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Friday, February 24, 2006

If I were King

Here's a list of things I'd change, do, legislate, whatever if I were king... (Not the politician Steve King, mind you. I wouldn't want to be him. I'm just talking about being your regular "king of the kingdom" type king. With a crown.) None of these are particularly well-thought-out, it's just things that ran through my mind today when I was supposed to be working.


1. No honking. I keep odd hours. My neighbors across the street work nights and sleep days. It never fails to irritate me when someone pulls up in the street and immediately starts honking. If you're supposed to pick someone up, for Pete's sake, please get your lazy butt out of your car and go knock on their door. Or at the very minimum, wait for thirty seconds before you start blaring away with the horn. Don't sit in front of my house honking at ten o'clock at night. Or at ten o'clock in the morning. Or ever.

2. Don't park in my driveway. It's my driveway. Go park in your own.

3. Politicians should get paid the annual salary of their constituents. (I know, I keep harping on this one, but I really think it's a good idea.) That's one sure incentive for them to keep the economy moving... And I'm not talking about "we'll just pay them the median salary," I 'm talking about "everything they earn above the median salary gets donated to charity." No fancy speaking engagements for lots of money, no accepted donations... You gets what you gets. Around these parts, you gets about $37, 429 - IF your spouse works too. That's the median household income for Sioux City, and I don't know of anyone who has a single-income household.

4. If you catch someone dealing drugs, their banker goes to jail with them. That'd stop the major dealers, anyway. If they're banking overseas, well then, we go overseas and get the bankers.

5. Nicorette, the patch, hypnotism - they should all be government-subsidized so they cost the same as a pack of cigarettes. A few years ago I tried Zyban to quit smoking - it cost several hundred dollars. That's criminal. I remember back a few years thinking, "Gee, I wish I could afford Nicorette, I'd really like to quit smoking." It's easy to fund this program, just tax tobacco a bit more.

6. Make meals smaller. I don't really need a two-pound hamburger. The fries at McDonalds are great - but do you know how many calories are in a super-jumbo extra-large bucket of fries? Ye cats! We have salary caps - why not a calorie cap? No fast food joint shall be allowed to serve a customer more than 800 calories per meal... If society holds bars and bartenders responsible when people drink too much, doesn't it follow that we should hold restaurants responsible for people who eat too much? Generally I'm a staunch advocate of taking responsibility for your OWN actions, but I might make an exception in this case and make the grease-slingers quit handing out five-pound sandwiches.

7. Tax gas. A lot. Like, two bucks a gallon. This sounds goofy, but as was pointed out in the Woodbury County Democrat's blog, it'd do us wonders. Figger your average family would spend an extra $4,000 a year on gas with this tax. We simply give it back to the family by cutting their payroll tax by $4,000. So, the family comes out even in the end. But suppose that the family should happen to switch from a huge gas-guzzling SUV to a nifty little hybrid, suddenly they'd be money ahead in the deal - and as a bonus, the environment is happy and we're not as vulnerable to overseas oil prices. It's all been worked out by people much brighter than I about thirty years ago, but the politicians will never go for it.

8. No family shall have more working cars than they have drivers. If you want to have an extra car or truck, fine, but you're gonna pay an extra tax for it. The tax money will go towards developing a hydrogen economy and supplying inner cities with bikes.

9. Term limits. A politician can be re-elected twice (making a total of three terms). After his three terms, he has to step aside for at least two years.

10. Policemen should live in the neighborhoods they patrol.

11. Politicians should, by law, go to two randomly-selected bars in their constituency every month, and announce that they're a congressman (or whatever). They then must sit there and listen to the people for a minimum of three hours with no news media hanging around.

12. Everyone who gets paid by the government should, by law, go work in the factory or packing plant or whatever one day a month so they know how the rest of us poor schmucks live and how hard we work. Maybe that'll make the grouchy lady at the driver's license place show a bit of respect. The point being that our lawmakers are horribly out-of-touch with the rest of us.

13. Churches are subject to the same financial laws as everyone else.

14. Separation of church and state means just what it says. If your faith in God is so thin that you need to see His name on a dollar bill, you need more help than you realize. (If you think about it, and stretch the logic a bit, isn't putting God's name on our money against God's will anyway? Doesn't that lead to us worshipping money? What about that whole "Thou shall not have any idols before me" thing?) The state should be completely neutral as far as religion goes - open and accepting of all.

15. Religious leaders shall not have political opinions in front of their people. They can spout their opinions all they want on their own time. Separation of church and state runs both ways.

16. "The Daily Show" and "Boondocks" should be mandatory viewing.

17. Lawsuits should be limited to damages and repairs only. No million-dollar settlements. If your lawsuit is judged to be frivolous, you shall be held up to the ridicule of your peers, and you shall pay all court costs.

18. It should be illegal to get more than one Visa (or MasterCard or American Express) application in the mail per month.

19. It should be illegal for anyone to charge more than 10% interest on anything, ever.

20. If you get money from the government, you should do the government some good. If you get foodstamps, you should have to spend ten hours a week cleaning garbage out of the parks, or participating in a government works project, or something.

21. Courtesy, politeness, and manners should be the norm, not the exception. It should be taught in school.

22. "Oh, you're anti-choice? How cute. How many children have you adopted?"

23. All factories shall have their water intake pipes located downstream from whatever it is they're dumping in the river.

24. No one in the company, including the owner, should make more than five times the amount of the lowest-paid employee. If the boss wants to get paid more, well then, give the janitor a raise.


I know, there are good arguments against everything I've said. But this isn't meant to be a rational, well-though-out list, but rather a list of things that flit through my mind from time to time.

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