The following are some legislative ideas (reforms) I have that would make the world a better place.
Turn the United Nations into a true federal government. Abolish the Security Council. Adapt the US Constitution to become the World Constitution, guaranteeing the citizens of the Earth the same freedoms outlined in our Bill of Rights. All countries surrender their “sovereignty” to the UN, as well as control of all military forces and arms. Abolish the “Electoral College.” Legalize marijuana, LSD and other soft, recreational drugs. Legalize prostitution, gambling and other “victim less” crimes. Abolish the death penalty world wide. The French model for Health care would be adopted world wide. An International currency would be established All essential public utilities (Natural gas, electricity, water, garbage collection) would bepublicly owned and provided free of charge. Communications would stay privately owned, with no regulation except three: 1) TheFCC would set maximum rates, keeping cable, satellite and internet access affordable for all; and 2) Phone companies would have to provide one smart phone free per household. 3) Credit check screening of cell phone customers would be illegal.
Simplify the income tax system. There would be one form to fill out. It would be simple: How much did you make? Under $50,000 – pay no tax. $50,000 to $100,000 -pay 1% . $100,001 to $300,000, pay 10%, and so forth. There are no deductions, no exemptions. Period. Same rule applies to corporations as individuals, except that corporations pay on their profit. Unless engaged in real charitable endeavors, like feeding, clothing or housing the poor, no group is exempt from taxes. All religious groups are taxed, but only on “profit.” In other words, in order to be “non-profit,” they make no profit.
Add the right to work, and the right to organize under a Union to the Bill of Rights. Tie the minimum wage (Staring at $20/hour) to the local cost of living, and adjust annually for inflation. Interviews to be held in electronic chat rooms, where the employer cannot see the candidate, and must make their decision based upon what the candidate says, not how the candidate looks, or dresses, etc. State Employment agencies will do all headhunting and pre-screening for all employers and will send employers candidates they pick. No drug screening, background checks, credit history checks or medical exams as pre employment screening allowed. All workplaces to be unionized. Unemployment benefits to be paid without regard to circumstances under which employee was discharged. An employee may quit and receive benefits if his civil rights are being violated in the workplace, or if there is abuse in the workplace, or if the employee’s doctor orders it. Benefit amounts are equal to what the employee was paid previously. Benefits may be drawn indefinitely. Employee MUST accept whatever work agency sends them to, so long as the work is similar to what the employee is used to or trained for. UI benefits are never lower than the minimum wage. A person reaching the age of 21 who is not in school and not working would be considered “unemployed” and could therefore begin receiving benefits. Since this person has not worked before, their benefits would be equivalent to what ever the minimum wage is at the time and place. Social Security numbers would not be disclosed to an employer until the employee is hired. Any other disclosure of an SS number would be illegal and fine able.
All rental housing would be subject to HUD rules and inspection. Landlords would have to accept Section 8, etc. NO EXCEPTIONS. Same rules for prescreening employees would apply to tenants as well. Rent amounts for all units would be set by HUD, post inspection. The practice of collecting a “first and last months rent, and a deposit” would be disallowed. Landlords could collect a first and last, or a first and deposit, but not both. In either case, the extra funds are to be placed in an interest bearing account, and the interest is always returned to the tenant when they move. After three years with he same tenant, the landlord may apply to HUD for a rent increase. If approved, the landlord must give the tenet three months notice of an increase. The increase could not be more than 1%. Landlords would not be able to evict a tenant without cause, even if they believe illegal activity is going on. If an arrest is made, and if that arrest leads to a conviction, then the landlord can apply to HUD for an eviction. In the case where property is sold, and the new owners do not want to rent housing, the tenants would be given three months notice — rent free — to find a new home.
The company, “Chex-Systems,” and other companies that provide Banks with “black lists” would be disbanded. Banks would be ordered to remove all data from such lists from their data bases. All deposit accounts at all banks would be interest bearing. Credit checks would not be allowed for pre-screening new deposit accounts. Anyone with $100 or more would be able to open a savings account. No screening of any kind allowed. All such accounts would be accessible via an ATM card, direct deposit or other electronic means. If “check cards” are offered (those Visa or Master Card ATM cards), then all customers must be granted them — no credit checks allowed (I mean, what’s the point? If there are no funds available they’re no better than a regular ATM anyway.) NSF checks would be charged the same rate that commercial customers receiving NSF checks are charged, and no more (at this writing, the national average is around $5.00). Banks would have to honor any check (with sufficient funds of course) written against an account they hold. The practice of charging check cashing fees to non account holders would be forbidden. This is not really pertinent to banking: Local DA’s would do all the collection functions for NSF checks. Here I am suggesting the Santa Cruz CA model. There the DA has a special office for NSF checks. The merchant must make an effort to collect on their own. They also must re-deposit the check twice. If they still haven’t collected it, they turn it over to the DA. The DA sends a letter to the writer of the check. The letter demands the amount of the check plus $10 (that reimburses the merchant for the amount the bank charged them). That’s it. In 90% of all cases, the DA has been able to collect the amount (few people will ignore a letter from the DA’s office). In the other 10% of cases, these are real criminals, and full prosecution resulted. This would save merchants and large corporations millions of dollars spent on collection agencies, attorneys and what have you, and result in 90% or more of funds being collected within three months time. Statistics show that only 20% of NSF check collection attempts by the usual means result in collection. When I was managing a business in Santa Cruz, I used the DA’s office and was very pleased with the results — 100% of NSF checks received by my company were collected. Businesses would be forbidden to charge punitive fees for NSF checks beyond what the DA would charge (That $10 fee).
I wouldn’t change a lot here. In fact, this is the one and only place where checking a persons credit record would be allowed. Companies charging more than 10% above the prime rate for any kind of credit would be shut down. “Paycheck loan” companies would be shut down. This form of usury merely victimizes the poor. Consumers would have free access to their credit records and would be able to give answer to each negative item therein. The reporting companies must include these comments in the record. By law, credit reports would be allowed to be used to screen those seeking credit, and only that. Credit checks would be illegal for employers or landlords or anyone else not granting credit to use. Service companies would not be allowed to restrict form of payment. Example: Microsoft Network (the ISP) allows only credit card payments for services. Under my reforms they would have to accept checks and have some means of accepting cash as well.
Companies based in a particular state would have to do at least 50% of their manufacturing in that state, or risk their product being banned from that state. I’m thinking of Nike at the moment. The Oregon model of not allowing self-service gas stations would be enacted globally. The world would be sales tax free.
Owners of property more than 5 miles outside of any city (or village, etc.) would be free of all government control, zoning etc., except for environmental regulations. In other words, if I own property outside a 5 mile radius of a city, I can do whatever the hell I want to there, so long as it’s legal, and so long as I’m not harming the environment. A universal property tax of no more than 1% of the value of the unimproved value of real property. No exemptions.
Universal, free, education from kindergarten through a Doctoral Degree for all who want it. Since the military will be practically nonexistent, some of that money can be poured into the school system. Teachers to be paid at least as much as any other professional. People would still be able to send their kids to private and parochial schools, however, those schools will be just like any corporation — they will be taxed. Public schools will prove to be superior to private schools anyway. Public schools will adapt a lot of private school methodology (school uniforms, for example, I think are a good thing). In the case where religious holidays are celebrated by schools, they must represent ALL religions and not just the predominant ones. For the most part, religion should not be promoted by schools or teachers. Students rights in regard to religion should be respected, so long as no one is promoting their religion on campus. Students have the same constitutional rights as anyone else. Freedom to criticize the administration, for example, cannot be outlawed. Freedom of press shall be respected (and ALL schools should have a journalism program).
I find some laws regarding the operation of automobiles to be too restrictive. On the top is this universal insurance requirement. This is simply a case of the rich wanting protection from the poor. I’d give it to the individual states to govern though. They would have a choice: 1) Repeal the requirement outright, or 2) Set up a state run agency, and set minimum premiums for the minimum amount of insurance at no more than .05% of a persons net monthly income. Higher amounts of insurance would be business as usual for the insurance companies. I feel this is stupid though. Insurance companies already offer “under insured drivers” provisions. What the hell is the point then of mandatory insurance? The courts would not be able to totally suspend a license, nor would they be able to take away someone’s car. People have to be able to get to work. The most the courts would be able to do is to restrict a persons driving to to and from work (allowing for at least one stop a week in between for groceries or supplies). The alternative would be for the courts to provide transportation to and from work places. The government should encourage people to purchase hybrid and electric vehicles. In addition, scientists should be working on some other kind of propulsion other than fossil based.
We need to go back to William Penn’s ideas concerning this, and adjust our jails accordingly. I think a good model for penitentiaries is the Israeli Kibbutz (especially those on the borders, with the nice mine fields surrounding them). Actually Norway has a very good penitentiary system that concentrates on rehabilitation rather than punishment. Incidentally, refusing to work would be a jail able offense.
All laws regarding so called indecency, and governing what consenting adults do behind closed doors would be abolished. All laws governing public nudity would be abolished. Schools would teach REAL sex education (maybe the Karma Sutra?), and body acceptance. They would also teach acceptance of non heterosexual, and non-monogamous life styles and preferences. Birth control and access to abortion to be universally accessible.
Marriage is essentially a religious institution and therefore I think it should be strictly a matter between a couple and their minister. The state should not be involved at all. Declaring that you are married should be good enough. All laws regarding marriage should be abolished.
The idea that a corporation is a legal person, would be thrown out totally. I think half of our problems today are the result of this stupid idea. Manufacturing corporations would be required to manufacture at least 80% of their goods within 50 miles of their corporate headquarters, and they would be required to hire workers already living within that same area. Corporations would not be allowed to donate to political campaigns outside their home district. In other words, a corporation whose headquarters is located in (for example)Humboldt County CA would only be allowed to donate to candidates running for office who are representing Humboldt County. If they were to donate to Senate campaigns, they could only donate to candidates running for California seats. Likewise, should they choose to monetarily support a proposition, it could only be California propositions, or propositions affecting their own district. The maximum amount a Corporation would be allowed to donate to a political candidate or cause would be equal to 10% of the average persons yearly income in the district that the candidate or cause pertains to. Other Ideas I’ll include other ideas here from time to time. When I do, ” ” will appear in this text, and on the index page as well. What do you think? Your comments, applause, and hate mail are welcome! Go ahead — let me know what you think: firstname.lastname@example.org
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