Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Only in Growth, Reform, and Change Is True Security To Be Found

The number of issues that need to be addressed has really piled up over the past 8 years - and the preceding 8 years weren't all that productive either.

My top three issues are:

  1. End the war in Iraq.
  2. Fix the economy.
  3. Implement a national single-payer health insurance system.

My un-prioritized (and growing) laundry list includes:

  • International relations
    1. End the war in Iraq.
    2. Finish the war in Afghanistan and withdraw.
    3. End the trade embargo of Cuba.
    4. Shrink our global stealth empire.
    5. Reduce our involvement in NATO.
    6. Stop funding Israel, Egypt, and Jordan.
    7. Stop allying with nasty regimes in Persian Gulf area.
    8. Increase aid to sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
    9. Make economic growth and good government in Mexico the number one foreign policy priority.
  • Crime and Justice
    1. Close Guantanamo and any other similar detention facility
    2. Repudiate torture permanently.
    3. End domestic spying programs.
    4. End non-judicial asset forfeiture.
    5. End the War on Drugs by decriminalizing marijuana and medicalizing other drugs.
    6. Expand use of incarceration alternatives for non-violent offenders.
    7. Get rid of mandatory minimums and "three-strikes" laws.
    8. Eliminate the death penalty for everything but treason.
  • Elections and government
    1. Amend the constitution to provide for direct presidential election and a January 1 inauguration.
    2. Amend the constitution to give the District of Columbia a Senator and remove the Veep from that chamber.
    3. Amend the constitution so that all federal officeholders are elected with at least 50% + 1 vote.
    4. Amend the constitution to limit federal legislators to a total of 18 years per chamber.
    5. Amend the constitution to limit Appeals and Supreme Court judges to one 20-year term, and District judges to one 30-year term.
    6. Tie federal officeholders pay to the minimum wage - 50x for president, 40x for the Veep and Supremes, 30x for Senators, and 20x for Representatives.
    7. Make election day a national holiday.
  • Agribusiness and agriculture
    1. End the ethanol scam.
    2. End the sugar/high fructose corn syrup subsidy.
    3. End subsidies to all large farms.
    4. Rebuild the food inspection system.
  • Workplace
    1. Crack down on the abuse of contractor rules.
    2. Expand overtime to front-line professional workers and reduce the number of exceptions.
    3. Require triple overtime rate for all employees after 56 hours with a rolling window except during declared emergencies.
    4. Require overtime rates be paid on national holidays.
    5. Require a minimum vacation accrual rate for all employees - at least 4 minutes per hour.
  • Immigration
    1. Step up enforcement of employment laws and increase penalties substantially.
    2. Implement or improve a seasonal agricultural worker visa program.
    3. Set up a limited "path to citizenship" program.
  • Environment
    1. Assess a motor fuels tax that constantly increases at rate of $0.02 per month.
    2. Implement a broad carbon tax that constantly increases.
    3. Step up efforts to control non-point water pollution sources.
  • Education
  • Defense and Intelligence
    1. Reorganize the intelligence agencies somehow (I'm still pondering the details).(
  • Economy (in addition to the separate list)
    1. Require the same amount of reporting of investment income to the I.R.S. as wage income is subject to.
  • Miscellaneous
    1. Do something about the travesty that is the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
    2. Do more to end the international human trafficking trade.
    3. Make all judicial positions appointments (state-level issue).

I don't hold any illusions about the passage of most of my agenda, but I will be disappointed if my top three items don't receive serious attention.

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