- Posted October 10, 2011 by
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Occupy Wall Street
My Suggestions - My Solutions
My Suggestions - My Solutions
I’m not naïve enough to think I have all the answers and I don’t pretend to understand every aspect of how the world works but I do believe in simple answers. These are my solutions to some of our current problems.
Thank you for taking a couple of minutes to read my suggestions.
Presidential, Senate and House elections should all be held on the same day.
Currently Senate elections are staggered 33% every two years. This gives 67% of the Senators political cover from poor decisions. If only 33% of the senators stand to lose an election that means 67% of the remaining senators can vote for anything they want.
If all federally elected offices were accountable and elected on the same day then they would be encouraged to work together. If this were true today, we could vote them all out of office on the same day.
Presidential, Senate and House terms should each be for 5 years and limited to two terms.
Currently Senators and House Representatives can be in office until the day they die. House terms are for two years and senate terms are for six years. Neither has term limits. Two years is too short and anything over 10 years is too long. Term limits in the Senate and the House would eliminate career politicians and would end the need for them to be constantly running for office.
Eliminate all political contributions including PAC’s and lobbying efforts.
When it comes to elections, free speech is important but “equal speech” and "equal access" is more important.
Elections should give equal access to any candidate who wants to run for office regardless of their financial position. And just think, if companies don't have to spend money on elections it will free up billions of dollars for them to hire more workers.
An election website would give free and equal speech to all candidates who file and qualify for office. The website would give everyone who wants to run equal time to express their positions. The candidates can post videos and do anything they want on their website and in return it would give us free access to all of the candidates.
The websites should be managed by the candidate’s volunteers, no paid positions. With each candidate posting their video speeches there wouldn't be a need for worthless debates. No more misleading and negative radio and TV ads.
A down side to this would be elderly voters who might not use the internet and those who don't have internet access.
Eliminate elected office pensions and benefits.
An elected official would receive a bonus of 25% of their earned salary after leaving office. This eliminates lifetime pensions and benefits. It would eliminate career politicians.
This would also encourage an elected official to be more honest and to do a better job because they need to find work after leaving office. They wouldn't be able to retire on their pension and benefits. Remember, we eliminated PAC’s and lobbing jobs so they would have to go out and find a real job.
We should have candidates who really care about serving and who don't want to get rich from being in office. I'm sure we can find 600 people like that, don't you?
Elected officials need to work forty-hour work weeks and work together to solve problems.
The President, Senators and House of Representatives should be locked on campus in the White House, in the Senate and in the House. They need to focus on working with each other. If it’s ok for high school students to be locked on campus with guards at the exits then it’s should be ok for them too.
When C-SPAN turns on the cameras everyone needs to be in their assigned seats, listening to each other. No more empty seats in Congress. The only other people roaming the halls should be the press and public tours.
Online Voting for Bills
We should be able to vote online and give a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down before they vote on a bill. If they know how the majority of voters feel about a specific issue then they would be more inclined to vote correctly. Each registered voter would be allowed one vote.
Remember, we eliminated campaign contributions and lobbyists so now every registered voter has one equal vote. If there's a way to make hack-proof electronic voting booths then there should be a way to make a system like this too.
They need to understand our needs and our feelings about issues. We should be able to send emails, videos and other online comments directly to them so they understand how issues will affect us.
Free Education for K-12 and for the first two years of college through the state systems.
School textbooks should be eliminated and replaced with online textbooks with free access to everyone, even those not attending school. Textbooks are outdated on the day they’re printed; online textbooks can be updated anytime.
Federal grants for public education should be based on a per student basis regardless of performance. Each state should be responsible for determining their teaching requirements and for teacher performance evaluations.
Truancy should be strictly enforced as a crime against the student and not the parents. If you don’t graduate from high school you don’t get a driver’s license.
The new healthcare program should be given a chance to succeed.
Healthcare is a basic human need and shouldn't be a profit business. Profit based healthcare hasn't worked and no one should profit from another person’s illness. The President and Congress should have the same medical plan I do.
To those who say medical advancements will suffer, I say there are enough good doctors and researchers out there who value their professions and who really care about their patients and they will continue to make advancements. Those doctors who want to make five million dollars a year need to find another profession.
There will be some areas of the new healthcare plan that may need to be adjusted but each problem should be addressed as it comes up. Also remember, we get to voice our opinion online too.
All bailout funds need to be repaid and no other bailouts should be provided.
A payback plan needs to be established for each company that received bailout funds. If the company fails it fails. We shouldn't be funding poorly managed companies. Our money should be spent creating jobs in viable industries and not trying to save financial jobs that have become obsolete anyways.
Banks should be required to provide Free Checking, Free Debit Cards and Free Savings accounts with no minimum balance requirements.
Free checking, free debit cards and free savings accounts are necessities we can’t provide for ourselves and therefore should be a minimum requirement for banks. These basic services are essential to a stable economy. If banks want to offer crazy promotions and other services then let them but only after providing these basic free services. Banks waste too much money creating and promoting frills and perks we don’t need. Who cares what color my credit card is?
No need for overdraft fees or overdraft lines of credit. If I don’t have money in my account then don’t pay my bill and don't allow my check to be processed. It’s my fault if I don’t know what my balance is.
Payday loan centers and rent to own stores should be eliminated. They only promote bad habits and put people into a never ending circle of debt.
The current financial crisis doesn’t help individuals who deserve a fresh start.
A new system needs to be developed that rewards current payments and doesn't penalizes people for past missed payments. Meeting your obligations in the current 6 months should mean more than missing a payment seven years ago.
Lenders and credit card companies should start you with a small line of credit. If you can’t handle a $100 credit limit you don’t get any more credit. Show you can pay on time and your credit limit goes up. Why start college students with a $5,000 line of credit. It’s just silly.
Tax Reform and Accountability
Offshore corporations and offshore accounts used to hide profits or inflate sales needs to be eliminated.
I don't know how to do this but it needs to be done.
The federal tax code needs to be simplified.
There is no easy way to do this without some expert advice but it should be based on a fair system. If you go into business you need to know what your tax burden will be without having to find creative ways to avoid taxes. Individual income should be taxed at one set percentage; higher incomes at a higher rate and corporate profits at a higher rate.
Executive stock options need to be eliminated. If a company feels an executive is worth $100 million dollars then let them write a check. The only stock options allowed should be equal stock options. If the CEO gets 100 shares then every employee gets 100 shares. Everyone contributes to the success of a company not just the top executives.
Tax deductions need to be revised too. They should encourage hiring more workers and eliminate write-offs for million dollar, beachfront conferences and Rolls Royce rentals.
Tax revenue and expenses need to be audited more carefully.
There needs to be a simplified way to match expenses with approved budgets. The Treasury Department needs to be more transparent. Each expense needs to be posted online for us to see and audited by an independent agency. This includes military spending.
The Federal Budget process needs to be reviewed.
The federal budget needs to be a budget with quarterly reports posted online. It needs to be independently audited. Adjustments need to be made when revenues fall below expectations or expenses exceed the budgeted amounts. If revenue goes up or down then spending should go up or down.
Creating jobs is the most important way to stimulate the economy.
Employers won’t create jobs until people start spending but the current recession has eliminated wealth and cut so many jobs that we can’t count on people to start spending.
Employers need to hire more employees at reasonable wages. There are enough people out of work that are qualified and need an income. They are willing to work for slighly lower wages.
This would be temporary and once the economy begins to turn around employers would be forced to pay higher wages or they will lose their employees to their competitors. Hiring one employee at $150,000 just doesn’t make sense anymore.
Foreign Financial Aid
We need to take care of the U.S. first.
The world depends on us for financial aid. Hunger, disaster and other humanitarian aid should continue but we need to stop all the other financial aid we give out until we can get back on our feet.
If we don’t save our money there won’t be any more money to give. Other countries need to be patient and not try to kill the golden goose.
We need to control the financial aid we give.
Cutting checks isn't acceptable. All financial aid should be managed by an "American Red Cross" type organization and managed by the Treasury department. Let them employ U.S. citizens on the ground to make sure the money gets to where it should be going. I would rather have a U.S. citizen handing out humanitarian aid than trust a foreign government with a billion dollar check who could use it for weapons or embezzle it. This would also create jobs.
We need to accept that some conflicts will never be resolved.
The primary goal of the military should be to protect the United States first. The second goal should be to provide support so others can defend themselves but we shouldn't fight their wars for them.
If countries would spend 20% of their military budgets helping build infrastructure and establishing stronger economies in impoverished countries then there would be less aggression and a reduced need for military spending.
We spend too much money on “secret” missions. If we are truly spending our money wisely and we really are helping countries establish stronger economies then it shouldn’t be kept a secret.
Financially stable countries are less likely to act aggressively. As an example, in a wealthy neighborhood crime gets reported. In a low-income neighborhood many people are afraid to report crime and a small percentage are the ones committing the crimes.
We will never eliminate illegal immigration but there are things we can to reduce the incentive to come to the United States illegally and avoid paying taxes.
There should be a worker visa and there should be a cost for the visa. Traffickers get $2,000 to get someone into the U.S. illegally. We should charge $2,000 for a one-year work visa and eliminate trafficking. If you can come legally for $2,000 why would you pay to come here illegally. Each state should decide how many Visas are issued for their state. This would help manage unemployment rates. California might need 100,000 workers but Maine might not need any. Since the workers are here legally we would know where they are working. If a worker moves to another state without a job offer then they lose their visa next year.
Homeland Security currently has a computer system that allows employers to verify any workers legal status. The system is free to employers and it takes 5 minutes to get a response. I know it sounds silly but the use of the system is voluntary.
Employers should be mandated to use the E-verify system for all current and future employees. It’s simple, if you don’t pass - you don’t work. To work, all you need is a legal $2,000 worker-visa.
Having a worker- visa would also require you to file tax returns and if you don’t file taxes your worker-visa is denied. You would also be able to get a driver’s license and pay for insurance. If you’re convicted of a felony, you serve your sentence and then you get deported. If we get too many workers we can simply reduce the number of worker-visas the next year.
There is only one solution to war.
Before any war begins, gather the mothers of 1,000 soldiers from each side of the conflict; put them in a room and let the mom’s decide on which day the war starts and which soldiers will be the first to die. Since this will never happen, I don’t have a clue how on how to address this issue. War and terrorism will always be a problem.
The concept of the United Nations is a good one but we have the wrong people in there. The members should be mothers and grandmothers from every country with only one goal; identifying humanitarian needs, investigating and suggesting solutions to those needs.
Then, four times a year, each Head of State would be required to personally go to the United Nations and vote on solutions to those problems. Again, everyone in their seats and it’s all on C-SPAN and live on the internet. And don’t bother asking for war declarations because no mother or grandmother would ever agree to that. I know this one is just wishful thinking.
I want to hear from you
Once again, I am not naïve enough to think I have all the answers. I don’t pretend to understand every aspect of how the world works but I do believe in simple answers. These are my solutions to some of our current problems.
I challenge you to comment and give better solutions. Don’t knock my ideas just give me better ones.
Please share this with everyone… I would like to hear every suggestion.