The failure of Congress to bring a new healthcare bill to a successful vote reminded me to share some of the solutions proposed by one of our longest-term clients, James M. Stone, Chairman of the Plymouth Rock Corporation, in his book “5 Easy Theses”. Our economic future is assured if we follow his advice. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in his book, nor do I think they are easy, but here are some of his ideas, perhaps over-simplified.

1) Eliminate the tax deduction for mortgage interest – it mostly benefits the rich.

2) There is concentrated wealth in this country. Income inequality is worsening. Tax unrealized asset appreciation, stop trust loopholes to avoid inheritance tax and stop excessive exemptions that only benefit the rich…they can afford to pay their share.

3) Education should be a priority. Initiating a universal national service program may help fill gaps.

4) The U.S. spends 18% of GNP (Gross National Product) on healthcare. The rest of the world spends about 10% of GNP, with better outcomes. Our extra spending exceeds $1 trillion a year. The only way to fix this is with a single payer system.

5) The financial sector takes a disproportionate piece of U.S. GNP profits while employing a small percentage of the population. Banks should be downsized (they can figure out how they would do this). Hedge Funds should be regulated like mutual funds, making them more transparent. Derivatives trading should be backed up by reserves that would “reduce its volume to a tiny fraction of today’s unimaginable numbers.”

None of these theses would be easy to implement, but according to Jim Stone, the future of social security, education, and healthcare would be assured. Have you ever thought about our future as a nation? What would your priorities be? I wish I could run one of my famous visioning sessions for the entire country and see if we could bring all Americans to a consensus about our priorities as a nation. Let’s think about building the future life of this country the way we help people envision life in the spaces we design. Should be simple, right?

If you are interested in reading the entirety of Jim Stone’s 5 Easy Theses, you can buy it on Amazon.

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