What I would do if I were President
If suddenly I were elected President of the United States by some strange quirk of fate, I would immediately triple the Secret Service, while doubling their pay, and would stay far away from grassy nodes. However before the election, I would arrange to have Bill O’Reilly as my Vice President, however the two of us will never be in the same place at the same time. He is traditional enough to offend the left, while being free willed and independent enough to piss off the right. By his sitting in the second chair waiting to take over, assassins would have to pause and think before they pulled the trigger. Why, you would ask would I take such drastic measures right away? To survive more than six months, I would answer. My broad changes in domestic and international policy are guaranteed to annoy the fanatics of this country as well as around the world.
Domestically I would make sweeping changes on every level. Policies dealing with the economy, environment, security, and the government’s role in individuals lives would be changed to not only protect all the citizens of the US but to keep the government out of personal decisions. The government’s role should be limited to the issues that impact the whole of society but not include peeping in people’s bedrooms.
The days of complicated taxes would be over. Instead there would be a flat personal income tax. Twenty per cent of every dollar over thirty thousand would go to the federal government. There would be no deductions, no loopholes to squirm through. Just a simple form with name, amount that was made, subtracting thirty thousand, leaving the taxable amount and the tax owed. Each person would be taxed individually, which would be a bonus for married persons. A household could earn up to sixty thousand with both people working and still not owe any taxes. This would drastically cut the need for the Internal Revenue Service. But never fear they wouldn’t be unemployed. Instead I would move them over to Homeland Security. Unlike the current bureaucrats in charge of the national security, the agents in the Internal Revenue know how to track down individuals and make them pay. In addition, companies would have several opportunities for tax rebates. Companies, that provide good health care, would be rewarded with tax incentives. But the key word is “good”. Many companies provide health care, which is very expensive and provides limited coverage. This is unacceptable. Health care needs to be not only available, but also inexpensive enough to be useable. A fifteen hundred dollar deductible for an individual leaves them not only paying for the insurance, but all of their medical costs as well. Businesses, who use at least fifty per cent of their energy from alternative energy sources, would receive a rebate on their taxes, while companies who insist on sticking to the old fossil fuels would be forced to pay the full amount. In addition, if a company provides scholarships or grants to their employees to update their skills and increase their marketability all moneys used would be fully deductible.
Energy alternatives would not only be supported but activity encouraged by the tax incentives and grants to help switch over to alternative fuel sources. The technology is available, however the use has been actively discouraged in the favor of petroleum products. This policy would also include homeowners. New homes would be expected to meet standards of insulation, which would lower heating and cooling costs. Those with existing homes would be given the opportunity to update their home to become more energy efficient. In addition, those who wished to work partially or fully off the grid would be helped to set up both solar and wind powered systems in their home. New cars would again be forced to meet mileage requirements, which would increase every year. It wouldn’t be legal to ban the gas hogs, however the government could set standards forcing the car manufacturers to produce more energy efficient vehicles. The standard would start at thirty miles per gallon. Vehicles, whose mileage was over, would receive a sales tax break of whatever the overage was. However, vehicles that didn’t meet the standard would have the same amount of tax added onto the price. For example, a car whose mileage was thirty-five miles per gallon would receive a five per cent tax break. A SUV, which only got twenty miles per gallon, would pay an extra ten per cent in sales tax. Every year the baseline mileage would go up five miles per gallon. The government would activity support research into more efficient and environmentally responsible energy sources with grants and tax incentives. No longer would the oil companies be given elite status to hold the country hostage with unreasonable gas prices, which give them record breaking profits.
Environment standards again would be restored. In the long run it is good business to be environmentally responsible. Whether done accidentally or deliberately, polluters would be held responsible for the full clean up. No longer would the public be force to pay for environmental pollution caused by bad decisions made by companies. In additional, all people involved from the CEO down would be criminal liable. Our environment is a national treasure, which need to be protected and preserved. Our forests are just one target, which have been continually threatened by unethical business practices. Clear cut harvesting and indiscriminate cutting has cost this country most of its old growth forests. There are other methods including tree farming, which can provide the lumber this country needs. With other energy sources being developed and promoted, the need to search for and develop oil sites would be eliminated. In addition, the wind and solar power is totally renewable and environmentally responsible. The level of pollution from manufacturing would drop.
My stand on social issues is one of mind your own business. Same sex marriage, abortion, religious affinity is none of the government’s business. Marriage licenses would be totally abolished in favor a marriage contract. The contract would include who is involved and what is expected of each person. It would be legal in every state and give the participates legal status. The religious ceremony would be totally optional. With the number of religions and churches now present in this country, there is enough diversity available to include everyone. Medical decisions are to be decided by the individual and their doctor, not a third party who has no rights or responsibilities in the matter. However I would create a National Right to Life list. Those who insist that every fetus have the right to life will be added to the list. As each right to lifer name comes to the top of the list, they will be given the next unwanted child. No matter their age, their financial ability, plans for the future or personal health or the health of the child, they are now responsible for the care and maintenance of it for the next eighteen years; failing to provide will constitute neglect or abuse and will be followed by the appropriate jail term. The right to lifer’s name will then be placed at the bottom of the list, when it again comes to the top they will again go through the process. Religion and life style are personal decisions. Those, who through violence or harassment, try to force their beliefs on others will be treated as domestic terrorists. To fire a person or deny housing based on their belief or life style is contrary to the constitution. This country is based on diversity. It is where we get our strength.
My international policy would be just as controversial. The new energy policies would change our definition of national security. With the alternative sources we wouldn’t need the oil producing countries. We could pull out and leave them to their own devices. Not only would it give many of them what they want, but it would also cut the financial resources they could use against us. It is not this county’s job to be the watchdog of the world, nor do many of the other countries want us involved. It is one of the reasons Americans are disliked so much; there are a variety of others, but this is one we can do something about. By no means am I saying that we can make everyone like us; we can’t. But we can lessen their impact on our country while reinforcing and stabilizing other national relationships. With the economic and technological connections we must learn to get along with others without giving up our right to protect ourselves or forcing our will on them.
I believe the best offense is a good defense. There is no way to completely lock down the borders. It’s a physical impossibility. But there are ways to make them more secure. On the physical borders between Mexico and Canada, there would be two fold defense, which would include both stationary outposts and mobile patrols. Stationary outposts would be very much like most fire stations with live in alternating crews. The posts themselves would be mini forts with the most advanced protective and observation equipment. They would be in two layers; each outpost would be twenty miles apart with the second layer being ten miles further within the borders and staggered between the first layer. Each outpost would have independent energy and communication capability. The mobile patrols would commute between the outposts and be responsibly for first contact. The National Guard would be responsible for the borders, while the coast guard would protect the coasts with the help of satellite surveillance. Again there is too much coast to simply have ships sailing back and forth. However satellites could cover the territory and spot prospective targets, while the coast guard evaluated the actual threat. Airport and shipping ports would also have more security both as a physical presence and electronic surveillance.
Money is a major motivator. By using our economic clout we could promote behavior which is more peaceful and cooperative. What we buy and whom we buy it from can hurt another country’s economy. However, the same can be used against us. Boycotts need to be used with much fore thought and consideration. It should not be used to force another country to bend to our will. Countries can agree or agree to disagree on issues, but each must be self-determinating. It is the only way that respect can be maintained.
There has been much controversy over the preemptive strike on Iraq. I would not have attacked. It was unnecessary and unwarranted. Instead of cursing the darkness, I would light a candle. Afghanistan was entirely different matter. It was both their official and unofficial government, which attacked us. We had the legal and moral right to defend ourselves. If we had stopped there, much of the hatred that is now directed at our country wouldn’t exist. However instead of attacking Iraq, if we had focused our attention and resources on creating a government in Afghanistan that not only was a democracy but also supported their culture it would be more powerful than ten thousand bombs. To prove to the Muslims people that they can be self-determining while keeping their culture and religion would dispel the most of the false notions. Their government needn’t be exactly like ours. It can be their own brand with their own rules. Once the new Afghanistan became stable, prosperous and self-supporting it would nearly eliminate the possibility of fanatics taking over. In addition it would be a shining example to the other Middle Eastern countries what could be accomplished. It would be a positive, non-threatening way to promote change. As for Iraq, I’d watch it with satellites and more traditional methods, making decisions as they became necessary.
The United States started out as an experiment--a search for a better way of life, which ended tyranny and promoted individual freedoms. It has had some shining moments, but it has also been responsible for some inexcusable cruelties. Over all the citizens are generous, creative and independent with the adventurous souls who reached for the stars and found the moon, but there are also some that have been a source of bigotry and intolerance. If we continually reach for our highest good, by respecting our differences and rejoicing in our similarities, we could be a more effective peace makers and leaders in the twenty first century.