Monday, January 14, 2008

Copied from my Slashdot post today

I've mainly been cooped up on this snowy day and alternating between work and trying to keep David amused (it's the first time they actually called off school this year).  So I replied to a Slashdot posting - "What Would You Do As President?"  My reply is pasted below:

None of the things I'd want to do would ever get done as President. Now, on the other hand, if I were Dictator of the US, I'd:

- Withdraw the vast majority of our troops from Iraq within a few months. Rapid transition to a trained Iraqi army.

- Send more troops to Afghanistan. We really neglected that one, and the lack of muscle there is one of the reasons that Pakistan is spiraling the drain right now as well.

- Pull most of our troops back from around the globe. Even Korea.

- Implement basic health insurance as a universal program, government-run. Allow people to buy supplemental insurance as they like from private carriers.

- Remove the income caps on Social Security and Medicaid taxes to help pay for it all.

- Don't let the estate tax go away.

- Increase the top rate on income over $250k by a couple of percent.

- Increase the standard deductions, and eliminate most itemized deductions. Simplification is good.

- Make states unify their sales taxes to both help revenues and simplify collection. Keep the rate low. (a few would go up, some would go down)

- Increase the gas tax to both pay for infrastructure improvements and to encourage alternative energy source development. Use tax credits to also stimulate alternative energy.

- Impose term limits on the judiciary. Long terms, but guaranteed turnover (maybe 20 years or so, enough to keep them independent, but also make sure that they aren't standing in the way for many decades to come). Pack as many of my judges as I can into the system to help keep the country from changing things back too fast.

- Streamline copyright law. Shorten terms, and make copyright clearance easier. Expand the fair use exemptions.

- Fix the patent system, put more resources into examination, and shorten patent periods in most areas to 5-10 years.

- Eliminate all farm and product subsidies, but phase them out over a 4-year period. Try and develop free trade with anyone who is willing to do the same and also drop tariffs and implement both copyright regulations and patent laws like the ones I create.

- Get the government out of bedrooms, science, and doctor-patient decisions. End the drug war by legalizing most of them, regulating them, and taxing the heck out of 'em. Take the money saved and put it into basic policing and treatment.

Then, after 4-8 years as dictator, get the heck out and let elected officials screw it all up again.