Let's be selfish: 3 Item Lists of what YOU want from Uncle Sam

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by vilk, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    I thought it might be interesting if we all made a list of the top three and only three specific things that we would like from the government over the next 4 years. Yeah, it's fine, maybe even encouraged if don't really worry about the implications of what you want. My real aim here is to see how similar or different our three item lists are.

    1. Help my debt. I'm enslaved to student loans for life. I hear ambitious talks about abolishing student loan debt. I'd settle for just abolishing interest on it. I understood I borrowed money, and I knew I'd have to pay it back. It's just that as a dumb 18 year old kid I didn't understand how much extra I'd be paying and how it would affect my life after graduation and how the sharks will set the amount at whatever they want even if it means you living under a bridge. But hell, if the powers that be want to clear it all out, I'm not gonna protest that either. Yeah, this one is kinda selfish. That's OK in this thread!

    2. Stop fighting wars. Yes, I realize that death and destruction is excellent for the economy. I guess I just don't care. Pull out of Afghanistan, pull out of Iraq, pull out of everywhere. Let Japan make their own damn military, and why do we have a base in Holland? For real, the age of savage martial rampages is over. We got flying, bomb shooting robots that run on sun energy. But guess what? I'd like to put the kibosh on the use of those except for national self defense against attacks on US soil. Keep all the military power here, and then if someone tries to come f/// with us they're toast. And other people in other places can deal with their own problems, and at least in the future we can't say that those problems are something that we've caused.

    3. End the war on drugs. I don't even fully understand how the SCOTUS hasn't been obligated to do this already. The history of how and why it was started (Grand Cyclops Anslinger) and the way in which it's been systematically used to harm minority populations, especially blacks, seems like some kind of violation of the Civil Rights Act. At the very least, I want some kind of executive action dealio that consumption and production of cannabis be legal for personal recreational use. The notion that I can't grow this well-studied, safe, cheap medicinal plant on my own property is preposterous. Commerce law is complicated, but we need to say no more punishing people for having a flower.


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    Just so we don't get stuck on these issues, please think about what's important to you personally. You wanna see ID included in every textbook? Punish women for abortions? Put firearms training into middle school PE curriculum? Good, write that. Write it here. In your 3 item list.
     
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  2. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    I have to come up with two separate lists for this question, as I think what benefits me the most isn't necessarily what benefits the country and the majority of the population the most.


    For myself:

    1. Cut taxes: I pay too much for what I receive in return. And use the tax revenues received more responsibly - there is way too much waste by the (bloated) US government.

    2. Increase freedom: we've lost a lot of personal freedom and privacy in the last couple of decades, especially since 9/11. I want it back, though I don't see that ever happening.


    For the country overall:

    1. Redistribute taxes appropriately: small businesses and all but the wealthiest of individuals pay way too much, proportionally, in taxes in the US. We need to reduce taxes on all but the wealthiest individuals and medium and large businesses.

    2. Revamp the education system: everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, should have the opportunity to improve themselves and their lot in life through good, affordable (free?) education. This will be necessary in order for the US to remain competitive in the future as well, as we are currently losing ground in this area.

    3. Revamp the healthcare system: With people living longer and longer, there will be more and more need for healthcare services and the current system leaves a lot to be desired. I don't have a perfect solution to this problem, but we, collectively, need to work to develop one sooner rather than later.

    4. End the war on drugs: I don't personally partake in drug usage, but the war on drugs is obviously not working. If we legalize drugs (or at least some drugs), tax and regulate them as we do with alcohol and tobacco, it will solve many more problems (including much of the violence in the US) than keeping the war going does. We tried it, it didn't work, it's time for a new approach.
     
  3. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Great question! Here is my personal answer:

    1. Protect me and my family from bad guys trying to do harm.
    2. Protect my property in case someone tries to steal it or vandalize it.
    3. Aside from that, stay out of my life.

    I feel for you with your student loan debt. I think that the crux of the problem is that employers do not pay what higher education costs for jobs that require higher education, for the most part. I made it out of college just in time to have paid a reasonable amount of tuition (I had a rather modest scholarship, which helped a little, but mostly worked my way through school). On the other hand, some (not most, certainly not all) students sluff off for four years, learning nothing of career importance, and have a lot of parties. As a taxpayer, I don't want them taking my money.

    The idea that war is good for the economy is a myth. War is good for innovation, in some perspectives, and disparity caused by war is great for austerity, but it's awful for the economy. It's simple: a bunch of our most able young men die, our stuff gets blown up, and people who could be building better domestic infrastructure are either fighting or building weapons instead. There's little economic upside and a whole lot of economic downside.

    The war on drugs is insane. The war on terror is even more insane. War on inanimate objects in general is stupid. As if people battling addiction don't already have enough conflict, let's go slap them up and toss them in prisons, because.... well, because freedom! And war on terror?! I have never heard a more asinine phrase in my life. War is terror! War on terror is like kicking your ass for peace. Actually, I can totally see that becoming a thing. :mad:
     
  4. synrgy

    synrgy Ya ya ya I am Lorde

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    1. Universal health care
    2. Universal health care
    3. Universal health care
     
  5. sharedEQ

    sharedEQ SS.org Regular

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    Get a government or teaching job. Many public service jobs give debt forgiveness within ten years.
     
  6. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Well, I mean, if you fail too many of your classes you get kicked out of most universities. Everyone gets a high school diploma if you walk into the building for four years. But in college, even if you try your damnedest, people who fail the tests/courses don't get the degrees, and they generally get expelled before they're allowed to fail for too long. Scholarships and grants get revoked right away. I would imagine that if our country adopted a system of sending students to their state universities for free, it would definitely:
    1. Tighten down admissions. Since they're no longer just exploiting people for money, they probably wont take anyone and everyone like they have been.
    2. Stricter penalties for failing your courses and increased critical attention paid to people who change their major too many times.

    It might even result in fewer people attending college in lieu of technical school. It might result in liberal arts becoming the studies of our upper class, since they don't translate into jobs.


    Idk, I think the whole "I don't want students partying on my tax dollars" criticism of expanding our public education is kind of a mistaken way of thinking. In fact, I think making college education an extension of our public education system would be one of the more effective ways to attack the party subculture that has redefined what college is for so many people.
     
  7. sharedEQ

    sharedEQ SS.org Regular

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    1) Create a business environment that is favorable to big business. Incentivize giving jobs to american citizens. This will raise GDP, tax revenue, and strengthen the country.

    2) Limit offshore investment into US real estate market. This practice is pricing americans out of the market and has long term deliterious effects on families and the economy.

    3) Take a harder line against foriegn governments and their unfair trade practices. China has pegged their currency to the dollar and does not allow their economy to grow. If thier people had more civil liberties, the cost of doing buiness would be higher and would solve trade imbalances. This would move jobs back home. The key to solving the worlds economic woes is enforcing floating currencies.

    4) Separate social liberalism from fiscal irresponsibility. Republicans are fiscally and socially conservative. Dems are fiscally and socially liberal. People will not vote republican because they want social liberties, and we are stuck with fiscally destructive democratic policies as a result.

    5) Stop subsidizing student loans for .... degrees. Unless a student is in a STEM career, taking loans will end up a life long burden which will hurt the economy and the people taking these loans. (Thye cant stimulate the economy, buy new cars and houses when they are burdened with crippling debt.) This practice would help to encourage students into fields where they are needed and ensure that USA remains a technology leader. We don't need any more journalists or insurance agents with college degrees.
     
  8. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    1) A proper single-payer solution to healthcare costs. I want social security, and other worthless programs gone and I want to know that my mom and her church friends can all go to the doctor, regardless of if they were lucky enough to raise a super-successful child or 4. This includes access to things like mental health (veterans, abuse victims,) women's health, and counseling.

    2) Simplification of the tax code. 0 up to $20,000 then 7.5% up to $50,000 then 15% on all income above that. That's it to income tax across the board, flat and done deal. No matter what you make, it stays the same. Same for Bonuses, and carried interest.

    Sales tax = whatever the state/city/etc charges. Online purchases receive tax based on where the buyer is located, to prevent online versus brick and mortar tax arbitrage (helps smaller businesses, Amazon don't give a ....)

    Sales tax needs to exist so the wealthy cough up a bit more when they buy expensive toys, to offset for the reduction from a 40% max on cap gains, carried interest and capital gains taxes are also low to not punish saving/investing/risk taking.

    3) A revamp of our education system to teach people HOW to learn again. Most people will not become programmers making great money, but they need to know how to learn new things. You can't just go to school and get a job and live/retire. An end to the charade of ignorance counting as equal to knowledge. Things like no longer questioning evolution or climate change, instructing young kids on what calories are and how easy it is to be fit and look good by just knowing what you're eating. "Doritos are awesome and I'll have a bunch tonight, but I won't buy 3 bags when I go shopping" type thing.

    An education system that is equal across the board. Every grade learns the same content, no more inner city schools struggling to get books or having sub-par materials.

    Kids are graduating and only know how to regurgitate facts. Maybe don't .... on informing kids of trades they can learn that lead to reward if a bit demanding career options.

    Give kids the tools to help themselves and they will. "What is a 401k, how do I cook basic meals, what is compound interest?" Type things.

    The list gets much longer if I go beyond just my "top 3". But I wanted to be fair and follow the rules set forth herein. :D
     
  9. flint757

    flint757 SS.org Regular

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    That already exists when it comes to paying for school. If you have a low pass/fail ratio and/or too many courses you lose access to all grants, scholarships, and loans at pretty much all institutions.

    In my opinion, if an individual is paying for college completely on their own universities shouldn't have a say or concern in the number of courses someone is taking or their graduation date. As I understand it, once you pass a certain number of courses you get put on academic probation and the cost of college increases by like 50%. It's ultimately their money and their time being wasted. :shrug:

    ---

    1. Universal healthcare
    2. Election reform (automatic voter registration, any citizen can vote over 17, all elections open, paper ballots, nationwide universal rules/laws for voting, election day as national holiday, and term limits)
    3. Education reform (open access to pre-k, removal of state testing, fix 'common core', introduction to college and technical path in high school, cheaper or free technical school and university)

    While I'm technically cheating now :fawk:, but we also need to bring jobs back home so that the people being educated have somewhere to work, otherwise more education solves absolutely nothing.
     
  10. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    :hbang:
     
  11. QuantumCybin

    QuantumCybin Lost In Thought

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    Cool thread. I find it hard to say I affiliate with any one party but every test I've ever taken tells me I'm a libertarian, and I did vote for Gary Johnson in 2012 :lol: but here's what I'd selfishly like:

    1. Somehow make college more affordable, if not free. Move some of that cash we spend on the military to focus more on education. I'm not nearly intelligent enough to actually explain how that could happen but yeah.

    2. End the war on drugs. Come on, man. Just let me smoke my weed and munch on some mushrooms occasionally and stay out of my business :lol:

    3. Allow more than two parties to have federal funding. I've mentioned it before but it seems more relevant now given the two primary presidential candidates....bipartisanship SUCKS.
     
  12. Demiurge

    Demiurge Intrepid Jackass

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    Great topic! I don't want to repeat too much... I'm on-board for ending the war on drugs though I think that maybe some policing is needed in the right places: my city is one of many with a huge opioid problem with people selling junk right behind city hall, yet people are still getting busted-up over weed- ridiculous. I'd also like to see some sort of relief with college tuition- things cost money and will still need to cost money, but perhaps something like making a portion of the principle (and not just interest) of student loan payments tax deductible might be a step in the right direction.

    Now for something that hasn't been mentioned: do something about the goddamned TSA/airport security. Can there be a happy medium between allowing ISIS sleeper-agents stowing machetes and dirty bombs on commercial jets and having rent-a-cops stripsearching Grandma before she flies back to Palm Springs under the notion that profiling everybody is the solution? Air travel is simultaneously a technological miracle and one of the most monumental annoyances in modern life- I believe this can be fixed.
     
  13. broj15

    broj15 SS.org Regular

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    1. End the war on drugs. At this point it's a waste of money/resources for everyone. Everyone but the owners of privatized prisons who get access to free labor performed by drug "offenders". Plus, if I don't have sovereignty over my own body/consciousness then what freedoms do I really have?

    2. Stay out of the affairs of foreign countries. It costs the tax payers a lot of money, which is hard to justify when we have our own problems going on here. I'm not saying to let tyranny run rampant. If dictators and tyrants are left unchecked then it won't be long before someone tries to pull something on our soil (yes, I know that last bit is incredibly ironic considering I live in america :lol:).

    3. Give me back my privacy. It's understandable that someone would be monitored if they have ties to a foreign government that we're not on friendly terms with, or they involved in some sort of organized crime, but the average american citizen has a right to their privacy.
     
  14. 7 Strings of Hate

    7 Strings of Hate Mid-Level Asshole Contributor

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    Cheaper health care
    Cheaper education
    Mandatory vacation for ALL jobs
     
  15. Randy

    Randy Ooh, Degrasse Tyson-son Super Moderator

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    1. Blonde
    2. Brunette
    3. Redhead
     
  16. wheresthefbomb

    wheresthefbomb SS.org Regular

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    I only have one:

    Legalize Drugs and Murder
     
  17. ZeroTolerance94

    ZeroTolerance94 SS.org Regular

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    HEALTHCARE. HEALTHCARE. HEALTHCARE.

    That's all I give a .... about.

    And here's how we do it and what went wrong.

    Obama decided that we have to have health insurance. It's required by law now, and that's where they ....ed up.
    Because now i'm paying health insurance simply to avoid a fine, and that health insurance doesn't cover .....
    I pay $240/month for health insurance that doesn't cover me for practically anything because of this whole "yearly maximum deductible" nonsense.

    So I pay $240/month for health insurance.
    I got bit by a dog and had to go to the hospital. Went to the hospital, and got 4 simple sutures.
    My bill was $1001.60.

    WHAT THE ..... I HAVE INSURANCE, RIGHT?
    Yeah but it's useless.

    Here's what I want to see.

    Take the money I pay for health insurance, and ....ing tax me. Just give everybody in the country a 10% income tax, across the board. You work? You pay 10% of it for healthcare. Done.
    Use that money, and provide hospitals and doctors that I can go to, tax payer funded.

    The healthcare system is so ....ed in this country, the only way out of the current position... is a completely socialist, universal healthcare system. Provided by the federal government.

    "Oh but I want to keep my doctor"
    Fine, you can still pay for your insurance or pay for your doctor if you want...
    ...But you're still gonna pay that tax. So you can use the "free" hospitals should you need to.

    I don't give a .... if I get taxed more for universal healthcare.
    As long as it means I don't have to give that $240/month to an insurance company that is as ....ing lying and deceiving as Hillary Clinton.

    That's it.
    End rant.
     
  18. TechDeathWannabe

    TechDeathWannabe SS.org Regular

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    Tl;dr version:

    1: A better education system.
    2: Ending the war on drugs, and ending the FDA's rule over tobacco, as well as abolishing "sin taxes".
    3: The option of one free high-end/custom instrument instead of financial aid for college, if the student so desires, and can fulfill the requirements.



    Long version:
    (Sorry in advance for the run-on sentences and the unprofessional/imperfect grammar. That's not a snide 'fvck you' apology, it's just a warning. :lol:)


    1: A better education system.

    I was homeschooled, and I never attended a public school, but my PS peers, (and PS teachers we talked to), would make comments claiming I was smarter, or that I knew more, and the blame fell on being homeschooled. :noplease:
    Yes, I could choose a more personal path of study at home, (within guidelines), but that doesn't excuse public school from making me seem more intelligent than my peers. I'm average at best. :lol:

    2: Ending (what seems to be) the pathetic war on drugs, and large organizations (FDA) regulating tobacco, including the removal of "sin taxes".

    I don't use drugs, and haven't ever "experimented" with them either, but it seems like a futile battle. And I'd also agree that we should have control over our own bodies. Especially if we aren't harming anyone else.
    And tobacco? I'm biased and jaded. I feel like cigarette smoking is such a huge problem because it is regulated by people other than just the growers and users. Pipe tobacco isn't -currently- regulated by any one organization, as far as I understand, and I don't hear any pipesmokers complain about being addicted, they smoke because they enjoy it, and it's peaceful. And when they haven't smoked in a day or so, I don't notice any bitchiness or hostility, they're just ready for a smoke, and perhaps a book or favorite album. And sin taxes just piss me off. Hobbies aren't necessarily cheap, adding extra taxes because of the hobby of choice? I call bullsh!t.
    Plus, as a vaper, with the FDA claiming authority over vaping, and trying to regulate it and label it as a tobacco product, that raises costs for me, because now instead of not being a tobacco user, best I can give is "it depends". :realmad: (There's a rant just under the surface, but I'm shutting up about this one. :lol:)


    And for 3? ... Tough call.
    I feel like our foreign affairs are kinda screwed up currently, and like we get involved in too many wars and disputes that would be more easily resolved if we kept our asses out of other people's business.
    I also think that prospective candidates shouldn't have government funding for campaigns, focusing more on being a straightforward and honest Human than a political figure who's trying to buy your votes with money that we as a country probably shouldn't be spending on such a trivial thing. I could be ridiculously stupid for feeling that way, but I feel like expensive campaigns are too close to being an attention whore, or asking a hungry kid to give you a cookie while you eat pizza in front of him. :shrug: Somewhat of a bad analogy, but moving on.
    I also think that prison vs poverty is a bit fvcked up. I am not speaking from personal experience (I think I'd be classified as middle-/lower-class, but I'm definitely not in poverty, and I'm not in prison either), so I could have it all wrong, but it sounds as if prisoners have it easier than citizens in poverty. Again, I could be completely wrong. That is just how it seems, from the few discussions I've heard about it.
    And religion's role in the White House seems to be a huge can of worms, and I'm not sure where I stand, but if only considering the country, I think it should be strictly business. I have my beliefs, and you have yours, but I do think having a biased leader is potential for disaster.

    I guess for 3 I will be ridiculously and intentionally selfish, and make musical/artistic expression a higher priority than racking up students in debt, and if someone wanted a free guitar/violin/saxophone/harp/etc, instead of student loans or financial aid, let them have it! :lol: Only the first instrument would be free, but for stuff's sake, even most high-end custom instruments cost less than cheap college, and I'd say music is probably a thousand times better for your soul and well-being.

    Eligibility? Proof of residence, completion of basic education, birth certificate, and five referrals who can honestly say that they feel like an instrument would have a positive impact on your life, and on the lives of those around you.

    Only other requirement would be no selling it if you got it for free. :fawk: "Gifted" instruments would have a special serial number or other identification to make it obvious that it was free/gifted, and unwanted instruments would be returned to a local store, school, or music teacher, to be a free resource for other students.


    /ramblings
     
  19. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I know that many will either disagree or not understand my point, but I find it disappointing that so many people prioritize recreational drug use. I understand from a political point of view why decriminalizing makes sense, and I'm not disagreeing with that- but I think the fact that we even need to do so is a sign that we as a whole aren't very good at resisting our vices, to the point that we entirely deny our dependence on them. I don't think potheads should be considered criminals, but I also think we don't have a proper respect for the substance and the role it plays in peoples lives. Being a chronic user of any drug is no better than being an alcoholic or something like that, in my books.

    That being said, I'll concede that I'm not in the US, and the landscape very well may be different in ways that, if I were to experience or fully understand for myself, might negate or supersede everything I've said so far.

    Not to derail the thread, or turn it into a drug debate- but it's a valid observation to make that it's high on many people's lists. (There's sort of a pun in there.)
     
  20. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    ^Don't forget that the war on drugs is the reason we have the worlds largest prison system with the most non-violent prisoners, especially disproportionately affecting minority populations. I'm sure many people enthusiastic of ending the war on drugs are just recreational pot smokers, but that doesn't take away from that it is the important and humanist thing to do. Don't forget that people who go to prison have a highly increased rate of being sent back. The War on Drugs creates criminals even beyond non-violent users.
     

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