My wish list for the United States of America
My wish list for the United States of America
I rarely talk politics these days. It is one of those things that annoys me and, to be honest, there are about as many thoughts on politics as there are people in the United States.
I am not going to make this particular piece an argument session or a place for people to blast me, or others, for our opinions, I am simply going to explain my thoughts on what America can do, or should do, to make itself a great nation once again. These are ideas that have come to me through reading, observation and understanding what other people have discussed over the last 30+ years of really following what is happening out there.
I am presenting this not as a disgruntled American, but as an American that is tired of the way things are presently going and would like to see American shine as a symbol to the world of what our system of politics can do.
Mostly, I hope that this article makes people think about the suggestions I have made and gives them food for thought and further discussion. Maybe I might get lucky and some errant politician will read it and take some of those thoughts to a venue where they might cause others to think.
I would like to think that maybe something here would be like a seed. All great things start from simple ideas.
Image credit to Carlos Porto - www.freedigitalphotos.net
Are they worth the money they are bought for?
Nowadays there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that running for office is not cheap. Even lowly seats like city counsel spots are increasingly requiring those that run for them to shell out large sums of money just to have a chance to sit in that chair.
Now take a close look at big offices, like the President of the United States. When you look at how much money is spent on that office and where all that money comes from, you really have to wonder where their allegiances are when they do get into office. For example, the last race, Obama spent close to three-quarters of a Billion dollars for a position that would not make that much money even if he were to remain in office the rest of his life. This is, of course, money that he is not obliged to ever pay back, at least not in the monetary sense. In the sense of reciprocity, that is something else entirely.
So the short story here is that if you do not have the money, or have not way to get it, you have almost no way to get into office or even stand a chance. You are just another nobody.
Every organization, company, special interest group, etc... that would like to contribute to the presidential election process would send their money in and it would be placed in something like an escrow account. This account would be locked to all but the group that administers it.
When the election process starts, the money would be evenly divided amongst all the candidates. They would then still be allowed to spend it however they deemed fit, and that would be the ONLY money that they would be allowed to spend on their campaign. Once they ran out of that money, that's it. No more.
The reason I think this is fair is because then the candidate are on a financially equal ground going into the race. Money does not play a role in their election except in where they are spending it and will give us, the American people a better feel for how a potential President will demonstrate financial responsibility with regards to the country.
While I understand that there would still be room for corruption, I think that this would make it harder for a candidate to show favoritism to any single company, organization or individual based on their financial contribution. It would also force the candidate to stand more on their platform and not on needs or wants of the people that are funding them.
Bring our soldiers home
At the time of my writing this, the United States has soldiers spread out all over this world, many in places where they are not welcome by the locals and performing a job that is not wanted or appreciated by the locals in that area.
Add to this the fact that there have been cases, as in the Middle East, where after they have completed an action, and then moved out of the area, the very problem that they had been called in to eliminate comes right back in and takes over where they left off.
First - I would recall all troops that are stationed in the Middle East. It is obvious to me, and many others, that we are serving no purpose there and that in most cases we are not even welcome there.
Second - I would look at every place that we have troops, what their jobs there are and recall all troops that are in a location where the chances of them doing good and making a difference are smaller than that of the risk to their lives. In other words, if we are not making a difference and if the local government is not pulling their own weight, get our people out of there. There is absolutely no sense in keeping troops in a location where the people we are there to help are not making SOME effort to learn to help themselves.
Third - Send a sizable portion of the troops that we just freed up back out and to our embassies to "harden" them. They are small islands of United States territory that are sometimes in hostile areas. There should be a contingent of troops and hardware at all of our embassies that is powerful enough to prevent another Benghazi from ever happening again.
Lastly - Take the other troops that are freed up and place them at our borders to support the US Border patrol on the Mexican and Canadian borders and at all the ports throughout the country.
Protecting our borders
Lock them down now!
The ability to get into the United States undetected is easier than I think any of us, short of the ACLU, would like it to be. We are always hearing about people entering the USA without proper credentials or paperwork, or finding out later that someone who has been here for some time, did so illegally.
In spite of what many seem to think, these days, the United States is a sovereign nation that has the right to secure and protects it's borders again those that would like to cross in illegally.
While I will agree that I think the USA is a great place to live and I invite any and all to come here and partake of our way of life, I would like them to do so LEGALLY, and crossing the desert with a group of people, dodging the Border Patrol and then living here without the right to do so, is not legal. A fact that Arizona seems to have been the only state to figure out and start to actively do something about, again... to the chagrin of the ACLU and many vote starved politicians (Republican and Democrat alike).
As stated in the above section, with the troops that were freed up, we should bolster the borders with a combination of Military and US Border Patrol personnel. Using them to complete the construction of the wall separating the US and Mexico. Create border monitoring stations every 50 miles along the Canadian and Mexican borders with regular patrols that overlap the areas.
Give the patrols clear and unhindered permission to use "Less than Lethal" methods to stop and detain anyone crossing the borders illegally. If they are fired upon or attacked, then they will be allowed to use lethal action with extreme prejudice to stop the offender in their tracks.
Additionally, give the patrols clear instructions to prevent private, non-government, groups or militia from acting outside the law to prevent border crossings and enforce that those groups can act ONLY in an "Observe and Report" capacity.
Anyone crossing the border illegally will be detained in US custody ONLY long enough for them to be processed and have their identity recorded, then sent back to their country of origin. If the country of origin will not take them back, then they are to be "Cold Dropped" at the border crossing and not allowed to return.
Taxes, Mismanagement and Lies, oh my.
Who can talk about our tax system today and NOT groan in exasperation?
Whether you are for a Flat Tax system or some other idea on this, it is very clear that the only people that are happy with how our taxes are presently managed are the very people that stand to gain from their confusing rules and laws. Most of the people that are the MOST important to the tax base, the small business and the individual taxpayer, are the ones that hate that time of year the most.
There is not a doubt in my mind that if I could think of any one thing in this country that needs an enema and overhaul the most, it is the tax code, and I have not met too many people that will not agree with me on that.
I have no problems paying taxes, seriously. I know that the government needs revenue in order to function and pay it's own debts and salaries. But when you look at exactly how confusing and crazy our tax system has become, you start to wonder if even the people that administer it have the slightest clue what they are doing.
I am not going to write a "Solution" part to this one, because I am really not certain what solution I could agree on. Flat Tax sounds the best and is probably what I would vote for, if it came to that. But there are several other thoughts on this that seem credible and I would hate to steal someone else's steam.
I think the closest thing to a solution that I could possibly suggest would be to locate several people that have a strong business and law background, have no history of participating in or being a part of any corruption, and have them sit down and start a new taxe code from scratch. Build it from the ground up and then take the old system and throw it out. Put it on a boat, set it ablaze and then send it out to sea. A good old Viking Funeral.
Again... I am not writing this to ilicit arguments or name calling. these ideas that I have listed above are just for the sake of thought and discussion.
I am sure that many of you out there have a differing opinion on most of what I wrote, and that is your right. I encourage you to comment and chime in on what I have written. But I will warning you, any comments that resort to bashing myself or anyone elses ideas or comments, will be deleted.
Thankfully my experience with this community leads me to feel that I should not have a problem with any of that.
Thank you all for reading.