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Get Out and Vote

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Popularity Wins Them All

Too often I hear Americans express their distaste towards the voting system. On many things with them I concur one of which is the electoral college. I hold no qualms telling the reader I think Donald Trump is slime. That son-of-a-bitch should’ve never made it past the Republican primary. When Trump mocked Serge Kovaleski, the New York Times reporter with arthrogryposis on national TV, that should’ve marked the end of his campaign. The only reason George W. Bush and Agent Orange were elected was because of the electoral college. Both lost the popular vote to their opponents. It stands to reason that he/she who garners the most votes shall be the winner. Otherwise, they might as well induce the electoral college for gubernatorial elections. That way all contestants need is to win the electoral votes for the metropolitan areas to win. That defeats the purpose of democracy and undermines citizens who live in the hinterland. That would lead to gerrymandering across the board. Were it up to me, all districts would be drawn based on population blocks during each decennial census in lieu of physical boundaries.

Shame and Blame Are Not the Game

Another qualm I have is the low voter turnout. Replacing the electoral college with the popular vote alone could solve most of that. I’m worried many Bernie Sanders voters will stay home or go third-party and get Trump reelected out of spite in 2020 now that he bowed out. Many times I’ve had online tiffs with friends on social media over this. They think I despise Bernie. I don’t hate or dislike Bernie; I tolerate him. I love his ideas, but it’s hard to respect a lifelong Independent who piggybacked off the Democratic Party in 2016 when it was convenient. Talking down to the center-left and calling the other candidates within the party “corporate Democrats,” “establishment Democrats,” and “neoliberals” and accusing them of being part of the establishment doesn’t win me over. That man had a lot of nerve shaming people like that when he didn’t call himself a Democrat until 2016. Further, I find it more difficult to believe someone who voted against the Brady Bill five times has a D minus record with the NRA. Using divisive language and polarizing the voters is no way to organize a revolution in my book. People who don’t vote have no right to complain. The Berniebots I blame partially for this quagmire. Their tacit consent allowed the most unqualified person to be in the oval office. It wasn’t just Russia meddling in the election.

Apathy is Expensive

That leads me to my second point. There should be compulsory voting across the board in all elections; presidential, gubernatorial, mayoral, etc. Certain countries have this law. Among them are Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Singapore. Anyone who refuses to vote should bequeath one’s income tax returns for two years until the next election. If they want to behave like petulant children because they got butthurt over their candidates not winning the nomination, then their abstention should cost them. Perhaps the only way to get them on board is to hit them where it hurts and show them apathy is expensive. Maybe they’ll think twice next time they want to take it out on everyone else and make them “Feel the Bern.” I blocked numerous Berniebots from my Facebook page when they trashed Hillary Clinton. I suspect I’ll do it more when they go into attack mode towards Joe Biden. Those people are nothing but poison, and I don’t need that toxicity in my life. Uncle Joe wasn’t my favorite candidate, either. I voted for Elizabeth Warren in the primary, but now is not the time to let our egos clout our judgment and override our consciences.

Primary and Secondary Solutions

This is why they should move all elections from Tuesdays to weekends. First off, the primaries should be held the last Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of March to prevent people like Bernie from dragging it out until June. They can campaign the entire summer, fall, and winter beforehand to sway the voters. The winners of each primaries should be declared at 10 pm Eastern Time the last Sunday of March. Then they should have a secondary election the last week of May to weed out third-party spoilers. The same process should be done for the primary in that it should be held Thursday through Sunday. The two candidates with the most votes should be the ones selected for the general election. Were it up to me, there’d be no more pre-planned Democratic or Republican conventions in designated cities. Instead, the convention for the challenging party would be held in the select city the second week of July while that for the incumbent party would be hosted in whichever locale the following week. I’d want them to run the week after the MLB All-Star Game and 4th of July and before the Summer Olympics.

There’s More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

The general election should be moved from the first Tuesday of November to Thanksgiving weekend. Black Friday is my least favorite day of the year. It negates the purpose of Thanksgiving. Rather than bring out the worst in people, Black Friday should do the opposite. Not only should voting be held in courthouses and civic buildings. There should be election booths in commercial venues like shopping malls, grocery stores, cinemas, restaurants, car dealerships, etc. Anyone who votes in said places should receive a Black Friday discount. The customers can kill two birds with one stone. Early voting should be held 24/7 an entire fortnight before the last Sunday of March, May, and November so people can beat the crowds and not have to stand in long lines. The national guard and local police should be stationed at all locales for security. A general order should be passed down the chain of command that anyone who discusses politics or does nothing to prevent a riot should be court-martialed. This method should be the first in which people vote. The second should be by mail. Voters should be allowed to send their ballots to the country treasury office in either an envelope or via PDF in an e-mail. Anyone with a physical mailing address should be registered automatically by the post office or DMV whenever they change residencies or have their driver’s licenses renewed.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

The third way is a bit more tricky. The voters should be able to do it online through a secure website. I know that idea makes people skeptical because of Russia’s meddling in the last election. That’s why the site should be firewalled in every country outside the United States. It should be recommend that the user does it incognito or on TOR Browser. The site should be operational only during times of election and no other. Massive security measures should be made as well. Not only should it require an email address and a password at least 20 characters long (including mixed case letters, numbers, and punctuation marks.) It should contain CAPCHA. They should require a minimal six-digit PIN number, the mailing addresses of each user over the past ten years, a social security number, a driver’s license number, a phone number with an area code, and the user’s date of birth. There should be a time limit for the user. It should give the ballot options in either English or Spanish and then require at least ten security lessons which would be the following:

      1. What is your father’s middle name?
      2. What is your mother’s maiden name?
      3. What is your maternal grandmother’s full name?
      4. What is your maternal grandfather’s full name?
      5. What is your paternal grandmother’s full name?
      6. What is your paternal grandfather’s full name?
      7. What city were you born in?
      8. What hospital were you born in?
      9. What street did you grow up on?
      10. What high school did you graduate from?
      11. What year did you graduate high school?
      12. What was your high school mascot?
      13. What were the color, model, and make of your first car?

Hack on This One, Sucker

As someone who has studied computers, I can assure the reader nobody can hack through all of that (not even Julian Assange on his best day.) I’m not an expert, but I know it takes hours to hack through one layer. The 20-character mixed-case password alone would take days. The CAPCHA feature would make it more difficult. All the required information that the user must know like the back of one’s hand and the time limit would make it impossible if not improbable at best. Even if the hackers were to use a VPN to circumvent the firewall, they would encounter numerous problems. How do you expect a hacker to have access to the personal information of 300 million people on a secure website? Even if Super Blue from IBM ran 24/7 for over 100 years, it would be unrealistic to hack through that. To put it bluntly, the saboteurs would have an easier time robbing Fort Knox.

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Nobody Rides for Free

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

An American Dilemma

Here’s what I’ve noticed about Americans. This has been commonplace my whole lifetime. People always moan about inadequate services. They want better roads, schools, police protection, healthcare, and what. That’s understandable, yet what baffles me is nobody wants to pay any taxes to fund them. They all want something for nothing. Sorry to burst your bubble, folks, but that’s not how the universe works. Barry Commoner comprised the Four Laws of Ecology. One of them states, “Nobody gets a free lunch. There is no such thing as a free lunch.” I had fallout with one of my long-term friends over this. If it were up to me, everybody would have universal healthcare and free education from preschool all the way through postgraduate school. My former companion argued both cost too much. Her rationale is that college and healthcare prices would spike while the quality would go down if they were available to everyone. What do you expect from someone who watches FOX News?

Get Your Priorities Straight

I can promise the reader with a capital P it costs less to provide those to each person who can’t afford it than it does to house non-violent prison inmates in private prisons for one year. I imagine the folks who rebuke these ideas the same idiots who believe schools are socially engineering children. The price would be infinitesimal compared to what it would to build an aircraft carrier, fighter plane, or even a high-tech missile. Funny how you never hear the alt-right moan about pork-barrel defense spending. What do they care as long as it’s not their children sent to die so corporate fat cats can get wealthier? The American government throws $38 billion a-year to Israel, a country with universal healthcare and free post-secondary education.

No Taxes, No Government, No Service

This conversation I had with a German friend two years ago. She elucidated how Germans see it as their civic duty to pay taxes. They assert they’re doing a community service. They have the right attitude in my book. Where this aversion towards paying taxes in America began I don’t know, but it’s a paradox to say the least. The Libertarian ideology exacerbates that mindset. Thus, I find their philosophies more impractical than those of the GOP. You cannot have limited government in a country with over 300 million people; especially, when that nation is the world superpower and breadbasket of the global economy. The concept sounds sexy on paper, but it’s asinine in reality. We’re not settlers on the frontier anymore. The manifest destiny, Civil War, and Revolutionary War ended centuries ago. We’ve moved past that phase (at least I hope we did.)

Don’t Tread On Me

The Tea Party movement which began in 2009 was never about standing up to government tyranny. That was a carte blanche they used to express their disgust over a black man in the White House. Funny how we haven’t heard anything about them since Barack Obama left office. Their principles were misguided and misplaced. The original Tea Party revolted over the taxation of commoners in colonial New England and the misappropriation of funding towards the British crown. That’s no different than trickle down economics and tax cuts for the rich. Last time I checked, America is no longer part of the British commonwealth. As I said, it was nothing more than a smoke-and-mirrors campaign to disguise their prejudices towards a black President. Funny how Ted Cruz, a Canadian-born half-Cuban, spearheaded the birther movement.

Offshore is Off the Mark

There is a flip side to this coin. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez meant well when she proposed taxing the top bracket at 70-percent. My former friend is right about one thing. If they start taxing the wealthy that much, more millionaires and billionaires will try to safeguard their money in offshore accounts. That’s why I think Congress should impose the Tobin and Spahn taxes before they do anything. The Tobin tax, named for James Tobin, charges transaction taxes from offshore accounts plus whatever the individual owes in income taxes. The Spahn tax, named in honor of Eugen Spahn, is the corporate version. That way, Covfefe, Mitt Romney, and other tax dodgers will think twice next time they have overseas accounts. Traveling back and forth to Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, or wherever can be time-consuming and costly after awhile. Not to mention, there’s a maximum amount of cash one can bring through US customs before being spotted by the IRS.

The Path of Least Resistance

Most rich people will take the cheapest option. Therefore, I feel it’s imperative to implement these practices. This I suspect would pay off large chunks of the national debt. I don’t know for sure if they have the Tobin and Spahn taxes in the Scandinavian countries, so don’t quote me on this. I believe that’s why Ingvar Kamprad, the CEO of IKEA, moved their headquarters from Stockholm to Amsterdam, and Kamprad himself moved to Switzerland. Bjorn Borg changed his residency to Monte Carlo after he won the Grand Slam Tournament to avoid taxes in Sweden and later returned to Stockholm when he retired so he could reap the benefits. That was mighty white of him. I surmise this is why Dolph Lundgren lived in Spain for many years, but there’s no way to prove that. For all we know, Lundgren resided there because Spain has a warm climate and averages over 300 annual days of sunshine unlike Sweden where it gets dark and cold throughout the winter. You can’t fault him for that.

Bye-Bye Miss American Pie

Too often I look pie charts regarding the budget, and it shows misleading information about social security. Medicare and social security are funding by taxpayers not the government. The pie charts are made by conservatives to fool viewers into thinking those are burdens on society in lieu of priorities. That leads me to my last solution. I’d force the government to pass a constitutional amendment mandating all government programs receive equal funding. The powers that be would spend the same amount on education, healthcare, infrastructure, energy, science, housing, VA benefits, transportation, etc., that it does on defense were it up to me. Further, I’d pass another bill requiring Congress to raise taxes ten percent and require the children of congressmen, defense contractors, and war financiers to be drafted into military service whenever war is declared. No matter what, wouldn’t be allowed to take funding from education, healthcare, or any other service and pour it into defense. That would make them think twice about committing career suicide like. My senior year in college, a well-seasoned professor of mine stated, “Democracy works best when all the goods are equitably distributed.” About that he was right as rain.

That’s Gonna Cost You

Congress must impose the Tobin and Spahn taxes before they raise income taxes on the top tier. That first part is imperative. Further, I insist they induce an expatriation tax for someone who tries something cute moving abroad to avoid taxes while consulting one’s business on American soil. I even condone there being an outsource tax and massive tariffs on American products manufactured overseas. The government I feel should raise the latter as high as 150-percent if necessary. Basically, I’d raise them to where it would be more expensive to outsource labor and slap CEO’s with hefty fines should they pull a dick move like that. No longer would businesses or owners be allowed use travel expenses and company expenses as tax write-offs. Freedom isn’t free. That’s the part Libertarians and tax dodgers have a hard time registering through their thick noggins. They reinforce that sense of entitlement Americans have. Perhaps they should change the laws to where people had to pay weekly or biweekly income taxes to close all the loopholes. Here is what the income tax code would look like if it were up to me:

Income Tax Brackets Based on Annual Salaries as Head of Household During Time of Peace and/or Economic Boom
Less than $15,000 = 10%
$15,000 – $30,000 = 11%
$30,000 – $45,000 = 12%
$45,000 – $60,000 = 13%
$60,000 – $75,000 = 14%
$75,000 – $90,000 = 15%
$90,000 – $105,000 = 16%
$105,000 – $120,000 = 17%
$120,000 – $135,000 = 18%
$135,000 – $150,000 = 19%
$150,000 – $165,000 = 20%
$165,000 – $180,000 = 21%
$180,000 – $205,000 = 22%
$205,000 – $220,000 = 23%
$220,000 – $235,000 = 24%
$235,000 – $250,000 = 25%
$250,000 – $265,000 = 26%
$265,000 – $280,000 = 27%
$280,000 – $295,000 = 28%
$295,000 – $310,000 = 29%
$310,000 – $325,000 = 30%
$325,000 – $340,000 = 31%
$340,000 – $355,000 = 32%
$355,000 – $370,000 = 33%
$370,000 – $385,000 = 34%
$385,000 – $400,000 = 35%
$400,000 – $415,000 = 36%
$415,000 – $430,000 = 37%
$430,000 – $445,000 = 38%
$445,000 – $460,000 = 39%
$460,000 – $475,000 = 40%
$475,000 – $490,000 = 41%
$490,000 – $505,000 = 42%
$505,000 – $520,000 = 43%
$520,000 – $535,000 = 44%
$535,000 – $550,000 = 45%
$550,000 – $575,000 = 46%
$575,000 – $590,000 = 47%
$590,000 – $605,000 = 48%
$605,000 – $620,000 = 49%
$620,000 and more = 50%

Income Tax Brackets Based on Annual Salaries as Head of Household During Time of War and/or Economic Recession
Less than $15,000 = 10%
$15,000 – $30,000 = 11%
$30,000 – $45,000 = 12%
$45,000 – $60,000 = 13%
$60,000 – $75,000 = 14%
$75,000 – $90,000 = 15%
$90,000 – $105,000 = 16%
$105,000 – $120,000 = 17%
$120,000 – $135,000 = 18%
$135,000 – $150,000 = 19%
$150,000 – $165,000 = 20%
$165,000 – $180,000 = 21%
$180,000 – $205,000 = 22%
$205,000 – $220,000 = 23%
$220,000 – $235,000 = 24%
$235,000 – $250,000 = 25%
$250,000 – $265,000 = 26%
$265,000 – $280,000 = 27%
$280,000 – $295,000 = 28%
$295,000 – $310,000 = 29%
$310,000 – $325,000 = 30%
$325,000 – $340,000 = 31%
$340,000 – $355,000 = 32%
$355,000 – $370,000 = 33%
$370,000 – $385,000 = 34%
$385,000 – $400,000 = 35%
$400,000 – $415,000 = 36%
$415,000 – $430,000 = 37%
$430,000 – $445,000 = 38%
$445,000 – $460,000 = 39%
$460,000 – $475,000 = 40%
$475,000 – $490,000 = 41%
$490,000 – $505,000 = 42%
$505,000 – $520,000 = 43%
$520,000 – $535,000 = 44%
$535,000 – $550,000 = 45%
$550,000 – $575,000 = 46%
$575,000 – $590,000 = 47%
$590,000 – $605,000 = 48%
$605,000 – $620,000 = 49%
$620,000 – $635,000 = 50%
$635,000 – $650.000 = 51%
$650.000 – $665,000 = 52%
$665,000 – $680,000 = 53%
$680,000 – $695,000 = 54%
$695,000 – $710.000 = 55%
$710,000 – $725,000 = 56%
$725,000 – $740,000 = 57%
$740,000 – $755,000 = 58%
$755,000 – $770,000 = 59%
$770,000 and more = 60%

Income Tax Brackets Based for Married Individuals on Joint Returns During Time of Peace and/or Economic Boom
Less than $20,000 = 10%
$20,000 – $40,000 = 11%
$40,000 – $60,000 = 12%
$60,000 – $80.000 = 13%
$80,000 – $100,000 = 14%
$100,000 – $120,000 = 15%
$120,000 – $140,000 = 16%
$140,000 – $160,000 = 17%
$160,000 – $180,000 = 18%
$180.000 – $200,000 = 19%
$200,000 – $220,000 = 20%
$220,000 – $240,000 = 21%
$240,000 – $260,000 = 22%
$260,000 – $280,000 = 23%
$280.000 – $300,000 = 24%
$300,000 – $320,000 = 25%
$320,000 – $340,000 = 26%
$340,000 – $360,000 = 27%
$360,000 – $380,000 = 28%
$380,000 – $400,000 = 29%
$400,000 – $420,000 = 30%
$420,000 – $440,000 = 31%
$440,000 – $460,000 = 32%
$460,000 – $480,000 = 33%
$480,000 – $500,000 = 34%
$500,000 – $520,000 = 35%
$520,000 – $540,000 = 36%
$540,000 – $560,000 = 37%
$560.000 – $580,000 = 38%
$580,000 – $600,000 = 39%
$600,000 – $620,000 = 40%
$620.000 – $640,000 = 41%
$640,000 – $660,000 = 42%
$660,000 – $680,000 = 43%
$680,000 – $700,000 = 44%
$700,000 – $720,000 = 45%
$720,000 – $740,000 = 46%
$740,000 – $760,000 = 47%
$760,000 – $780,000 = 48%
$780,000 – $800,000 = 49%
$800,000 and more = 50%

Income Tax Brackets Based for Married Individuals on Joint Returns During Time of War and/or Economic Recession
Less than $20,000 = 10%
$20,000 – $40,000 = 11%
$40,000 – $60,000 = 12%
$60,000 – $80.000 = 13%
$80,000 – $100,000 = 14%
$100,000 – $120,000 = 15%
$120,000 – $140,000 = 16%
$140,000 – $160,000 = 17%
$160,000 – $180,000 = 18%
$180.000 – $200,000 = 19%
$200,000 – $220,000 = 20%
$220,000 – $240,000 = 21%
$240,000 – $260,000 = 22%
$260,000 – $280,000 = 23%
$280.000 – $300,000 = 24%
$300,000 – $320,000 = 25%
$320,000 – $340,000 = 26%
$340,000 – $360,000 = 27%
$360,000 – $380,000 = 28%
$380,000 – $400,000 = 29%
$400,000 – $420,000 = 30%
$420,000 – $440,000 = 31%
$440,000 – $460,000 = 32%
$460,000 – $480,000 = 33%
$480,000 – $500,000 = 34%
$500,000 – $520,000 = 35%
$520,000 – $540,000 = 36%
$540,000 – $560,000 = 37%
$560.000 – $580,000 = 38%
$580,000 – $600,000 = 39%
$600,000 – $620,000 = 40%
$620.000 – $640,000 = 41%
$640,000 – $660,000 = 42%
$660,000 – $680,000 = 43%
$680,000 – $700,000 = 44%
$700,000 – $720,000 = 45%
$720,000 – $740,000 = 46%
$740,000 – $760,000 = 47%
$760,000 – $780,000 = 48%
$780,000 – $800,000 = 49%
$800,000 – $820,000 = 50%
$820,000 – $840,000 = 51%
$840,000 – $860,000 = 52%
$860,000 – $880,000 = 53%
$880,000 – $900,000 = 54%
$900,000 – $920,000 = 55%
$920,000 – $940,000 = 56%
$940,000 – $960,000 = 57%
$960,000 – $980,000 = 58%
$980,000 – $1,000,000 = 59%
$1,000,000 and more = 60%