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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

If I Ever Ran for Congress

I was thinking of everything I wish our representatives in Congress would get done, and I came up with a list of things I think anyone could have as an agenda that would make for a winning campaign.

1. The pay of Congress is linked to the average pay for a forty hour work week. The Congressional Budget Office already keeps track of things like this, so it won't take any extra money to find out the average salary for a normal, forty hour week. By linking how much Congress gets paid to how much the American worker is paid, we make Congress more accountable.

2. The borders need a wall, not a fence. If we can build thousands of miles of twenty foot sound barriers along our freeways, we can afford and build a border wall. Contract it out to private businesses, who will place bids for the wall, as designed by the Army Corps of Engineers. It shouldn't take more than a year.

3. I propose a Fair Trade Bill. On a quarterly basis, we determine what the tariffs are on our products in the countries we trade with. We then impose the exact same tariffs on them. If they eliminate their tariffs, so do we. If they raise them, we do too. This would create a level playing field in the realm of international commerce. Currently, we have few if any tariffs, and everyone else taxes our goods to the point that they're unaffordable. All income from these taxes should go to paying down the national debt. Considering the tariffs coming from Japan and China alone, we might well pay the whole thing off before they engage in free trade with us! Hopefully, however, the end result of the policy will be to lower barriers to our goods overseas, restoring jobs and productivity to the U.S. economy.

4. Filibusters should be banned. They are a tool for the imposition of the will of the minority and an obstacle to democracy. Every presidential appointment should go directly to the Senate floor. I don't read in the Constitution that the Senate has the right to withhold its advice and consent. After thirty days, the lack of a floor vote in the Senate should be considered a de facto confirmation, much like an unsigned bill does for the president.

5. The Congress needs to pass a law specifically eliminating Supreme Court interference in its laws. This is already in the Constitution, but it needs to be specifically addressed by Congress itself. Congress has the authority to determine the limits of the Supreme Court's jurisdiction.

6. Any military action by the United States, from now on, should only occur with a formal declaration of war. Then, the Alien and Sedition Act applies, and we will have a far greater amount of unity. Sedition, willingly giving aid and comfort to the enemy, should be punishable by a long prison sentence.

7. I am in favor of replacing the income tax with a national sales tax. Yes, this would require an amendment to the Constitution, but it is absolutely necessary. A national sales tax would exempt purchases of food and medicine, medical care, education, and rental housing. While liberals would whine, it would actually be a very progressive taxation system. With food, medicine, and rent exempted, the poor would have few if any taxes to pay. The rich, whose consumption includes a far greater percentage of luxury goods, would pay a greater percentage of their income. Because the current loopholes would be closed, the rich would actually have to pay the taxes instead of worming their way out. (I've always thought that those who think we don't pay enough taxes should be required to fill out the 1040-EZ every year.)

8. We need an energy policy that includes Alaskan and offshore drilling, with the contingency that all of that oil be sold only within the United States. There should be a tax break for solar panels (in a sales tax scenario, no tax) installed at your home or business. All barriers to the building of refineries should be removed; only the EPA should have the right to bring up charges/lawsuits against companies proposing to build refineries and oil drilling operations. Awards should be given (much like the X-Prize) to individuals/teams that find workable new ways of producing and/or saving energy. A policy that balances conventional and alternative technologies is best.

9. The U.S. Border Patrol should become a branch of the military as opposed to a mere law enforcement agency. It should have the right to return fire even when that fire originates from across the border. Drug cartels should not get away with attacks on American forces.

With this agenda, I think we'd be well on our way to fixing the country. If I ever ran for office, this would be my platform.

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