Saturday, May 10, 2008

The America I want to live in

The America I wish to live in

We are the United States of America.

We hold ourselves, our community and our government to a high standard.

We accept responsibility for our own action and inaction.

We expect individuals, companies and governments to be head accountable for their actions and inactions.

Our government creates an atmosphere and enforces laws that allow every individual the opportunity to succeed through their own abilities and determination. Having the opportunity to succeed also carries the risk of failure. Each individual and company must accept that risk for themselves.

Our government reflects our values

Fiscal responsibility, education, scientific/technology advancements and healthy businesses are essential to a strong America.

Energy independence is core to a strong America.

Protecting the environment for this and following generations is our responsibility and a challenge we are equal to. We will not take short term actions to benefit our economy at the cost of long term environmental damage.

We happily trade and compete with any responsible nation on a level playing field. This includes taxes and tariffs, fair trade policies and processes, product safety, environmental responsibility and human rights.

We do not torture. We do not have others torture for us. We do not choose inaction on the way to allowing torture on our behalf.

We are not just consumers. We are individuals and communities capable of greatness.

We believe in charity but do not tolerate and encourage laziness.

Duties for the American government
1.) Create a government worthy of our respect and trust
a. Enact real campaign finance legislation. Eliminate lobbyist, big donors and gifts to public servants.
b. Maintain an independent, non-political department dedicated to ensuring our public servants do not act or legislate in a manner inconsistent with their duties.
c. Charge any public servant who misappropriates funds and/or services with treason. Every dollar misspent is a dollar that did not buy armor for our soldiers. That dollar may have saved a life.
d. No funding is allowed for pork barrel or special projects. Every dollar spent frivolously places an unfair burden on tax payers.
e. Improve spending oversight. This includes protection from fraud but also special interest spending and inefficient spending.
f. Government must spend less than it earns.
g. Social obligations must be protected.
h. All spending, voting, taxation and creation of laws must be transparent, communicated and clear.
i. Elected officials can not receive raises when the country is not improving or when their approval rating is below 50%.
j. Do not trade one spending program for another. If a program is not worthy of continuing, eliminate it. Once the money is in the tax payers wallets, then ask for incremental spending.

2.) Energy policy/environment
a. Virtually eliminate income tax for households earning below $60,000, largely reduce income tax for households earning up to $120,000. Replace income with a series of excise tax increases on items that are bad for our security, bad for our environment and/or bad for us. Our government is not about eliminating choices but can influence our decisions through taxation. Items to consider: Oil, natural gas, coal, high fructose corn syrup, tobacco, alcohol, virgin timber. A simple example: Reduce income tax by $600 per household but add $600 tax to gas. This will help direct a $13 trillion economy to make decisions more in-line with the long term health of our planet, our country and our selves.
b. Over the next 5 years eliminate the least efficient 50% of all appliances, lighting and vehicles. This can be done by existing classes. Each year for the next 10 years raise the minimum allowable efficiency by 1 – 5% a year. Each year the president will set the increase for the following year.
c. Require better efficiency standards for all new buildings and remodeling.
d. No longer give oil support to other countries as aid. Instead give solar, wind or micro-hydro facilities. This creates a greener world, provides long term support to country in need and lowers demand for oil, lowering the cost of oil.
e. Eliminate all subsidies and tax advantages for coal, oil and natural gas, except programs to convert to renewables.
f. Allow drilling in ANWAR and North Dakota. Enforce the strictest environments policies. Companies that benefit from drilling must fund an agency that is immediately able to respond to oil spills. Index the lease payments so that the government enjoys the risks involved in oil price fluctuation.
g. Link the farm bill with creating renewable domestic energy sources. This will help the farmers beyond the current year with secondary income and will help the United States become energy independent.

3.) Education
a. Education is absolutely critical to national success. Our smartest must be prepared to lead the world in their respective fields. Educating the lower half to the best of their ability enables their greater success and opportunities while reducing their need for later life support. “Every child to their greatest ability.”
b. College is not necessary for every person. By making high school graduation meaningful, college will be less necessary, therefore, lowering costs. Our public education must be the best and must demand the most from each and every child.
c. Additional funding will be based on test scores, participation in after school programs and graduation rates. (12% of our schools have graduation rates below 60%). No school should have a graduation rate below 90%.
d. Increase the number of hours per week and the number of weeks per year that students are in schools.
e. Do not allow students to drop out of high school except in extreme circumstances.
f. Create a task force to address the worst performing 100 districts. The districts must be put on a multi-year plan. Many of the teachers and administration will be replaced. The program must include after school programs, meal programs for poor, police involvement, community involvement.
g. Students must perform a minimum number of hours either volunteering, in internships or located abroad to graduate.
h. Create levels of graduation certificates to show potential colleges and businesses the work the student has done.

4.) Laws/legal environment
a. Review all laws and regulations. Eliminate or modify those that are unduly hampering American production and jobs.
b. Enact tort reform to reduce the amount and severity of civil lawsuits.

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