Revise the American Dream

Time was……Better school…..Better Job….Bigger House

Now…Work 24/7 just to stay above the financial waterline

Must be a better way, a different angle.

What if……Enough people got together to purchase a property outright and collectively. Imagine what life would be without a mortgage?

What if….There were no car payments, no car loans? Instead get around by alternative means: mass transit (bus, train), walk, ride bike, electric powered bike, scooter, motorcycle, uber/lyft, car share (wheels when you need them) and if all else fails buy a vehicle but do it collectively as described above for property (working out some sort of schedule so everybody gets to drive the vehicle when they need it). Better yet, what if you actually lived near to where you worked thanks to T.O.D. (Transit Oriented Development)

What if….speaking of property and vehicles you purchased an RV or converted a large scale van (like a Mercedes Sprinter with a high roof clearance) and got to park relatively near to where you worked, thereby cutting down on commute time (and hit the road in your free time and actually got some enjoyment out of this relatively short life). Vehicle taxes certainly would be lower than real estate taxes and there would be no lawn to cut!

What if… attended a community college and then commuted from home to a state college. No college loans and work a part-time job (or maybe work-study gig)

What if… set aside 10% of your annual salary for a Health Savings Account (HSA) growing tax free every year and travelling with you no matter where you worked and presumably being used when you got older when statistically you became sicker. Presumably whatever amount of money that accumulated in this health insurance type 401K would come up short paying for whatever medical expenses that occur during your lifetime. But you did your part by contributing annually at 10% of your salary (a responsible, affordable proportion) and the government covered the balance of your medical costs. End result: you did your best to contribute and you did not die pennyless in bankruptcy just because you got ill.

What if….your health insurance rates went down if you demonstrated measurable improvements in your health status (i.e., lost weight, stopped smoking, lowered cholesterol, lowered blood pressure, started and maintained exercise). What if health insurance rates were structured like car insurance rates (drive fast, have accidents and speeding tickets, pay more).

What if….there was a place you could go to if you were at the end of your rope (literally and figuratively) in a hopeless situation with no foreseeable way out. This could be in terms of finances, physical health, mental health or all of the above. What if under the revised dream/paradigm you received more than the watered down conversation with an advisor (be they financial, mental, physical or all of the above). What if there was opportunity for 24/7, extended supervision (possibly in a residential setting) where you could get the longer term treatment, attitude adjustment and cleansing/re-setting that you needed. This is a costly and comprehensive proposal but it’s certainly preferable to the highly likely alternatives (suicide, mass shooter, spouse beater, addict, homeless, etc.)

What if…..self-sufficiency and sustainability became more important than pricy diplomas. What if schools taught survival skills (budgeting, self-defense, gardening, fixing cars/houses.

What if…keeping with the gardening theme, enough was produced on every plot of land that it necessitated the canning of produce to sustain throughout the winter (whether it was the climatic winter or a financial winter crisis). Shifting to a local, sustainable source of fruits/veggies would also be beneficial in terms of healthier eating and reduced dependence on meats which adversely impact global warming.

What if….dogs continued to provide a source of companionship but they were also trained to be loyal guardians, defenders in uncertain, dangerous times. Presumably speaking here about larger guard dogs (shepherds, rotties, Dobermans, bull terriers, airdale terriers).

What if…..small arms training for the law abiding added a sense of security at home and when travelling.

What if….cross-training became the norm rather than the exception in society. Talent swaps replaced the paying for services and the taking of expensive classes and certifications.

What if… athletic programs focused more on fitness for life rather than mega-stadiums and pandering to professional sports programs that by the way fail to compensate players who provide free professional level services. What if colleges shifted to “fitness & survival” rather than “profit, pride and exploitation”.

What if….everybody had more control over their destiny.

More businesses were employee owned. More profit sharing.

More housing cooperatives.

Neighborhoods became protected enclaves gated and maintained by inhabitants. Why should the rich be the only ones that have gated communities and a sense of security.

Means tested health insurance and medical care (including pharmaceuticals), so that nobody goes bankrupt just because they got sick.

In sum, why can’t the revised American Dream tilt more to….

Collectivity….Self-Sufficiency…..Self-Determination…Cooperation/Collaboration where we all “have eachothers back”

What a breath of fresh air that would be. To steal from the words of the late Louie Armstrong….”What A Wonderful World It Would Be”

Published by dunnwriteswell

Boomer who is late bloomer to writing. Healthy addictions include Book TV and exercise. Track all things historic, political, cultural, economic and social. Mixture of tough-love. Minimalist who is fiscally conservative and socially progressive. Realist not afraid to see the glass as half empty. However, still willing to consider outside-the-box, long term solutions to seemingly intractable problems. Old enough to appreciate the greater arc of history while remaining young at heart.

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