An Article I wrote for Newsvine, you can also read it here.
First, by fantasy party I don’t mean Harry Potter for President, its sort of like fantasy football except that instead of drafting players I’m looking to build a platform for a party that doesn’t exist, but that I’d like to see some day.
First I’d like to see new avenues for raising government income explored. Basically a pay as you go system. I’d like planks legalizing and taxing marijuana and prostitution. Pot is roughly on a par with alcohol as far as what it can do to the human body, and if you licensed and taxed brothels and provided healthcare to the workers then you’d be taking a large step to clean up a clandestine industry that is squalid mainly because its underground. You’ll also lighten up the load in the legal system on both of these offenses, an additional savings. There’s a lot of money in sin and why are we only letting dirtbags profit from it? Especially if we’re looking to be a secular society.
Education is critical in any country and the goal should be to make it equal and accessible to all, so with that in mind I think its time to make higher education affordable to all. First, strip federal funding and property from any college that charges higher tuition than state colleges and doesn’t allow ROTC, then apply the money and student loans to schools that comply. This still allows private universities to exist but means that they will have to pay their own way. Why include ROTC? Well, how smart do you want the people giving orders to soldiers, sailors and airmen to be? If you can make a case for why undereducated officers would serve us better I’m all ears. I would also add scholarship penalties to party schools, I’m all for people having fun but binge drinking and sexual assaults are not on my fun list.
Continuing my education rant I’d recognize that the National Education Association isn’t an educational organization, it’s a teacher’s union and the largest union in the country. Secondly I’d recognize that we have a hodge-podge of a system right now with little to no universal standard of what is an education. Why not go to an actual national system? Schools revert to the Department of Education and we set standards for facilities that apply equally to Harlem as they do Beverly Hills. You can only have so many students per classroom, students in every class have the same access to the same computers, books and standards of teachers everywhere. Teachers are paid on a system that recognizes their proficiency not only through testing students, but by making teachers test for raises and promotions and they certify annually to prove that they are competent to teach.
We pay teachers well, but only if they earn it. A national pay standard with cost of living adjustments based on the expense of the area that they teach in, and paid transfer for those teachers moving to districts in problem areas. Emphasis on multiple curricula, including vocational studies for those that value work over academics, so you could graduate with a diploma in construction or mechanics as opposed to a standard academic diploma. Make security a part of the school environment as well, a good source of jobs for veterans for example, but instead of rent-a-cops, give them real badges. Teachers under suspicion of improper conduct with students shouldn’t be allowed to sit around soaking up pay while forbidden to interact with students, they should be place on paid administrative leave for as long as it takes for a police investigation to resolve the situation, or trial and verdict either way, whichever comes last.
For medical care I’d like to expand the number of doctors and nurses available, in part I would do this by assigning national guard and reserve doctors clinic duty for at least half of their commitment periods, we already send guard and reserve doctors to other countries to give free healthcare, why can’t the people that pay their taxes get some? A national guard field hospital moving into a high school gym for a few weeks every summer could do a lot of good. Government scholarships would be expanded with the condition that time spent assisting in clinics as a student and working in them as part of their residency would be requirements. We not only need to find a way to pay for people to get medical care, we need to increase the number of people giving that care, there are areas of the country with few doctors at all and others driven out of medicine because they can’t afford malpractice insurance, because lets face it our society will sue over anything in the hopes of making the big score, some claims are justified, but there’s others that aren’t.
Loser pays, if you sue someone and its deemed frivolous then you pay for the legal expenses and all awards are based on demonstrable losses, if courts wish to add punitive fines on top of settlements they should be applied to educational or medical programs. Thus a few million dollars for a spilled cup of coffee turns into a few thousand plus medical expenses to the victim and the rest paid to the government. Obviously if the injury kills a wage earner or renders them incapable of working then the offending company should be forced to pick up their salary and medical expenses.
Campaign donations limited to $100 per person, by candidate, no donations to political parties and all donations from taxpaying citizens by name. No ads except those paid for by candidates directly, union, church or tax free agency that directly takes part in, or pays donations toward any candidate, campaign or political cause loses tax-exempt status. Incumbents pay for all travel, up to and including all expenses for operating Air Force One including crew salaries.
All elected offices should be limited to two terms in the case of president and senate and 12 years for the house. Politics needs fresh blood or thinking stagnates into lockstep paradigms. Serve and leave, no pension required.
Simplify the tax codes, you make X, you pay Y. Why are we keeping H&R Block and a million or so lawyers in business because we’ve allowed elected officials to design a tax system so complicated that even the lawmakers that passed the tax laws need lawyers and accountants to tell them how the system that they designed works.
While we’re at it, our laws and legal documents including warranties and user agreements should be written in 8th grade English.
English as the official language, there’s no reason I should have to press 1 for English.
Lock down the borders, if we need people in to work jobs then grant visas based on jobs available after people that live here have a shot at them. Call me funny but I think people from here deserve first shot at work.
We don’t really need cars that travel at speeds approaching double the speed limit, so lets dial back speed, consumption, emission and noise.
Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, it was gutless when it was passed, its ridiculous and gutless now, congress needs to pass a repeal of their stupid law and we need a president to sign it to undo this stupid mistake.
If you don’t think gay people should be married then don’t perform the ceremony, or don’t belong to a church that will. If the Federal government can recognize one relationship between two people it shouldn’t play favorites.
Prison should be about education and hard work, if you have time to tattoo yourself, spend hours on the playground, watching TV or continuing to be a criminal then you aren’t making the most of your prison experience. We need to add “at hard labor” back onto sentences and mean it. Prison farms and chain-gangs included. Maybe Joe Arpaio would serve as head of prisons.
For thousands of years the physical borders belonged to the armies of the world, including the US until about 1924. Border patrol can handle checkpoints and customs, but we should have the army patrolling the borders. Terrorism is one concern, but if the economy tanks just how many people should stand in line in front of citizens for the jobs that are left? If you think this is unfair to those coming up from Mexico, then we should have the same security on our southern border as they do on theirs.
Tariffs on imported goods should reflect not only the tariff laws of the trading partner in question, they should reflect the trade balance. Guess how many Japanese cars would be imported if we used the same rules for them as they do for us.
Lets go back to mass transportation, Amtrak for example. Much lower use of resources. Road trip across country? Why not add a car mover to Amtrak trains for those that want to have their own wheels when they get there, moving, put your u-haul on the train car and pick it up at the other end and drive it to the new place.
Social Security funds should be sacred and for no other function than paying out to those on Social Security. We can start repaying the shortfall by applying congressional pensions to it. Let congress live on Social Security rather than their self-approved golden safety nets and maybe they’ll have incentive to give a damn about people.
Can we just accept that Choice is here to stay? It’s a dirty little secret that everybody knows but nobody will shut up about it, so instead of chewing our nails about what the courts will do if President X appoints Justice Y what will their position be on this. Who gives a damn, grow a pair, set it in stone and move on so we can pick the best judges not just the ideologically pure ones.
No hidden taxes, we should see the amount we pay in taxes on gas, smokes and alcohol for a start.
This is just what I rattled off the top of my head, anything anyone would add or take away?
© 2008, Tim Boothby. All rights reserved.