How to fix America?
This is something I've been working on for a few days, there's a 15 page opinion based preface that goes along with it. I'm still working on that, but I wanted to get some feedback on the ideas below. Good bad or ugly I wanna hear it. I'm going to be sending this to our elected officials. Even the bad ones LOL. It;s still a work in progress, so please forgive any formatting, spelling or grammatical errors.
1 Vote on, approve, and ratify a balanced budget amendment
We must curb our federal spending. We have to enact a balanced budget amendment. The only time congress should be allowed to borrow is:
• In times of natural disaster to aid in the recovery of affected areas
• When our national security requires additional funding to protect our lands
• In times of declared war, or insurgency
• During the times above, a majority vote will suffice.
• All other times must require a 2/3rds vote of both houses of congress in order to borrow against the credit of The United States
• Any debt(s) that the US owes will be paid before new borrowing can take place, except in the first three situations above.
• The total expenditure of government, including new debts accrued, cannot exceed (??) percent of GDP, except in times of natural disaster, declared war, or national security crises.
2 Illegal immigration
We must stop all illegal immigration. Illegal immigrants are a drain on federal, state and local resources, as well as tax dollars.
• Approve an amendment to the constitution making illegal immigration a felony, requiring immediate deportation, except in the cases of political, religious, or any other type of refugee, defector, etc. who would otherwise face undue persecution or death if returned to their home country.
• Secure our border with military force until a suitable border protection system can be placed. This is a national security issue of the utmost importance. Money may be borrowed to facilitate this.
• At any level of local, state, or federal involvement will require a person to prove his or her citizenship or legal alien status. Driver’s licensing, public assistance, medical care (other than true emergency triage and care), local, state and federal grants and numerous other local, state and federal programs that may disburse funds to a person.
• A child born to illegal immigrant parent(s) on US soil will not be citizens. Both the parent(s) and the children will be deported, unless they are a refugee fleeing war, political or religious persecution. Then they must apply for asylum for them and their child.
• Children born to legal aliens, naturalized citizens, and those with legal reason and right to be here will be considered for all intents and purposes, a legal US citizen.
• All possible steps must be taken to ensure that we are not allowing criminals to become citizens, or to visit our country. Any and all criminal data at our disposal will be used to determine the criminal status of a visitor or possible immigrant. Any crime that is violent, drug related, sexually predatory, or otherwise that may make an individual unsuitable for visitation or citizenship will result in denial of access to the US.
• Schools shall, for every student, be required to verify the immigration status of every student enrolled. If a student is found to be an undocumented alien, the case will be turned over to the appropriate authorities for further investigation.
• It shall be a felony crime for an employer to knowingly hire or employ an illegal alien. The first offense shall result in a monetary fine of $50,000 per alien hired/employed. The second offense will be $50,000 per alien hired/employed, as well as 1 year in prison per illegal alien for the person(s) engaged in the knowledgable hiring/employment of an illegal alien.
3 Reform entitlement spending
We must reform our entitlements spending, as it is now known that these funded and unfunded liabilities can and will bankrupt our country.
• Medicaid and Medicare need to become the program of last resort. We can no longer afford the burdens set upon us by legislation that was flawed from the beginning. A means test must be used to ensure that it is only being used by those who truly cannot afford the services that these programs offer. These programs must be reformed, while allowing those who truly are in need to access these vital safety net programs.
• Social Security must follow the above example, using a means test to ensure that again, those who truly do need this program have access, while those who have the means are not abusing the program.
• These tests would use the guidelines set forth by the Internal Revenue Service as to costs of living, medical care, etc. appropriate channels would be in place for modifications and appeals.
• TANF/SNAP/Medicaid funding would be given to states on a block grant type disbursement with incentives for cutting costs and rooting out fraud. The states would be responsible for any shortfalls above and beyond limits set by congress.
4 Reform of all other government spending and budgeting
We must reform federal spending and budgeting at all levels. Departments must search out all ways to cut spending and consolidate as necessary.
• Bids accepted by our federal government must be on a “per job” basis. All costs must be included, as the bid amount is what will be paid. There will be no exceptions, and all cost overruns more than 1% of total bid amount will require approval by a 2/3 vote of congress, no matter the size or scope of the contract. Only in time of declared war will this be modified, again by a 2/3rds vote of congress. If the original contractor is unable to complete or otherwise finish the contract obligation, no money will be paid. This is an effort to control massive cost over runs in recent federal projects. (the virtual border fence, the joint strike fighter, etc.)
• Budgets must be done in a timely manner, and congress will take no leave from their assigned duties until a budget, meeting the balance budget requirements, is passed. There are no exceptions. Any congressman who breaks this rule for any reason other than risk to life or limb will be removed from their elected office and new election for the vacancy will be held.
• All spending will be disclosed , with appropriate measures taken to protect national security, at the request of any citizen, agency, or media group. In order to save money, you must know how much you are spending and where you are spending it.
• The office of the president will also be responsible for cost cutting measures. In times of national deficit, the POTUS will not be allowed to use government resources for private uses, such as vacations, or other personal use. During the election campaign of a sitting POTUS, the use of all federal resources will be reimbursed using election campaign funds of the presidential campaign.
• Security services provided by the Secret Service for those campaigning for elected office will be reimbursed from campaign funds. The person seeking election may choose to forfeit Secret Service protection and use private security firms if they wish.
• Monetary aid to foreign countries shall not be disbursed in times of “deficit spending”. We cannot borrow money to give to other nations when we cannot pay for own spending without borrowing. Aid to respond to natural disasters or matters that regard national security may be disbursed in times of deficit spending with 2/3 approval of congress.
5 Transparency of Government
In order to restore faith in the United States Government , unprecented measures must be taken to ensure the transparency of our government. We can no longer allow our government to operate with complete autonomy, with little regard to the visibility of their actions.
• Unless it is a matter of National Security ( as deemed by the DOJ, CIA, or FBI, or Pentagon) all three branches of the Federal Government shall institute a process to provide transcripts at the request of any US Citizen of any and all communications, meetings, etc of all government officials. This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Our citizens have a right to know what their Government is doing at all times. Only matters of national security will be exempt from these requirements.
• All legislative bills introduced must be made available to any and all US citizens in their entirety a minimum of 21 days before a vote may take place. An additional 7 days must be allowed for “feedback” from our citizens. Only in times of national emergency may this be suspended.
• All members of congress are required to vote on all legislation. A yes or no vote must be cast and recorded.
• All members of Congress and the President are required to read in their entirety all legislation that is to be voted on.
• All legislation will include in its preface the article of the constitution that grants congress the power to enact such legislation. This will ensure that each piece of legislation is only using powers granted by the constitution. Any challenges to the constitutionality of any article of legislation will be reviewed by the SCOTUS.
• Each piece of legislation shall also include a “layman’s description”. This description will outline the direct and indirect effects of this legislation, the cost of enacting it, as well as a easy to understand listing of what the legislation will accomplish, and what it will do to further our nation.
• There shall be no closed sessions of any committee of Congress, unless matters of national security are involved. All budget negotiations, new legislation proceedings, etc shall all be transcribed and open for public review.
• The treasury shall make available all expenditure and revenue figures on a weekly basis. This information will be made available on the internet or by requesting it in writing.
• The Internal Revenue Service shall under direct order of congress maintain a personal tax code that is less complex and can be understood by the average citizen. Simple forms and formulas shall be used to calculate tax owed or refunds due. There is no reason that the average citizen should require the services of an accountant in order to ensure their taxes are done correctly. As it stands now, the tax code is convoluted, hard to understand, and leaves room for numerous errors. We must restore the citizens’ faith in the Internal Revenue Service, so Americans feel confident they are paying what is owed, no more and no less.
6 The threat of terrorism
The threat of terrorism is a problem that future generations must confront. We need to plan for this now.
• Engaging in an act of terrorism against America is punishable by death. They should be considered enemies of the state, and tried by military tribunal as enemy combatants.
• A US citizen who engages, supports or assists acts of terrorism shall lose their citizen status, and is no longer afforded the rights guaranteed them as American citizens by the constitution. Civilian criminal court shall determine if they are guilty of such acts. They will then be tried by military tribunal as enemies of the state.
• All investigative departments of the government shall join forces with the pentagon to root out and destroy terror where it hides. All agencies have a common goal, and that is to protect America capture those that seek to harm her. A free exchange of information shall be instituted to make sure the CIA, NSA, FBI, DOJ, and the military all have the best information possible to perform their duties regarding terrorism.
• Espionage, leaking of national security secrets or other acts that aid our enemies shall be considered treason. It will be punishable by death.
7 A few other considerations
• The federal government needs to downsize, streamline, and cut costs. They must set the example, and operate with incredible efficiency and transparency.
• Our elected officials take an oath to protect and follow the constitution. Attempting to pass or passing legislation that is found to be unconstitutional by the SCOTUS should result in removal from office. It is up to our lawmakers to have due diligence in regards to protecting our constitution and following it to the letter.
• All laws shall be enforced and defended by the Department of Justice, and should not be subject to the whim of a sitting president who decides which laws will be enforced and defended. They are the laws and directives of the United States, and are not subject to interpretation by anyone other than Congress.
• Term limits need to be set for congress, as they are for the president. No more than eight years total may be served in any elected federal office. This ensures that no elected official becomes entrenched and complacent. This should be accomplished by an amendment to the constitution. Any elected official who has served more than eight years at the time of the ratification by the states shall finish their term and not be eligible for re-election
• Create, pass, and ratify a line item veto amendment to the constitution. Any items vetoed by the president may be over-ridden by a two thirds vote of congress.
• A modification to the 17th amendment regarding election of senators needs to be considered. Power of the several states over the federal government is something that our founding fathers felt was necessary; and may have been usurped by the enacting of a mandatory direct election. However, it shouldn’t be the federal government’s decision on how a state elects their senators; it should be a decision that is left to the states. They are in the best position to determine which election system best fits their needs, and the level of control to which they wish to exert over the federal government.
Last edited by ianstew; 09-30-2011 at 10:22 AM.