I’ve been thinking lately how we can make America great again. And all these shallow thoughts are causing me to overstate things like how the oppressed, poor, and innocent abroad no longer want to come here. Or how the current president is taking the country to hell in a hand basket, just like the last president of an opposing party did.
But I digress. After taking an interest in politics twenty minutes ago, here’s what I’ve come up with. From better loopholes to land deals, and political entrepreneurship to corporate welfare, here are six ways America can better protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for the rest of us:
- Better loopholes. I’m not exactly sure what I would call it (earmarks maybe?), but wouldn’t it be great if legislators could sneak in little state benefits into unrelated federal bills? And by “little” I mean millions out of billions of dollars. This would help senators and representatives endorse acts they would have otherwise opposed on principle alone. Of course, it would also allow them to throw their local constituencies a bone once in a while to help the former stay in power longer. What’s not to like about that??!!
- “This land is your land… after I sell it to you at a high price.” Real estate is a mess right now, but I’ve got an idea that I think could boost it. Since politicians are often privy to public development plans before they’re made public, wouldn’t it be super if insiders — you know, mayors, governors, U.S. senators — could buy cheap land a few months before announcing plans to build a large public project on that land, then sell it at an exorbitant price to collective tax payers? Talk about boosting the economy!
- Political entrepreneurship. Making a lot of money in the free market can be difficult, not to mention competitive. So I’ve got an idea that could create a “revolving door” of profits for a select few. I call it political entrepreneurship. Here’s how it works: The owner(s) of Company X donate a large campaign contribution to a politician — President Bush, President Obama, congresswomen Nancy Pelosi, it doesn’t matter — in the hope they get elected. Once they do get elected, the owner(s) of company X visit said elected official, and with a grin say, “Remember us?” In return, the elected official feels obligated to “give back” to the company that couldn’t make it in the free market on their own. Then rinse and repeat: $1,000 (or more!) in grants, contracts, and taxpayer-backed loans for every $1 donation. Can you imagine how beneficial this could have been if President Bush had done this with war profiteers and pharmaceutical companies during his presidency? Perhaps green initiatives would have been booming by now if President Obama had awarded something like 80% of all the billions the Department of Energy loans to former campaign friends? And I’ll tell you this much: Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, and forgettable Republicans would sure be a lot richer today had they been able to enact legislature that benefited companies they invested or divested in. Like magic!
- Create an “Ethics Committee.” Here’s one thing that makes American politics great: committees. It’s not like these groups of people sitting around conference tables are merely giving the illusion of collaboration and actual work, this is where the real work gets done! (Food for thought: Imagine how worse off Americans would be today without joint political committees?) That said, I’m amazed that there isn’t a so-called “Ethics Committee” in congress which allows legislators to privately benefit from “public works” projects so long as the politician isn’t the only one benefiting from it. It’s criminal, really! It’s not like someone in the private sector would be fired or imprisoned for blatant favoritism when awarding deals, right?
- More corporate welfare. Three years ago, our executive and legislative branches demonstrated an incredible amount of bi-partnership. Virtual every one of them, regardless of party, including the incoming president elect, voted to Robin Hood the lower class out of $700 billion and give to the rich who were about to lose a lot of wealth on paper. It’s not like these men and women voted for the bailout just to keep their largest campaign donors in business. They did it because it was the right thing to do. And because throwing money at problems usually seems to work. We need more of this. Taking from the rich to give to the poor is sooooo old fashioned.
- Career politicians with no term limits. This is closely related to political entrepreneurship above. But more clarification is in order. Simply put, we need to incentivize politicians to want to stay in politics longer. Things like no term limits for congressmen. The ability to cut back room deals with campaign donors, individual lands and stocks, etc. Better benefits and healthcare than the rest of us. Perks like free airfare and the ability to seek reelection for an entire year while still on the job. In short, public servants shouldn’t seek office for love of country and a desire to improve how we govern life, liberty, and property. Public service should be seen as an attractive vehicle for the rich to get richer and power-hungry to stay in power as long as possible. The sooner the better.
Did I miss anything?