With the flip of the calendar to 2012, fasten your seat belts, as politics are going to take center stage for pretty much the entire year. And with it will come the familiar drone of Democrat versus Republican ideals, and how each feels the other is ruining the country. News flash - they are collectively ruining the country, as they cannot coexist because they are so hell-bent on discrediting the other. Our politics used to be about possibilities. Now it’s just about being not as bad as the other guy.
In this sprit, or lack thereof, nobody asked me (surprise there), but if I were to run for office, which I would never do, here is how I would address the salient issues facing our great country:
The Deficit: The main problem on this debate is each side is only proffering half of the solution. Republicans say we must only cut our way out of it, Democrats say we must raise taxes to get out of it. They’re both half right, and if you put their half solutions together, you get the entire solution - remove redundancies and waste, and raise taxes, on an interim basis. Just as the Bush tax cuts were supposed to be temporary with a sunset at the end of 2010, enact tax increases with the same seven-year sunset. Target the wealthy with the largest (if not all) of the hit. Those that can most afford it should bear most of the burden. The rich aren’t ‘Job Creators’ - they’re rich. Because they keep their money. That's how you become rich, by keeping what you got. With seven years of increased revenues, the deficit will be reduced…if not totally eliminated. And the rich will have to suffer by having one less Beemer in their four-car garage.
Defense Spending: The two largest expenditures of our government are entitlement programs and defense spending. I’ll get to entitlement spending shortly. But let’s talk about defense spending. We have the largest, best trained, armed-to-the-teeth military on the planet. We have enough weapons of mass destruction to blow the earth to bits a thousand times over. We clearly are the baddest mofos in the block. So if we are to target redundancies, here’s where to start. Just to throw out a number - if our armed forces were cut by, let’s say, a third, that would not equate to being weakened by a third. We would still be the baddest mofos on the block by a long margin.
A great way to effectuate savings would be closing unneeded military bases around the globe. Is there any real reason to still have soldiers stationed in Germany, twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the crumbling of the Soviet Union? Look, I believe in defending this country from attack. But someone has to explain to me how a base in South Korea keeps that from happening. And if it's because of North Korea, I will answer that as soon as I stop laughing uncontrollably.
Entitlement Spending: Ah, the big piñata in this year’s election. Republicans would have us believe we must reign in this spending as it is bankrupting us. Well sure, if we are paying out more than taking in. Well folks, the expenditures are just going to increase significantly as Baby Boomers retire, so you better find a way to fund it, because a promise was made to them - pay into the system while you work and we will pay you back when you retire. And if this means increasing taxes to pay for it, so be it. Social Security works. The money that retirees receive each month gets plowed back into the economy in the form of being spent on food, shelter, vacations, whatever.
How to fund it? Simple. Remove the ceiling on the amount of taxable income subjected to the Social Security tax. That number right now is $109,000. Remove it completely. Those fortunate enough to be pulling in $300k a year, right now, are only paying Social Security tax on a third of their income. There is nothing fair about that, especially when you consider that those making $300k a year are still eligible for Social Security when they retire. Now, I do not want to speak for everyone that pulls in a mid-six-figure salary, but I am willing to wager they will not need the Social Security stipend in their golden years. Wonderful. Others will need it, and your success will help pay for it. Greater good.
Now. For those that want to do away with Social Security, fine. Then all I ask for is a return of all my contributions - with interest - I have made into the fund since I began working. I will invest it myself.
Abortion: It is legal. Period. Your moral stance on it is irrelevant. And for those that want to make it illegal, realize two things. One, women will still have abortions regardless of the law. Two, by making it illegal you will be creating hundreds of thousands of criminals - those women who will get abortions. How much jail time should they serve? And…how are you going to fund the construction of those prisons to put these scared women in? And once they serve their time, how are you going help put their lives back together that you have destroyed by making them convicted felons?
Marijuana: Legalize it, tax the shit out of it. There’s another revenue source for addressing the deficit. For those that decry that it introduces drugs into our society, wake the hell up. It’s here and it’s not going away. So instead of your local dope dealer reaping the benefits, why not your local government? And, by the way, you will also need far less prisons if it was legalized. Expenses reduced.
Death Penalty: It doesn’t work so why have it? If it was an effective deterrent to murder there wouldn’t be any more murders, right? Obviously this is not the case. And state-sponsored murder is still murder. So it is a total failure from a deterrent standpoint, but boy ho boy it makes us look real tough, doesn’t it? Actually no it doesn’t. It makes us murderers too.
Religion: This is tangential to the abortion topic. I don’t care who or what you worship to. If it makes you a better person, great. It will not make you a better politician or Senator or President. It is well past time to truly separate church from state and inject some common sense into who we choose to represent us. If God makes you make better decisions, wonderful. I would rather have someone who can rely on their experience and acumen to make good decisions. Can you picture a CEO of a Fortune 500 company kneeling and praying before the Board of Directors, or further, claiming that his/her beliefs are why they should be chosen to run a multi-billion operation? It is irrelevant. As it should be in politics.
Drug Testing: There is one group that has been conspicuously absent from having to pee in a cup. Lawmakers. While they are quick to enact laws to make others offload their dignity (like welfare recipients), they have never subjected themselves to the delight of taking a whizz while someone watches. It's time to change this. All state and national elected officials should be subject to random drug screens (if you want your mayor to join in the fun, pass a local law). First offense is counseling and treatment. Second offense is resigning your position.
So, with that slate of positions I am extremely confident I don’t have a snowball in hell’s chance of getting elected.
See where common sense gets you?