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.
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.
- Term limits for every elected or appointed official and judge. No exceptions.
- Get rid of the Electoral College. Move to one person, one vote, a simple democracy.
- 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.
- Legalize cannabis just like alcohol. Release every prisoner imprisoned for pot use, sale or possession.
- 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.
- 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.
- Establish an absolute minimum wage that’s above the poverty line. That would be about $20/hour.
- Require that Congress hold a vote on any US soldiers deployed to a foreign country. No hidden wars.
- 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.
- 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.
- Make it clear that a US citizen has complete control of what is done to their body. No exceptions.
- Double and triple down on education. Pay teachers a lot more and incent them based on student performance in the future.
- Incent companies to manufacture in the US and/or to use US-sourced parts.
- 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.