I very rarely wade into the world of politics, and I have two reasons why.
First of all, it’s an ultra corrupt world of backstabbing, lies and grandstanding. None of that is appealing to me. Secondly, it seems that real change, despite broken promises and campaign slogans, is few and far between. Politicians (of all parties) don’t appear to actually want change, it’s the constituents that do. Politicians are merely jockeying for influence and money.
As a thought experiment however, I attempted to approach government like I would software. Analyze what isn’t working without emotion and conclude “If I were doing a version 2.0 feature list of the US Government, what would that look like?” – these are my release notes:
1. Congress Limited to 8 Years
The first “feature” of Gov 2.0 is to end Career politics. A “user” may serve 8 years total in either the House of Representatives or Senate.
2. Lobbying Removed
All corporate lobbying of the US Government will be ended. Companies should not be allowed to use their influence (aka money) to steer the government. Instead of lobbying, publicly televised quarterly panels will be held to allow government reps and corporate reps to discuss important topics. A panel of citizens would decide what is worth bringing forward for a vote. When the country votes for President, any proposals brought forth from this committee would be voted on as well.
3. Religious Restrictions Removed
Freedom of religion should be protected – unless it endangers the lives of innocents. Every accommodation must be made to protect freedom of religion, for all major religions. But in the case of an exemption for a life saving vaccination for example, the preservation of life must be given precedence.
4. Pay for Life Removed
When a regular person quits their job, they are not paid for the rest of their life. Government should function the same. As the purpose of government is to “serve” the people, when you are done serving you will be expected to go back to your career. Government is NOT A CAREER. The money saved from this can be funneled back into more important programs.
5. Pay Reductions
Congress shall make no more than the average median wage of the constituents they serve. A congressman or woman should not make $175,000 a year while the people they serve only make $50,000. The President shall make twice the median wage. The point of serving in the government should not be to get rich.
6. Dissolution of political parties
What is the benefit to the people of splitting our elected officials up on to two opposing teams? Two teams desperately trying to “win”? Government isn’t a professional sport (despite how some pundits treat it). With no parties, each candidate runs on their own personal merits. No senator or congressperson should be expected to vote in lockstep with their team. Bonus feature : This greatly reduces the amount of political advertising, forcing candidates to focus on what really matters (aka. Their views) instead of what does not (aka. Slandering the other candidate’s views).
7. Focus on Serving
The importance of government should be on serving, but for a limited time. Being in the government should feel more like going to college – you go away for a few years, gain some experience, then return to your life with the knowledge you gained.
8. Political Advertising Season
Political advertising will be limited to a 3 month window before the election, and each campaign can only spend a maximum of $2 million dollars. This will be a quality of life improvement for all Americans. Also, this season will be when debates are held.
9. Citizen Oversight Board
Normal citizens do not get to decide when they should receive pay raises, and neither should elected officials. A volunteer, rotating citizen oversight board would be in charge of deciding pay raises for elected officials. In addition this board would decide disciplinary issues and the like for federal employees.
10. Court Updates : End of Arbitration / 3 Strikes
Arbitration would be made federally illegal. It is merely a method of the rich to circumvent the court system. We have the court system for a purpose, we need to use it. However, any person/company who is found to have presented 3 frivolous lawsuits would be charged with a federal crime of abusing the courts. This is designed to end patent trolls.
Those are my release notes for my new, improved US Government 2.0. What do you think? Would this improve things? Make them worse? I’m interested to hear feedback, but please keep it civil.