Creating a New Form of Governance that Promotes Our Well-being

Moderator
Rex Green

In Cooperation with Richard Moore's Blog
http://cyberjournal.org/rkm-asks-who-are-you-now/#comment-58

Introduction to Our Task
Governments consist of people who make decisions on behalf of all citizens of a society.  Historically, these decisions favor the people with the most wealth and social power.  Finer's three volumes of the history of governments documents this fact and a trend towards sharing this decision-making power more widely.  Currently, we seem to be regressing towards more power for fewer and fewer people.  This blog offers an alternative design for a system of governance that expands the sharing of power and features intended to prevent regression to control by a small, elite group of people.  Our task is to craft a new constitution for the United States that is most likely to be a government of, by, and for the people.  A government that pursues policies and laws which promote the greater well-being of all people in the society.  I am inviting you to help draft this constitution.

As anthropologist Margaret Mead so famously said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Ultimately it gets down to individual choice.  Everything starts with one person holding an intention and making decisions
expressing that intention. As their beingness changes, even the most unlikely people can become enormously powerful.


What You Can Do to Help
Step One:  Read the initial draft of a new constitution and then review the list of key features
Step Two:  Imagine a situation that could arise involving governmental action or actions that would invoke a feature of this proposed constitution (example:  someone buys a car, the fender falls off, and the auto maker refuses to repair it for free)
Step Three:  If you support the way your situation would be handled under the new constitution, then imagine another situation; if not, add a comment to Richard Moore's blog (http://cyberjournal.org/cyberjournal-blog-now-live/) as to what feature(s) in the constitution should be changed to handle the situation so as to promote greater personal well-being for the people
Step Four:  Invite someone you know to visit this blog and try to improve the draft constitution

If, however, you finish Step One and believe that this constitution does not merit further attention, share your reasoning with the rest of us.  Keep in mind that this exercise is designed to increase our understanding of what is needed to improve the government we have,  not what steps we should take to replace our current constitution.  If enough people  become involved in shaping a new constitution and develop one that they will support, then we will begin to consider how to replace the one we have now.
ALERT: 
Why a Constitutional Convention Is the Last Thing We Need to Fix Our Democracy Right Now
Right-wingers are tiptoeing toward calling a constitutional convention—and that could turn into an epic disaster.
By Paul Rosenberg / Salon
March 13, 2017
With an authoritarian bully in the White House, producing an almost daily flow of erratic threats, it can be quite a challenge to focus on other threats to the fundamental soundness of American democracy. Which is all the more reason to pay attention to them. One such threat is the prospect of a constitutional convention, called under Article V of the U.S. Constitution. In theory this provision exists as a backstop guarantor of democracy, but no such convention has been called since the 18th century. In practice, steered by conservative activists and monied special interests it could serve as a means for utterly eroding both Americans’ faith in and capacity for democratic self-governance.
Common Cause recently sent out an alert warning that Wyoming had become the 29th state to call for an Article V convention to enact a balanced budget amendment, leaving activists just five states short of reaching the constitutionally required 34-state goal. Article V dictates that a constitutional convention can be called in one of two ways: Through a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress, or by legislative majorities in two-thirds of the states. It is not just an idle threat.
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A DRAFT CONSTITUTION
The Will of the People Constitution
Preamble
"We the people" governing ourselves remains the dream of humans on planet Earth. Because the ownership of private property results in the divergence of power to influence what governments do, with wealthier persons acquiring more influence over governmental decision-making, this constitution provides a structure for equalizing power among citizens of the society that preserves equality of influence by all citizens over governmental decision-making. This constitution strengthens the performance of government on behalf of all citizens by requiring an optimization of citizen well-being across society and by promoting cooperation among citizens and their representatives in the government. Instantaneous worldwide communications support obtaining citizen opinions and votes on all policy changes and new government initiatives. Governance belongs to all educated and responsible citizens living within the boundaries of the society. Active citizen participation in governance is the central element of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. As such, this constitution may be revoked or modified only by a 2/3rds majority vote of all citizens eligible to vote, representing the "will of the people"..
Article One - Levels of Governance
Three coordinated levels of governance are established to address differing needs of citizens in large, geographically diverse areas: nation, state, and county. The governance of all three levels is structured similarly to enhance cooperation and coordination among all citizens. Councils of government officials are elected only at the county level by the citizens of that county. Each county council, in turn, elects one member to serve at the state level. Each state, in turn, elects one member to serve at the national level. All governmental decisions are made by the Governing Councils. Some decisions require ratification by votes of the affected citizens. City governments, if formed, are not included in this structure. They may be governed as desired by the residents of each city. City boundaries will be negotiated between the city and its county. Residents of the city are also residents of the county, and as such are subject to being governed by the County Council, as well as the city government. All decisions made by a lower level of government must be approved by the next higher level of government before taking effect. All governmental decisions must be made so as to increase the overall personal well-being of the citizens affected. Only the National Council makes decisions related to national policies and foreign affairs. The Councils of states sharing borders with other nations shall be consulted regarding decisions by the National Council affecting the adjoining foreign nation.
Article Two - Citizenship and Voting
Citizenship is acquired by being born to two parents who are citizens of the jurisdiction or by passing the test for citizenship after reaching the age of 18. The qualifying test of citizenship is developed at the national level and administered at the local level at least twice per year. Non-citizens must obtain a permit to stay in the country for a specified period of time prior to entry. County Councils may establish limits on the number of non-citizens who can take the citizenship test, using waiting lists for qualification, if necessary. Non-citizens who do not depart the country before the time elapses will be forcibly deported. Non-citizens who are deemed impoverished must also be deported.
Citizens must register to vote for each election. All citizens who are current legal residents of the county will present their qualifications when they register to vote–age, residence, good legal standing.
Each citizen shall have one vote to elect representatives and ratify governmental decisions. An open ranking voting system will be utilized when voting for representatives. Citizens may rank one to all candidates running for the County Council from 1 (first choice) to 10 if there are ten candidates, according to their preference for which candidates should serve. The candidates with the lowest average ranks will be chosen to serve. Candidates not ranked by the voter will receive the median rank across the ranks not assigned. Votes cast to ratify governing council measures may be weighted according to the voters understanding of the impact of passing the measure on personal well-being from .2 to 1.0, based on their answers to a multiple-choice question about the expected impacts. All voting will be securely processed online and tallied at the end of the last day of voting.
Article Three - Individual Freedoms
The maximization of personal well-being requires all levels of governance to promote and protect the liberty of each individual member of society. Laws limiting individual freedom must be approved by a 2/3rds majority of all citizens affected and will apply to all lower levels of governance, as well. Local or state laws limiting individual freedom must be time-limited, appropriate to a specific set of circumstances, and be approved by a 2/3rds majority of citizens voting in those communities.
No restriction of movement can be applied to an individual member of society who is in good legal standing, that is, a member of a family reporting significant income for the prior year and complying with all requirements of prior hearings involving the person. All enforcement of laws on individuals can only affect their property ownership, the tracking of their whereabouts, and/or their rights as a citizen. Also, some retraining programs may be required. Boundary and location notification devices may be implanted on or applied to an individual law-breaker. No other penalties on a person’s freedom may be applied except their right to vote in the next election or the suspension of their citizenship. Obvious heinous crimes committed by individuals can be prevented from re-occurring by placing strict limits on the whereabouts of the person and by requiring a series of therapies designed to realign the thinking and beliefs of that person. Also, amends to victims and relatives of victims may be imposed. Only when similar repeat offenses are committed should suspension of citizenship be considered.
Personal privacy from governmental intrusion must be promoted at all times. Files kept of any kind by a governing council except income, wealth, citizenship and hearings files must be kept purged to the latest five years.
Article Four - Ownership of Private Property
Individual members of society must have their ownership of property protected by all existing laws. Exchanges of property must be conducted in freely functioning markets in accordance with all existing laws.
Whenever a government decides to acquire private property, a 2/3rds majority of the citizens voting within that jurisdiction must approve the acquisitions. Individuals who will be required to sell their property may appeal this decision within the jurisdiction for an exception.
Whenever a government decides to sell its property to private owners, it must follow existing guidelines for notification of all citizens affected by the sale and announce in advance the time and place of the sale. The actual sale shall be to the highest bidders, or best bidders, if criteria for guiding the bidding are established in advance.
Any government confiscation of unowned or illegally acquired property must be conducted following all existing and applicable laws.
Article Five- Income Equalization
County Councils must maintain pre-determined ratios of the lowest to highest average personal incomes. All families in each county will report their total annual income and family membership. Total income divided by number of family members determines the average personal income. A ratio pre-selected by the County Council with 2/3rds majority of citizens approving will be applied to determine the amounts families with higher incomes must transfer to families with the lowest incomes. If the ratio is 100:1, then adjustments will be calculated to raise the lowest average personal income(s) so that they are no less than 1/100th of the highest average personal income, which will be lowered to provide the needed funds. Only families with a significant amount of income and at least one citizen member in good standing can participate in the transfer of funds. A significant amount of family income will be determined by the County Council; a recommended amount could equal the annual local cost of living for one adult, as calculated by the County Council’s non-profit business for the county. High income families that refuse to pay their assessed fee will lose their right to vote on measures proposed by the County Council until the next four-year election and will forfeit the assessed amount plus interest prior to the processing of the estates of the adult members of the family when they die.
Article Six - Governing Councils
Governing councils will make all decisions regarding the governance of a county, state, or nation based on election by citizens currently eligible to vote at the time of the election. County Councils will be elected every four years. Councils of even numbers of people will be elected at the county level up to 10 per 200,000 population, 20 for 400,000, etc. State and National Councils will be elected every eight years just prior to the next four-year election. One week prior to the election of County Council members, each County Council will choose one member to transfer to the State Council for the next eight years. At the same time State Council members will choose one member to transfer to the National Council for eight years. The selection of State and National Council members must be by full agreement of all Council members based on the excellence of performance of the members of that Council. No Council member may serve at the same level of governance for more than eight years. Persons elected to a council will assume the office one month after the date of their election.
One or more Council members may be recalled by a two-thirds majority vote of the citizens of that Council’s jurisdiction at any time for non-performance or poor performance. Any Council member who is recalled is prohibited from serving on any governing council at any time in the future. The referendum to recall a Council member may be initiated by a lower level of Governing Council or a petition signed by over 10% of the citizens of that County Council’s jurisdiction. Replacement of recalled County Council members will be made in a timely manner by asking those candidates not chosen in the prior election to serve, based on their ranking being the next lowest. If State or National Council members are replaced, the lower level councils will first select replacements to transfer to the next higher level, then the affected County Council will replace the member who transferred to the State Council.
All Council decisions must be recorded and published to be accessible by all citizens of their jurisdiction within 3 days. Full sound and video recordings of Council proceedings may be transmitted live or shared with all affected citizens in the most economical manner within 6 days.
Voting citizens wishing to serve on a County Council must pass a test to qualify to run in the election. The test will be developed and maintained by the National Council’s non-profit business (see Article Nine). Counties desiring to add questions to the test may do so. Passing scores will be determined by the test developers. Tests must be administered no less than 90 days but no more than six months prior to every election. The results of the tests are considered valid only for the next election.
Remuneration for serving on a Council will equal the median income of all citizens in that particular jurisdiction. Funds for paying Council members will come from the county general fund (see Article Seven). No decisions can be made by Council members to change the level of remuneration nor add special benefits, such as costs of travel, meals, lodging, etc., paid during the course of serving. Council members will report their total incomes, just as do all citizens in that county. Evidence of vote buying or selling will be circulated by the Council to all citizens with the recommendation that the Council member be recalled.
Article Seven - Chief Executives
Any Council may hold a special election at any time to choose a Chief Executive for their jurisdiction. Candidates for the office of Chief Executive must have served at the same level of governance and will be selected by that Council. All eligible voters of that jurisdiction will choose one candidate to serve as Chief Executive, using the same ranking procedure as noted above for selecting Council members. The role of the Chief Executive may include chairing Council meetings (voting only to break ties), hosting special events, performing ceremonial duties, stimulating greater citizen participation in community affairs, and prioritizing the presentation of Council actions to the voters. Funds to pay the same income to a Chief Executive as a Council member will come from the Council’s general fund. Chief Executives may serve up to two four-year terms. The Council may remove the Chief Executive by unanimous vote of the Council members at any time. The newly elected Chief Executive can take up their duties one month after being elected.
Article Eight - Revenue Streams
A. General Fund Revenue Streams. The only general fund revenue streams will be the confiscation of unowned properties, excess estate values, and an annual citizenship maintenance fee. The estates of individual members will be taxed at graduated rates based on the amount of the estate bequeathed. Estates of less than $1 million will be taxed at a 10 percent rate. The rate will increase by 10 percent for each additional $1 million bequeathed. Estates in excess of $10 million will be taxed at 99 percent. The non-profit business (see Article 9) collecting the tax may initiate a hearing to investigate attempts to avoid paying the tax, including wealth transfers to heirs prior to the person’s death. The hearing officer may find that the tax owed must be paid by the heirs. The proceeds of the estate taxes will be shared equally among the three levels of government. Every citizen of all ages will pay an annual fee to maintain their citizenship. The amount of the fee will be the same nationally and not exceed 1/1000th of the annual lowest cost of living for one adult for one year nationwide. Failure to pay the citizenship fee will result in suspension of citizenship until all uncollected fees are paid.
General funds may not be expended for the following specified functions.
B. Special Activity Fees. Expenses for government sponsored activities, for example, parks, recreations areas, wildlife preserves, historical monuments, etc., must be covered by attendance fees. Reduced price passes may be issued to promote the widest possible access by all people.
C. Military and Policing Fees. Government decisions regarding the creation and staffing of military forces and police forces must be fully funded by the collection of fees from the people being protected. Fund-raising measures may be passed by a 2/3rds majority vote of citizens voting based on levels of projected need for these services. Amendments may be presented for ratification to adjust the amounts of fees that need to be collected. Sliding-scale fees based on prior year’s income may be employed.
D. Calamity Fees. When natural or man-made calamities strike, special fees may be assessed nationally upon being approved by a 2/3rds majority of citizens voting. Unspent funds may be reserved for future calamities to offset expenses and provide for the initial recovery measures. Expenditures of these fees may be used only to restore government properties and functioning and augment funds spent by insurance companies, on a case by case basis.
E. Research Support Fees. Government-supported research to develop conceptual frameworks for long-range, society-wide improvements can be proposed to the national Governing Council which may then develop a specific measure for 2/3rds ratification by citizens who vote.
F. Other Incidental Fees. When the need arises, government measures may be introduced for ratification by 2/3rds of citizens voting to charge one-time fees for special situations or on-going, but time-limited, fees to finance bond issues for large-scale projects, etc.
Article Nine - Governmental Non-profit Enterprises
The conduct of government business, such as collecting fees, evaluating business performance, keeping records, assembling information for Council Members, operating government-controlled projects prior to selling them off to private businesses, and so forth, will be performed by non-profit companies funded initially by selling one share to each citizen governed by that council. Share prices can not exceed 1/1000th of the cost of living for one year for one adult. Only one such company for each governing council will be created. These businesses will share information among governing councils and with their shareholders. At least one shareholder meeting will be held annually. The performance of these businesses must be evaluated by private evaluation firms under contract with the appropriate governing council. Failure to perform to the satisfaction of the Governing Council shall require the replacement of one or more officers of the company.
Article Ten - Justice Systems
Crimes are defined as trespasses against a person or trespasses against property or the conduct of a business known to reduce personal well-being for the people. Laws defining criminal acts must be re-approved every eight years by all levels of Governing Councils. All laws will be written in current language idiom in formats that any voting citizen can read and understand. Evaluations of the effectiveness of the laws must be performed and reports submitted to the Governing Councils by their non-profit business at least six months prior to the deadline for revising the laws. The overriding purpose of creating laws is to increase the overall personal well-being of individuals living within the jurisdiction of the Council.
Penalties for breaking a law or trespassing against person or property can not limit the guilty person’s personal freedom to live their life, except when they are convicted of killing one or more other persons. The penalty for murder is death–a life for a life, unless the hearing officer approves mitigating circumstances. Boundaries may be imposed on the person to prevent them from repeating criminal acts on the same population. Tracking devices will be utilized, not incarceration. Repeating one’s offenses may be punished by ejection from the county, state, or nation or suspension of citizenship. The penalty for injuring another person may include full payment of any related medical expenses and damages for loss of functioning. Persons who hold unrealistic beliefs and attitudes underlying their criminal acts may be required to undergo special education courses with tests to demonstrate changes in those beliefs and attitudes. Penalties for trespasses against property will involve only property transactions, such as damages, revisions of contracts, property transfers, garnishment of wages, etc.
The only legal proceedings required will be conducted in a timely manner by independent, private businesses chosen by the affected parties. The decision(s) reached will be final. The full cost of the proceedings will be born by the convicted parties or their insurance companies. The cost of the proceedings may be split among two or more guilty parties based upon degree of harm caused. All measures of divining the truth may be employed on all participants in the proceedings excepting, of course, any measures that cause mental or physical duress, to obtain the nature of the criminal acts and the intents of all parties. The affected parties may employ private detectives to obtain factual information or identify possible criminals who would otherwise not be included in these proceedings. Class actions may be initiated when crimes affecting large numbers of persons are charged. The development and recruitment of the group may be handled by the private business conducting the proceedings.
Organizations that are charged with crimes may have their license to conduct business revoked or the business sold to other persons. Leaders of the organization may be found guilty of causing the crimes and punished as appropriate.
Regulations may be created by governing councils to guide the behavior of persons and organizations within their jurisdiction or, at the national level, the interactions between nations, in conjunction with the passing of laws. The effects of these regulations must be evaluated six months prior to each eight year cycle. The impacts of regulations also must serve the increasing of personal well-being of all citizens. Regulations must be re-approved and must meet the test of contributing to everyone’s personal well-being or be revised or rescinded.
Agreements reached with other nations regarding, for example, trade or alliances, must be approved by a 2/3rds majority vote of all registered voters nationwide. Such agreements must hold the promise of increasing this nation’s personal well-being. The performance of each agreement must be evaluated by the national Governing Council’s non-profit company within three years and some evidence provided for improving this nation’s personal well-being. No such agreement can take effect until the relevant laws and regulations already in place have been revised as needed.
Failure to participate in hearings or comply with legal decisions can result in any one or more of the following: fines, forfeiture of voting rights, suspension of citizenship, expulsion from the legal jurisdiction, closure of a business, and/or confiscation of property. Any impropriety in a legal proceeding may be taken up subsequently as a new case with a different hearing company.
Article Eleven - Use of Force
A standing military force will be created by the National Council to protect the nation and preserve order within the nation. Funding for the standing military will be derived only from fees charged to citizens. All expenditures for the standing military force and its weaponry must be unanimously approved by all members of the National Council. Oversight of the military will be assigned to the non-profit business that will hire and oversee the training.
Members of the military force will not use deadly force to preserve order within the nation. Military force will be utilized against other nations only after reasonable attempts at negotiation have clearly failed. Every effort must be made to use non-lethal force when countering military actions against the nation. No military operations will ever be conducted against other nations to protect or enhance the business interests of companies headquartered in this country. No military operations will ever be conducted to change the governance in place in any other nation. The size of the military force will be kept as small as possible, but sizable enough to handle likely threats to the nation’s security from other nations and maintain order within the nation.
Each county may create a police force to patrol the communities and promote lawful behavior on the part of all individuals. Funding of the police force will be derived from fees assessed citizens of the county. The county non-profit business will oversee the police force and hire and train them. Police may report crimes and detain individuals caught in the act of committing a crime to schedule their hearing (see Article Nine). Police will not carry any weapons that might seriously injure another person. In the event of a disturbance or gang-caused violent activity, a squad of police officers may be commissioned to carry adequate weaponry to handle the disturbance. If the disturbance is such as to exceed the capabilities of the county police, the County Council can request assistance from the national military. The national military may also be called upon to handle situations spanning multiple counties. Military and police officers will be required to obey all the laws of the jurisdiction, just as would any other citizen. Appropriate use of physical force to detain a criminal caught in the act may be reviewed as part of the subsequent proceedings and guilt assigned to any police officer exceeding appropriate use of force. The use of lethal force by a military or police officer except in self-defense will result in permanent expulsion from all police forces.
Article Twelve - Conduct of Organizations that Provide Goods and/or Services
All provider organizations of three or more persons must obtain a business license from the County Council, renewing it no more often than every three years. The Council will develop a listing of activities that are approved for their county. All activities engaged in by the applicant must be on the approved listing or no license can be granted. Operating without a license or conducting unapproved activities is a trespass against property. Police officers, if hired, can be charged with verifying the current status of the license of all provider operations in the county (and cities within the county). Organizations that are operating illegally or that do not obtain a current license must be closed down or their ownership sold to others. Other requirements for obtaining a license can be established by the County Council, such as limiting the number of customer complaints during a specified period, not making false advertising claims, not being convicted of any crimes, not selling weaponry outside of the country that might endanger the personal well-being of our society, etc.
No restrictions of trade and travel between states and counties shall be established except for reasons of protecting the public’s health or the environment. Lists of restricted items must be widely circulated to all persons who are likely to be traveling between two jurisdictions with differing restrictions. If necessary, special fees may be imposed with the approval of 2/3rds of the voters in the jurisdiction implementing the restrictions to pay the expenses of protecting the area.
The national Governing Council’s non-profit business will process applications for patents and copyrights that entitle innovators protection from duplication of their good or creation for five years. Foreign patents and copyrights will be honored for no more than three years only when registered with our national company..
Organizations that serve customers outside of the county where they are headquartered must also apply for a different form of license from the National Council. The non-profit business serving the National Council will handle the applications and review the performance of these businesses.
Businesses that serve customers outside of the country will apply for a third type of license from the National Council’s non-profit business. However, no business headquartered in this nation can run their business in another nation. Businesses that are independently owned and operated by persons who are citizens of the other nation(s) can partner with businesses headquartered in this nation to purchase goods and sell them to residents of their nation or provide services to residents of their nation under a licensing arrangement with the business operating in this nation. These restrictions do not apply to donations by businesses to residents of other nations.
Professionals who provide services to people and pets must be certified by the County Council to operate in the county. The application for the certificate will involve demonstrating appropriate training, competence, and degree of satisfaction/dissatisfaction with their service when renewing. Renewal of their certificate may not be required any more often than every three years. Professionals who are found to be operating without a certificate during a legal hearing will be subjected to the doubling of any damages awarded when brought by an adversely affected client or former client. Police officers may be charged with periodically checking on certification of all professionals.
Businesses in other nations can not be certified for operation in this nation. They must sell their goods and services to independent businesses certified to operate in this nation. Trade between nations can be regulated only to promote the greater personal well-being of all citizens, such as safety, and application of foreign patents and copyrights. Shipments into this country will be registered in advance with the national non-profit business.
Article Thirteen - Media of Exchange
Recognizing that some mechanism for facilitating the exchange of goods, services, and property among individuals is critical, the National Council may issue certificates backed by some valued resource to help in the setting of prices. The quantity of certificates must be monitored to satisfy the needs of persons making exchanges within the nation and globally. The assigned resource’s market value must be maintained at the level promised at the time of the issuance of the certificates by the national non-profit business. More than one type of certificate may be issued backed by different resources. If it becomes necessary to withdraw certificates, the value lost must be matched by the replacement value provided. For example, if gold certificates worth 1000 units are replaced by silver certificates worth 100 units, then every gold certificate must be replaced by 10 silver certificates.
Banks that issue loans in the form of certificates must keep certificate reserves of at least 20 percent of the total value of the loans. Persons depositing certificates will always be entitled to withdraw an equal value of certificates at any time. Persons and organizations obtaining credit from the bank as a loan may repay the loan with any currently utilized currency or their credit worthiness. Banks must also maintain a 20 percent reserve of credit relative to the amount of loans granted as credits.
No restrictions on the issuance of other currencies may be imposed by a governing council. Individuals who exchange other currencies are responsible for any changes in value.
Article Fourteen - Amending this Constitution
Corrections or amendments to this constitution may be initiated by petition signed by 5% of all registered voters nationwide. These changes must be presented by the National Council as a measure requiring a 2/3rds majority vote of all registered voters to implement the changes.
Article Fifteen - Assessment of Personal Well-being
Assessments of personal well-being must be conducted within each county every six months. The sample selected must be representative of the county’s population and be no fewer than 100 persons. Sampling can be performed with replacement over time. A nationally approved assessment tool will be utilized. A special unit of the national non-profit business will be charged with creating and updating the tool, as well as distributing it to all counties. Changes in the assessment tool will be appropriately documented and studied so as to maintain comparability of previously collected data with currently collected data using whatever numerical adjustments are needed. County data will be shared with the special unit for compilation of state and national results. The results averaged across all persons surveyed within the jurisdiction will be reported semi-annually to each governing council: national, state, and local, along with their trend. Each County and State Council will task their non-profit business with identifying the most likely causes of the trend and changes in the trend. All of these results must be included in the record of meetings of the Councils and publicized. Public meetings to discuss the results will be held in each county and citizens eligible to vote encouraged to suggest ways to improve the latest trend.
Personal Well-being assessments must measure this concept with sufficient accuracy to support county council level decision-making. Research on the psychometric properties of the assessment tool will be conducted following each change in the questions to verify its accuracy. Complaints and concerns expressed by any governing council regarding the application of the instrument in their jurisdiction must be addressed by the special unit. For purposes of these assessments, personal well-being is defined as the person’s report of how their life is going with regard to the resources they need, the connectivity they feel to others, and how satisfied they are overall with their life.
Addendum
A citizen in good legal standing is entitled to vote to elect representatives, ratify proposed laws and regulations, and approve or disapprove government sponsored projects.
Voting to elect representatives occurs every four years for County Council members and as needed for Chief Executives. The rank votes of all persons voting are averaged by candidate. The candidates with the lowest rankings are selected to fill the available positions.
Voting to amend or revoke the constitution or approve agreements with other nations requires the approval of 2/3rds of all eligible voters at the time voting occurs.
Voting to ratify Council proposals requires a 2/3rds majority of those casting votes, after votes are weighted according to knowledge of the voter regarding the ramifications of the proposal on overall personal well-being.
The implementation of income transfers annually within each county is based upon the reports of income received by each member of each family residing in the county along with the number of family members supported by the family income. The average personal income per family member is calculated by dividing the family income by the number of family members–of all ages. The calculation of the amounts of the transfers and to/from families can be performed using an algorithm distributed by the National Council’s non-profit business. The algorithm sequentially adjusts high and low incomes until no further adjustments are required to achieve the pre-determined ratio.
Each family will also report the amounts of any monetary gifts or monetized property gifts annually by each family member and to whom. The County Council’s non-profit business will keep life-long files on each person, in order to calculate the value of their estate after their death. This information will only be shared with the National Council’s non-profit business and the members of that family. Persons who claim residence in more than one county during their lifetime will have their estate taxes calculated by the National Council’s non-profit business.
The duty of a hearing officer is to compose a comprehensive story explaining the circumstances being litigated using information gathered from all involved parties. The story will include the intentions or reasons behind each person’s actions. Information will be gathered from all employees of a business organization who may be involved in the litigation. Once the story is composed and shared with the litigants, responsibilities and penalties will be assessed with the assistance of the litigants to achieve a redress of the trespass(es). Payment schedules can also be worked out to the mutual satisfaction of the litigants. The hearing officer will make every effort to ensure the future personal well-being of each litigant is not degraded by the proceedings and penalties. The hearing officer also will refuse to hear frivolous suits intended to harass another person or organization. Hearing officers should be selected by mutual agreement of the litigants, utilizing prior success/failure rates and reviews by prior litigants. No hearing officer may be selected that has any family relationships or financial relationships with any of the litigants.
Definitions:
1. Society is the collection of people residing in a designated territory and their ways of living their lives.
2. Government is the institutions created to guide the society towards greater personal well-being.
3. State is the source of control over what government does.
4. Capitalism is utilizing free market exchanges of goods and services to meet people’s needs and wants.
5. Democracy is the equalization of power among all citizens to influence what government does.
6. Personal well-being is a person’s report of how his/her life is going with regard to the resources needed, the connectivity with others, and the overall satisfaction with one’s life.
The purpose of this constitution is to maximize personal well-being for society using democratic governance and free-market capitalism. While no prior government or state has tried to maximize personal well-being, those previous occasions where democratic governance and capitalism were practiced did prove most efficacious in increasing material well-being. Since only each person can determine what their personal well-being is, each person needs to be able to exercise the maximum amount of freedom possible without impairing the ability of other people to maximize their freedom and well-being. All of society’s institutions must seek ways to contribute to maximizing every person’s well-being. When persons or organizations trespass against others, they must be constrained, retrained, and/or penalized to redirect their energies towards this goal. Government is needed both to push for greater well-being and restrain those who purposefully resist the push.
Key Features of the Draft Constitution
1. Maximizing personal well-being for all members of society
2. Minimizing inequality of wealth and income within counties and ensuring all members of society have access economically to meeting their basic needs
3. Minimizing the size of the bureaucracy or state
4. Limiting governing to steering society towards greater personal well-being for all
5. Maximizing opportunities for new business ventures to emerge
6. Maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of performing governing functions
7. Expanding the influence of individual members of society on governance
8. Promoting truth and justice in handling conflicts among individuals and organizations and increasing access to conflict resolution for all members of society
9. Maximizing local control of educational offerings
10. Protecting free market mechanisms for determining how much to produce of what
11. Promoting professionalism among elected representatives
12. Eliminating all taxes except estate taxes
13. Promoting world peace
14. Utilizing evaluation methods to verify accomplishing greater personal well-being
15. Discouraging the application of violent means of controlling socially unacceptable actions
16. Promoting economic activities that enhance our collective well-being and terminating those that harm us or the environment
17. Providing checks on the abuse of governance that will eliminate threats to democratic governance while resisting removing suddenly unpopular representatives
18. Promoting maximum personal freedom consistent with respecting the rights of other individuals to exercise their personal freedom
19. Promoting the psychological development of individuals towards greater tolerance of others
Mechanisms for Applying the Principles:
1. Progressive taxation of estate values
2. Equalize incomes annually within each county to a specified ratio
3. Establish non-profit businesses for each governing unit to perform governing work with shares sold to all citizens of the governed area
4. Issue a resource-backed currency and maintain a stable value for the currency, while allowing other currencies to operate
5. Replace the legal system with a justice system that ferrets out the truth and meets out restitution decisions, not punishments
6. Eliminate government seizure of persons and their property
7. Eliminate taxes
8. Screen newly introduced goods for their impact on our environment and personal well-being
9. Seek ways to reduce population in locales where local means of meeting everyone’s needs are stretched too thin
10. Hamper or ban anti-social actors from disrupting community life
11. Replace incarcerations with personal monitoring devices for persons who pose a danger to others
12. Replacing taxes with fees and special assessments to fund governance
13. Promoting world peace by limiting our business organizations’ operations to our country
and removing our military installations from other countries
14. Eliminating civil service employment
15. Requiring voter endorsement of new laws and associated regulations while weighting votes according to demonstrated awareness of impacts on personal well-being
16. Instituting a three-level set of governing councils to address local, state, and federal needs for guidance and control
17. Requiring persons who run for election to a governing council to pass a qualifying exam prior to the election
18. Electing county council members within each county who in turn choose representatives for the state and federal councils
19. Requiring new government initiatives to be tried on a small scale and evaluated as to the impacts on personal well-being before being presented for popular endorsement
20. Requiring approval of new measures at the lower levels of governance by all higher levels before being implemented
21. Citizenship, number of resident aliens, and immigration are regulated to prevent undue social disruption and maintain a manageable and understandable society
22. Laws limiting personal freedoms must be approved by a 2/3 majority vote of all citizens eligible to vote. Further restrictions are applied to such laws passed by states or counties.
23. Enforcement of laws passed by governments are limited to affecting individuals’ property ownership, the tracking of their whereabouts, and/or their rights as a citizen.
24. Limits on government keeping records of persons in good standing are set to protect personal privacy.
25. Government expropriation of personal property must be approved by a 2/3rds vote
26. Government funds must be spent funding governance activities whilst other related activities, such as military, police, fire, research, calamities, etc., must be paid for with fees and special assessments approved by 2/3rds of those voting.
27. New laws must be pre-tested for their effects on personal well-being and associated implementing regulations also tested. Both the law and its associated regulations can then be presented to the electorate for approval and wide-spread implementation
28. Businesses hiring trained hearing officers will replace the current court system
29. Eight-year cycles of the evaluation of laws and their associated regulations will be conducted to determine whether the law or the regulations need to be modified to promote more personal well-being.
30. International agreements or alliances must be approved by 2/3rds of all eligible voters.
31. Lethal force is banned from being applied to enforce laws or control groups, except when such groups are employing lethal force to disrupt community functioning
32. Copyright protection will be limited to 5 years or 3 years for approved foreign patents to stimulate more widespread innovation
33. Protection of the well-being of individuals and their pets is protected by county licensing funded by general fund revenues
34. Preserving the integrity of our society by prohibiting the operation of foreign-owned businesses in our country
35. Requiring that 2/3rds of all eligible voters must approve any changes to the constitution or its replacement
36. Implementing routine and frequent assessments of personal well-being in all governmental jurisdictions
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