Federal deficit: Congress stupidly cut the IRS budget in pursuit of votes, which resulted in reduction in number of revenue officers (Tilford was one  in the 9th District before these reductions), which resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in legally assessed and due but uncollected taxes – and the statute of limitations clock ticks millions of those tax dollars away every day.  Not only restore the IRS budget, increase it.  From a financial standpoint, there is no better investment.

Social Security:
1. Fix the terrible Social Security disability claims adjudication process wherein claims processors are paid to deny, are then routinely overruled by the third expensive appeal, and a cottage service industry has evolved to work around the forgoing while skimming 30% of back benefits from the most destitute;
2. Abolish the earnings cap on Social Security tax (FICA); and
3. Income from the sale of stock originally acquired as compensation should not be treated as a long-term capital gain, but rather should be treated as ordinary income and subject to federal income tax withholding, unemployment tax (FUTA), and FICA.  Certainly both the Social Security (1, 2 & 3) and unemployment insurance (3) funds could use the help. From a national financial interest basis and in the spirit of equitable income taxation of citizens, applying the long-term capital gain tax rate (which is significantly lower than that which would be the individual income tax rate for these individuals) to a high proportion of executive income remains patently unfair and should be eliminated.  These individual executives are enjoying the long-term capital gains rate, realistically unavailable the great majority of US wage earners, on what is admittedly pure compensation for work performed.  And I didn’t even mention income disparity!

While we’re considering executive compensation (3. above), either repeal or correct the language of Tax Code §162(m) – Deductibility of Executive Compensation to avoid the unintended negative consequences of the current law: a constructive minimum salary of $1M for covered corporate executives and ineffectiveness in tying executive salary levels to performance.

Correct shortfalls in mental health funding and delivery of mental health care.  Sarah.

Single payer health care for citizens of the United States.  $9,500 a year per person is almost twice what the second most expensive per individual cost for health care among the developed nations of the world, and we’re getting not second or third or fourth but around the tenth best health care among developed nations in return. Restated, ours is the most expensive and least efficient medical care “system” on the planet Earth.

Alternative energy.  Invest through job retraining, corporate (C, S, and LLC) tax investment credits to alternative energy providers, accelerated depreciation to these providers for their manufacturing equipment, and reduction and/or elimination of federal financial support in any form to fossil fuel corporations.

Elimination of federal support to ethanol production from edible grains (farm animal and/or human).

Revision of the authorities of the office of Director of National Intelligence to include control of budget appropriations for the member agencies of the intelligence community – just as recommended by the 9/11 Commission Report (starting on page 27 of the Executive Summary)  co-chaired by Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton.  Tilford was not impressed with the DNI analysts and management officials with whom he worked in 2006 and took time from his 2012 campaign to revisit this issue in Washington, DC and Charlottesville, Virginia confirming with management officials in both the Defense Intelligence Agency  and the National Ground Intelligence Center (respectively) that the value added by the current DNI organization remains minimal – and the cost is not only financial but another layer (added delay in intelligence delivery, results further removed/filtered from raw data) between intelligence providers and national decision makers.

Revision/clarification of War Powers Act.  Self-explanatory: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria.

Total revision of Department of Veterans Affairs service connected compensation and non-service connected pension programs claims adjudication processes.  The VA should incorporate lessons learned from IRS audit/examination process; specifically including quality review, review staff rotating assignments for senior employees, feedback from from review staff findings and court case decisions to employee training and performance standards, from review staff and supervisory findings to individual employee performance evaluations [retraining, reevaluating, possible reassignment or removal.  (Ironically, the IRS National Office and the VA Central Office are within walking distance of each other.)

Not a legislative proposal, but a perfect item for a VA congressional hearing: the VA has stated “It’s too difficult to remove a federal employee.”  However,  the OPM Merit System Protection Board has a backlog of removal review cases, Tilford worked in the same IRS Indianapolis District HR office where two (2) labor relations employees were kept busy full time processing removal actions, and Tilford himself removed a Navy employee (who later ran for the US House, Indiana 8th District seat on the Democratic ticket, but that’s another story) on the basis of his fraudulent employment application.   After his civil service retirement, Tilford also instructed a short course for managers on how to address employee performance and conduct issues.  The rules and regulations under which removal actions are processed have been in effect since 1979 under Jimmy Carter, with the essence of those provisions predating that time.  No, VA, the problem is not with the rules and regulations.  The problem is with VA gutless and incompetent management.

Please read this article for more specific proposals for the Department of Veterans Affairs and two for the Department of Defense.

It is unconscionable to not allow refinancing of existing student loans at lower interest rates.  It has been a national embarrassment that banks can borrow money at a fraction of the interest rate being charged the students on these loans.  Oh, since the student loan program is government insured (similar to VA home loans, the lenders have minimum risk, if any) and not a direct loan from Uncle Sam, who do you think is making more money by retaining the higher interest rates?  The same banks.  I often wonder at the business decisions based only on short-term benefit analyses.  Would the banks not like to see the young professionals have more money available for discretionary spending?  You know, more customers for businesses which are in turn customers of the banks?  But no, as the Senate just voted, we’ll continue to sacrifice future increases in national productivity for the sake of maintaining immediate income from student loans.  Contrast with the huge success of the post-WWII “G.I. Bill” educational benefits which created the professional middle class in America – and thereby many millions of new customers for domestic products, which created the need for more manufacturing, which created the need for more employees . . but I get carried away. Sorry.

Mandatory national service at age 18.  Male, female; rich, poor; rural, urban; citizen, resident alien; accommodated impaired, non-impaired.  Military service option would provide fast track to citizenship.  Non-military options would include service in national parks, veterans hospitals, inner-city schools, Peace Corps, where ever there was a national interest need which could be addressed by young adults learning from each other while working together toward a shared goal.  Costs offset by savings in military recruitment costs and reduction in crime, judicial, and incarceration expenses.  Benefits to the nation would include more well-rounded citizens; exposure of the young ‘elite’ to the lives and needs of the majority of citizens, realization of interdependence, and – one would hope – greater citizen involvement in government.  Benefits to the individuals would include income (albeit not great), security, and gained maturity on which to base better life decisions.  Please see The Corporation for National & Community Service for general background and the Universal National Service Act for specific legislative proposals for mandatory national service.

I presented Todd Young a complete package for this proposal in 2011 but he refused to sponsor it, but I remain very much in favor of the Department of Defense granting Air Mobility Command (AMC) Space Available flight eligibility to 100% service connected disabled veterans INCLUDING eligibility for one accompanying dependent AND to any Space Available terminal location on Earth subject to the same restrictions as any other Priority Group 6 traveler. The current AMC eligibility for 100% service connected veterans is limited to the veteran only and only to locations within the United States proper and possessions. The veteran only restriction (contrast with Polly accompanying me to Germany, United Kingdom, etc.) constructively bars vets who rely on spouse or other dependent to administer medications (such as insulin when the veteran is slipping into a coma) and generally assist him or her during travel.  What is the point of travel without one’s spouse? The DoD restriction to veteran-only is arbitrary, inconsistent with the other eligibles within Priority Group 6 (which already includes provision for disabled eligibles), and demonstrates the groundless resistance DoD demonstrated for decades regarding inclusion of 100% service connected veterans. Congress thought they’d satisfied this long-standing legislative proposal from all the major veterans’ groups, whereas they actually incorporated the DoD resistance.
Only an estimated 30,000 of these disabled veterans would possibly benefit, many of those too disabled or not wishing to travel away from home.  In that sense, this proposal might be considered merely a gesture of gratitude to those that gave all but their lives for the United States.  So be it.  However, there are a few who might really use Space A for the travel and vacations they would not otherwise be able to enjoy – such as those whose 100% is based on unemployability due to their service connected disabilities.  Expanding this benefit to what it should have been (and what I presented to Todd) would cost nothing, nada, zero, to taxpayers.  The entire Space Available program and administration systems and staff already are in place.  The AMC regulation for Space A already includes guidance on determinations of whether a particular disabled person may fly (the pilot’s decision) on a particular flight. By AMC regulations, this decision incorporates consideration of mission, aircraft loading/configuration, and difficulty of accommodation (if any) required.  I know from personal experience that those moderately to severely disabled are very good at making rational decisions about whether to travel or not.