An American Manifesto: 2010
We're living in a world in which voting for an increase in minimum wage requires your senator to vote for funding a war of convenience in Iraq. Under the previous administration, we saw people bloated and rotting in the sun - on the streets of a major American city - and we, as voters, were asked to accept the fact that - thanks to a single, paid off legislator from Texas - a vote for aid and assistance to these refugees of a major storm - was a vote to increase the mercury levels and emissions of coal fired power plants in Pennsylvania. So, let's get it right: vote to rescue us from global warming disaster by voting to increase greenhouse gasses. Vote to help America get on its feet economically by voting to spend 200 billion dollars a year on a war of convenience in a country that doesn't lower our cost of gas.
How does legislation - every bill that passes across the semi-corrupt house of congress, or the almost fully corrupt - senate - become a bloated monstrosity that no longer makes sense? At the core of it are two things. First, the legislator is convinced - mostly by the lobbyists - but also consultants that they hire - that he needs alot of money to run. Want to run in Florida? 25 million dollars. Its a perverse game - not unlike watching baseball player's salaries and second-guessing who gets insanely more than who already gets an insane amount.
Once you have turned them into a Crack Whore - you can convince them that their committee assignment will mean that you have to raise money for the person that gave you the assignment. At the heart of this - is the concept that you still have to keep raising insane amounts of money - and you're going to need to do this if you want the job. So keep that in mind - but now you have transformed your legislator into a bootlicking toad - who is beholden to whomever assigned him or her to a committee. Now, this is where legislation gets written. So in this tense atmosphere of you-must-raise-funds-for-your-campaign-and-mine-or-else the legislator will then be casually ... what a surprise ... approached by the lobbyist.
And the lobbyist will have a big fat check waiting for them. All they have to do is let the lobbyist write the legislation. This frees up the legislator to go raise money. The lobbyist "helps" the legislator.
No doubt you've recently seen the great 'Accomplishment' of healthcare reform - there are senators who are already talking about this large and unwieldy piece of legislation whose benefit to the American Insurance Industry is now largely a given. Yes, you're required to buy insurance from fat cat insurance companies all across America. Does it make sense that, a vote to reform the Student Loan Process - was a vote to fund and produce healthcare reform in the United States?
Morals and ethics are a big part of this - but fortunately they have a party that they can masquerade as the 'party of family values and ethics'. You could also follow the example that the Georgia Legislature has set - where a female lobbyist became not so strange bedfellows with the speaker of the house. Family values means being in bed with lobbyists ... this force in Washington will do their best to keep that party around while they ply the other one with cash.
And so. That leads me to my statement of belief. First, because my right foot hurts. And second, because I'm not getting paid to do this but if I was, I'd still do it.
What do I believe? I believe in the power of REALPOLITIK. The job of the statesman is to listen for the footsteps of God, and when he draws near .. swing himself up by the hem of his clothing. Bring both sides to the table, and then bring on the table dancers. I believe the art of the deal is to bring everything to the table that's needed to close a deal. And NOT ONE THING MORE. Noq here's what I'd do (and I have to hurry,the cat is meowing)..
- Smash Open the Piggy Bank:
- The Federal Reserve Bank Costs us 20 million dollars a year
- Its sole purpose is to hold money within a train ride from one bank to another
- This is 2010, and they transfer the money electronically
- Put the rest of the money in a safe location
- If they need anymore and its an emergency, put it on an airplane
- Come Down Hard On Lobbyists by Making all Lobbyists and Legislators Get Chipped and Registered By GPS. Hey, if you want to work somewhere else. Thats fine too. But you're working for the American people, and we get to know where you are.
- Make it so that every bill is readable. That is, a summary - posted for all to see. And put every bill up there with a viewable, online poll that shows exactly what a legislator's constituency actually thinks. Whats that you say? What if the poll gets slanted? Well. I will have the poll questions texted to the constituency - and use GPS and GIS to display exactly how much of the constituency has responded so that if the whole district has responded, you'll know about it.
- Abolish Personal, Individual Tax Returns. Set up a six month development contract with the major transaction processing companies. Every card purchase, every sales transaction will bear a six percent sales tax. That will completely fund the entire federal government. Internet sales included. A simple , fair tax that to be honest - will end up collecting more money than personal income tax in the long haul
- Tax the Corporations, when they spend. Eliminate tax-free purchases for corporations and tax them for working overseas - not alot , just six percent or so. But let them know that if they're setting up shop somewhere else to cut costs - or trying to run a job past uncle sam in a tax loophole - they'll simply have to pay six percent.
- Finally, Pass Alan Grayson's Bill - by simply bringing it to the floor and getting everyone I know to focus on it - and getting the entire United States into things like Four Page Legislation that they can read, and vote on casually. I will make the legislative process like checking out library books - give everyone a chance to weigh in -give them a few weeks to make up their mind. And then pass bills like Alan Grayson's Bill to Remove the Age Limit Requirement on Medicare. Because it stands for more than just an instant National Health Service - which it will create. Or that it will make the coffers of Medicare and Medicaid Cash Positive. Or that it would immediately allow anyone and everyone to get inexpensive, and really good medical insurance. But because the bill actually represents something we need to do with our country. Make things simpler. And make them better. All at once.
I can think of a few other things that I would like to do, but they all include Bettie Page. About half of you want to hear them , a third of you know exactly what they are - and the other third think its some kind of sin to even think about Bettie Page. So for the last third, I was hoping we could spend the last part of this Manifesto doing something useful with the electrons here. Enjoy.