Sunday, December 25, 2016

An Utterly Pragmatic Platform for the New Era

No ideology here, although I presently write from Canada, so my thoughts may be suspect. In no particular order then, here is a list of non-partisan, utterly practical positions to take, cutting through the messy and moribund political processes:

  • No more arms sales, period. Build whatever we need for our national defense, and gradually return its use to within our own borders, and never against our own citizens.
  • Stop being concerned about rifle and handgun sales, but be very concerned about open or concealed carry in congested places. Gradually remove guns from police on the beat and in patrol cars, and gradually reduce the size, number and armaments of SWAT teams, who can be deployed as needed.
  • End the theatrics of border crossings, and require registration in advance.
  • Require true identity for all Internet publishing (this also resolves border crossing issues) and institute micropayments for re-publication of one's own free expression, 
  • Assert privacy and ownership of all data at its origin, allowing government to request decryption of public security monitoring devices only with subpoena. The government cannot require the decryption of private data. Ever.
  • End not-for-profit and religious tax-deductability. This allows end run destruction of church/state separation, and allows for self-brand aggrandizement for political or other purposes beyond the reach of regulation. Most particularly, it allows for wealthy-elite clubs like the Ivy League and so forth to be enriched at ordinary people's expense. 
  • Stop subsidizing College study at the individual level, but instead subsidize institutions, perhaps according to the socioeconomic makeup of their student bodies. Even better, tie subsidies inversely to median SAT scores, combined with retention to graduation, and perhaps inversely on expenditures on marketing and real-estate. Encourage difference, and not competition for pre-proven success stories.
  • Always counter arms-race style vicious cycles of any and all sorts which encourage Pareto peaks of elite winners against the masses. 
  • Deconstruct definitions for genius and even intelligence, which legitimate a skewed reward system by the internalization of deficiencies and surpluses far in excess of reality's spread. If you read and write and speak intelligibly, you get to be counted as fully human.
  • Robots can't be human, as they are by definition slaves.
  • Deconstruct mythology surrounding meritocracy, mostly by requiring equality of legal expense burden for prosecution and defense.
  • Allow and require only public funding for all elections at all levels.
  • Re-instate distinctions between commercial banking and savings and loan. Revert savings and loan to a model based on the former Spanish caja, where the bank is owned by its depositors.
  • Tax non-productive financial gains at the highest rate (let's say never over 50%), prove productivity by per-worker compensation in relation to productivity.
  • Gradually remove tax-deductability of mortgage payments. 
  • Remove state boundaries for all health insurance.
  • Make health-care providers accountable for coverage at point of admission, instead of consumers who cannot understand the fine print. 
  • Require true and level pricing for all health-care (remove from insurance companies the ability to negotiate discounts).
  • Abolish law suits to recover healthcare payments except in cases of fraud.
  • Establish national healthcare insurance for catastrophic accident or illness at some percentage of income and wealth holdings to define catastrophe, and legislated agreement about the difference between required and elective.
  • Calculate the external (socially born) costs for energy and mineral extraction and for manufacturing effluent, strictly according to an econometric environmental model, which includes all related healthcare, cleanup, and barrier costs.
  • Repeal zoning laws.
  • Dissassemble interstate highways.
  • Require all new structures to demonstrate structural durability in excess of the cost to demolish and rebuild.
  • Nationally allow nomadic existence, without distinction regarding citizenship, healthcare, and create public sanctuary in all municipal jurisdictions.
  • Allow all citizens to vote, regardless of criminal record, and expunge criminal record upon release from prison or payment of penalty.
  • Permanently outlaw any payments for use of courts, prisons, emergency rescue, or other forms of economic discrimination against the poor.
  • Nationally require that 10% of architectural expenses be devoted to public art installations, accepted as such by citizen boards accountable to elected officials.
  • Revise patent and copyright law toward open-source software and hardware (true identity can also dis-assemble distribution agencies as profit skimming aggregators). 
  • Dis-allow the purchase or re-assignment of patent rights.
  • Devise Internet search as a public utility, and disallow keyword auctioning by taxing it directly at a rate to approach 100% over a relatively short period of time. 
  • Allow Internet commercial postings in designated virtual "real-estate", removing such signage from the landscape as has been the case in Vermont for a long time.
  • Disallow all *push* advertisement.
  • Disallow individualized tracking of search and internet perusal.
  • Publish the true carbon-content for all foods.
  • Tax oil according to the model for cigarettes, where true external costs, including future value, are incorporated into the price. 
  • Establish public ownership for all land below some certain depth and all air above some certain height.
  • Allow contracting of extraction and cleanup on a cost-plus basis.
  • Institute some combination of term-limits against higher pay and better protection for civil servants in politically responsive office. 
  • Require voting, and make it trivially simple by declaring election day a holiday.
  • Create population districts by some silly algorithm relating to alphabetic order or a random number generator (once people learn to game naming). This will end geographic gerrymandering, and indeed all sorts of geographic boundaries which are without administrative meaning.
  •  Level school funding at whatever administrative regional level (up to state level) incorporates the full range of socio-economic distinction, with additional social services funded according to socio-economic need.
Well, I suppose that's enough - it just goes crazy from here, but maybe some principle emerges. I mean if Trump can get elected, surely I can dream, right? The absurdity quotient is in my favor, I think.

Anyhow, the goal is subtly to reconstrue the economics of our lives so that the incentive structure no longer encourages us to screw our fellow man according to the internals of our corporate team, and where the real incentive is something other than greed at the top. I wouldn't mind a rule limiting executive compensation, but I'd rather that come through more organically. 

After all, I would like to contribute to the preservation of the good life, and I don't mind a bit of elite if it can guide us. Just stay away, please, from the crass of the various military industrial complexes and the inbreeding of power. 

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

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