I would probably have a significantly lower standard of living, since income inequality would be resolved to my detriment, and the curbing of greenhouse gas emissions would lead to an overall reduction in material goods, but on the good side my wife would have cheaper medical care, and easier access to needed medication so for me personally is probably a wash.
I would have free medical care. Food and some other essentials would cost more, but with my income that wouldn’t be a problem. My career itself would be unchanged, and I wouldn’t expect my income itself to be materially different. Taxes would probably be somewhat higher, though not enough so to be problematic, and of course I wouldn’t have medical and dental insurance costs taken out of my checks anymore. I’m a white male, so my ‘social standing’ would be largely unaffected - other people being mistreated less doesn’t mean I’ll be mistreated more.
I would be paid a living wage by Chicago standards. And as I get older, healthcare as needed, free by the government. That would include caregivers as needed, because I will have no family to depend on by that time. And none of this “you only qualify for four hours service on weekdays, and no weekends” bullshit.
a) I would be expected to work reasonably hard in a variety of different capacities, ranging from doing my turn at picking up the garbage on the garbage truck to doing meticulous grammatical copy-editing of text, with an occasional foray into writing 30-page position papers outlining the strategies and expected outcomes for Work Group X, etc. I’d be happy to do my part and would show up and work hard at whatever was asked of me. ETA: and babysitting; I’d get to hold newborns and rock them and feed them
b) I’d propose stuff that I wanted done and argue in favor of it at neighborhood (and larger) political meetings, and would be taken reasonabily seriously and some of it would indeed end up getting done as I’d suggested.
c) I would never pay for anything again nor would I get paid for anything I did.
d) I would forget what a police car or a police uniform looked like, having not seen anything remotely akin to a law enforcement officer in decades. But I’d occasionally get annoyed with my neighbors second-guessing some of my conduct and being asked to justify or modify it. I’d probably have a reputation as a peppery-tongued old fart.
e) I’d trip acid more often, and explore old urban ruins that interested me, not having to curtail my behaviors much because nothing is against the law, although yeah you have to deal with the neighbors and the community etc.
Without going to far as to postulate rational relatives, any of the times that my career plan got thrown off-whack by someone deciding that it was OK to screw with me on account of being a foreigner wouldn’t have happened. In fact, the same asshole who did it to me the first time had already done it to someone else, so both this someone else and me would have obtained our PhDs where we did not and gone on to our intended careers as researchers (him hopefully in academia, me hopefully in industry).
Thinking about other stuff that was going on in my life at the same time, and for this I would like to walk back on my initial claim and assume that I’d be somewhat less fucked up than I was at the time, communication with The Bestest Boyfriend would have been better, to the point where at some point I would have asked him whether he wanted to get our marriage paperwork processed by a judge or a Catholic priest (I’m Catholic, TBB is not). Any kids we’d had would be in college or headed there by now.
I wouldn’t have to worry about paying for health care, so I could swing a smaller paycheck, so the small business I own could put that extra money towards paying off its debt, and I wouldn’t have to be so stressed out about money and work.
Much less stress about things like the possibility of losing my job (or my wife losing hers), or about trying something new (like starting a business), or about health care. Probably a lower standard of living. I’d get to take a train everywhere, which is my favorite way to travel (my ideal America would have a great high-speed rail network).
I wouldn’t have to worry about paying for my prescription drugs, or about putting off going to the ER for being unable to breathe because my health insurance doesn’t kick in until next month.
I wouldn’t have to rely on my network of dealers to get my pot, but just go to the corner store and get it (see my location).*
As others have mentioned, I’d almost certainly be paying more for certain goods.
Pushing the envelope of idealism any further: if the USA had the kind of rail network that, say, Japan or Western Europe has, I could probably just hop on a train to go out of town, rather than having to rely on my car.
*Missouri has legalized medical MJ, to take effect… I don’t remember when. Across the river, Illinois has legalized recreational, to take effect January 1, so guess where I’ll be on January 1?!? Still a hundred-mile drive, though.
My first though was my taxes would be higher. But I don’t think that would be true, in an ideal society we wouldn’t be paying off so much debt with our taxes, or have so much debt from stupid wars. So I think my life would be pretty much the same except I might be a little frustrated from having less to complain about.
My ideal society would have zealously religious people on another continent/planet. Our society would receive regular updates on the progress of the wars they were fighting and/or the groups they were demonizing.
Isn’t that literally the plot of a hundred sci-fi works where all the religious zealots are banished to another planet, only for them to slowly build up their numbers and technology until they’re invading and winning against the people that kicked them out in the first place?
K-12 education would be better tailored to students by their interests and abilities, rather than the current ‘you take what we give you based on your ZIP code’ method, and funding would be per child, not based on property taxes - eliminating my current worry that my son is absolutely stuck with garbage schools as our only choices other than homeschooling.
Government would exist as a tool OF the people, FOR the people. When citizens need help, they wouldn’t be mired in endless loops of bureaucracy and Catch-22 bullshit designed to make them give up on their requests entirely. Support would be in place to allow the physically disabled to work in truly non-physically-taxing jobs, the mentally disabled to perform meaningful work that they could do (of which there is plenty) for a REAL wage, and working wouldn’t automatically preclude citizens from receiving the benefit of their taxpayer funded social support programs any more. I would be able to both work AND be considered legally disabled, have medical care AND improve my circumstances. Basically, the government would pull its collective head out of its obstinate ass and realize that denying people proper support and healthcare means they’ll NEVER get to go back to work.