The following are ideas I’ve been kicking around for several years. Some may be familiar to longtime internet acquaintences, I’ve posted most at various forums – esp. Huffington Post where I’m “Katzencats”. Bouquets & brickbats (nerf) are welcome.
1st thing I’d like to see would be for both Houses of Congress go back to the convening once a year model, where they do the Government’s business & then go home to their day jobs. I realize this is very unlikely, but I’m throwing it out there, anyway.
This would solve several problems. For the Sens. & Reps., they would remain at “street level” most of the year, rather than being insulated from their constituents by the government industry that makes up Washington D.C. By having to remain lawyers or doctors or teachers or ice cream truck drivers, they would remember who they are supposed to be representing, as well as how we live in “the real world”. No need to sell the house & uproot the family, no need to find a rental or buy a home in D.C. We could build dormitories for them to live in for the short time they would be there on Government business.
This would save money for all because there would no longer be weekend commutes to see the family & constituents. Also, since the Capitol would not be used most of the year, there would be a need only for maintenance people, have heating & cooling just enough to stave off mold in the hot months & burst pipes in the cold.
Someone objected this would cause only the wealthy to run for office – as if this isn’t already the case? Yeah, right. Actually, I think it would make it easier for people to run because there wouldn’t be the hardships associated with public service. Offer a reasonable stipend for travel & as pay for service, but keep the day job for actual day to day living. *I* think this would actually draw a better “class” of candidate because it would only be people who want to serve their country, rather than those who want to serve their bank accounts. Which brings us to:
2nd thing I’d like to see is for lobbying to be outlawed. With 1-800 phone numbers, e-mail, fax, etc., there is no need to pay agencies to petition the Government on our behalf. If corporations want to be treated like individual citizens in matters of taxation & political spending, they can be like the rest of us & send letters. It’s long past time for influence peddlers to be shown the door.
3rd idea is changing the Tax Code. Simplify it to bare bones. A straight 7% taxation rate for everyone, including corporations – exception being any at/under the poverty level. No deductions except for charitable contributions. No more loopholes, no deductions for children, mortgage payments, interest, nothing.
There would be 2 other levels, both for the wealthiest/corporations: For those bringing their deposits back to U.S. banks, the rate would drop to 5%. If you are a corporation & bring your off-shored profits back to the U.S. AND bring your operations/jobs back here, the rate would drop to 3%. *
On the face of it, this may sound nuts. However, this would put money back in circulation in our economy & put people back to work – putting even more money back into the economy. Plus, with no deductions or loopholes, everyone would be paying their fair share of the cost to run our society.
*Edit in – June 20, 2011. It seems a version of this was already tried, & didn’t work out too well: http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/06/great-tax-holiday-scam Perhaps with some tweaking it might? :-\
And now, veering off into Fantasyland, I would like to see a Constitutional Amendment forbidding either the Federal Government or States’ Governments passing any law that would interfere with any person’s physical self determination. Not putting that correctly, hope you get the idea. This would be no anti-abortion laws, prostitution would be legal (and regulated/taxed), “gay sex” would not be a criminal act, no more drug use laws, things of that nature. Get rid of the DEA (more $$$ saving), roll enforcement of regulation of potentially dangerous drugs back to the FDA.
Legalize/regulate/tax marijuana, heroin, etc. No more prison overcrowding because someone had a couple of joints on them or is unfortunate (stupid) enough to become a junkie. Bonus is the drug cartels no longer have a market here, anyone can buy anything. Have age restrictions as with tobacco & alcohol, but no more jail time. Let doctors prescribe for their patients without fear of a criminal record.
Thanks for reading, I hope it either gave you something to think about or a hearty chuckle – I’m good either way. : )