Thursday, December 3, 2015

Call me Emporess

I nominate myself Emperoress of the United States of America for one day.  I mean, does it seem to anyone else that those running our country couldn't do much worse?  Not to mention, the candidates shaping up for the next presidential election are not encouraging.  Maybe if I set some of the major problems with this country on the right track the idiots running it can keep from screwing things up again too badly.  Here is my platform for my 24 hours of change: 

1.  Election reform: All elections henceforth are general elections with no straight ticket votes. Identification is required to prove citizenship, but can be obtained for free at the local DMV.  Also, all ballots are write-in; if you don't know their name, you don't get to vote for them.  Cheat sheets are allowed. Free, bipartisan, fact based, community education classes and publications will be offered regarding the issues and candidates.

2.  Donald Trump is appointed head of all military spending.  I mean, talk about a niche that could use a healthy dose of capitalism.  Federal law enforcement officers are equipped with better equipment than military members, and the price tag is generally 75% less. It is such a corrupt system of good old boys and greased palms. Good old Donald is also allowed to build his immigration wall along land borders with his own money if he promises to drop out of the presidential race.  He's welcome to recoup some of his expenses with "Blackjack & Snacks" kiosks or whatever entrepreneurial efforts his little mop desires.

3.  Immigration reform: Now that we have a wall, locking down illegal immigration should be a breeze.  However, legal immigration will be encouraged, as consistent with American tradition.  Basically, the only difference is, no more line cutting.  An amnesty date will be set within 30 days of completion of the wall(s).  Tax paying, rule following immigrants already in the country are allowed to stay and given a reasonable amount of time to earn citizenship.  Citizenship will require a basic knowledge of laws they are expected to follow and a basic ability to translate & understand English, However, the test is open book.  The test will not require memorization of arcane facts that most US citizens by birth forgot sometime around the 5th grade.  Until these candidates are full citizens, any criminal offense of a violent nature or felony, violent or not, will result in immediate deportation.    Any illegal immigrants past the Amnesty Date will be subject to immediate deportation. They will be allowed to "get in line" and enter the country properly unless they've been deported more than once. Law Enforcement are freely allowed to ask for immigration documentation from anyone without a state or federal issued ID.

4. Gun control: Use savings from substantial military spending reform to implement common sense, systemic gun control.  Listen, this country is never going to be gun-free, I don't care how strict rules are.  The only way to curb gun violence is to take the bull by the horns.  Off the cuff, we could use the drivers license model of a six week course plus government moderated testing plus psych evals for Conceal and Carry licenses for handguns. No rifles in public (yes, I'm talking to you Open Carry Texas) and no semi-automatic weapons unless you are in law enforcement.  Don't even start with me, NRA, you don't need them.  You are required to keep your guns on your person or in a safe at all times, or face stiff criminal consequences. Personal firearm liability insurance is a requirement.  But, the of Trump's military budget savings will be used to fund a branch of law enforcement responsible for civilian gun safety education & enforcement.  You pull your gun out in public when there's not an emergency?  You spend the night in jail.  I don't care if you were just showing off your new Glock.  As for those of you who want to limit magazine size, I have a message.  You are a moron.  Shall we also decrease the size of gas tanks in order to cut down on air pollution?
A note on active shooter incidents:  the media will be prohibited from publishing the identiy of any active shooters, but encouraged to laud any private citizens who (legally and carefully) protect other citizens in such situations. 

5. Welfare reform: Increase welfare and food stamps by 15%, but require drug tests & 30 hrs/week public service volunteer work for those who are able.  Accommodations will be made for those with physical and mental disabilities, but they will still be expected to contribute to the best of their ability. Additional psychologists and social workers will be provided to help people get on their. Marketing and PR folks will help us make hard workers within the program and graduates a point of national pride.  Part of the work will be childcare & eldercare for other welfare recipients so they can do their own work. Childcare will have the added benefit of decreasing mental health costs for parents and include a simple educational curriculum for those not in public school.

6. Healthcare reform: Free preventative healthcare if you attend a 15 minute health education video (expanded health department system based on WIC model)  w/ coffee & snacks provided (by organized volunteers...sign up genius, anyone?) This will pay for itself....
Health insurance will remain a requirement, but will be free to those on government subsidies as long as they meet the drug and volunteer requirements above.  Individuals will remain free to buy private health insurance.  Persons choosing to not carry health insurance will be subject to fines in the form of increased taxation.
Pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies will be subject strict regulations forbidding price gouging.  Healthcare costs will be required to be equal for everyone, regardless of insurance status. 

7. Income tax reform: Income tax erased.  Simple, fixed percentage, Individual Federal Spending & Investment Profit tax implemented.  Grocery food, charitable contributions and payment for professional labor would be exempt, but any products of manufacturing are included.  Low income folks who traditionally don't file tax returns, but are buying cigarettes and cell phones, will start contributing.  The wealthy who have been using loop holes in the tax law to made their income look much smaller than it is will have that nipped in the bud. Maybe an added benefit to this shift in thinking will be that product manufacturers will go back to making quality products that stand the test of time and more people will find work as repair professionals. There will be a higher tax percentage for those who do not carry health insurance, but to a lesser degree for those who participate in preventative HC program.  Cigarettes, vape & tobacco will be taxed at a rate of 200%. Free tobacco cessation programs will be offered through the preventative healthcare program.

Businesses will be taxed based on profit as well, but at a low flat rate, which will benefit small businesses.  A 2% profit tax would bring in a fortune from Exxon mobil, but allow a mom and pop diner with a tiny profit margin some breathing room. Significant tax breaks will be offered for those businesses with environmentally friendly practices. 

8. Federal student loan forgiveness can be earned with hours of public service work.  Government employees displaced by this and the welfare program will become public service volunteer coordinators.

9. Environment:  Those making policy decisions on environmental issues are required to have at least an undergraduate degree in science and before each vote must pass an "issue quiz" based on recent & respected scientific research on the topic. 

10. Congressional reform:  Entrance exam, including IQ test,  required.  Attendance is required, and "day jobs" are not allowed. Before session, all congress members must attend a two week boot camp run by Marine Corps drill instructors.  Assigned tasks will require team work to pass.   Entrance exams and performance evaluations are mandatory and at the discretion of constituents who have demonstrated reasonable pertinent knowledge. Salary is achievement based.  Oh, and no more passing laws and making sure they don't apply to them.  If you decrease federal pensions?  Guess what buckaroo, that includes you.  You want to put a freeze on federal employee pay because you can't decide on a budget?  You had better not be getting your paycheck. And remember, this is your only job now....

11.  Public Education reform:  Those making decisions about standardized tested and curriculum must have at least 5 years experience as a public school teacher.  You must all be able to pass assigned standardized test at greater than the 90% percentile.  If the kids are spending 8 hours in testing, so are you.  Does it seem excessive now?
 A federal committee will be given the responsibility to study and incorporate effective education strategies from around the world. 

I could go on....foreign policy?  You have to have spent time there.  In general, I suppose you can sum up my political positions in one sentence.  Have the experts make the decisions. Doesn't that seem logical?

So how about that nomination for Emporess?  Forget that, I appoint myself.  The next day I'll start looking for a genie.  I'll wish for world peace, nutritious food and common sense for all. 

But in all seriousness, what do we have to do to get an infusion of common sense into the way this country is run?

Perhaps I have an inkling of what leads to the zombie apocalypse.

" Everyone in congress agreed that the world respected academic and philosopher made a valid point when he said the country needed a fresh start. He was promptly dismissed from the hearing since Operation Fresh Start would be classified.  Head of Viral Development was appointed from Big Tobacco, since after all, they are loyal campaign contributors and have scientific expertise from cigarette R&D.  The manufacturing and distribution contract was awarded to Raytheon, since they made the lowest bid offer.  Raytheon has since admitted that mistakes were made with the product's  initial roll out, but point out that their contract states that pay cannot be withdrawn until 5 years or 5 genome patches and then requisitioned additional funding.  They require 500,000 additional petri dishes at a cost of $750 a dish."