What do 2 brothers in their mid-40s talk about while spending 8 hours in a car? Thats right, Shortbus and I were tooling around Georgia yesterday. The first 2.5 hour leg of the journey was to return our niece to college. The second leg was the return trip. It lasted more than 4 hours because we made several stops along the way. One for food the other to scope out electronics stores. So, what did we talk about? Well, the conversation at some point turned to politics and the problems that exist in America and what our solutions would be. It is a conversation I wish I had recorded. Not to show the diversity of our opinions, but to show how similar our solutions would be.
First up is the ridiculous notion that America should not have a government. How can anyone justify saying or believing that? Without a central government we would not have a unified means to protect ourselves from invasion by foreign entities. We would have no centrally organized armed forces, Fifty un-unified state militias could not effectively protect this country from unified enemies.Without some form of government we would have no infrastructure, no highways, no interstate commerce, no economy. To make a long story short, we would have anarchy.
The second issue we tackled was the individual federal income tax code. He blurted out that he was in favor of a ” flat ” tax. Everyone pays the same percentage of tax on what they make. For example, if Joe makes $100,000 a year and, the tax rate was 3%, he would pay $3000.00 a year in federal income tax. If Bob makes $1,000,000 a year, he would pay $30,000 a year in federal taxes. If Nancy makes $10,000,000 a year, she would pay $300,000 a year and so on. Its a fair system. This new tax code would also eliminate all deductions for every individual tax payer. Everyone pays the same rate. The rate should not be higher for individuals who make more because. its not their fault you don’t make what they make its your fault. They should not be penalized for wanting and making more.
Next up was the influence of lobbyists and PACS, ( political action committees. ) These groups contribute billions of dollars a year to political campaigns throughout this country. In essence, they buy votes at all levels of government. The most powerful group being M.A.D.D. ( Mothers Against Drunk Driving ). This group uses its money and power to influence congress to pass tougher laws concerning alcohol. These laws could range from higher taxes on alcohol, stiffer penalties for drunk driving, increasing drinking ages and so on. This group has also been known to influence how cases involving alcohol are prosecuted. Its leaders are allowed to interfere with cases via court testimony and sentence recommendations to judges. In my opinion, that violates the rights to due process of law and a fair trial that are granted to the accused by the constitution. The solution is to prohibit lobbyists, pacs, and business and industry from contributing to political campaigns. Also, make it tougher for these groups to channel contributions through individuals. Individual Americans who wish to contribute should always be allowed to do so, however, we must remove special interest and corporate interest from our political process. If we don’t, we become slaves to a machine that can not be controlled or stopped.
The inevitable argument will be that the constitution protects these types of actions by these groups. It does not. That part of the constitution specifies rights of individuals, not rights of a corporation. Shortbus’s solution would be to create a ” corporate ” bill of rights specifically outlining what corporations can and cannot do as it purtains to our political process. This would eliminate the influence of corporate America on our public servants.
My political pet peeve over the last 20 years or so has been the influence of the media on our political system. We have seen network news anchors knowingly break deceitful stories about Presidential candidates in order to try to influence the outcome of an election. We have also seen news anchors tear up because one candidate won over another. There is an endless list of this kind of crap. These news agencies will tell you they are protected by the constitution, specifically, the part that guarantees freedom of the press. That is bull. Freedom of the press was designed by the founders to protect the free flow of news and imformation without government censorship or collusion; meaning, the government could not interfere with the reporting of the news or, control what news and imformation is passed on to the people. It does not give news agencies or their minneons the right to lie in order to create influence. That garbage is not, can not and should not be protected by the constitution!
The next subject on the agenda was term limits. Another huge problem in our political system is the career politician. We all know what I’m talking about. People who have served in congress for years on top of years, which, has created an out of touch establishment. This breeds congresses like our current one. Our current congress has absolutely no desire to listen or adhere to the will of the people. This is a serious problem. Ask yourselves this question ” what happens when the people we elect to represent us stop listening to us? ” Shortbus’s solution to this problem, limit terms for all national offices. First, Presidents should be limited to one six year term. Second, limit terms in the House of Representatives to 3; 2 years each. Third, Limit the senate to 2 terms, 12 years. No one should be allowed to make a career out of public service. It should be utilized like jobs in the private sector; a stepping stone. These term limits should not preclude someone who has served in the house from serving in the senate or as President or, any other combination of the three.
Next, we discussed the ramifications and influences of various political groups and figures on our political system. The first amendment to the constitution grants individuals the right to free speech, which, in my opinion, not enough Americans exercise, instead, we rely on various people and politically oriented organizations to speak for us. The problem with that is, these people and organizations have their own agendas and, will stop at nothing to further them. Some outright lie, some omit facts, its a vicious cycle that does not end. What most people don’t get is, the more we let these people speak for us, the more license it gives them to start thinking for us. When organizations start thinking for individuals, what happens?
Lastly, we have so many intelligent and educated people in this country. What America needs is for more people to become involved in the process and, to seek public office so we can tap the abundance of ideas that individual Americans have. If this occurs, we will see the currently bleak present change to a bright prosperous future for all Americans to enjoy for generations to come.