I just returned from an 18-day trip to Greece and Turkey. OK, I admit I was not going as a political strategist and I did not meet with any government officials, but I did speak with lots of citizens of different countries. I also watched international TV. It got me to thinking about our dysfunctional democracy, some simple ways to help it work better and get us out of the mess that our so-called representatives have gotten us into. Rather than just crippling our US financial systems, here are some ideas that seem logical and could work (my engineering training at work).
- Leave Afghanistan and Iraq immediately. Reduce our emphasis on military solutions to save the world.
- Reduce the number of military bases worldwide by half.
- Mandate smaller cars and higher fuel economy immediately
- Restore the USA manufacturing capacity by making outsourcing and importing goods more expensive and focusing on insourcing.
- Restore the middle class by greatly increasing the taxes on the top 5% of asset owners.
- Eliminate the ability of corporations to evade taxes.
- Heavily promote sustainable energy, primarily solar and wind power.
- Tightly regulate the financial markets to remove speculation incentives. If Canada can avoid a banking crisis, so can the USA.
- Expand social programs to eliminate the waste. Medicare for all would be a good start.
- Fix the blockage in Congress by enacting two term limits for all federal elected offices.
- Get the external money away from elected officials by offering only federal campaign financing. No private funding allowed.
- While we are fixing this, let’s shorten the time for campaigning. We need our legislators to legislate– not posture! Three months ought to be enough time to get the word out to voters.
- Be brave enough to maintain strict standards on the environment, for our children and us. Crippling regulations makes no sense except for those companies wanting to pollute to save a few dollars!
- Maintain a decent social security net for difficult times or for those experiencing hard times.
- Fix the USPS budget issue – this should not be viewed as a profit making organization, but one that delivers valuable services to all people.
- The FAA deserves a solution to its long term strategic planning and budget. It operates a critical resource for air safety.
- We badly need a national transportation solution that goes beyond state lines, for instance, for decent, long haul passenger trains.
What are your thoughts?
Ray Kurland, Rockaway, NJ