2006/07/15

"UNTHINKABLE THOUGHTS"

Or, If I were King


Washington seems to have a king in charge these days. What would I do with that power? Hmm? How about:

1. Declare some mountain canyon parks as "free fire" zones to allow gangs, racists, jehadists, politicians, etc., to shoot each other at will away from rest of the population. Charge them for the privilege of reducing their own numbers and perhaps reducing the national debt in the process by selling tv rights.

2. To prevent suicide bombers on public transportation, how about requiring everyone travel nude or wear see through clothing so that any bombs can be easily seen? That might solve terrorist attack, lack of ridership and obesity problems all at the same time.

3. Force legislators to wait in line in the Airport with the rest of us. Betcha the line gets moving faster the first time that happens.

4. Come to think of it, forbid legislators from giving themselves health or pension plans or maybe even salaries greater than their average constituent. And, maybe the same rules ought to apply to CEOs.

5. Make it a law that legislators cannot pass a new law without abolishing an old one of equal or greater length. If nothing else, it would force them to learn to write succinctly.

6. Better yet, select legislators by lottery like the ancient Athenans. After all, how can the average citizen selected at random do much worse when making laws than our modern day professional politician has?

7. Perhaps only permit those who have served their country to vote or hold office. Make citizenship an earned right. Perhaps in addition to a choice of military service, also allow peace corp, conservation corp or the like as a choice for those who prefer not to be cannon fodder. Nevertheless, make some type of service, perhaps two years minimum, mandatory in order to be entitled to the privileges of ruling others and spending their money. The simple accident of birth within US boundaries should not be automatic grounds for citizenship for anyone. Come to think of it, neither should simple accident of birth be grounds to be rich.

8. Encourage people not to vote if they don't know the candidates or the issues. Maybe there ought to be a test like a driver's test akin to what new citizens must take. A vote is a dangerous weapon too. It elects people who send others to war. Yeah, we know what racial bigots did with such tests, but maybe it should only be a simple test, but if you can't name the current President, at least two Congressmen and one Justice, why should you be permitted to decide on who rules us?

9. If there is a test for voters, maybe there ought to be a test for politicians. Can they write without a paid speech writer? Can they add a column of figures without a calculator? Can they describe the force/pounds impact from a steel jacketed 7.62 mm slug striking a largely liquid bag of protein? Have they ever visited a ghetto on foot at night? Have they opened their spare bedroom to an indigent for the night?

10. If police must do criminal profiling, let’s do some that actually works. Target white male, Harvard MBA CEOs making presidential political contributions. Bet ya prosecutors catch a higher percentage of crooks in that net than targeting Muslims.

11. Spread the nation’s art treasures out. Move the Smithsonian to Kansas. There will be a nuclear detonation sometime in Washington, maybe more than one. The less centralized our museums are, the better to protect our irreplaceable treasures. It's okay though to assemble all politicians in one spot. Better yet, leave the Smithsonian in Washington and move Congress and the Prez to Kansas preferably without air conditioning.

12. Encourage business, family, and international disputes to be settled by flip of the coin. Maybe the Superbowl should be settled the same way and just show the good commercials. They’re usually better than the game anyway.

13. Allow the public to pay taxes by computer and allow the taxpayer what, in essence, would be "line item vetos" on their payments. In other words, they wouldn’t be allowed to control how much they would have to pay, but they could control what it is used for including amount of Congressional salaries. As a side benefit, it would require politicians to actually persuade the public to approve what Congress is doing with our collective treasury.

14. Eliminate income taxes on corporations, but tax as income to the individuals working for them all the corporate "perks" ranging from the company cars to big offices to free lunches. On second thought, don’t eliminate income taxes on oil companies. Allow them to charge whatever they want for gas, but tax them income taxes at the same percentage by which their 50 highest paid employees exceed the wages of their lowest 50 employees. Even if that doesn’t lower gas prices, it would sure generate a lot of money for the national treasury.

15. Eliminate all income tax deductions and tax credits. Force politicians to use the "front door" when legislating social legislation instead of hiding it in the convoluted syntax of the tax code.

16. On county property taxes, have the unit price per square foot proportional to the size of the property. In other words, the more the square footage paved or built on, the higher the tax bill per square foot on an exponential growth curve. Use the same sort of rule for high gas consuming vehicles like Hummers. That’d probably work for utilities use too. Have charges for utilities increase in proportion to use. The more units consumed, in other words, the more per unit that is charged.

17. We include in the price of cars and refrigerators the iron, coal and other raw materials used. Why don't we add a charge for the air and water that has to be cleaned up as a consequence? Pay for things what they actually cost.

18. Make it a precondition of a bureaucrat's hiring, especially heads of planning and zoning, that they have held a "real job" first. Make it a precondition to politicians holding office too.

19. When someone in charge of a bureaucracy like Homeland Security Chief Chertoff fails to act intelligently such as when he diverts to Nebraska and Wyoming the funds to prevent further terrorist targeting in Washington and NYC, let’s paint targets on their suit coats and divert his personal security guard funds. Hopefully, that’ll get us more competent performance or a vacancy.

20. Have the licensing of professionals be deemed a privilege, not a right. Have a 10% "pro bono tithe" on their time to be spent servicing the poor.

21. Either disarm everyone, or arm everyone over 21, grandmothers included. It is amazing how everyone gets polite or gets removed from the gene pool when everyone is openly armed.

22. Tie teacher's salaries to the median of whatever basketball/baseball players are paid. At least pay inner city teachers combat pay. By the way, maybe there ought to be a "fun and fame" tax on glamorous jobs like ball players or rock stars.

23. Institute a hypocrisy penalty. If, for example, an evangelist is caught molesting children, add an extra 10 years to the sentence for hypocrisy.

24. Require that no politician can pass any law unless it adversely affects themselves. For example, non-smokers cannot vote against smoking. Men could not vote on whether or not women can be forced to give birth.

25. If any war does not turn out like the politicians promised, make only those who voted for it, pay for it. Better yet, forbid deficit financing for wars. We would have to save up for them before we could invade the next small country.

26. Imagine how fast the amour supply problem would be solved if Rumsfield and the other chicken hawks had to pull a tour of combat duty. Figure out some way so that leaders lead from the front like they did in the old days ("Follow me men") and suffer the same consequences their followers must. Unfortunately, right now the ones least likely to be harmed by their decisions are the leaders.

27. The next time any pundit or politician claims things are fine in a war zone, require that his next vacation be spent there as a normal tourist; i.e. without body guards and armor.

28. How about secret votes on the floor of legislatures so that special interests could not determine for sure whether the politicians stayed bought with the bribes. On second thought, they are already too secretive. Require that all legislators be on internet accessed by video webcams 24/7 similar to porn sites so we can see what booty they shake loose with lobbyists.

29. Maybe instead of trying to ban "soft money" contributions, tax them. A 50% tax would insure for every dollar politicians spent electing themselves, there'd at least still be a dollar put in the treasury for schools, medicare, etc.

30. How about a Constitutional provision that the titles given to bills must have some relationship to what they actually do? For instance if it is the “Healthy Forest Initiative” or “Safe Drinking Water Act,” that must be the goal rather than the exact opposite to allow clear cutting to enrich lumber company CEOs.

31. The House and Senate each have a chaplain costing taxpayers over $100,000 a year per chaplain. If legislators cannot take time away from their duties to go to church and if they cannot find a chaplain willing to do it for free for the prestige, then let the legislature pay for it out of their own pockets.

32. We need a revocation of license for any preacher who calls for assignation or torture of anyone. Perhaps there should also be a test for them to at least insure they have read the book they propose to interpret. By the way, no one should be allowed to propose putting a copy of the 10 Commandments up unless they can recite them all accurately and can prove beyond a reasonable doubt they personally follow them all.

33. Force those running for office to sign a contract as part of their filing for office never to become a lobbyist or work for any defense or other government contractor. Better yet, simply have a 100% tax on all their income and property if they choose to do so.

34. Reporters should not be allowed to quote a liberal and conservative or similarly quote a developer and environmentalist in the same article and try to pass it off as investigative reporting or even a balanced view.

35. How about tests and a license to become reporters? Perhaps requiring real ethical rules and a license which can be revoked for either breaches or general incompetence.

36. Pundits, especially talk radio hosts, ought to have their columns and shows posted with warning labels like on food packages as to how many times they have been proven to be dead wrong.

37. We definitely should require anyone who listens to talk radio hosts to be regularly tested for sanity.

38. Let's become able to sue legislators for malpractice or perhaps breach of promise.

39. Definitely don't pay legislators unless they end their sessions on time or early.

40. If we are not going to make condoms, birth control and abortion available, how about we license and tax children? Instead of being a tax deduction, anything beyond one, or possibly two, offspring would be treated as taxable on a rising scale. For example, the third child costs yearly $500 in taxes, the fourth costs $800 for a total of $1,300.

41. Perhaps make children "seizable." Once you have bagged your license limit, if you can't pay the tax, the "excess" children are put up for adoption.

42. Allow deductions from bills for time spent in professionals’ waiting rooms. Like pizza delivery, require that if there is a 30 minute wait beyond the scheduled time, then the doctor visit is either free or you at least get to take home a current copy of the magazine of your choice.

43. How about we all wear name tags? That helps us who are forgetful. The military had the right idea. Just about everything you need to know about a military person, his name, education, experience, job, "home" and relative status in the pecking order are on their clothes. If we pay to put advertising logos on our bodies, why not put some actually useful information at the same time?

44. Stop rescuing idiots who get lost, stuck on cliffs, etc. At least force them to pay a stupidity tax.

45. We should not put a cap on recoveries for victims of medical malpractice unless we also put a cap on insurance company executive salaries and a cap on the number of mistakes a doctor can make before he must practice in a field where lives are not at stake.

46. Given what the current government is doing to the Bill of Rights, the Geneva Convention, and the filibuster, perhaps it is time to return the Statute of Liberty to France with apologies.

47. For those who think the leadership of both national parties stink, there should be a "double zero" option permitted similar to the roulette wheel where, if it got the most votes, ALL those currently in office would be automatically removed from power and forbidden to run until after the next election.

48. Here’s a radical thought. Restrict awards of the Medal of Freedom to those who actually had something to do with defending freedom. At least restrict it to those competent enough to walk and chew gum at the same time.

49. I think it’s time to impose a new rule requiring that all Presidents must be castrated immediately upon taking the oath of office. That would totally eliminate their fooling around with interns. And, they would no longer feel compelled to start wars just to prove how long their male appendages are. Granted, it probably wouldn’t do anything to lessen the corruption and graft they usually indulge in, but at least when they are forced to sing confessions after having been caught, it’ll be in a lovely tenor voice.

50. Maybe what we should do is ban kings. No. Wait a minute. We already did that once.

1 comment:

Hank said...

I liked many of your ideas about what you wouold do if you were king.

I have a list that is quite similar but with a couple of significant differences:

1. Eliminate taxes completely by a. Buying (nationalizing politely) the natural resources the government doesn't currently own and then charging companies for raw materials.

b. Eliminating inherited fortunes and oligarchies by limiting inheritance to the cost of an "average" family farm. Five minutes of Google work will show that most of the problems in America were caused by rich men's sons who didn't have to work for their money. From Bush to Richar Mellon Scaif to Teddy Kennedy, we need to make rich men's sons earn their fortunes.

2. Limit the pay of Legislators and the President to the Minimum wage with NO perks. This would guarantee that the minimum wage would stay at a decent level.