If I Ruled the World – Give Congressional Leaders Incentives for Passing Legislation

So, this week my rant will kind of be adjacent to last week’s stance on taking pay from congress to align with government shutdowns.  I propose giving congressional leaders incentives for passing legislation.  If I ruled the world every piece of legislation that congressed passed that would be substantial would yield monetary bonus.  Monetary bonus would be in the form of their retirement pensions maybe yearly figure, and it would be taxed at the highest tax rate.  Whether something is deemed as substantial would be categorized as legislation that is provides a new functionality, service, or benefit that doesn’t already exists.  For example, renewing something that is about to expire wouldn’t count.  Neither would rolling back something that previous administration passed.  The amount of the bonus per bill would be anywhere from half to 1% of someone’s salary.  The percentage would be voted on during presidential election years.  Lastly, this would be funded by unclaimed tax returns so everyone wins.

If I Ruled the World – Make Congress Salaries Tied to Government Shutdowns

Like many others in the country, I’m tired of being threatened with a government shutdown because our congressional leaders are too immature to negotiate like adults.  One thing that has irked folks over the years is how the paychecks of Congress folks isn’t impacted by government shutdowns.  In fact, members of the senate and house of representatives used to pat themselves on the back when they relinquished a paycheck while shutdowns were in play.  They basically, wanted to be seen as good people for showing leadership.  Instead of making that kind of real sacrifice a rare and calculated gesture if I ruled the world, I would tie the salaries of members in congress to government shutdowns.  If the common citizen doesn’t get paid because of poor collaboration, then neither would the fools that are responsible for it!  To make it sting even more if the government shutdown lasts more than a week, I would make sure that members of congress don’t get retro pay.  Because one thing people forget is that some folks that work with the government are contractors meaning they only get paid when they actually do work.  So, if they had two weeks of not monitoring a system or doing maintenance work or IT support, they won’t get retro pay.  If I supply 10,000 pounds of food to government every week and they don’t need the food because they are closed a few weeks that 20,000 pounds of food I loss sales on.  Congress’ yearly bickering overspending is discussing and we need to hold them accountable where it hurts.

If I Ruled the World – 3rd Party Home Showings

When it comes to home appraisals it’s not hard to read or hear about horror stories where people didn’t get fair value on their home due to discriminatory practices.  Situations where if an Asian man shows his house to an appraiser versus his white friend doing it the home value calculated by the appraiser differed $30K.  Folks, that’s straight forward discrimination.  In an ideal world, home sellers wouldn’t have to worry about terrible and predatory practices like this.  However, this is America and we’ve learned in the post Obama days that discrimination and racism is as alive as it’s ever been in some instances.  Therefore, we are either putting the burden on home sellers to home they get an honest appraiser, hope they have a white friend to show their house, or just deal with under appraisals.  Well, if I ruled the world there would be another way to combat this.  I would require someone that isn’t the home seller to show the home when it get appraised.  It would be the responsibility of the realtor or some new company that works with realtors to show homes.  The money to pay for these folks would just become part of the home selling process.  I think the small fee it would take to charge someone to provide this service would be nothing to the thousands of dollars that would be added in value from fair home appraising.

If I Ruled the World – Give All Community Budgets Equivalent Funding for Public Services

One of the biggest struggles in the country is the disparity of resources between various counties, cities, and communities.  Seems that some cities have everything figured out and needs are being met while others experience the opposite.  If I ruled the world, I would try to get more balanced results for things like crimes, fires, amount of homeless, etc.  I would do this by looking at the cities that have some of the best results in those areas and use them as benchmarks.  Essentially, I would start by having similar spending percentages and staffing and see how that drives results.  I would then monitor the results and make adjustments under the advisement of some of the gurus from the benchmark cities.

If I Ruled the World – Prohibit use of the non-credit bureau credit score calculators

So, my back is arched over credit scores so I will unveil another way I would morph that process.  Imagine checking your credit score at the three bureaus and printing out your score on the way to purchase a car.  The report says all your scores are over 700.  However, when you go to the dealership, they run your score and tell you its 650 according to the way they calculate it.  Though you show them your report they only can go off their alternative credit score service.  As a result, you had to pay more for the vehicle because of this unexplainable credit score difference.  Americans shouldn’t have to do endure this situation which is something I experienced in real life.  If I ruled the world, I would prohibit the use of these custom credit score services.  Why does Chase, Credit One, Capital One, and other financial companies feel they have to do their own spin on a consumer’s credit score?  From what I’ve seen the non-big credit bureau places often give a consumer a worse score than the bureaus.  If we don’t know how the big bureaus formulate scores, we aren’t trying to figure out how Chase bank makes their ragging score.  In the interest of less confusion, I would prohibit the use of relying on any credit bureau score outside of the Transunion, Experian, and Equifax.

If I Ruled the World – Transparency with Credit Score Formula Calculations

If I Ruled the World, I would order transparency with the calculation of credit score formulas.  It’s really shameful that credit scores affect a decent portion of our lives, yet we don’t seem to have clarity of how they exactly work.  Yes, we know paying your bills on time, not spending too much of your credit, and keeping your inquiries low helps your score.  At the same time, its also true that we feel the need to have 3 different credit bureaus tabulating our score and the scores aren’t the same!  Just like my taxes or anything else I should be able to make an excel spreadsheet formula that tells me if I have 80% of my debt versus 100% paid off what will happen.  Currently, this is not possible.  Folks should be able to understand how their score is calculated with each agency and understand why their score differs between agencies.  I immediately would rule all agencies to provide a simple plug and play template where a person with a high school could figure their credit score!

If I Ruled the World – Community Service for Police Officers

Part of the strained relationship with law enforcement and private citizens is that in general people fear the police.  While the average white American doesn’t feel for their life when they see the police they likely aren’t at ease when they see the police on the highway while driving.  For example, if you are walking in the street in the police start walking toward you or ask to speak to you, your blood pressure probably goes up.  If the police showed up to your job randomly, everyone would be trying to figure out what they are there for.  If you are a minority the relationship is even more complicated because you fear the police and the police to some extent fear you.  I’ve personally have been profiled by police on my university campus the same day I was going to do a ride along to break down barriers with law enforcement!  I’ve also been given breaks on tickets by police on several occasions.  But in general, when I see a policeman wave and smile at me one time while they were driving, I turned around to see who they were waving at.  I think if police were required to do regular community service in the neighborhoods, they patrolled that could ease tensions and reduce stereotypes on both sides. I’m not talking about annual pancake breakfasts and bicycle giveaways at the police station.  I’m talking about cooks out at the park, joining the park district sports leagues, block parties, and marathons thru the city.  Neighborhood cleanups in all areas of the city not just the nice parts of town.  Street pick up games with citizens.  Yeah, some folks may not be excited about forced community involvement, but I think that once folks start getting involved general connections and relationships would be formed by let’s say 100 hours of community involvement a year with a minimum of 25 hours per quarter.  Can’t get new results without making changes.

If I Ruled the World – Low Tolerance Drinking and Driving Policy: Breathalyzers for All Vehicles

When opportunity that never seems to be addressed in society is the punishment and ramifications for driving while drunk.  There are too many stories of people drinking while driving, murdering others, and forever impacting innocent lives.  Additionally, we all know people personally that have driven drunk in high school, college, and as adults and were blessed to have nothing happen to them or anyone else.  Heck, we probably have even done it ourselves.  The law doesn’t seem to deter people enough from this dangerous behavior.  Its rare that person can get pulled over for drunk driving and lose their license forever even when they have killed someone.  Therefore, we continue to leave the results of drinking and driving up to roll of the dice.  If I ruled the world, I would enforce a new low tolerance policy for drinking and driving.  If someone were caught drinking and driving, they would lose their license for 3 years.  If they were caught a 2nd time, they would be imprisoned for 10 years minimum.  If they were caught a 3rd time, they would get imprisoned 25 years minimum.  If any of the offenses injured another party, they would automatically get at least the 10 years minimum.  If anyone of their offenses kills anyone, they would automatically get 25 years minimum in prison.  I feel I could implement something like this because I would mandate that all vehicles have breathalyzers installed in them.  This would require someone to have their alcohol level within the legal limit to start the car.  Additionally, anytime someone would stop the car for more than let’s 15 seconds they would have to breathe into the breathalyzer again to continue driving.  Therefore, someone would have to find some elaborate way to game the system to drive while drunk.  If they managed to be guilty of this action with this technology implemented on all vehicles the person deserves the harsher punishment.

If I Ruled the World – Parity with Criminal Sentencing – Part II: Federal Regulation

Part one of this handled parity in sentencing from a state standpoint.  We will assume that we are now after the initial 3-year directive and all states have complied mainly because they don’t want to lose federal funding.  However, I believe this initiative can be refined further.  The federal government would review the new state sentencing guidelines and have 2 years to come up with a universal maximum for each criminal offense that each state must not exceed.  Once this is established the states would have 2 years to update sentencing as needed to stay within the parameters.  Again, any state that doesn’t abide by this will lose some federal funding.  Additionally, states that are repeat offenders would have their percentage penalty doubled with the occurrences tally not resetting for 10 years.  So, for example, if in 2027 a state didn’t comply and fell sure 3%, in 2028 complied, and in 2029 fell short 3% again they would be penalized a total of 6% (3% x 2) in federal funding.  This is to deter states from thinking they can avoid the double luxury penalty by complying every other year.

If I Ruled the World – Parity with Criminal Sentencing – Part I: State Regulation

There’s a lot of talk about how the legalization of marijuana has changed the world.  Something that was once viewed as negative has now become legal in a lot of areas.  People have even built businesses and livelihoods off something that others are in prison for.  I’ve never used marijuana in my life or any drug for that matter, but I don’t think that its right for Alvin to be serving prison time for a quantity of marijuana that Michael is selling everyday legally in his cannabis shop.  It doesn’t make sense nor is it fair.  Additionally, this article isn’t just about marijuana sentencing let’s look at sentencing for everything across the board.  Whether someone is in jail for drugs, theft, murder, white collar crimes, and anything else you can think of, perpetrators of all ethnicities and ages should have a sentence within 10% of each other.  I know that something like that probably can’t be done overnight.  So, I would give each state 3 years to have parity in the sentencing within their state regardless of city, county, race, age, and gender.  States that don’t have 100% adherence to this will lose federal funding for every percent they are below 100.  Additionally, the state must have 100% of previous cases updated with new sentencing standard within that same 3 years.  The standards for these cases would be based on either the most lenient sentencing or an average of the most lenient versus most extreme sentencing depending on the offense.  For example, maybe theft would be based on lenient judgements while murder would be middle point average.  Once a baseline is decided by state government its locked in for at least 5 years.  Lastly, anyone that would now no longer be in violation of something that is now legal would be released from prison immediately within that time frame.  So, in summary if I ruled the world, I would create parity in criminal sentencing regardless of city, county, race, age, and gender.  I would allow each state to take on the initiative within their state.  They would have 3 years to have all sentencing within 10% of each other for any punishment they give out.  Any people that should be free based on a crime they committed that is now legal would be released within that 3-years.  Any state that doesn’t comply would lose funding.  They really isn’t any excuse on why sentencing is different between people of various races, ages, genders, or cities.  We’re all human beings and we need to start treating everyone as such.