[ExI] If I were President...

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Sat Aug 27 22:50:37 UTC 2016

What major (as in, "at least 1% of Americans who vote") issues does this
list miss?  And what does this list get wrong?  Adrian

It would have helped if you had used numbers rather than points

I'll study this some more, but here's two:

1 -   Limiting CEO pay may not be constitutional despite how good an idea
it is - leave that to the stockholders - I see articles on this every
Sunday NYT; it's an idea whose time has come and may simply not need any

2- add this:  make it against federal law to hold mental patients in jails
or prisons over, say, 30 days.  MIssissippi has over 17K mental patients in
prison - yes 17,000, receiving utterly no treatment of any kind - no
antipsychotic drugs for one.  A few of these will be very dangerous without
drug treatment.

Not just MS.  It's a national shame.  Ever heard of any one running on a
platform (just one plank) for more money for mental health?  Maybe in
enlightened states - not in the South.

MS has no money to build community mental health centers.  In fact they are
changing laws to let people out of prison early just so they can save

A lot of great ideas that you've obviously put a lot of time into.

bill w

On Sat, Aug 27, 2016 at 5:15 PM, Adrian Tymes <atymes at gmail.com> wrote:

> Indulge me if you would please.  :)
> I have wondered, from time to time, just what a sane, rational,
> non-corrupt, yet potentially broadly popular US Presidential candidate's
> platform might look like.  Given current discussions on the list, I think
> it on-topic to bounce some ideas around - especially, ideas oriented
> towards installing someone who shares Extropian ideas in the United State's
> highest office.  (Which would very likely result in the promotion and wider
> adoption of Extropian ideas.)
> Here are some planks I have considered.  These are for a hypothetical
> candidate running in the 2024 election: it is way too late to put up a
> candidate in this cycle, and whoever wins this year might have an
> insurmountable advantage in 2020.  (Yes, doomsayers, this assumes that
> there will be a 2024 election - and one that is not essentially a one-party
> affair - which assumes survival of enough Americans long enough to have
> one, that the US will not be under martial law by that time, and so on.  If
> you wish to debate that, please at least change the subject line or do it
> in other threads.)  Generally assume continuation of current trends
> (insofar as 2016 has been a continuation of trends evident in 2008 and/or
> 2012), and that the Singularity will not happen prior to the 2024 election.
> Note that many of these planks can also be adopted by someone running for
> state governor, or state or local legislature.  (Indeed, a successful 2024
> Presidential run's chances may be greatly increased if others have made it
> into Congress between now and then by running on these planks.)  Also, I
> use the phrase "push for laws, and order regulations", recognizing that the
> President does not pass laws (though the President's staff could draw up
> ones and submit them to Congress for consideration).  Some of these are
> probably already being pushed by certain Democratic and/or Republican
> candidates; this list does not assume party affiliation (even if some might
> find easier acceptance in one party or the other, or if both parties would
> reject them and only a third party candidate could hope to get a party
> nomination with these planks).
> * Subsidize vocational training for anyone who has held a job that became
> obsolete, was outsourced, or the like.  (Really, the qualifier is almost as
> broad as, "has ever held a job and is now looking for work".)  The jobs we
> have lost aren't coming back, but there are these new jobs that reach
> overseas because there aren't enough Americans trained in them.
> * Push for laws, and order regulations, banning hiring decisions based on
> whether someone does not have a given skill, where that person has general
> competence in the field and can reasonably be expected to learn that
> particular skill within 5 business days on the job.  This is directed at
> those businesses - and government agencies - who invent insanely specific
> requirements to justify their refusal to hire anyone.  Many of them don't
> realize they're doing it; others deliberately do it to unlock "but we
> couldn't find anyone" relief clauses (particularly immigration-related
> ones).
> * Push for laws, and order regulations, preventing charging a college
> undergraduate a total tuition more than 1/3rd of the average 10 year income
> of a college graduate in that field.  Praise the colleges that have already
> started to adapt this sort of fee structure, and use them as examples that
> colleges do not need to charge far more than this to do their jobs.  Freely
> acknowledge that many colleges would rather shut down, than divert one cent
> of executive bonuses or construction budgets for shiny new status symbols
> that largely sit empty into lowering tuition.  Say good riddance to such
> college administrations.
> * Push for laws, and order regulations, setting a maximum
> highest-paid:lowest-paid wage ratio, perhaps 100:1, adjusted to full-time
> salaries.  For example, if your company pays some people $15/hour, which
> comes to a full-time annual salary of $30,000, then your highest-paid
> employee can not be paid more than $3,000,000 per year.  Bonuses are
> specifically included at both ends (so if that lowest-paid person gets a
> $10,000 bonus, the upper cap is now $4,000,000, but a $10,000,000 bonus to
> that top-paid employee would be over the limit.)  If you do pay more, the
> recipient gets taxed at 100%.  Perhaps this doesn't include stocks or other
> not-directly-financial instruments tied directly to company performance,
> but it certainly includes guaranteed payments regardless of whether the
> company tanks.  Make the ratio substantially lower, maybe 20:1, for a
> company that ceases to employ at least 10% of its staff in a given year.
> (This might apply only to American workers - i.e., a company's cap would be
> calculated based on its lowest paid American.  External vendors of products
> do not count, but contracts with firms that essentially offer employees
> without them actually being directly employed by the company do count.)
> * Push for higher maximum tax brackets, as a symbolic measure more than
> actual significant income source.  Maybe 44.9% for single-filer incomes of
> $600,000-$999,999, and 49.9% for incomes of $1,000,000 and above, with
> married-filer levels higher as they are in lower tiers.  Point out, to
> those who say this will cause millionaires to flee the country, that we
> have had maximum tax rates over 90% before and millionaires continued to
> recognize that keeping their money in the US was still the best deal, and
> predict that this will continue to be the case.  (Note on the side that
> effective tax rates of 0% thanks to loopholes will probably continue to
> happen, so few millionaires will probably actually be affected.  Note on
> the side of the side that the loopholes amount to approved ways of
> spending, so the millionaires who will actually be affected will mostly be
> those not going along with the nation's preferences.)
> * Order resumption of the construction of the nuclear waste repository in
> Yucca Mountain.  Fire all DoE and other executive-branch personnel
> continuing to flat-out oppose it.  As a first step, order consulting with
> the local communities around Yucca Mountain; make it clear that "no" is not
> an answer the nation can afford, but several "yes but"s can be considered.
> Consider building waste reprocessing facilities at Yucca Mountain, at least
> to separate more-dangerous wastes (which would be stored centrally) from
> less-dangerous (which could be used to buffer more-dangerous wastes) if not
> to generate new fuel.
> * Ask FEMA to investigate the practicality of large air scrubbers for
> areas hit hard by smog, such as Los Angeles, New York City, and Houston, or
> smoke from wildfires.  (An issue that California, New York, AND Texas can
> all agree on?  Sure, I'll take those electoral votes.)  Focus on immediate
> ground-level effects, but note that this would reduce emissions escaping to
> change the Earth's climate as well.
> * Order the DoD to consider more dual-use technology, and more paths to
> commercialization, for its science spending.  Note that technology is
> inherently more sustainable if it has a civilian commercial base in
> addition to military customers, rather than for the military's exclusive
> use.  (Hint but perhaps do not make a big issue of it also being more
> politically popular.)
> * Encourage DARPA, NASA, the DoE, and similar agencies to consider more
> small science: projects with total budgets under $500,000, that can
> demonstrate principles that can then, with experimental data in hand,
> better argue for larger (and perhaps private) funding - or if they fail, do
> not fail as expensively.  (Personally, this is part of what I'm doing by
> example with CubeCab, but there are plenty of examples in other fields.)
> Promote this as an effort toward having more citizen scientists.
> * Order the DoJ to study and implement more mental health measures as part
> of corrections, as well as vocational training for low-level first-time
> offenders, with a goal of reducing recidivism rates and getting more
> prisoners able to meet conditions for parole earlier.  Encourage the DoHHS
> and DoE to assist with this, and order the DoJ to allow said assistance.
> * Order the ATF to establish or endorse national training standards for
> firearms (for all US citizens, not just law enforcement as it does now),
> with proof of training to said standards to be consulted by gun dealers
> conducting background checks on prospective gun owners - though not (at
> first) to be the sole criteria for granting or denying.
> * Push for laws, and order regulations, allowing the government to go
> after executives who willingly and knowingly aided and abetted (and
> especially ordered) corporate malfeasance.  If a company's executives were
> given bonuses for something that a corporation was later fined for, said
> bonuses should be fair game to the amount that the bonuses derived from the
> illegal behavior.  (This might be mostly for show, but there is a growing
> perception that large corporations are being used in this manner.)
> * Order the FTC to establish minimum cybersecurity regulations for any US
> company that handles customers' financial data.  (There are industry
> standard existing regulations for credit card processing.  Build on them.)
> Each time a major hack occurs, either update the regulations if the victim
> was in compliance (because then the regulations were too low) or prosecute
> the company that failed to adhere to the regulations (yes, this may be
> double-punishing the victim, but note the previous bullet point for the
> more likely actual target).
> * Push for laws, and order regulations, for a new class of immigrant visa,
> where anyone capable can do sufficient work for the government - federal,
> state, and/or local - so as to pay off their cost of assimilation.  Promote
> this as an unlimited cap of new Americans, and emphasize that the people
> coming out of this must prove themselves Americans first - not Mexicans,
> not Arabs, nor any other primary identity - in order to be granted
> citizenship.  Once this is in place, and anyone who wants to be American
> but there was no room in other quantity-limited paths no longer has an
> excuse, crack down on illegal immigration.  Economies that subsist on
> illegal immigrants now get minimum-wage American laborers; provide economic
> assistance (perhaps through automation) to economies unable to cope with
> the change.
> * Eliminate the H1B visa.  There is sufficient evidence that the majority
> of visas given through this program are fraud (some of the above-mentioned
> "but we couldn't find anyone" types, who lie freely and blatantly - though,
> granted, sometimes also unknowingly - as they beg for more visas) and/or
> treat their employees as modern-day slaves ("do what we say regardless of
> the law, or we'll revoke your visa and your family can starve") that the
> original purpose is not effectively being served.
> * Order the FTC to put a condition on all pharmaceutical company mergers
> expressly preventing substantial increases in the prices of the drugs the
> smaller company makes for several years - perhaps at least 10 - after the
> merger.  If that makes a given merger so unprofitable that the larger
> company actually does call it off, that is evidence that the whole point of
> the merger was to extort money from patients, rather than any kind of
> socially acceptable efficiency or value, so preventing that merger is a
> good thing for the American public.
> * Push for laws, and order regulations, restructuring Social Security,
> Medicare, and related programs with the assumption that people are going to
> have longer healthy working lives.  Perhaps push the age at which they kick
> in from 65 to 75 gradually, adding one year every other year (with anyone
> who used to be over the age limit still counting).  Since this would take
> 20 years, any given Presidential administration could only see it start and
> set on autopilot, with the hopes that future administrations won't actively
> cancel it; whether to extend (or even accelerate) it is to be determined
> after 20 years of seeing it in action.
> * Tell the US government intelligence community that the American public
> doesn't buy their excuses for increased surveillance and increased
> classification, and neither does their new boss.  They can back down and be
> reasonable, or they can leave government service.
> * Push for laws, and order regulations, implementing mandatory
> no-person-at-fault declassification for anything that has been classified
> for longer than a given number of years.  (Secret lasts longer than
> Classified, and Top Secret lasts longer than Secret.)  Allow exceptions,
> but require increasing levels of review and signoff the longer a given
> thing has been classified.  Perhaps allow no exceptions after 50 years (by
> which time everyone involved is probably dead, or at least long since
> retired - but lay the groundwork for future times when this might no longer
> be the case), save possibly for cases where 50+ year old data is still in
> active use (such as the original locations of still-in-use ICBM silos).  If
> possible, have these laws and regulations state that improper
> classification, especially in the classification-extension reviews, is a
> crime.
> * Push for laws, and order regulations, stating that anything that can not
> be stated in court for reasons of national security (or any functionally
> similar term), may not be considered as part of that court's trial.
> Possibly include a provision that any case which could reasonably be
> expected to run afoul of this, through no fault of the defendant, may need
> to shift venue to a court where the information can be relayed.  (Only the
> defendant so that "You broke the law, but we can't tell you why" is not
> allowed, and the court will dismiss such a case.  Classified trials may
> happen in a classified-okay court...unless, say, the defendant is some
> ordinary schmoe with no security clearance - and thus, no obligation to
> protect secrets - who couldn't set foot in that court, in which case
> existing rules against trials in absentia would void the case.  The intent
> is that "We weren't stealing; we were authorized to take the property you
> thought was yours, but we can't show you the warrant" doesn't fly, and the
> court would consider that equal to no defense.)
> * Order the FCC to favor net neutrality, period.  (Anyone who knows what
> "net neutrality" is, probably already knows sufficient relevant background
> and detail.  Anyone else can look it up if they care.)
> * Announce plans to invite the most prominent flat Earthers,
> anti-vaccination proponents, and others who base their entire pitches on
> claims that most courts would now consider to have been thoroughly
> disproven, to come speak to Congress - just a few Congresspeople who are
> among their strongest opponents, not anything that would be broadcast -
> then arrest them for lying to Congress.  (That this probably would result
> in a fair number of arrests is a sad statement about the devaluing of
> truth, but at least there would then be publicly recorded court opinion
> that, no, those proponents are simply wrong.)  Make the list of invitees
> public, both for those who refuse to come, and so the government is on
> record as misfiring for any case where the invitee might actually be
> right.  Require court-admissible evidence of the lie to be posted for each
> invitee prior to the invitation, and let the invitee go if they say
> something else (so as to prevent this from being used to frame someone for
> something they are not in fact proposing).
> * For any foreign governments we are shoring up, train their governors in
> how to govern.  Iraq's government collapsed because much of the installed
> government appears to have no idea how to govern except "give stuff to my
> tribe, take stuff from other tribes".  Basic things like independent
> oversight committees that actually get listened to, or impersonal review of
> proposals, seem to not even occur to them.  This could easily be fixed with
> training (and backing officials who are willing to be trained, with the
> understanding that governing more fairly means a lot less people wanting to
> shoot down your government, and a lot more people willing to pay taxes -
> not to mention, more money per person on average to be taxed).  Also help
> train an independent judiciary and law enforcement: an effective rule of
> law goes a long way toward removing bandits who steal food (effectively
> causing famine) and drugs (effectively causing epidemics), whether or not
> those bandits wear government uniforms.
> * Establish an ongoing virtual constitutional convention.  Any issue that
> can not be addressed through Congressional laws (especially, ones that
> Congress refuses to touch out of self-interest) can be brought up.  Any
> that are voted all the way to the top will be studied and, if judged
> appropriate by the President, will be submitted to all 50 states'
> governors.  If a majority of them agree, it will then be placed on the next
> statewide ballot in all 50 states (including those whose governors voted
> against) for ratification by public acclaim, although individual states may
> skip this if and only if their legislatures ratify it.  Per article V of
> the US Constitution, if 3/4 of the states ratify it, it then becomes part
> of the US Constitution.  Establish that at most one issue can be submitted
> to the governors every two years.  One issue for consideration would be an
> amendment limiting corporate personhood ("overturning Citizens United").
> (This might be drafted with an eye toward AIs or other entities that might
> identify as people, that do not yet exist but might in a few decades - but
> this would probably just mean distinguishing between "an individual" and a
> corporation rather than "a human being" and a corporation.)  Another would
> be one specifying that entities that perform services that are essential
> parts of the government, are to be treated as part of the government in the
> eyes of the law, with all the limitations thereof.  (Which means that free
> speech regulations suddenly apply to political parties, and privatization -
> where intended to milk profits rather than to provide actual service -
> suddenly becomes a lot less appealing.)
> What major (as in, "at least 1% of Americans who vote") issues does this
> list miss?  And what does this list get wrong?
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