President of the United States
I certainly hope no-one takes me seriously about this—the part about Dave for President—it just seemed like an efficient vehicle for conveying my thoughts. Anyway, here is what I would do (or try to do) as president, i.e., my platform. A couple items might sound like science fiction, specifically a sunlight-to-hydrogen economy and genetically modified babies, but I do believe the groundwork for such concepts has been laid. If it seems unlikely that such things could be acheived in even an eight-year term, I would point out we landed on the moon just eight years and two months after JFKs 1961 moon speech.
1 Ensure that government agencies such as the EPA, FCC, and CPB are working for us and not “them.”
2 Restore the Glass-Steagall act and continue pushing for the restoration of other consumer/economic safeguards that have been methodically removed over the last 50 years or so. Clearly there are those who would like to completely dismantle the safe haven for savers/investers which the Glass-Steagall act helped to create. Some of their deregulatory fiddling was reversed by Dodd-Frank (which is under attack), but I would push for more.
3 Outlaw any sort of mail-in rebates, coupons, or club cards: No one I ever met actually likes those mail-in rebates; and the cards, as well, are nothing but unnecessary tracking devices. It should be anyone’s prerogative to shop where they want without having to pay for their privacy. Coupons, nowadays, can too easily be used to overprice the poor. Making it necessary to own the latest expensive computing device to get “that discount” is but one example. A clause ensuring that the online price must always match the store price would solve that problem. Of course, penalizing (taxing) people for not joining the "collective" has become rampant. Rules to protect the individual are long overdue.
4 Outlaw any sort of discounts associated with store credit cards, or any other type of card (as a precaution): Under my tenure, anyway, you can rest assured that a cashless society—which must be the worst idea ever devised by man (at his present stage of development)—will never happen.
5 Outlaw the use of credit score to discriminate against any job applicant, and make sure its only legal use is as a tool for banks in the money lending process. A few states have already passed their own laws to this effect, but a national one is needed.
6 Beyond restoring Glass-Steagall, update the rules for banking practices. We all know the shady practices that some banks and credit unions do that penalize the poor: account maintenance fees designed to steal a person’s last dollar so they can impart an overdraft fee on top of that when the account holder writes that bad check, or charging outrageous fees to mail a monthly statement that probably does not cost the bank more than 1st class postage, with the only other option for receiving a statement being to purchase the latest computing device that supports a browser that supports the latest encryption algorithms—all of which requires an internet connection, of course; which exposes their new device to malware and viruses. And then you have some credit card companies and loan agencies still getting away with "murder." An update of Federal rules regarding such practices is long overdue. Such laws at the Federal level would level the playing field for all banks and business'.
7 Institute a personal tax structure more like the highly prosperous mid-twentieth century, when the wealthiest paid a much higher percentage than they do now.
8 Instead of attempting to appease US corporations with any more lower tax rates, tell them if they do not bring their profits back to the US, declare them, and pay their fair share of taxes on them, they will no longer be allowed to do business in the United States. (The United States is a huge market. If they want to take their business and product elsewhere, I’m sure there will be someone else more than willing to move up and take their place.)
9 Implement a single payer health system, using the tax revenues from the wealthy to help pay for it. And relegate the existing health insurance industry to a much less prominent role. Modern medicine has gotten very sophisticated and the population is growing older. The US needs a health care system that is as simple, streamlined and efficient as it can possibly be; not the disjointed, complicated mess it currently is. As large a country as the United States is, it could be the best and most efficient in the world, by far, as opposed to the least efficient.
10 In the near term, strengthen the US-Mexican border to stave off any rapid influx of people that may strain health care and other tax-based resources, affect wages and the job market for certain US citizens, include some very bad guys, and cause a very unfair situation for those that do respect international borders. However, absolutely no one already in the US illegally for any length of time would be rounded up and deported, except perhaps known criminals. (A more extensive border wall should have been constructed many years ago.)
11 Make sure the US has a well funded and unhindered genetic research program (unhindered by any goofy restrictions on stem cell research, or embryonic stem cell research, etc.) with the goal of designing people who are—on average—more intelligent, healthier, have longer lifespans, are less superstitious, and are less violent. This may require genetic samples of many thousands or even millions of people, and the collection of personal data, all of which should be completely voluntary.
12 Make any such discoveries and the gene splicing technology (potentially the greatest tool mankind could ever utilize - if used wisely) necessary to implement it available to the entire planet, and indeed to every person on the planet, so that any couple on earth—regardless of social status—can select the latest and best DNA sequences for their child. (The DNA sequences—a very small percentage of the human genome—would be added to their own to create a unique embryo.)
13 This last one would probably have no significant economic impact, other than salvaging a few meter reading jobs, perhaps, but I would try to enact a law requiring the installation of any electronic device in or on a person's property (house, car etc.)—of the variety that communicates via a network—to be optional, and outlaw any discounts for their use. For example, the so called smart meters that are being installed by power companies are intrusive and are a fourth amendment violation, no question about it, because they are forced upon people, with their privacy held for ransom. Once it is mandated that all new appliances be equipped to communicate with the meters, your house will potentially be opened up to anyone on the planet, and you will have no control over it.
Note from the future: Congratulations, I was elected and managed to accomplish my entire list. You, the lower eighty percent of the US population, who voted me in office have now reclaimed much of the wealth that you were tricked (again and again) into handing over to the top 20% (with emphasis on the top 1%). Your elected officials are now much more likely to listen to you and affect policies that will benefit you, as opposed to only benefitting the corporate elite. While humanity is still divided among races and creeds, there is not near the racism that once persisted. No one can now point to a specific race and claim it to be any more devious, or more prone to violence, than any other. Population control can now be calmly and intellectually discussed; a social credit scheme, based on GDP, has been implemented to offset rapid job loss due to automation and other factors; a strong border is becoming less and less important because all of countries of the world are elevating their own societies; and the US no longer has a trade deficit, allowing a return to the gold standard—a tool to combat inflation, and (ironically enough) a deterrent against trade deficits. Environmental pollution is decreasing rapidly, as fossil fuels have largely been replaced by a sunlight to hydrogen economy. And lastly, the threat of nuclear war is something taught only in the history books.
Note from the present: Sorry, but the scenario described above is never going to happen in a million years because there are enough bought-off elected officials at both the state and Federal level to ensure that none those items listed in my platform will ever happen. Due to the collision of population and climate swing, human society will descend further into chaos and authoritarian rule.
End note, some advice: Watch out for false prophets—those who would read articles like this and pretend to be a champion of the people, when all they really plan to do is trick you out of the little actual wealth you have left. (Gee, who could Dave be referring to?) No one has a crystal ball to see in the future, of course, and I did not vote for either Presidential candidate last election, but if Mr. Sanders had been on the ballot, my vote would have gone to him.