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Common Sense Solutions

March 20, 2012

SMOKING

If I were President, I would push for a Federal minimum age to purchase tobacco products, 21 years old.  But we want to elliminate tobacco.

I was once a chain smoker.  However, since quitting in 1997 I realized how repulsive smoke odor is.  Even getting a whiff outside as I pass smokers standing 15 feet from the door almost knocks me down.  I realize that cigarettes were a big part of the cause of my long term unemployment.

It is cruel however for those with the smoking habit / tradition.  I believe the cigarette tax should be cut 25% and 75% for welfare / food stamp and senior citizens below a certain income.  Each carton should have a coupon for a discount on the stop smoking patch or for smokeless eCigarettes.

Let the smokers smoke and the non-smokers remain non-smokers.  It is so simple!  I would start at 21, then each year increase the smoking age by 1 year until the minimum age to buy tobacco is 30.  This would stop the young people from starting the habit.

By age 30, most people have work experience and other ways to overcome stress and monotany.  Peer pressure is not there.  It is less likely that one at 30 would be tempted to start.  For those over the age limit, a smoker’s license would be given at cost.  They would loose this license if they bought tobacco for an underage person.  Loss of the license for 7 to 30 days would deter enough.  A simple means of making sure a smoker is a smoker before issuing a license is for a witness to watch the applicant smoke 1 cigarette.  Licensing non-smokers who are not afraid of a temporary loss of license would encourage a black market and crime.

Mandatory Overtime & Unemployment

The two seem to conflict, but it is basically creating a workspace and paying insurance that causes the employer to opt to pay overtime.  We need to change the law to reverse this incentive.

Insurance for the Rush Hour.  If an employee has an accident driving to work after working 2 or more hours overtime the day before, or after working 2 or more hours overtime and driving home and it is within one hour of worktime, then the employer should be 25% liable for damages.  Also the employee should be elligible for workman’s compensation as if the accident happened on the job.

State Governors should have the power to impose a 38 hour work week.  Those elligible for overtime would be paid time and a half after 38 hours.  The President could impose a 38 hour week Nationwide.  This would help when unemployment is +/- 5%.  When the Troops come home from Iraq and Afghanistan, the President may have to set a 36 hour week under a Share the Work program.

Let me interject that overtime is the common man’s path to the better life in this Capitalist World.  It wears on his health and maybe shortens his lifespan.  Overtime pay should be tax free.

Sure I would have been elligible to return to my pre-military civilian job if I had not quit, but who wants to return to a $2.10 per hour summer job.  Many troops will find that they are over-qualified for their old jobs if they had one.  So we will need a Roosevelt type W.P.A. program for some of the purely combat trained .  Again I propose to build roads and start with the decayed bridges.

I propose to rebuild just the right lane of our Interstate Highway System which the heavy trucks beat to death.  It would be built to the thickness and strength of the German Autobaun.  Where practicle the limit would be raised to 75, but the gradient would not change for 200 mph driving.

It would be a 20 to 40 year project; a 20 year job with no deadline so as not to bust the National Budget or require more Foreign Debt.

The right lane would be built to last a long time, but eventually say half the workforce is replacing what was laid 20 years prior advancing it to a 30 year task.  Then there is a strike, but if it is economically inflationary, only 95% are hired back to compensate for the extra cost.  Being thus slowed down the project edges toward the 40 year estimated deadline.

I am all for quality union labor, especially knowing that employers often lie outright to hire you on and middle management can be incompetent or set in their ways.  However I have seen too weak and too strong unions with bureaucratic rules.

The Trickle DOWN and Back UP Economy

This involves the NAFTA and Other Countries working with the US under it’s guidance.  It could bring back jobs in Textile and Clothing industries and many others.

To be simple and brief let’s look at bringing the Detroit Auto industry back and choose Mexico as our partner.  I will skip over the logistics of where parts are made and the transport between Mexico and Detroit.

Now suppose a Mexican with training can and will do a job for $6 per hour while the same job in Detroit pays $40.  But there would be an agreed minimum wage of 25% of what the equivalent job pays in the US.  The Mexican worker would get $10 per hour.  We want to take advantage of the lower cost of living in Mexico, but not have slave labor wages.  Why pay more than you  have to?  Hold on, I will get to that.

Now you build 25% of the cars in Mexico and 75% in the US (including manufacturers who have relocated from Detroit to less expensive labor forces within the USA ).  You shuffle the US & Mexican cars together and sell them for 80% of the price a Detroit car would cost.  Say that a $30,000 US car has a Japanese competitor priced at $35,000.   With Mexican help, the US car is now reduced to $24,000.  That’s an $11,000 incentive to buy American.  Sales go up and the 25% of jobs lost to Mexico are replaced by 30% in both countries.

So, why pay the Mexican more?  [1] It is an incentive to do good work and never go on strike just for more money.  Even if Detroit went on strike, some cars from Mexico would trickle up north to pay executive salaries.  It’s not the cheapest way to go, but rather a costs stability factor. [2] The Mexican’s $10 would trickle down into the economy and being in dollars eventually more American goods such as farm produce at parity prices would be purchased. [3] Some Mexicans could afford the Mexican cars built in American owned factories.  [4] The average Mexican is shorter than the average American driver and some of the roads are rougher. All of the Mexican autoworkers could afford cars built by their countrymen in factories owned by Mexico.  Ahah!  More US jobs; engine blocks, crank and cam shafts and electronic chips, transmission gears…things requiring automatic machine tools.

Creating jobs in places like Ghana would give the unemployeed something to do besides sit in internet cafes and scam people.  However, it would be a Capitalist Venture, not a US Government Aid program.  So, a league of corporations would be established and members would put up the capital to fix Ghana’s internet, phone and electric distribution infrastructures.

War, Nuclear Proliferation, Terrorism

Sorry, I can’t talk about it.  You all have the need to know, but in this public forum some may not have the right to know.  My plans would be and may already be Classified.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have increased our Foreign Debt.  How do we get war repairations?  One, we can ask Iraq to sell a yearly quota of oil to all countries which helped in their war at say 2005 prices.  It would not exceed 25% of output.

The other source of payback I can’t discuss.

How to End the Afghan War as Winners…

I have a plan, but need intelligence to know if it would work.  Even if it was viable, I couldn’t tell you.

This is an example of why I need a communication link to Washington better than the www.whitehouse.gov provides.

The G.I. Bill

I do not want to change the Bill, but just add some options.

The Veteran could take a course in small business management and if he does well, go on to take just the job related courses of an Associates Degree.  You can always pick up a book and teach yourself Humanities later.  Or the Vet can opt for Vocational Training such as Chef School.

By minimizing education a lot of G.I. Bill money will be left over.  I propose to free-up and give that extra money to the Vet to pay for his new business.  At least it would be a strong start combined with a V.A. business loan.

As owner, the Veteran could earn more than a college graduate.  Small businesses create most of the new jobs.

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