Friday, June 6, 2014

56 Items on America's To-Do List

America is dying a death of a 1,000 cuts but we're going to have to wait 3 more years until there is even hope of a serious President who has the minimal competence to negotiate with both parties and who is not beholden to a looney-left-wing agenda.

But I'll skip to a positive note by highlighting 56 things that we could change for the better in a national "to do" list.   Here goes:
  1. Get money out of politics.  Go with all Federal money for national campaigns--no private contributions should be permitted. 
  2. Ban lobbyist money too.  Ban SuperPacs.  Just say no.  Make all contributions to national politicians illegal. 
  3. Eliminate the stupid and phony ruling that Carbon Dioxide is "harmful or a threat to human health" since it's actually required for plant life and not harmful like sulfur dioxide or nitrous oxides.  The EPA is out of control. The clean air act is being highly misused. 
  4. Lower the corporate tax to something like 10 to 15%, reform the corporate tax code and bring back manufacturing jobs from Asia!  High corporate tax rates in the US, now the highest in the world, creates an incentive for companies to move and/or stay overseas.  Apply the new and lower corporate rate to individuals filing as S-Corp and LLCs.
  5. Downsize and basically eliminate the NSA.  Repeal the Patriot Act.  Our government can't be trusted to prevent malfeasance, mission creep and "security" agencies running roughshod over our constitutional rights.  Change the focus of the NSA to the monitoring of all the financial transactions, emails, and phone calls of our national politicians and bureaucrats to enforce the ban on contributions to national politicians. 
  6. Reform the entitlements of Medicaid and Medicare in light of the Demographic shift  taking place. There are only 3 persons working to support 1 beneficiary.  It used to be 5 workers per beneficiary in the 1960s.  Right now, there's nothing but red ink as far as the eye can see -- totally unsustainable.
  7. Give the States "block grants" of money to spending on Medicaid and Medicare.  Cap the growth of these Federal entitlements to 2% or less.  Let the States spend the money and take steps to better take care of their citizens.  State money would be added onto Federal money as is seen fit by each State.  Devolve power back to the States where it belongs.    Limiting government expenditures would truly slow medical cost inflation.
  8. Consider replacing the Medicaid system to a substantial "premium support" and outright vouchers so that people shop for their own policies.  Government expenditure increases should be fixed or limited rather than open-ended.   
  9. Reform Social Security in light of Demographic shift and longer life expectancy.  In the 1930s, there were some 40 workers per S.S. beneficiary, now it's 3 workers to each beneficiary -- heading to 2 to 1.   Right now, there's nothing but red ink as far as the eye can see -- totally unsustainable.
  10. Pass a law to require the Federal Government to balance the Federal Budget.  Austerity on THE GOVERNMENT (not people) will be healthy for the real economy and eventually help ordinary people.
  11. End the dual mandate and reform the Federal Reserve or End the Fed Entirely.  Their sole functions should be to maintain zero inflation and be a lender of last resort only.  See Booms and Busts Due to the Federal Reserve.
  12. Begin a program to further develop Thorium molten salt reactor technology for our long-term, zero carbon energy supplies.   Thorium Reactors May Solve World's Energy Crisis and How Thorium Reactors Work.
  13. Pass Tort reform in the States to reduce medical costs.
  14. Encourage more supply of medical professionals including physicians assistants and internet doctors.
  15. "Bust the trusts" of AMA and Big Pharma: outsource drug supply via worldwide bidding and graduate more doctors.
  16. Allow pharmacists to dispense most medicine without a doctor's prescription.  Pharmacists can handle most issues and they know when they don't know enough.
  17. Shift individuals to their own medical policies and away from employer coverage (making them portable) by giving them the expense deductibility rather than corporations.  
  18.  Replace ObamaCare.  See How to Replace ObamaCare and Why. ObamaCare has double-downed on a broken system.  Fix the system with a variety of measures listed here!
  19. Further encourage/expand medical savings plans which allow for more high-deductible policies (people paying more of their bills; questioning pricing and demanding the lowest price, more "skin in the game"),
  20. Transition sick people without coverage and having pre-existing conditions to high risk pools with state and federal government support.  BTW, These high risk pools are being eliminated as part of ACA! The ACA itself is becoming a "high risk pool" and because of this, premiums will continue to soar.
  21. We need the "fresh air" of shareholder democracy at our corporations.  Pass rules that shareholders must approve executive pay packages including stock options, etc. Complete disclosure of pay packages must be made for shareholder vote.  Pass laws that major investors like public pension funds must be on the Boards of Directors (by law).
  22. Bring back the Glass-Steagall and repeal Dodd-Frank (it's already 5200 pages and not finished nor completely implemented) and  separation of regular banking from investment banking.  Limit leverage in both "regular" banks and "investment" banks to 12 to 14 times capital (ie.,conservative).
  23. Make bankers responsible for bank failures. Pass laws against "financial malfeasance" where, if convicted, banker and entire executive suites would be liable for jail time and salary claw-backs for serious "financial malfeasance."  If a bank requires government assistance, then the entire executive suite and board should be tried in court for financial malfeasance and face possible jail time.  That will do wonders!  You don't need Dodd Frank if you're willing to jail bad bankers.
  24. No off-balance sheet items on any earnings report from corporations (and banks)---make everything clearly stated on the balance sheet and shareholder reports (and filings with the government regulators). 
  25. Put all derivatives on exchanges and have banks/investment houses mark-to-market all hedging positions at the end of each day.
  26. Reform our immigration system by Instituting a point-based immigration system similar to Canada's immigration system.  ALL applicants could apply to various categories of immigration and be admitted through quotas and ranked objectively by a point system.  Illegal and undocumented Latinos already in the US should be required to register and should be given a one year visa (with permission to work) then given consideration only through the point-ranking system. Speaking English, education and skills should be significant sources of "points" for most categories other than "agricultural worker" or "unskilled laborer." See Bring On an Immigration Point System and Canadian Immigration System is Far Superior to the US.
  27. Expand immigration from Developed areas of the world and less from 3rd World Nationalities.
  28. Invite foreign graduate students, master's and doctoral candidates, to immigration interviews.
  29. Expand immigration under the Point System for those proficient in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
  30. Allow local law enforcement in the States to check immigration documentation during routine law enforcement. This will appropriately send a message that we are tough on illegal immigration.
  31. Eliminate the mortgage interest deduction for mortgages for well-off taxpayers (at least) and eliminate the preferred capital gains treatment for house sales.
  32. End the never-ending money printing program at the Federal Reserve putting Trillions of dollars in the hands of the top 0.1% and 0.01%.
  33. End the ZIRP policy now (Zero interest rate policy): normalize short-term interest rates to match or exceed current inflation rate (ie.,establish a normal fed funds rate).  This helps mom and pop savers and retirees who are trying to scrap by collecting money on CDs and deposits. We're screwing mom and pop savers to the tune of $125 billion per year in lost interest income.
  34. Outlaw public sector unions at local, state and national levels. Even FDR advised this. Teachers unions are hurting our kids and not helping, all other public unions only extort taxpayer money. Government employee benefits are estimated to be 45% too high compared to private sector.
  35. Cut public employee costs; kill defined benefit plans for public workers and scrap Davis-Bacon and all prevailing wage laws for public workers.  (hat tip to Mike Shedlock at  Global Economic Analysis Blogsite)
  36. Pass national "right to work" laws to allow individuals true freedom to join or not join unions.
  37. Freeze Federal employees salaries and reduce benefits which have ballooned 45% higher than similar jobs in the private sector. 
  38. Create a "vocational high school" path for the 50% of black and hispanic people who are not and can not graduate an "academic" high school as we know it.  It should all be voluntary. The vocational option might appeal to even more young people who are doing fine in our high schools.
  39. Eliminate Federal laws against marijuana, and possibly for cocaine and minor drugs.  See my blog: It's Time to Legalize Marijuana
  40. Eliminate Ethanol subsidies. These subsidies exist because ethanol is not cost-effective (why else would it need subsidies?)   Ethanol doesn't make economic sense compared to petroleum distillates. Stop consuming up to 40% of the corn crop for fuels! Stop the madness! 
  41. Cut much of the Agriculture Dept.  Eliminate most of the current programs per Cato Institute suggestions,  Subsidies to corporate farmers has never made sense.  Devolve the food stamp and food subsidies to the States. 
  42. End Electric car subsidies to wealthy people who buy $100,000 electric cars (Tesla and Fisker cars cost $100k),
  43. Cut Agricultural sudsidies to corporate farms.   Stop corporate welfare!  
  44. Better yet, kill the Department of Agriculture!  It really should be called the Department of Food Stamps.  Devolve food stamp money to the States.
  45. Cut Defense Department spending per Cato Institute suggestions. We don't need troops in 140 countries. Military procurement has been a boondoogle for decades.  Veterans retirement benefits are very generous and expensive.
  46. Downsize Commerce Department per Cato Institute suggestions
  47. Eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development per Cato Institute Suggestions.
  48. Cut Mortgage subsidies (tax credits) for mostly wealthy or well-off people to finance their homes and even multi-million dollar McMansions,  These tax subsidies should be limited!  
  49. End the Education department.  Sending money to Washington DC for them to re-allocate it doesn't make sense.   End the entire department and dismantle all of it's programs! Cost savings: $106 billion each year.
  50. Kill the Energy Department who brought you Solyndra and countless other wasteful boondoggles. End it per Cato Institute suggestions! Private enterprise is entirely capable of providing funding for energy research. Privatize the Strategic Petroleum storage program. Put defense related expenditures in the Defense budget.  Cost savings: $38 billion per year.
  51. Downsize the Health and Human Services Dept. . HHS spending is over 1/4 of the total federal spending or $900 Billion per year.  It's Cut many of the programs that the Cato Institute recommends.
  52. Reduce Medicare and Medicaid fraud  Fraud costs an estimated at up to 10 to 20% or up to $150 billion in fraud.  Go to the block grant to the states per the Paul Ryan budget.  There is some chance that States might root out that fraud which is exactly why no one wants to do this!
  53. Stop the rapid rise in SS Disability payments and beneficiariesDisability program enrollments soared after easing of rules allowing claims of "mental distress" or "mood disorders."  Tighten standards back to where they were before Obama was elected.  
  54. Repeal 1931 Bacon Davis Act and 1935 National Labor Relations Act. The extra cost of union requirements in Federal projects is huge.  Stop it!  Pass a National Right-to-Work act.  See the Cato Inst write-up on reforming Labor Markets
  55. Substantially Dismantle the Department of Labor.  Devolve the $131 Billion Unemployment Insurance program to the states.  Eliminate job training programs, job corps, trade adjustment services per Cato Institute suggestions
  56. Stop Sugar industry price supports.  They are a complicated combination of import restrictions, production quotas and a kind of guaranteed prices.   The US government makes sugar prices higher than world prices and drives candy-making businesses to Canada and Mexico taking factory jobs with it! , Last year, the price of sugar around the world averaged 26.5 cents per pound, compared with 43.4 cents in the U.S.  Stop it!

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