Saturday, May 25, 2013

40 Things I'd do as a Politician

The more I read about these "austerity" measures and various things being voted into law, the more convinced I am that fewer and fewer politicians actually care what happens to us (Elizabeth, you're actually amazing and I kind of love you btw).

Because of the way politics is currently, and the incredibly judgy nature of the American public, I doubt I'll ever get into politics. But the whole scary mess before us got me thinking, what would I do if I was a politician? How would I make the world different for my unborn child?

So here's a list (in no particular order) of things that I'd do:
  1. Decrease student loan interest rates. People trying to better themselves should not have to become indentured servants in order to do so.
  2. Break up big banks and keep them separate from federal funds. This seems like a no-brainer, but apparently it's uncommon sense.
  3. Increase corporate loan interest rates. This is a route to decreasing our debt.
  4. Support capital gains tax. It's an easy way to address our national debt.
  5. Repeal Citizens' United, however it needs to happen. This is just wrong.
  6. Break up telecoms for trust violations and buy/possess the lines. This has been an on-going issue since the industry's creation, and prevents any real competition, much to consumers' detriment.
  7. Revoke corporate personhood. Corporations are not people. They should not be treated as such.
  8. Close corporate tax loops, simplifying the tax structure. Companies making profits must pay taxes. The current situation encourages large corps to be taxed no more than the average non-profit!
  9. Increase taxes for high-networth individuals. To whom much is given, much is required.
  10. Put low caps on political campaign spending. This would place candidates on an equal footing as well as prevent corporate interests from influencing the political process to voters' detriment.
  11. Require companies to have certain number of workers in country if they want to sell products/services in country (dependent on industry and product/service). This would ensure jobs were kept in America as businesses would be foolish to lose such a market.
  12. Have stricter environmental regulations and inspections for agribusiness. There have been many disturbing situations regarding agribusiness, and the industry is unsustainable in its current form.
  13. Give tax credit to individuals using contraception. Population size is a concern, and so is general sexual health. To prevent unwanted pregnancies and additional burdens to tax-payers, this would incentivize pregnancy prevention.
  14. Require restaurants to compost and recycle as part of health requirements. This would create more jobs and help reduce our carbon footprint (as well as enriching the soil by placing nutrient rich compost back into the earth).
  15. Charge product retailers per plastic bag/paper bag (or ban plastic bags altogether). This would help decrease landfill waste and as well as ocean pollution.
  16. Institute a one-payer system of health care. Socialized health care is effective elsewhere. It would give many people peace of mind (and by many, I mean the majority of the population that currently has to make job choices based on health care benefits if they are able to do even that!).
  17. Require a year of service in either military or AmeriCorps (or other volunteer civil service program). By having young people do a year of civil service, we have a cheap labor force that can help correct a wide variety of projects on the community level.
  18. Decrease military spending. We spend a ridiculous amount of money on the military when other parts of our nation need greater attention.
  19. Pull military back from excessive engagements. We need to concentrate on issues at home rather than spreading ourselves too thin across the globe.
  20. Allow schools more autonomy to address issues at local level. Schools know more of what they need than we do at the federal level.
  21. Increase educational funding. This is an area that has received too many cuts and continues to suffer, thereby weakening our workforce and our ability as a nation to compete.
  22. Place limits on how many residential properties one individual or entity can own. This would allow young families more opportunities to own homes, as opposed to investors owning the majority of the land.
  23. Require property owners have primary residence in country, as opposed to foreign investors purchasing residential property without any kind of repercussions.
  24. Require that a certain number/percentage of workers should live in the community where they work. This decreases carbon footprints from commuting as well as increasing the connections within a community (i.e. creating a sustainable community).
  25. Institute a living wage. If we want a sustainable economy, we need to take care of all of our workforce. They need to be able to live while working as anything - including being a waitress or flipping burgers at a fast food joint.
  26. Require paid sick time for all workers. Duh.
  27. Require at least 4 weeks paid vacation (like the majority of the world!) for all workers. This is a good idea because people won't burn out or get sick as much. In short, we'll be happier - and happier workers are more productive.
  28. Require paid parental leave. This helps keep able-bodied workers in the work force while allowing them financially safe time to bond with a new family member.
  29. Give credentialed midwives the same status as obstetricians regarding attending low risk pregnancies (insurance coverage etc). Why wouldn't we?
  30. Make contraception free for low income individuals. Duh.
  31. Make contraception free without parental consent to minors. Duh.
  32. Require companies of a certain size have childcare for workers on site. This is better for productivity and for workers.
  33. Require companies smaller than a certain size provide stipend/voucher for daycare within a 10 mile radius from work site. Same as above.
  34. Institute restorative justice programs for at the very least, low-level offenders. This is cheaper and more effective than more punitive measures.
  35. Decriminalize marijuana possession (and possibly legalize, with the expectation of taxing marijuana products). This would decrease jail populations, and if legalized and taxed, the marijuana market could become another source of income that would address national debt.
  36. Give community/municipality tax credits/incentives for community gardens/CSA. This is a way to build more sustainable communities as well as facilitate healthy eating habits (and therefore increase disease prevention in the greater population).
  37. Institute free wi-fi in cities. This would be a part of acquiring telecom lines, and would level the playing field for potential labor. Without internet access, it is difficult to be competitive or to become educated/access services. This would address several issues at once with little cost to municipalities.
  38. Would continue to protect private information, period.
  39. Beef up Social Security to something that actually supports retired people. It doesn't make any sense to penalize people who have spent their lives contributing to their communities by ceasing to care for them.
  40. Live in the community I represent (as opposed to owning a house far away from the people who are actually impacted by my policy choices).
Phew! That was a LOT! There are more, but these are the ones that stick in my head the most - that keep me up at night. Just imagine what would happen if these changes were actually implemented and supported by our representatives? Our country would be an amazing place. I'd actually be proud to call myself American when I went opposed to wanting to hide to avoid projectile rotting fruit or vicious slurs.

Yes, I can't wait for the day when our representatives make choices that work for us, as opposed to hurting us over and over again in favor of corporate interests and antiquated ideas about how the world works. May I live to see that day.

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