Monday, November 3, 2008

OT Day: Let's talk about politics!

I just had to do it - in honor of election day, let's talk about, what's that over-used slogan, the change we need to see?

Here's what I've decided I'm going to ask all of you today:

If you were Dictator of the U.S.(and yes, you non-Americans can answer, but please identify that you are not an American) and could change 10 things about how the country is run, right now, what would you change?

And no, I don't want to hear from the purists who say, hey, X is a local government thing. For purposes of this discussion, you are the dictator. What you say goes, on any level of government.

Here's my ten. I'm kinda interesting, to say the least, because I'm very conservative economically but very liberal on certain social issues and animal rights. I don't really fit into any party's niche (and I think a lot of people don't!).

1. Legalize gay marriage already. For heaven's sake, marriage is a legal contract and if adults want to enter into it, let them. Homosexuality has existed since the beginning of time. It is not a product of some kind of corrupt phase our society is in or a trend that you can somehow reverse if only you keep them from actually marrying.

2. Taxes: I'd like to see sales taxes on non-necessities (i.e. not food or gasoline) and nothing else. You know, it makes perfect sense to me. If we did that, the money is made off of the successful people who are spending money. People who are living hand to mouth and can only afford their basics don't get taxed. Retired people who are trying to hang on to their home to live in don't get blasted with property taxes they can't pay. It'd be the end of taxation that punishes you for being single, for being childless, for not being a homeowner, etc. It'd be the end of people escaping taxes by working in the underground economy, because all taxes would be collected at the point of sale. No more audits - except of anybody selling something who might be trying to cheat the system. No more having to DO your taxes or hire someone because it's so freakin' confusing. You pay at the point of sale, flat percentage, end of problem. No drama, no loopholes, and it's completely fair. No, I don't think the rich should have to pay a greater percentage because they're rich. They will naturally pay more with this system because they spend more. That's fair.

3. After you lose the second child because of neglect or abuse, or after you are convicted of killing even one child, you get sterilized. End of discussion. Sterilization won't kill you. I've been sterilized since 1996, by choice. I only missed one day of work. It is minimally painful and is not cruel and unusual punishment in any way. The world cannot continue to clean up after the addicted folks who pop out addicted children full of physical and mental defects caused by substance abuse. There are not enough homes for those children. Those children tend to lead horrible lives and are set up for failure from day one. Birth control is free - Planned Parenthood is everywhere. If you are too lazy to use it, I truly believe the government should have the right to step in at some point and make you stop.

4. I have always been completely in favor of vouchers and any other program that helps parents send their kids to a private or alternative school. I have been to public school and I have been to private school, and I'll tell you right now - no comparison. I slept through public school. I learned so much more in my two years of private school, between the smaller classes and the teachers who would actually sit and help you with things you weren't as talented at (shocker!), that it is amazing. I wasn't bored to death in private school. Now, this may be just my experience but it's enough to convince me that parents should have some choices and that a bright child who is born to poor parents deserves some help to get a quality education. I am also a HUGE fan of testing teachers for competence. I remember being in public school and calling teachers out on typos they wrote on the board. (hahaha, you knew I would have done that, didn't you?) Seriously though - if you don't know it yourself, how can you teach it? We need the best, not the mediocre - and we DO need to pay the best in a way that makes it worthwhile for them to continue teaching. If their classes are testing off the charts, give 'em a big bonus already!

5. If we are going to help the poor, we have to stop cutting them a check for them to do with as they please. While some people are responsibly using welfare funds, many more are taking that money and buying cigarettes and beer if not worse. Enough! We need distribution centers where that person can go and pick up food, clothing, diapers, household supplies, and put gas in their car. They will get off the system a lot faster when they have zero cash to buy what they want to buy and all the system is doing is allowing them to survive. Boredom motivates.

6. Gun control. Gun control makes me laugh. We set all of these laws and do you know what laws regulate? Law abiding people. A criminal, the person you are worried about, doesn't obey the law to begin with. Why would he or she obey gun control laws? The truth is, allowing the law abiding citizens to have firearms discourages crime. Most criminals are cowards, looking for the weakest link to victimize. Nobody wants to mug the girl who might be packing.

7. Drunk Driving. First offense, the ignition interlock goes in your car and stays there the rest of your life. I am so sick of hearing about innocent people getting killed by drunks on the roads. If you are caught driving without the device, you can go sit in jail for awhile and think about your bad decision. Better yet, you can go help scrub out the morgue and look at bodies for awhile. There's a good community service project for you, and maybe it will make you choose to sleep on the couch at your buddy's house the next time.

8. The Budget. I really don't know why the government has so much trouble balancing a budget. You know what, we have X amount of dollars. We get to spend X amount of dollars. If there isn't enough money for everything, we need to make cuts. Cuts should be made to non-necessities. I am pretty sure any American picked off the street could tell you what is a necessity and what isn't but thanks to special interests with well-financed PAC's, our representatives seem to be in a constant state of confusion. I interned in my state legislature and you should have heard the silly shit some group would argue was necessary. No. No it wasn't. The government is not your sugar daddy for your arts program or your scientific study about the mating habits of foxes or your program to provide perks to inmates that make prison sound better than the way the average college student is living. If you're in school, go intern in the legislature. Highly, highly educational. On a related note, it's not the government's problem if you can't balance YOUR budget, whether you're a private individual or a company. I'm not a fan of bail-outs in general with the exception that I'm glad the government federally insures deposits, because clearly our banks are being run by packs of monkeys these days. I read the stories and just think, well, what kind of a moron EVER thought that the dude who made $32K a year and had four kids was going to be able to pay for a $250K house?

9. It probably goes without saying that I'd like to see much stricter penalties for animal abuse and neglect. I'll add in that I'd like to see much stricter penalties for child abuse and neglect. Parenthood and animal ownership are choices. They are completely voluntary. Don't take on the care of another if you suspect that you don't have the patience, know that you have an addiction or other problem that makes it unlikely you can be consistently kind, loving and provide good care.

10. The borders. *sigh* What a mess. Look, the fact is that Americans are really super addicted to cheap Mexican labor - and good luck stopping that. Go rent a movie called "A Day Without A Mexican," if you can find it. It's satirical and overdone, but it makes a good point. So far, every illegal I've met in this country was working their ass off. In many cases they were more productive than a lot of the native born Americans I've met, and yes, they DO often do jobs American won't do. (Personally I'd like to keep some of them and ship some of the shiftless Americans I've met who think they are too special to clean stalls or scrub floors to Mexico but I don't think I can get Mexico to go for that) If we went to my tax system, these people wouldn't be avoiding taxes anymore (like Joe's oft-quoted Manny Phelps, the illegal who is a slaughter buyer). For the most part, my feeling is that if you have an employer and you're willing to work, America should welcome you. If you come here and you make trouble or you try to live off the system, out you go. It really doesn't need to be much more complicated than that.

(One final comment: I am so sick of everybody worrying what other countries think of who we elect as our President. Perhaps you should worry about who you are electing to office, since many of you live in countries that owe the U.S. money and aren't making any effort to pay.)

Now, remember, we're debating here. Personal attacks are not called for. Try to make your points and debate like adults. I know you can do it!