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Once upon a time, there was a nation that dreamed big dreams:

We were given a challenge by a thin man from Harvard. It was a simple challenge with a clear goal: sending a man to the moon and bringing him back in one piece - still alive. And there was a deadline too.

It was to be a man, of course, and it didn't need to be said that the man would be white. That's the way things were then. And to make things even more restrictive, the vast majority of the people paying for the trip would be stuck here on the ground.

Despite this distinct lack of inclusiveness, people bought into the challenge. And people that didn't look at all like the actual flight crew managed to benefit from the effort. Some more directly than others. Some much later than others. But benefit they did. And benefit we still do.

Now there's another thin man from Harvard. And like the thin man in the youtube clip above, this particular thin man has the attention of the nation.

What one big idea do you think that President Barack Obama should challenge the nation with? Think big, think challenging, think concretes rather than abstracts.

Here's an example of a big challenge:

I challenge the people of the United States of America to provide the opportunity for a livable income to every citizen 18 or over and his or her dependents before the end of the decade.
Then, describe how you'd accomplish it:
In the livable income example, one set of methods could include a combination of a realistic "full" employment policy, a Civilian Reserve Corps modeled loosely after the Reserves of the Armed Forces, volunteer work and creative work. The bargaining chips could include Social Security and the national Minimum Wage, because a sufficiently big program could eliminate the need for both.
What would you propose as One Big Idea?

Anything goes, but please, no laundry lists.

best,

john

Poll

If I Had to Choose, I'd Support:

33%3 votes
11%1 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
33%3 votes
22%2 votes
0%0 votes

| 9 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Maverick80229, AlyoshaKaramazov

    Strange that a harp of thousand strings should keep in tune so long

    by jabney on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 09:59:57 AM PST

  •  Actual Universal Heahth Care (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jabney

    When all the citizens of the country are investing in the common health of the individuals in that country - this will have a 'domino' effect of bringing people more into a 'we are all in this together' mindset that will outlast any temporary measures that could well ebb and flow with the tides of change ... imo

    "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

    by josephk on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 10:27:13 AM PST

  •  If I may ask (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jabney

    What is the path to a livable wage for all in a world with tons of spare labor capacity at a cost far below what would support an American standard of living?

    Those who support banning cocaine are no better than those who support banning cheeseburgers

    by EthrDemon on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 12:24:15 PM PST

    •  Thanks For Responding (0+ / 0-)

      As to the cost for the whole world, I don't know. I think population levels and family size issues would need to be addressed.

      As to the cost for US citizens, I'd guess it would depend on how "Livable" is defined. There's not enough room to give everybody a Manhattan townhouse, and there aren't enough 1936 Mercedes Benz 540k Special Roadsters to allow everyone to have the most beautiful car ever made (next week I may decide the most beautiful car ever was a Duesenberg but you get the idea).

      If by "Livable" though, you mean a warm, safe place to sleep, enough to eat, a way to get around and a little left over to leave a tip now and then, that should be achievable.

      A 'Musical Chairs' economy that demands one work to survive yet depends on there never being quite enough work to go around is wrong at its core. It especially hurts those typically last to be hired such as old folks and the disabled. But it also hurts everybody else.

      best,

      john

      Strange that a harp of thousand strings should keep in tune so long

      by jabney on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 01:16:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jabney

        The problem is, there really isn't enough work to go around.  In a world where automation takes care of most of the tasks, you are going to get a welfare state or starvation...

        Those who support banning cocaine are no better than those who support banning cheeseburgers

        by EthrDemon on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 01:58:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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