If we want the 21st century to be another American century, we need to take action now. On many fronts, the outdated ideas of the past aren’t working anymore. We know what the problems are – the economic disruption, social isolation, and political upheaval caused by the digital revolution – but so far, we’ve been short on solutions.
If the old ideas aren’t working, we need to look outside the box. Here are three policy ideas for the 21st century that you may not have considered yet.
Portable benefit accounts
Portable benefit accounts allow individuals to accrue benefits such as health care, retirement savings, sick leave, vacation time, disability insurance, etc. regardless of employer so that individuals own their accounts and control their benefits. When individuals change jobs, take on additional work, or move between states, their benefits stay with them and continue to accrue. This is a complete departure from the way benefits are delivered today.
The U.S. could adopt the practice of having students take a service year (or two) during which they would take positions within their communities- or around the country- and work completing community service projects or working for participating nonprofit organizations during which they would earn a modest stipend and earn educational awards for college. The benefits would be numerous. Students would have an opportunity to take productive time off from school and gain work experience in a field they may be interested in pursuing. In exchange, they would earn money to help offset high tuition costs, and might get a better sense of what they want to do with their lives. With both experience and additional years on them, students could enter college with greater focus and maturity. Moreover, the nation would benefit from the huge surge in community involvement and low cost labor.
More than 8 in every 10 Americans supports the idea of instituting term limits on members of Congress. It’s obvious even to the average citizen the impact that career politicians are having on our country. Instead of the citizen legislators envisioned by our nation’s founders that would serve a few terms and then return to civilian life, politicians today become entrenched Washington insiders that have to constantly concern themselves with the business of fundraising and getting re-elected rather than of legislating.