Archive for the ‘Universal Healthcare’ Tag

Making the Subtext, Text   Leave a comment

A very smart person once told me that when people talk, the subtext of what they’re saying is usually, “Wouldn’t the world be such a better place if I were in charge?” Well, today I’m running with that. I’m going to list the things I would do immediately if I were even just uncontested ruler of the United States. (Because I’m humble like that.)

1) Decommission all US military bases overseas. They’re a drain on resources, they serve no productive purpose, and their presence tends to promote prostitution and sex trafficking that persists long after the base leaves.

2) End the war on drugs. Seriously, its expensive, it makes drug lords rich, it’s massively destabilizing for South and Central America, and it doesn’t work. Portugal’s usage rates have dropped since they decriminalized drugs.

3) Establish a universal healthcare system that focuses on prevention. We pay way more than anybody else for our healthcare with poor results. Nobody should have to choose between groceries and medication.

4) Dramatically alter US farm subsidies. Subsidies currently favor the production of corn, soy, and wheat over everything else. I heard the other day that corn is in 75% of food at the grocery store. Lack of diversity in foods means lack of diversity in nutrients, and that’s bad for our health. It shouldn’t be cheaper to eat at McDonald’s than make a homemade salad with fresh ingredients. You shouldn’t be able to get a candy bar in every gas station everywhere, but not be able to find turnips at the grocery store. The American diet is thoroughly un-nutritious, and we’re paying for it.

5) Make classified documents the exception, rather than the rule. The Obama administration has been leaking for years about all the secret programs they’ve got going on, but when those policies are challenged in court, the US Government argues that these programs are too secret to be subjected to judicial review. One family tried to put an injunction on the CIA to get a family member taken off a “kill list.” Instead of arguing that the government needed to be able to have a kill list, the CIA argued that they couldn’t even acknowledge that such a kill list existed and thus couldn’t have the case tried in court. The judge sided with the CIA. The man was killed a few months later.

6) Move to¬†publicly funded elections. Money in politics protecting unpopular, unregulated industries. Public funding isn’t perfect, but it’s much better that a few hundred millionaires and billionaires providing 80% of the funding in an election. Politicians will serve the people who put them there, and right now that isn’t the American people.

7) Give renewable power sources as many subsidies as oil gets. China is going to be leading in solar power because our companies can barely compete with their (Chinese government subsidized) low prices. Renewables are the way of the future, and I’d prefer not to have to send even more money to China to get a piece of that action.

8) Establish marriage equality. I used to think that religious marriage and civil marriage (which would all be called civil unions, to allow for arrangements outside of romantic relationships) should be entirely separate. If I was making up a society from scratch, that’s still how I’d do it. However, I live in the United States, and the bigots need to lose. (To clarify, I don’t think all proponents of so called “traditional marriage” are bigots. Some are just misguided or misinformed.) There are too many people in this country with prejudice in their hearts and it would be good for the country as a whole to turn its back on that prejudice.

9) Make most restrooms non-gendered. It is my understanding that restrooms are a mine field for non-cisgendered people, and there’s no need for that. Europe does just fine with non-gendered restrooms.

10) Make school funding based on state or federal rather than local taxes. Inequalities in school funding are unnecessary, and are seriously harmful for social mobility. Wealthy people should have the same public education as the rest of us. If they don’t like that, they can either remove their kids from the public school system (thus freeing up funding for other kids), or they can raise taxes on themselves to make the school system better.

11) Give decent funding to public universities and schools. Teaching isn’t really a respected profession in the United States, but it should be. More money would attract badly needed talent to our failing school system.

12) Raise the minimum wage. We need more consumption right now, and unlike giving free money to the banks (who just squirrel it away), people working for minimum wage would spend it. Yeah, inflation will suck up some of the spending power, but the poor should still have a bigger share of the economic pie than they had before a minimum wage increase.

13) Infrastructure spending. We needs it. It actually costs us more per year to fix the problems with things that should have been replaced or updated already than it would to replace or update them. That’s just silly.

So that’s what I would do if people did the sensible thing of making me uncontested ruler of the United States. Oh wait, there’s one more…

14) Permanently abolish the office of uncontested ruler of the United States after I vacate the position. ‘Cause it’s not like there’s anyone else who can do as well as I would.