... and here's a little bit of what I'm going to do. (This is local to the US, of course.)
Telemarketers, unsolicited commercial e-mail, and cell phone spam - Banned. Completely. $1000 fine if anyone recieves an unwanted solicitation from a business, political campaign or non-profit organization by telephone, e-mail or fax. End of story.
Metric system - As of 1 January 2003, the United States will undergo a quick, "cold turkey" conversion to the metric system. Highway signs will change, consumer goods produced after that date must be sold with metric untis shown predominantly, weather forecasts on television will use degrees celsius and kilopascals, and we'll be buying liters of gas at the corner Texaco. If you don't like it, you can move to Myannamar, the last country on the planet that still embraces such quaint measurements as hogsheads and chains.
Gun control - Guns will be treated in a manner similar to motor vehicles. You must pass a rigorous a gun safety, use and marksmanship course to earn a "gun license." You must renew your license every ten years if you want your right to gun ownership to continue. Guns will be registered much as cars are, and "fingerprinted" by noting unique markings the weapon makes on bullets and shell casings. Felons are permanently barred from gun licensing or registration. If you have a license and properly registered (and renewed) registrations, you can own as many guns as you want. C'mon ... you can only hold two, anyhow, so the rest won't do you any good.
Domestic pet breeding - Puppy mills and catteries are banned. An animal owner cannot breed more than four litters per year. Domestic pets will not be sold in retail or wholesale outlets.
The New National Highway Beautification Act - Billboards visible from the public right-of-way of any federal, state or local highway are banned. Freestanding signs taller than 15 feet ... ahem, I mean five meters ... banned. Excepted areas include Times Square, the Las Vegas Strip, and Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Fuel taxes will pay to buy out the assets of remaining outdoor advertising companies, at an uninflated fair market rate.
Drinking age - Old enough to vote, old enough to die for your country, old enough to drink. The national drinking age is 18. Minors may consume alcohol in the presence of their parents or legally appoined guardians.
Health care - People have the right to decent health care. Dig up Hillary Clinton's proposed single payer/universal coverage plan. Stamp out plastic cards that say "Health Care America." They're insurance cards. One will be given to each American citizen and gainfully employed foreign national in the United States. Tort limits will be imposed.
National service - Every American citizen must serve at least two years of "national service duty" while they are between the ages of 18 and 25. National service duty can include the military (if they're good enough), Peace Corps, and VISTA.
National defense - The military deserves our nation's best and brightest, and those serving deserve more than our thanks and respect. MIlitary personnel will get paid a decent salary, comparable to that of other federal employees engaged in defense-like operations (i.e. Capital Police, Border Petrol, etc.) -- after two years of service.
Those who are fabulous will also be allowed to perform military service. It might upset some, but think of the wonderful choreography that drill formations will now have!
Immigration - Immigrants can come to the United States 1) like now, theough marriage or blood relation; 2) by scoring highly on a "point" system, similar to that used by Canada and Australia; 3) through the "green card" diversity lottery, or 4) through the "point" system, with extra credit given to those who agree to live in federally designated areas such as declining Rust Belt cities, or, for medical professionals, small rural towns, for at least ten years after their arrival in the country.
Media un-deregulation - Radio sucks. Large radio conglomerates (Clear Channel, etc.) will be broken up. At least 50% of all radio stations in a market must be owned by a real company (not a holding company) within 50 km of the center of the market; 25% may be owned by companies or individuals located up to 100 km from the market. A company may not own more than five radio stations,with no more than two in one market.
The IBOC digital broadcasting standard proposed by the NAB will be dropped, and the United States will follow the rest of the world with digital terrestrial radio broadcasting using the Eureka standard. All existing AM and FM radio stations will be given Eureka bandwidth, and room will be made to double the number of radio stations in a given market. New community and collegiate broadcasters -- not religious -- will be given priority for slots in the expanded bandwidth.
National Vehicular Low Frequency Noice Emination Act - Drivers of vehicles where sound systems are are playing so loudly that they can be not necessarily heard, but felt more than five meters from the vehicle will be subjected to at least four hours of noise aversion therapy. This includes confinement to an acoustically perfect room, where they will be subjected to polka, bhangra (Tunak Tunak Tun!) and Bollywood/Indian pop, 1970s era soft pop (Bread, England Dan and John Ford Coley, etc), 1920s era vocal 78s ("My Darling Clementine" in a clipped nasal accent, etc), instrumental Muzak, and The Kids of Widney High, at volumes just below a threshold that would cause permanent hearing damage. No potty breaks, either.
Slavery reparations - No. We cannot deny our past. However, most groups have, at some time or another, been held in bondage or oppressed unjustly. Immigrants to the United States, while acknowledging their heritage, have put the past behind them, and looked forward to the future. Those whose decendants were slaves or indentured servants -- black and white -- must do the same.
Eschew obfusication! - All federal, state, county and local laws, regulations, ordinances, and resolutions, as well as all all legally binding contracts, must be written (or re-written, as the case may be) in plain, jargon-free, legalese-free English, with prose as short as possible to get the point across.
Business welfare reform - No more government handouts -- federal, state, or local -- for private businesses. Economic development incentives must not include tax breaks or other actions directed at one specific employer. A government may prop up a threatened business sector by purchasing its products, though; i.e. advance purchase of airline tickets to help troubled airlines, instead of direct subsidies or handouts.
Tort reform - Loser pays. It's that simple. No more people suing McDonalds for getting fat from their food, or making coffee that could possibly scald you if it was spilled.
Election reform - The Electoral College will be eliminated.. One man, one vote, with instant runoff voting instituted in every election, from dog catcher to president.
All local elections departments will be eliminted. A new "Bureau of Elections" will conduct all local, state and federal elections, using the same touch-screen electronic voting machines nationwide. No more punch cards in Florida, no more 1930s era mechanical voting machines in New York.
Redrawing the map - States will be consolidated or split as follows:
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut - consolidated.
Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware - consolidated.
North Dakota and South Dakota - consolidated.
Upper Peninsula of Michigan - given to Wisconsin.
Vermont and New Hampshire - consolidated. Should be fun to watch.
Oklahoma and Texas - Amarillo/Texas Panhandle area joined to Oklahoma. West Texas split from remainder of Texas.
Cuba - Fidel Castro will probably outlive my unborn children. Enough is enough. Lift the embargo, and let Americans enjoy the right to travel wherever they want.
Drugs - Marijuana, hashish, mushrooms, and other such drugs that are not refined or processed will be legalized and regulated in the same manner of the Netherlands. Processed drugs, such as cocaine, crack, and heroin, will remain illegal. The growing, harvest, sales and distribution of legalized soft drugs will be closely monitored, to ensure there is no influence by organized crime.
Taxes - 15% value-added tax (VAT). 15% federal income tax. 15% capital gains tax. 50% sin tax (cigarettes, alcohol, drugs). 25 cent tax per liter of gasoline, to increase with the rate of inflation, with money specifically earmarked towards transportation projects. No inheritance tax. No tax on lottery winnings. No exemptions, period. Taxes may be raised temporarily, in times of dire national emergency, but every year, the emergency tax must be re-approved.
College tuition - State colleges are free ... one year of tuition for every year of national service. If you perform service after college, your tuition is refunded.
Foreign aid - No cash handouts. My Ataturk-like benevolent dictatorship will follow the example of the Bush administration, and make foreign aid conditional upon good governance. The emphasis of foreign aid will be the provision of physical and technological infrastructure that will stimulate economic development, the quality of life, and self-determination. For instance, my post-Taliban Afghanistan aid will be in the form of an extensive paved highway system and a high-speed wireless telecommunications network. Military aid will be rare, and given only when a country's soverignity is under constant threat; i.e. Israel.
Foreign policy - No enemies, except those that seek the destruction of the United States.
Canada - My administration will have an "open border" policy with Canada. In return, Canada must implement a similar open-border policy (allowing gun checks, in a manner similar to California's agricultural border inspections), and cooperate to form a bi-national agency that will work to secure the perimeter of our countries. The United States will work unilaterally to address issues that result in negative externalities on our friend to the north, such as acid rain.
Privacy - The United States will cope the European Union's efforts to ensure the privacy of its citizens, with regards to medical and employment records, credit reports, consumer product preference tracking, and so on. However, cameras will be used in public places not to spy on or track people, but rather to prevent crime. Gun licensing and registration records will be available only to law enforcement agencies, and not to the general public.
Space exploration - My benevolent dictatorship will set goals that will continue the legacy started by Eisenhower and Kennedy.
Return to the moon: 2005
Functioning space plane: 2007
Mars landing: 2010
Moon colonization: 2010
Mars colonization: 2020
Landing on any Jupiter moon: 2020
I'll be adding more throughout the weekend. Stay tuned.