Why I Would Never Get Elected
Originally posted on my family blog on Jan. 26, 2010 (some of the numbers are obviously old)
Okay, so I don’t usually write much stuff down about politics, and I don’t in general like talking about it, even though it’s hard to avoid it nowadays. So I thought I would go ahead and write down my ideas that would be my platform if I ever ran for President of the U.S. You will see as soon as you read them that I would never get elected for government office, but hey, it was fun to think about.
So here are a list of things that I would make my platform if I were going to be President of the United States.
First….I would stop signing new laws. We have plenty of laws. Too many in fact. I would only sign bills that got rid of laws. I would ask that everyone start enforcing the laws we have. Then I would send the entire federal government, other than critical services on vacation (unpaid) for at least a year. When we got back and the financial crisis was over (because all those greedy capitalists will have solved the economic problems)….I would start on my agenda!
Role of Government: The role of the Federal Government is to protect our lives and our stuff from foreign influences that would hurt us or rob from us. It should protect our interests abroad and promote, as the constitution puts it, the general welfare of the States and it’s citizens. I have often asked my kids, “what does the word ‘general’ mean.” Surprisingly (surprising because they attend public schools), they get it right when they say, “something that applies to everyone or thing depending on what you are talking about.” Therefore, whatever the federal government does to promote welfare, it MUST do it for EVERYONE equally regardless of race, gender, or social economic status. The Federal Government role also includes the protection of RIGHTS that we are endowed with by our creator, not provide for us privileges which the government can then take away. The very definition of rights is that no one or group can take them away or regulate them. Otherwise, they would be called privileges. Funny, words mean things and we shouldn’t be in the business of changing their meanings. Other than that, the Federal Government should not do much else.
Healthcare: Providing healthcare of any kind to anyone is not the role of the Federal Government. I would eliminate any Federal program that provided any funds to anyone to obtain healthcare. As it turns out, healthcare is a service, not a right. Therefore, if you want healthcare, pay for it. If you can’t afford healthcare, learn a skill, get a better job, make more money. What you will find, though, is that where there is a need, capitalism will provide a solution. You will find healthcare opportunities explode if unrestrained by government pressures and regulations and someone will find an innovative way to provide healthcare at extremely low prices. To be sure, there will arise the occasion where an illness or an injury will make it impossible for one to obtain any funds necessary for care. Thankfully, capitalism breeds compassion. Historically, when unrestrained by the burden of taxes, citizens donate generously to charities and basic living needs and medical emergencies get met.
Social Security: Eliminate it. We have a burden to pay social security benefits to those who have already paid into the system. Those who have, will get paid. Those who have paid in some, will get theirs returned to them through a payment schedule, those that haven’t, will never have to and their retirement plan is up to them. Due to medical advancements, we have an aging society. The arbitrary age of 65 for retirement is not compatible with modern society. What age you retire at is up to you. How you are going to live when retired is up to you. We recommend you plan for it.
Campaign Finance Reform: This is my favorite! I think there should be no restrictions on any donations to candidates running for public offices. However, candidates, when appearing in public or on television are required to wear, on their person as well as on their vehicle, the names of all their contributors with the size and prominence of the printing of their names being in relation to the size of their contribution (ala NASCAR). This information must also be prominently displayed on the front page of their websites and in all documentation relating to the campaign. That way, when politicians stand up and make their eloquent speeches, all Americans can see who has bought and paid for their campaign.
Term Limits: I believe in term limits at all levels of government service. The founders intended that those that served in government would return to private life and live under the laws which they created as regular citizens. I would therefore institute a maximum of 2 terms for all public offices (including staffers). No individual can hold any office for more that 2 terms and then only consecutively.
Legislative Session: I would reduce the legislative session for Congress to 2 months a year (other than emergency sessions which would be called by the president and either the Majority Leader in the Senate or the House). One month in the spring and one month in the fall. At the time that the Constitution was initially written, the founders believed that all the work of the federal government would be completed quickly and were concerned that most members of Congress would not return annually to check-in. So they wrote in the constitution a phrase which requires Congress to convene “at least” once a year. They did not anticipate that governing would be a full time position. I would also take away all Congress salaries and compensate them on an hourly basis. If it can’t get done in one month at time, than it probably doesn’t need to get done at all. One of the largest problems facing this country is that Government thinks that it is too important and simply does too much stuff.
Central Banking: This one is easy. Eliminate the Federal Reserve. Right now, you and I, as the stakeholders in The United States of America, owe $12.4 trillion dollars. Of that, about 45% or $5.5 trillion dollars are owed to the Federal Reserve. The Constitution gives the power to print money, specifically, to “mint coinage” to the federal government. The government, represented by “We the People” need to take that charge on and with a little irony and turnabout, print enough money to pay off that debt and once and for all cut our flaxen chords which tie us to the Federal Reserve. Following that, we must go back to the gold standard.
Welfare: Eliminate it or expand it to cover everyone equally. Since we can’t afford to do the latter, we have to do the former. The Constitution does not give the authority to the federal government to provide specific and targeted welfare, so it must stop. We are creating a class of people that believe that it is government responsibility, not their own, to provide for their welfare. When unrestrained, individuals, fueled by the human spirit, will create and work to provide a better life for themselves and their family. Every time the social experiment of taking from those who have and giving to those who need has been tried, it has led to laziness, complacency, starvation, and ultimately mass death. Who wants to sign up for that?
Election of Senators: Originally, Senators were not elected by popular vote of the citizenry. They were elected by the State Legislatures from each state. Thus, the House of Representatives represented the people and the Senate represented the States. This drives politics local. It makes the election of your state representatives more important. It also helps the States protect themselves from things like unfunded mandates from the federal government giving the States the ability to govern their citizens from a local perspective. The beauty of the Federal system is that it makes politics relevant at home. What is good for Texas may not be good for Minnesota. This would protect both states and citizens from the federal government implementing one size fits all policies.
Education: I would eliminate any federal funding, testing, restrictions or regulations for education. Education is not a right. Education is a privilege. The capitalist system can provide the best opportunity and choice for education. Now, I realize that this one will not only keep me from being elected, but would probably make me public enemy number one because people believe that only money makes for a good education (a fact that has been disproved so many times it’s amazing it’s still discussed). SO…as a distasteful, but acceptable, alternative to this proposal, I would propose that we collect enough money (see below for how to do that) to provide $8,000 per child annually for education. Each family would then be given a $8,000 educational certificate for them to spend at the educational institution of their choice. This certificate would constitute the only funding given to schools by the government (I think this would work better at a state level using state relevant funding numbers but since I don’t want to be mobbed on my way home…). If local public schools felt that they could compete with private schools for this money, they are welcome to do so under the direction of the States. The federal government would still not legislate any regulations or requirements on educational institutions other than those which provide for the safety of persons and their property while attending school (although I really think that should be taken care of by the States also).
Taxes: Cut them. All of them. Eliminate the marriage penalty, the death tax, capital gains tax, and so on. I would even support an elimination of all federal taxes on individuals and corporations. Where would it get the money to provide for the military, the FBI, interstate commerce regulations, FDA, etc.? The federal government should tax the State governments (based on population and the state GDP ) and leave it up to the States to determine how they will fund their portion of the Federal Budget burden. A distasteful, but acceptable, alternative to this proposal is a simple flat tax on individuals ONLY and all income taxed at the same rate. The rate would be something like 15% and there would be no deductions except dependents if you make less than 10x the poverty rate. The deduction is 1% for every individual under 18 or adults incapable of working who live in your household. In this scenario, I am willing to concede one welfare program and that is everyone earning under the minimum annual income (something like 1.5x the avg. for basic living expenses) would not pay any federal taxes and would be given half the difference between their income and minimum annual income in cash.
In general, you can see that I think that the federal government should simply not do much other than protect us, our property, and the constitution. All bills passing through the Congress should have a statement at the beginning identifying the paragraph and verse of the constitution that gives the Congress the authority to enact such a measure. Each bill will have to pass a committee of federal judges who can reject or approve the bill for debate based on it’s constitutionality and a House and Senate vote for the same purpose before it can be debated and voted on. States, on the other hand, do not have the same kind of restrictions, at least from a federal level (some state constitutions impose limits on their own powers). States are more able to respond to the needs of their citizens than the federal government. They need the rights to do so. If a state deems it necessary to institute a government run healthcare plan or any other social agenda, it can try. If it passes and some of it’s citizens don’t like it, they can move to a state where the laws are more amenable to their personality.
It’s about personal liberty. The more we have, the better off we will be.