Blog 175 – Fixing America – The Brilliance of Many – Idea Nos 1-20

By October 30th, 2023

Blog No. 175
October 31, 2023 

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Fixing America 

The Brilliance of Many – Part I

By Mack W. Borgen
University of California at Berkeley (Honors, Economics); Harvard Law School; National Award-Winning Author; 2023 Listee – Who’s Who in America.


In 2010, 13 years ago now, I started writing my series of books. For nearly the first two (2) years, I meandered with how and where to begin. I was motivated because I believed that America had lost its way a bit – and I believed that “the place to begin was everywhere.”

I initially decided to write a series of books entitled “The Chance of a Lifetime – A Series of Seven Books about the Patient Remaking of American Life.” The working title of the last book in this planned series was “The Brilliance of Many.” This book was to set forth, page after page, a relatively detailed description of the hundreds of ideas for change which I had developed or which I had come across in my research and reading.

My writing plans changed, however. And the rest is, as they say, “history.”  Instead, in 2012 and 2013, I released The Relevance of Reason series about the “hard facts and real data” about the state of Modern America. In 2018-2019, I released the Dead Serious and Lighthearted. In these books i tried to present Modern American history in an entirely new and more engaging way — by presenting “The Memorable Words of Modern America.” And two years ago, in 2021, I released my far more personal “Writings of a Lifetime.”

But I always regretted not presenting – or at least listing — the many ways by which we, as a country, might make constructive changes in the way we live, the economy in which we work and invest, and the society of which we are all a part.

Recently, I came across nearly 300 pages of my notes and outlines of such ideas. Now, and although that book is not going to be written (by me at least), I have decided to present at least some of those ideas for your consideration. The first twenty (20) such ideas are set forth below. Many more will be set forth in later blog articles.

Please understand that the descriptions of these ideas, as you will see below, are presented in a very summary manner. I have not included any background or analysis of the subject issue or any identification of the probable issues of implementation.

Nevertheless, I hope that some of these ideas may still resonate. Some of them may – in some small way – motivate others where I have left off.

Some of the ideas are very broad in scope and “major,” and in a few cases, they are even “philosophical” in nature. Others are individually “minor” and, in a few cases, borderline pedantic in nature. They are nevertheless included because theoretically and collectively every step we take in the right direction might help. Enjoy and know that your comments are always welcome. 

Quick Listing of (Both Simple and Complex) Ideas for “Fixing America”

Idea 1.   Mandatory Public Service for all young Americans for a period of X years. (See my Blog No 109, December 3, 2019).

Idea 2. Long-Run Planning. Re-focus our societal planning upon long-run planning, actions, and analysis and re-introduce the consideration of long-term benefits.

Idea 3. “Name and Shame” – A Consolidated, Interstate, Simple-to-Use Registry for Reports of Convictions, Vexatious Persons Findings, and License Suspensions and Revocations. Adapt various means of “name and shame” as is readily done in other countries whereby people can readily identify in one consolidated database, for example, corporate and personal wrongdoers, felony convictions and sexual offenders, unduly (i.e., “vexatious”) litigious people, and medical, attorney and other forms of license suspensions (possibly with form of passage-of-time deletions). (See My Blog No. 106, Oct 16, 2019).

Idea 4. More Citizen Awards and Honors. Create a consolidated, easy-to-use, national and possibly state-based inspirational award and honor roll reporting system – possibly by age categories. Such honor roll recipients may include military citations and Purple Heart recipients, Peace Prize recipients, Pulitzer Award winners, school, public service, police and fire department awards recipients, etc.

Idea 5. Inspirational Signage. Post inspiration and motivational saying on the sides of school buses – e.g. “Do Well,” “Get Manners,” “Play Fair,” and “Be Kind.” I believe that this idea sounds inherently “lame “ — but why should these words and ideas and motivations not be regularly “advertised” as well.

Idea 6. Encourage Participation in social, community, and political affairs and thereby countering our growing “culture of complacency.” Gently teach that neither communities nor democracy itself can be a “vicarious experience.”

Idea 7. Senior Good Citizen and Recognition Awards. Recognize – or even monetarily award — those American Seniors who have reached a certain age and have, for example, (a) performed X years of public service (including military service), (b) never been convicted of a felony, (c) never filed bankruptcy. (See my Blog No 110, December 10, 2019).

Idea 8. Philosophical – “Business” vs “Personal” Ethics. Decrease the tolerated distinction between one’s “business” ethics and one’s “Personal;” ethics.

Idea 9. Corporate Ratings and Reviews. In a manner paralleling (albeit relatively lame and rarely tracked) Good Housekeeping’s “seal of approval” and Better Business Bureau ratings, formulate and publish corporate reviews with respect to their overall legal compliance, climate ratings, employment practices, etc. Such ratings could even track turnover rates and a multitude of other factors.

Idea 10. Material Modification of California’s Prop 13. Change the 2/3 majority for modification of property taxes down to a simple majority or, at a minimum, distinguish between residential and commercial properties whereby with such a “split roll” commercial properties would be subject to annual reassessments. It was never intended that by a massive percentage, the largest beneficiaries of Prop 13 capping of property taxes are commercial properties.

Idea 11. Implement the “Buffett Rule” whereby there would be at least a minimum tax on all individuals (and corporations?) with gross annual receipts or r venues in excess of $X.

Idea 12. Commence taxation of only domestic corporate income, rather than worldwide corporate income in order to confirm American corporate taxation laws with those of other developed nations (and to lessen the incentive for corporation to migrate to more tax-friendly nations. The US is now the only G-8 country and only one of six countries out of the 34 members of the OECD to use a “worldwide taxation system.”

Idea 13. Small-Business Short Form Tx Reporting. Adopt a de facto taxation and reporting short-form system for small business. Currently the taxation compliance costs even for small businesses are inordinate and a form of short-form reporting could be easily created and used.

Idea 14. Review All Property Tax Exemptions and the qualifying criteria therefor with such review focusing, for example, upon universities (especially non-profit universities), charitable organizations, and even churches and religious organizations (especially if they are de facto owned, managed, and controlled as de facto “profit-making organizations).

Idea 15. Mandatory Publication of Effective Tax Rates Paid Annually by Major Corporations and the CEO:Worker Pay Comparison Ratio for all publicly-held corporations.

Idea 16.  Create a High-Tech Version of Our National Guard (e.g., National Emergency Technology Guard) to expedite the rebuilding of our country’s technology infrastructure in the event of natural disasters.

Idea 17. Expedite Project Review Methodologies.  Facilitate all corporate, property, and development review and review systems to emulate Canda’s “one project-one review” process so that the federal government internally brings requests to various agencies rather than asking an army of lawyers and engineers to do the work for firms and entrepreneurs.

Idea 18. TERM LIMITS!! Of all ideas, this idea may be the single most constructive and important. Adopt term limits for at least all national elected offices. It is this author’s belief that this is single-handedly the one most important and curative change which can be made in our American society. The establishment of term limits could be, for example, a maximum of two six-year terms (i.e., 12 years) in U.S. Senate and four (4) two-year terms (i.e., 8 years) in House of Representatives. Nearly all U.S. polling shows that this idea is widely supported by most Americans – but the idea is (and will be) fiercely opposed by America’s growing hoard of professional politicians. Nevertheless, the adoption of term limits could simultaneously assist in (a) minimizing the concept of a “political career,” (b) diminish the power and leverage of lobbyists, (c) respectfully diminish the issues related to the age of many of our currently-servicing politicians, and (d) lessen the temptation of “investment-lobbying-bribery” by individuals and corporations in and to selected politicians.

Idea 19. Eliminate the tax-rate distinction between capital gain “income” and “wage/W-2/ordinary” income. The offering of the lower capital gain rates may have been initially driven by the concept of attracting investors in furtherance of the American economy. However, now, these significantly disparate income rates are, by and large, merely the different rates of income taxation imposed on America’s increasingly distinct classes – “the wealthy” and “the rest.” Though a highly complicated subject, it is believed that the elimination of the favorable capital gains rates will not diminish investments since the placement and use of investment money is largely a decision based upon relative returns – and the wealthy will not hoard cash (to be diminished by raw inflation) or placed into lower-paying CDs. Capital gains is more of an unjustified windful than a centerpiece of our American capitalistic society.

Idea 20. Award Attorneys’ Fee to Winning Party. Following the lead of most other industrialized nations to achieve fairness and to lessen the monetary leverage of wealthy (including corporate) litigious parties, require the courts to award attorneys’ fees to the winning party. (See my Blog No. 107, Oct. 29, 2019).

Regarding My Last Blog

Relating to an Alternative Means for Student to Repay Their Student Loans

Thanks to my readers regarding my October 17, 2023, Blog (“The Need and Means for the Honorable, Full Repayment of Student Debt”). This article proposed allowing public service to be recognized as a preferable means of repaying (as opposed to “forgiving”) student loan debt. Laren Bright, a brilliant and good friend from Los Angeles, suggested that permitting volunteering service to qualifying charitable and non-profit organizations should also be used. Another reader, my great friend Scott King from Medford, Oregon, observed (correctly I believe) that the ready availability of federally guaranteed loan programs has greatly contributed to the substantial raising of tuition rates by universities over the last 20 years.

My thanks to Messrs. Laren Bright and Scott King for making these fine observations.

LAST 60 DAYS !!!


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Copyright 2023 by Mack W. Borgen. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles or reviews, without prior written permission by the author.



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