Citizen Services Accounts
A New Deal for a New Millennium
by William Bishop
After the Great Depression, Americans were losing faith in the economy and the government because of how negatively impacted every life was by the circumstances in which they found themselves. Today, America faces a similar challenge. After the attack on our government and the very ideologies in which America stands for via Russian psy-ops, our country is so divided and abrasive that our current state of society will likely have adopted a name by future historians as something like the Great Partisan Divide. It will stand as a lesson and warning to future generations about how Democracy itself can be attacked through the very mechanisms that make it free and fair for all peoples, and will preach solidarity in the face of misinformation and malefic influence against freedom. Part of the reason why our country is so at risk is because people are in a state in which they are vulnerable due to the financial and educational hardships they find themselves. It is a security risk to have debt when pursuing security clearance in the government because money can be leveraged to exploit a debt-laden individual. The American people are no different, and their debt is created by the .01% that benefit so unfairly off the labor of the people they employ. Americans have little choice but to work for these large corporations because these corporations use corrupt politicians to shield them as they lobby and quash any legislation that impedes their profits or quash small businesses before they’ve a chance to compete. Because we find our country in such dire straits, we need to make changes that can safeguard the populace from the whims of the wealthy; both foreign and domestic. When currency is earned to facilitate desired lifestyle, amenities and services rather than going towards eating, staying off the streets, staying clothed/warm, and getting a better education then people will be much more resilient to interference from bad actors and much happier as a result. This is why we need a new deal for a new millennium: Citizen Services Accounts. Each citizen will be able to use a mobile application or website to access their accounts and be able to order bulk inexpensive goods for food, basic clothing articles that are work appropriate, request government housing, request universal job placement, view education options, etc.
What are Citizen Services Accounts:
Each citizen will be tied to and have their own account once they are no longer claimed as dependents. This account interface will act as a home portal from which they can navigate all public benefits which are available to them. These can include, but aren’t limited to: universal food, clothing, housing, energy, education/vocational training, healthcare, and job placement. We are using technology to reach every citizen quickly, easily, and efficiently. This will streamline many aspects of current social welfare programs and can eliminate areas that are abused, have a lack of oversight, or require too much oversight without using a direct government-citizen interface. Citizens will have credits allocated to them based on their income and any policy which exists to encourage public good, domestic manufacturing, or military service (Luxury amenities, higher quality amenities, or simply more credits based veteran status, employment in non-profits, employment for the federal government, employments in public works projects, etc. as an example of how else this could be used). Every citizen will be entitled to a basic allotment by their right of being a citizen of the United States of America. This document aims to illustrate a concept, and does not make an assertion of numerical quantities entitled to every citizen.
Suggested Citizen Services (with basic descriptors):
Preface: Citizens often argue against basic services because of the concept of paying for others through taxes especially when they don’t qualify for the services. I suggest addressing this by having citizens which don’t use a particular service to be able to receive credits for use in other services, especially healthcare. Finally, any citizen which doesn’t wish to use any services can instead have money direct deposited to their bank accounts for 10-20% of the cash value of resources allotted. Each month would award an account with a level of credits applicable to that individual. Any unused credits will be automatically banked to be used in healthcare expenses (Banked credits can only be used towards healthcare. I assume that the costliest procedures or extensive life-long or end-of-life care will still have some accompanying cost/co-pay).
Housing as a Right: Inexpensive communal housing in which any citizen nation-wide has free access to a private room in a communal residence with communal living spaces. These will follow the hostel model of living and will effectively end the homelessness problem. It also allows impoverished citizens to escape paying rent they can’t afford until they can afford better housing alternatives. These communities would have a maximum occupancy of 150 (Dunbar’s number). They would consist of a small private room for each individual with a communal kitchen and living space with 10 rooms per kitchen/living room per floor. This would give each building 5 floors, and result in 3 buildings. Shared between each building would be a communal ‘park’ with benches, outdoor grills, and children’s playground. The cost would be kept low on materials to avoid overdrawing expenses from taxpayers and the labor could be sourced by NCWs (see subsequent document) or through public works employment positions. This would first target the largest homeless areas in the country and would end homelessness in America. Additionally, any citizen which doesn’t use the service (could) receive a small stipend of credit towards other citizen services.
Clothing as a Right: Every citizen will be granted work-appropriate uniforms and basic accompanying clothing articles aligned to the most green, economic, and value-driven materials. This will include, but is not limited to: shirts, pants, socks, shoes, and undergarments. If citizens do not wish to utilize the service, the value of the clothes can be used elsewhere on the service. Blankets should also be made available, especially for any citizen listing their residence as a homeless shelter. Private businesses could place clothing options on this service so long as their goods are manufactured domestically to increase incentive towards domestic economic growth.
Energy as a Right: Every citizen that meets green energy standards in their heating/cooling appliance should have the energy cost of heating and cooling (up to a low limit in regards to square footage, as this is geared towards lower income) covered and receive an commensurate amount of credit. The amount per kWh will reflect the ongoing current cost for newer, green appliances. Every citizen should then be able to have tax breaks for upgrading the heating and cooling units on their homes to encourage decreasing the cost of energy. Additionally, citizens should be able to come here get a commuter pass free from the government for any public transportation to and from work. The amount put into the commuter pass will be added monthly and reflect the cost of using the pass to and from work once per day – any additional cost and usage will be funded by the citizen.
Food as a Right: The attached document expands on this heavily as a proof of concept (I didn’t want to expand fully every element as this would best be done in congress with other politicians, private industry leaders, and academic experts).
Leisure as a Right: People work too much and their mental and physical health can suffer for it. The government itself can assist in helping people with lower incomes get out of their routine and enjoy themselves. This ultimately increases happiness while reducing healthcare costs. To incentivize leisure and the accompanying benefits citizens can have one vacation per year assisted by the government (one per household, incentivizing nuclear families). A public works project to create timeshare style vacation residences in major national parks will inject life and funding into environmental reserves, national monuments, and federally owned tourist destinations. This will increase the amount of foot traffic into national parks and give workers and families an opportunity to get some much needed leisure. In order to assist lower income citizens, the cost of air travel (Citizen portal can interface with flight booking engines) will be tax exempt for this outing, as well as on-site restaurants and souvenirs. The proceeds for the on-site vendors will of course be invested back into the on-site vendor and care of the parks. The vendors which benefit from this special tax status will have to be on federal property and contracted by the government to prevent abuse (franchise model).
Education as a Right: A lot of other smart people are already working this particular one out, so I’ll leave this mostly blank. I think there’s value in creating public higher universities and vocational schools. By leveraging Citizen Services Accounts, people unsatisfied with their roles can have easier mobility (as less capital is needed if leaning on bare minimum entitlements to get through schooling) to get a different education or a better education which will create greater happiness, job satisfaction, and more educated people. Private industry also benefits from having more competent and happy employees.
Public Sector Job Placement: The Citizen Services Account Portal (I’m not the best at names) can act as a hub for all instances in which a citizen needs to interface directly with the government for services or assistance. By creating more public works to expand infrastructure in the energy grid, green energy production, improving mass transit, etc. the government can create enough jobs so that everyone can not only be employed, but fully employed. The ‘gig economy’ is masking employment numbers due to the number of people who use it to get by and are ‘underemployed’.
Healthcare as a Right: A lot of plans floating about how best to implement this. I won’t say anything other than that people should be able to view or alter their current policy here, and any credits allotted that aren’t being used in other services should be able to be ‘banked’ here and can be viewed. I’d love to be a part of the conversation.