Let’s visit Laguna Beach

I finished T. Jefferson Parker’s latest book today, A Thousand Steps, and wow, what a great read! A mystery, a history book, a time travelog, a coming-of-age story, and some unforgettable characters. He *is* the master. And to think he lives just down the road.

I’ve met him, listened to him lecture and even taken a few writing tips from him. And I’ve been to a few of the Laguna Beach places he writes about in this novel.

My recipe for success

Been thinking a lot about the nation’s problems lately, and like every other amateur goofball in America, I have the answers. Here’s what I would do to remake American democracy.

  1. Term limits for every elected or appointed official and judge. No exceptions.
  2. Get rid of the Electoral College. Move to one person, one vote, a simple democracy.
  3. Establish a simple rule of one US Senator for every two million people in a state. States where a lot of people live get more representation. States where almost no one lives get a few.
  4. Legalize cannabis just like alcohol. Release every prisoner imprisoned for pot use, sale or possession.
  5. Move to a 10% flat tax for all citizens down to the poverty line of approximately $40K/year. You make $100,000 per year, you pay $10K for your public services. You make a billion a year, you pay $100 million. You can afford it.
  6. Secure our borders by repurposing the military’s $700-800B annual budget. Take half of that budget and establish a set of border bases across the southern border. Patrol and control the border using humane methods. Establish training programs for people wishing to immigrate and enroll them.
  7. Establish an absolute minimum wage that’s above the poverty line. That would be about $20/hour.
  8. Require that Congress hold a vote on any US soldiers deployed to a foreign country. No hidden wars.
  9. Replace every coal plant with a combination PV farm and modern mini-nuke. PV carries most of the load during the day, the mini-nuke carries the grid’s load at night.
  10. Establish very strict training and registration programs for gun ownership. Anyone over 18 (except a felon or a psychiatric risk) can own a gun, but they must be trained, registered and retrained / evaluated every other year. Pure Second Amendment – *that* is a trained militia.
  11. Make it clear that a US citizen has complete control of what is done to their body. No exceptions.
  12. Double and triple down on education. Pay teachers a lot more and incent them based on student performance in the future.
  13. Incent companies to manufacture in the US and/or to use US-sourced parts.
  14. Provide basic, free (paid for by taxes) health care services as a right for every US citizen.

I know that a few of these ideas are a bit naive and don’t take system complexity and unintended consequences into account. But I like them anyway and I think America would be a better place if they were implemented.

Feel free to comment with any ideas of your own, even if they conflict with mine.