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Challenge #4: If you were President/Prime Minister for a day, with the power to do absolutely anything (Supreme Court? What Supreme Court?) , what would you do and why?
Wow, this is a tough one for me. I'm not really what one might call a political person, so this topic requires a lot of thought. I don't know that I would do anything "global" as it's not my area of expertize. I know just enough about what's happening in the world right now to cringe, but not enough to do anything about it if I were given such a power. So what would I do?
I guess probably my first order of business would be to declare pets to have rights similar to that of children, rather than being simply property. Clearly this would not apply to animals designated as agricultural, though I would certainly bring about stricter laws on how they should be treated as well (goodbye feed lots, hello free roaming). I feel that Americans as a whole (though clearly not all Americans) believe their pets to be part of the family, rather than just things that they own. Hence the reason that pet boutiques, hotels and day spas are slowly replacing shops, kennels and groomers. I think they should be treated by the law in the same manner. Right now in many states, if someone were to throw a poisoned steak into your backyard, killing your dog, they would only be liable for the cost of replacing the animal. Same as if they ran over your kid's bike. Now, we pet lovers all know that you can't replace a life, but that's the way the law reads in most states. My new laws would also include stricter animal abuse penalties and standards applicable to breeders, kennels, pet stores and any other business that handles pets on a regular basis.
Once that was done, I would also implement a strict regulatory board to evaluate and inspect the safety of all imported goods. It has become overwhelmingly clear of late that we simply can't trust the standards of foreign agencies when it comes to our health. This would in turn be paid for by adding a small tariff on all goods it applies to. Perhaps it would also act as a reason for more folks to "buy locally" if it weren't so much cheaper to buy items brought in from sweat shops in less fortunate parts of the world, bringing some much-needed jobs back to home soil.
To go along with this, I'd overhaul our government subsidies for farmers so that it would not be based on the type of crop produced (ahem... corn), and the farms that get the money would be the ones that actually need it. Right now, a large amount of the budget for subsidies is going to farms that clear $200k per year. I would maintain subsidies only for those farms whose owners remain near or below the poverty line, as was the original intent for the subsidies anyway. Sorry Mr. Turner, you don't qualify. I find it sad that so much of our tax money is currently going to supplement the incomes of folks who are making more money in their own right than the average tax payer.
So, a busy day all in all, but a productive one. Amazing what you can get done when you don't have to worry about red tape!