizenship upon completion. Immigrants and refugees in the Fight to Unite Initiative would be educated on US history, customs and English as a second language (ESL) to ensure a successful transition to the USA. Citizenship through service is a fair way to earn your place our amazing country.
The Fight to Unite Initiative will help improve the lives of millions of Americans and ensure the success of our country. I initially thought of it as under the umbrella of the military because it is similar in many ways to our current defense strategy, and may help people feel more comfortable with the idea of spending money to fight climate change and poverty under that pretense. While it will facilitate the largest attack on climate change we have ever seen, it would also be the largest social program in American history.
Come 2020 we will find ourselves at a fork in the road: do we want to set an example for the world and make our country the most prosperous it has ever been, or do we want to continue on the path of self-destruction and wealth inequality that has culminated in the worst administration in American history?
I want to fight for the best America, and a world where children can grow up safely.