Tuesday, January 26, 2010

5 Easy Things President Obama Could Do to Improve the State of our Union

America needs to get working again, but we're suffering from a huge logjam in the Senate, where the Republicans block everything and the Democrats let them get away with it; meanwhile the President looks on in mock helplessness.

I say "mock helplessness" because, of course, the President is not helpless. His predecessor lead our nation into several disasters but at least he was unafraid to use his powers. It's time for THIS President to do a few things that would help our nation without requiring Congressional action.

Imagine his State of the Union Address containing the following lines:

  • Cut Prescription Drug Prices: "Under the priciple of Equal Justice Under Law, I find it unconstitutional to permit drug manufacturers to make their drugs abroad and bring them here, but to prevent individuals from importing the very same thing. As head of the Executive Branch, I have discretion to decide where to put our limited law-enforcement resources, and I find that prosecuting individual Americans who wish only to stay alive is insane. Therefore I am ordering every agency of the Federal Government not to investigate nor to prosecute any individual American citizen who brings legal, life-saving medicines into our country.

  • Bring Back Exported Jobs: "Using my discretion as Commander-in-Chief, I am directing the Pentagon to locate domestic sources for clothing and equipment used by our military. Too many of the computers vital to our national defense, and even the very uniforms our servicemembers wear into combat, are made by our competitors or by those who shelter under our defense umbrella. It does not make sense that we should ask our troops to protect those who are profiting off us, and it weakens our national security for our economy to be crippled by the export of jobs. The families of our troops need the work more do than our foreign friends and adversaries."

  • Regain Control of the Federal Reserve: "The control of our money supply is critical to everything we do, yet it currently resides in a federally-chartered but private organization called the Federal Reserve. It is our money and our charter; we will audit it immediately. If the Fed resists the audit, we can simply revoke their charter and go back to letting the Treasury Department create our money money, as our Constitution specifies."

  • End Expensive Mercenary Contracts: "The use of mercenaries to guard our embassies and perform other tasks customarily performed by our armed forces is extremely expensive. In addition, mercenary armies recruit some of our most skillful troops by offering insanely high wages. Therefore, no new contracts will be issued to mercenaries, and we will end existing contracts as soon as possible, saving the American taxpayer billions of dollars while putting America's security back in the hands of our Constitutionally-authorized Armed Forces.

  • Audit the Big Fish, Not The Small: "Over the last decade, the IRS has changed its audit procedures to nearly ignore the wealthy and to target working class and the poor. This is at best irrational; any businessman knows that you should invest limited audit resources where the dollar amounts of recovery are likely to be higher; therefore I am ordering the IRS to make the likelihood of audit proportionate to wealth and/or income. Incidentally, all members of my Cabinet, as well as myself and the Vice-President, and all members of Congress, will be audited on a regular basis, not because we have anything to hide, but solely to increase the confidence of the American people. We shouldn't ask them to go through anything we would not."

  • Fill Vacancies: "Congress has refused to give an up-or-down vote on numerous executive branch officers, most notably the head of the Transportation Safety Administration. In my capacity as Commander-in-Chief, I find this failure to be a grave dereliction of Congress's Constitutional duty; whether Congress votes up or down is not an issue, but refusing to vote at all is hampering our national security. Fortunately, our Constitution provides a remedy. I am putting Congress on notice that the next time they recess, I will give a recess appointment to certain candidate for which Congress has refused to vote. My predecessor did this, so I don't want to hear any partisan wailing;  if Congress won't act, I must."
Most of these ideas would cut costs either to the government or directly to the taxpayers, and even Pentagon procurement reform would show a gain to our nation because any additional costs would be in the form of wages paid to American workers. None of these would require Congressional action since they concern the execution of existing law, not the making of new laws.

Some may be challenged in court; for example, the WTO may attack Pentagon procurement reform.

I say: Bring It On! The court cases could be dragged out for a decade, and we need the jobs now.


Anonymous said...

I think you covered most of the issues. And yes, I would have loved to hear Obama say those things in his sotu.

Pilgrim said...

I changed my mind after reading over it again. I support all of these things whole heartily. This country is in desperate need of a leader that will put their foot down and not waver from their convictions and do what's right four our nation.

If I was President, I would call a major press conference everday that I am approached by a crooked politician or special interests lobbying groups to expose them to the people with the devil in the details. Is there not one politician with a set of balls?

rewinn said...

Pilgrim, your idea reminds me of "Question Period" in both the Canadian and British Parliament.

Basically, a government minister has to stand before Parliament and field questions from the opposition. Not servile media-types who lose their jobs if they ask tough questions, but the ruling party's opponents.

Every time I've listened to Question Period (which hasn't been lately but for a while I'd tune in for the entertainment) I learned something. I think it would be a great custom and useful.

did you see the video of Obama taking questions at the republican retreat on Thursday? It wasn't enough but it seemed a good start.