If I were king...
- it would cost nothing to register your car or renew your driver's license -- currently about $75 for both in Ontario. High fees such as these disproportionately affect the poor, who often need a car to get to a job, while they are almost nothing for the rich. Better to fund them through taxes.
- by contrast, gas taxes would be double or triple what they are now. The harmful externalities associated with driving cars should be borne by the people who use them. Yes to the carbon tax!
- if a legislator votes for a bill that is later declared unconstitutional, they lose their seat
- legislators would be chosen, either completely or in part, by random choice. They would be well-compensated and employers would be required to hold their jobs while they serve. After each legislative term ends (say 2 to 4 years), 30-60% would have their terms end and new ones would be randomly chosen to replace them.
- property taxes would be waived or strongly reduced for senior citizens.
- the whole regime of drug testing for professional sports would be done away with. Let athletes who want to achieve more modify their own bodies any way they like - provided they know the likely consequences.
- all places where people travel - airports, railway stations, rest stops, and so forth - would have a secure room with cots where people could take naps cheaply. It's odd how needs like food, drink, and toilets can usually be met for very low cost, but sleep cannot.
- all farm subsidies and price supports for agricultural products would be done away with.
- all local public transportation would be free to users and publicly funded, or there would be strong inducements to travel by public transit (e.g., your bus ticket is also a lottery ticket)
- players of professional sports would get to vote each year on who are the worst referees (or umpires) in their sport; the referees receiving the most votes would be demoted or fired
- all businesses would be required to prominently post the hours that they are open
- the terms of copyright and patent validity would be severely shortened
- the insane and fruitless war on drugs would be ended. Currently illegal drugs would be regulated through the existing prescription process, making them more uniform and safer. The taxes from marijuana alone would be a huge source of government revenue. A proportion of the taxes can be devoted to addiction programs.
Feel free to add your own in the comments.
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I should really do the work to find this out myself but:
What is the total revenue from gas and diesel taxes? (Say, in Ontario)
What is the total annual expenditure, at all levels, on road construction and maintenance, including plowing?
Because the latter should be funded entirely, and specifically, from the former. Want a new expressway in the GTA? Add a levy to all gas sold in the area to pay for it.
Also add a surtax earmarked for public transit and intercity rail.
Barack Obama's healthcare reform came perilously close to being declared unconstitutional by the (shamefully politicized) US Supreme Court. In that kind of situation, would you really want all one party's legislators to lose their seats?
I like the idea of getting rid of drug rules in professional sports, but here's the counterargument. Suppose there's some harmful drug that boosts performance; then many competitors will take that drug, and accept the performance cost; then everyone else will have to do so or resign themselves to a career of failure. So then everyone takes the drug, the overall rankings are much the same as if no one did, performance in absolute terms is a bit better than otherwise, and everyone gets the adverse health consequences. That doesn't seem like it's obviously a good tradeoff. So I think I'd say that any drugs that can be reliably and cheaply tested for, and that have adverse consequences, should be prohibited, and the prohibition vigorously enforced.
As far as random legislators, this is just handing special interests the keys. Legislators will depend more and more on lobbyist input, not because of campaign donations, but because they honestly don't know about the topic.
What if a legislator intorduced a Bill that declared corporations non-persons. An out of left center decision like Citizen's United could cost them their seat.
"players of professional sports would get to vote each year on who are the worst referees (or umpires) in their sport; the referees receiving the most votes would be demoted or fired"
Indeed, this should apply to politicians and other public persons. It is called ostracism and was, once upon a time, a basic function of Democracy. Would it not be nice to have politicians fear of ostracism? In Greece, for instance, MPs, knowing that, once elected, nothing could happen to them, abused the law so much, stole a large portion of the money coming from the EU (3 billion Euro in one case), and led the country in crisis. Ostracism, indeed, would have been a good thing...
Academic research would be decoupled from low-level undergraduate education.
People could register their license plate and phone number in a special database and predatory tow companies would be required to phone such people and give them five minutes to come move their car before being allowed to tow them.
All academic research with the slightest hint of government funding (whether it be a grant or just the researcher working at a public university) would be required to be published open access.
Gender equality issues would be applied fairly: for example, either women have to register for selective service draft, or that requirement is dropped for men.
Supermarkets are absolutely prohibited from issuing "discount cards".
Gift cards are outlawed. Unsolicited junk mail is outlawed.
As far as random legislators, this is just handing special interests the keys.
I don't think so, because with random representation there is no incentive to listen to one lobbyist over another. Currently, legislators listen to lobbyists because they get money for re-election efforts.
In that kind of situation, would you really want all one party's legislators to lose their seats?
It's a valid argument. One solution would be to allow the Supreme Court to advise on legislation before it is enacted, as is done in Canada.
Another solution would be "three-strikes" approach. After voting in favor three times for unconstitutional legislation, you're out.
Or if the ruling is 8-1 or 9-0, you're out, but not if it is closer -- the rationale being if it is that obvious, you shouldn't have voted for it.
... that would be pretty confusing
Can we simply ban politics completely, or wouldn't that work?
What would you do regarding state-run lotteries?
Are corporations people? That is, do they pay taxes and make political donations, or not?
Tax the churches?
The US Supreme Court threw out most of Roosevelt's New Deal legislation. Even three strikes would have removed most of the Democrats from Congress.
I would ban factory farming, impose heavy tax on meat, ban all the advertisements by meat and fast food companies and encourage campaigns to eliminate or reduce meat consumption. I believe this is necessary both for better treatment of animals and for tackling climate change.
"Can we simply ban politics completely, or wouldn't that work?"
That could be called anarchy, but one wonders (given the current state of affairs in many democracies) whether it would work... We do not have enough data.
"Tax the churches?"
Well, of course! Don't they pay taxes in the US? In Greece, for sure they don't.
If legislators are selected randomly, what's to stop random kooks, racists, misogynists, theocrats, etc. from getting a go at government?
Valhar, random kooks would sometimes get a go at government, but then at present non-random kooks do and it's not clear that that's better.
(Maybe random legislator selection would have a higher probability of producing crazily unrepresentative results, but existing voting systems do that pretty effectively already.)
Corporations committing felonies would be put into receivership or nationalised. No second chances for felonies. No slap-on-the-writs fines.
Directors of those corporations would face substantial bans (up to a lifetime) from holding other directorships. Including directorships of family trusts.
If I were king, there would be a 2% stamp duty on sales of securities (stocks, etc).
"... gas taxes would be double or triple what they are now. The harmful externalities associated with driving cars should be borne by the people who use them. Yes to the carbon tax!"
What about rural Canada?
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