Public Policy Parrot

US Public Policy Leaderboard #38 2023

It’s time. The US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) has been updated to include Invoking the 14th Amendment as a failsafe against a catastrophic self-inflicted US debt default. It came in at an impressive #2, the silver podium position. Woo-hoo! Congress, POTUS, and SCOTUS—take notice.

Welcome to Us People Sunday, when we stop listening to all the political parrots squawking and rank public policy solutions with a super nonpartisan score. Someone has to.

If you’re already up to speed on the 14th Amendment, you can skip to the Sweet Sixteen solutions below or head on over and check out the US-PPL standings.

Should the
14th Amendment be invoked to avoid a US debt default?

The 14th Amendment states “the validity of the public debt…shall not be questioned.” This clause suggests the President has the power to override the debt ceiling to ensure America pays its bills.

Legal scholars argue the President can invoke the 14th to prevent economic calamity if Congress fails to raise the debt limit. Unilaterally raising the debt ceiling using 14th Amendment powers remains controversial but may be necessary to avert catastrophe.

More responsible budgeting is something all four sides of the table can agree on, but in the meantime, there’s a crisis to handle. Bottom line: The three branches of government shall not question the validity of our debt. In other words, do your jobs.

Why Care?

The last time the Government shut down, it hurt the economy, meaning workers, professionals, small business owners, and the stock market.

And this time, it’s possible we’ll default on US debt which is about the same thing as a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

This might risk the dollar losing its status as the world’s reserve currency. Perhaps the stupidest thing a country could do to itself.

Is there a Debt Crisis?

The US total net worth is $150T. The debt is $33T, but $7T is intergovernmental, so $25T is owed to others.

Of the $25T, about $7T is held by our foreign country trading partners (they have to put the dollars we give them somewhere), and the remaining $18T is held by Americans wealthy enough to buy US treasury bonds and notes.

The average US household has a net worth of $750,000. The average household debt is $100,000. So that’s a $100,000 / $750,000 or 13% debt to net worth.

The US total net worth is $150T. The net US Debt is $25T.  So, that’s $25T/$150T or 17% debt to net worth. 

Does this sound like an emergency so dire as to risk the full faith and credit of the United States of America?

A household can’t issue their own currency to pay bills.

Let’s bear in mind the US is not like a household, meaning a household can’t print currency.

The US is the monopoly issuer of net financial assets. Net, because banks can also issue currency, but they have to pay it back to the Fed. The US doesn’t have to pay itself back. It’s a book entry. 

You can’t spend a net dollar until the US spends it into existence. When you pay your taxes, the money is destroyed, and a number changes on a balance sheet.

To pay down the debt the US has to run surpluses. The only problem is US government surpluses cause depressions.

In 1817, 1852, 1867, 1880, 1893, 1920, 1928, 1998-2001 the US government briefly ran rare budget surpluses, which were followed in short order by equally rare major economic crises – the Panics of 1819, 1857, 1873, 1893, and the Depressions of 1920-21 and 1929, and the Great Recession of 2008 (delayed by the sub-prime lending fiasco). The Great Recession was technically a Depression with 15% U-6 unemployment.

Causation or Correlation?

None of the four schools of economics will likely agree on whether the rare surpluses caused the rare depressions but come on, eight times in a row over 200 years, really?

Could there have been other factors that forced the surpluses that caused the depressions? Sure, but how come no one can explain that so a precocious 12-year-old can understand it?

Occam’s Razor, the simplest solution, is likely the correct solution. Isn’t insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result? 

You can read more about what might happen with a government shutdown and a debt default in our Monday Puzzle Drop article.

The Silent Supermajority

This follows the concept of the Pareto Principle, the 80% – 20% rule. What 20% solution can solve 80% of the problem? 20% inspiration and 80% perspiration. Where the 80% lead the 20% should follow.

For us here at PolicyKeys, it’s kind of like a Parrot-otopia, parrots in paradise, except here the citizens are not dominated by the tyrannies of the many or the few.

These leaderboard-worthy ideas have majority support from each of the four sides of the political table: Abundance Governance (AG), Abundance Commerce (AC), Thift Government (TG), and Thrift Commerce (TC). We share our Political DNA, ACGT. After all, we’re one body, one nation, with liberty and justice for all.

Cue the Patriotic Music

Imagine an America not paralyzed by partisan squawking. A Parrot-otopia oasis in a desert of division. Where the sounds of the silent super-majority drown out the droning of the hyper-partisan parrots.

We’ll be freed from the cages of entrenched ideology to fly higher in the big sky of American beliefs, attitudes, values, and ethics. To boldly go where no political parrot has gone before—rating solutions with a nonpartisan score.

Public Policy Anthem

Where Can We Agree? (Why Don’t You Want To Know?)

You can play this week’s puzzle at PolicyKeys.com.

THIS WEEK’S
BOX SCORE

Just like a sports event, the PolicyKeys weekly puzzle has all sorts of interesting stats. Here’s the bottom line.

We predict an 84% ±2 vast super-majority of roles in this country to support Invoking the 14th Amendment to Avoid a Debt Default, including a majority of each of the four sides of the political table, making this a US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) worthy idea. 

Congress’s approval rating is 21%, the Supreme Court’s is 40%, the media’s 27%, and the average score of the policies on the PolicyKeys™ US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) is 73%, with many above 80%—Politics 4.0 is already 2x to 3x better model of US political sentiment and direction than politics as usual.

See more 14th Amendment stats in our Friday BOX SCORE article.

This Week’s
US Public Policy
Leaderboard Update

Here are four
leading solutions on our
US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL)
from each sharp corner of the political table. 

The Sweet Sixteen

Strong Status Quo Bias
(Free Market & States’ Rights)

#4 SMR Nuclear Reactors
(82% Super Nonpartisan Score)

We need to scale new, smaller, safer SMR nuclear power for energy independence, not depend exclusively on any one energy source, protect commerce from the devastating effects of severe weather, and bring affordable, abundant energy to underserved markets.

While there is great potential for fusion, astro-electricity, battery technology, and solar panels on every sunny roof—it will take decades or even a century, and SMR nuclear can be bridge energy.

#12 The WELCOME Living Wage Employer Tax Credit
(78% Super Nonpartisan Score)

Full-time employees must meet a living wage before corporate tax needs to be paid. The Willing Employer Living Compensation Exemption essentially eliminates the corporate tax for all but the largest, most profitable companies.

It would surge demand for middle-class goods and services and significantly reduce unnecessary public assistance projects, thereby lowering taxes. America is exceptional enough to build enough capacity to keep inflation in check in the long run. Some corporate taxes are double taxation, as dividends are also taxable.

#17 End Sugar Subsidies
(76% Super Nonpartisan Score)

Subsidies distort free markets, cost billions, increase health problems, and ill health saps productivity from the workplace—that’s not what our tax dollars should be used on.

#21 Let the States Control Their Own Immigration (75% Super Nonpartisan Score)

One size doesn’t fit all for Immigration; some States need to Terminate immigration, some States need to Accelerate immigration, and other States need to Pause immigration. Local TAP Legal Immigration solves most of the immigration problem. Immigration is probably the best way to lower inflation while keeping the economy moving.

Center Right Status Quo Bias
(Private/Public Partnerships)

#1 The Great Penny Meltdown
(86% Super Nonpartisan Score)

It is time to stop wasting useful metals on useless coins; there is little to no reason to dig up zinc, spend two cents to make a penny, and then bury them in penny jars to gather dust. This is the same as paying people to dig holes and fill them back in. It’s sapping the country’s productivity and resources. Update: Breakthroughs in zinc battery technology make this even more urgent.

#8 Social Security Force
(80% Super Nonpartisan Score)

The Social Security Fund should invest 25% of its reserves into US index fund stocks. Stocks historically outperform bonds by 2x, and instead of every market recession or depression making the top decile richer, the SS Fund can buy on dips and assure a solid retirement for all our hard-working citizens.

#22 Pathway to Residency
(75% Super Nonpartisan Score)

Americans don’t want to do the 10 million open jobs because the work is tedious, low pay, dangerous, and sweaty. Immigrants are willing to do those jobs as a foothold on a better life for themselves and their descendants. We already have 11 million illegal immigrants aka undocumented workers in the country. It’s a waste of human capital and a competitive disadvantage not to put them to work with a pathway to citizenship. Many are being paid under the table and are not paying their fair share of taxes. Commerce has a labor shortage crisis due to low birth rates. The solution is literally a pen swipe away. 

#32 Quick Set Transitional Housing
(70% Super Nonpartisan Score)

There are two kinds of homelessness: those who can’t or won’t work full-time and those who can and want to work full-time but the jobs aren’t accessible for some reason, like proximity, skills, shelter, or support services. Changing zoning laws to allow housing in, next to, or near industrial parks solves the problem almost immediately. 

Center Left Change Bias
(Public/Private Partnerships)

#11 The Abortion SCALE Act
(78% Super Nonpartisan Score)

Now that OTC Birth Control has been approved by the FDA (We Won!), the Abortion SCALE Act takes its place here on the recap of the US Public Policy Leaderboard. The Abortion SCALE Act allows for a woman to choose until the 16th week, from the 17th to 23rd-week abortion is semi-legal with enhanced informed consent and a 72-hour hold, and illegal after week 24 when a fetus would be viable outside the womb (an unborn child) with the only exceptions being to save the mother’s life, a fetus becomes non-viable, or in the cases of rape or incest. Note: Recently, twins born at 21 weeks survived, so the 23-week benchmark might be lowered to 20.

#30 A Grand Supreme Court
(71% Super Nonpartisan Score)

Having lifetime appointed justices when the average lifespan was 35 years is quite different with the advent of 100+ year lifespans just around the corner due to new life extension technologies. A court is supposed to be impartial, not partisan football. A much more judicious solution is eighteen-year term limits with staggered starts every two years in nonelection years, 18 to 23 Justices, a pre-vetted pool by a super nonpartisan commission, and a lottery if Congress and the President won’t do their jobs. There are supposed to be three branches of government, not two parrots stacking the legal deck.

#34 Truly OPEN Primaries
(69% Super Nonpartisan Score)

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that there’s two-party rule. There are more Independents than Democrats or Republicans. There should be one primary election for all candidates running for office, and all citizens can cast their ballots for the top four or five candidates regardless of party affiliation that they approve of to go onto the general election. That way, the winner will be the candidate the most people approve of instead of the candidate we all hate the least. 

#41 Permanent Standard Time
(66% Super Nonpartisan Score)

We did puzzles on both Permanent Daylight Savings Time and Ending Daylight Saving Time, and the latter was a clear winner. Permanent Standard Time will increase sleep and productivity, decrease health costs, and stop jet-lagging the country twice a year. 

Strong Change Bias
(Pro-Active National Government)

#5 Voting on Veteran’s Day
(82% Super Nonpartisan Score)

What better way to honor our Veterans than to thank them with our civic duty to vote? Establishing another holiday would harm productivity, so moving Veteran’s Day to the second Tuesday in November is a win-win for democracy and productivity. 

#6 A Fraud-Free Counted Vote
(82% Super Nonpartisan Score)

Frictionless IDs, guaranteed access to mail-in ballots, and all votes counted—let’s end the partisan debate over voter fraud vs. voting access once and for all. 

#18 Increase the EITC to P50L
(75% Super Nonpartisan Score) 

Many industries don’t have the margin to pay a living wage, so increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit for full-time workers to halfway (50%) between the Poverty line (P) and the Living Wage (L) would solve the problem for the working poor. America’s shrinking middle class is a national embarrassment for both political parties.

They blame each other, but let’s face it: both parties have had total control of the House, Senate, and White House over the decades, so both are to blame. A full-time working couple should crest a living wage, with no marriage penalty, while a single person could work a few hours of overtime each week to achieve a living wage.

#24 HOPE Drug Harm Reduction
(74% Super Nonpartisan Score)

Illegal drug use is way more a health issue than a criminal one. Treating drug users like criminals is cruel unless they commit crimes unrelated to trafficking or other felonies. It is also less expensive to send a drug abuser to rehab than jail.

Public Policy Conclusion

Interestingly, The WELCOME Employer Tax Credit to pay a living wage and the P50L EITC to boost the working poor closer to a living wage, at the end of the day, have almost the same effect on raising the middle class and the deficit/surplus, but here’s the weird thing—partisans on both sides of the aisle may vehemently oppose the “other” solution. Psst, they are both leaderboard-worthy solutions. The parrots are just fighting and can’t stop. 

Shockingly, on the left, either WELCOME or the P50L would essentially end wage discrimination for full-time working people up to the median income level—almost instantaneously. But the left will complain that WELCOME makes people have to work full-time, and corporations must pay their taxes.  

Shockingly, on the right, either WELCOME or the P50L would make commerce boom, as there is no better way to get an economy humming than a vibrant middle class. But the right will complain that the P50L has some people’s spending subsidized by the government and that’s not fair.

Shockingly, the US crime cost is between $680B and $3.41T yearly, probably 2x – 10x more expensive than WELCOME or the P50L. People making a living wage aren’t knocking off liquor stores or gas stations. Additionally, child poverty alone costs America over $1T annually, and most domestic violence is about money. One thing’s for sure: a coin flip on these two solutions would be better than political parrots squawking about high crime and a shrinking middle class for yet another decade.

Public Policy Methodology

We conduct an in-depth analysis of each puzzle, considering over 4,000 variables and 16 million combinations. First, with the assistance of POLI the AI, we examined sixteen primary YES reasons and sixteen primary NO reasons against the proposal. No cherry-picking.

Then, AI evaluation considers each societal role’s loose ties to beliefs, attitudes, values, and ethics. Finally, the AI looks at close ties to other roles as an internal reliability filter, which gives an error margin noted on the POL-ICYMI Answer Key.

After determining all 128 roles’ general bias toward change or maintaining the status quo, our editorial team reviews and, if necessary, adjust the forecasts for specific reasons. This rigorous process aims to produce a credible, non-partisan assessment. Our goal? To genuinely capture America’s consensus.

You can read more about PolicyKeys™ in the upcoming book, Politics 4.0: How Gamification, AI, and National Idea Leaderboards Can Help You Depolarize America. The Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has recognized PolicyKeys™ for its innovative consensus-building approach.

The Weekly Public Policy Puzzle

A new PolicyKeys™ Where Can We Agree?® Puzzle drops every Monday at 7 a.m. Eastern at PolicyKeys.com.

PolicyKeys™ Where Can We Agree? is a real-life role-playing game. Each week, there are sixteen sets of eight ‘rival’ roles. Sit awhile in each of their eight chairs and predict whether a majority of people in those roles would say Yes or No to the week’s question.

The best ideas land on the US Public Policy Leaderboard (US-PPL) if a majority of each of the four sides of the political table agree. *Political Omnibus Leadership Initiative

You can play this week’s puzzle at PolicyKeys.com.

This Week’s Key Political Flap

Should the US invoke the 14th Amendment to avoid a debt default?

You can role-play this week’s puzzle at PolicyKeys.com. This week’s political flap started with our Monday Puzzle Drop article. Tuesday was the Tiebreaker of all the conflicted roles. Wednesday, we caught politically strange bedfellows dancing on the debt ceiling. Thursday, you and your political digital twin tipped back some tall cool reasoning. Friday, think outside the news silo with the BOX SCORE. Saturday we wrapped up the week’s reporting on the big game with the Keynote.

YOU CAN PLAY THIS WEEK’S PUZZLE AT POLICYKEYS.COM.

Fly Higher

Agricultural Conservation Programs and Climate Change
American Enterprise Institute

SMR Nuclear
https://www.energy.gov/ne/advanced-small-modular-reactors-smrs

Top Five Reasons to End Sugar Subsidies
https://www.atr.org/top-five-reasons-end-us-sugar-subsidies/

Anti-Immigrants
https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/anti-immigrant

Should the US Retire the Penny?
https://www.wsj.com/articles/should-the-u-s-retire-the-penny-and-nickel-1521425100

Let’s Drop Pennies, and Nickels too while we’re at it
https://www.brookings.edu/articles/lets-drop-pennies-and-nickels-too-while-were-at-it/

Future Financial Status of the Social Security Fund
https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v70n3/v70n3p111.html

Immigration Resources
https://immigrationforum.org/resources/?type=fact-sheet

National Alliance to End Homelessness
https://endhomelessness.org/ending-homelessness/solutions/rapid-re-housing/

FDA Backs First OTC Birth Control Pill
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2023/05/10/1175255611/advisers-to-the-fda-back-over-the-counter-birth-control-pill

Eighteen-Year Terms for SCOTUS
https://www.amacad.org/ourcommonpurpose/recommendation-1-8

It’s Time to Let All Voters Vote
https://www.openprimaries.org

Permanent Standard Time
https://aasm.org/aasm-experts-advocate-for-permanent-standard-time-ahead-of-fall-back/

Move Election Day to Veteran’s Day
https://www.amacad.org/ourcommonpurpose/recommendation-2-2

How the Middle Class Has Shrunk
https://www.visualcapitalist.com/how-americas-middle-class-has-shrunk-since-2000/

The Middle Class Has Shrunk by 11% in 40 Years
https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2022/04/20/how-the-american-middle-class-has-changed-in-the-past-five-decades/

Aggregate Cost of Crime
from the University of Chicago

Government Accountability Office on Cost of Crime
https://www.gao.gov/blog/2017/11/29/how-much-does-crime-cost

National Institute on Drug Harm
https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/harm-reduction

Beaming Down Energy to Earth
CalTech

Deep Fakes and American Law
Davis Political Review

Determining Fake Statements Made By Public Figures
IEEE

Circular Economy
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Supreme Court Approval Drops to All-Time Low
The Hill

18-Year Term Limits for Supreme Court Justices
American Academy of Arts & Sciences / Our Common Purpose

Childhood Poverty in the US
Social Work Research

Employed & Homeless
NAEH

Quick Guide: Economic and Domestic Abuse
NCADV Blog

Only 13% Think Abortion Should Be Illegal &
Only 34% Think It Should Be Totally Legal
Gallup

Healthy Diet Could Save $50Billion in Healthcare Costs
Science Daily

The Validity of the Public Debt Shall Not Be Questioned
Constitution.congress.gov

Finding out takes guts from all four sides of the political table [::]