How Obama Can Save America...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
… and maybe just maybe get universal healthcare at the same time!

1. Legalize marijuana and tax it

I’m not a big fan of marijuana. Yes, I admit that I have indeed tried it (thank god my father doesn’t read this). When do you stop “trying” and are actually “doing”? Anyways I digress. I know what effect it has on me and how it makes me feel (which, for the record, is dizzy, lightheaded and like I’m having an asthma attack). However, I get a similar reaction now from regular tobacco cigarettes. If the government and society deem alcohol and tobacco to be legal addictions/vices, I don’t see the problem with legalizing weed. Wouldn’t it be better if the government regulated the manufacture and production (as they supposedly do with the ingredients in cigarettes and alcohol) so those who choose to indulge knew exactly what they were getting. Let’s face it, whether it’s legal or illegal, folks are still going to smoke it. The amount of money the government could make from taxing the sale of it would make a nice dent in America’s deteriorating financial situation. Plus, it would create jobs, it would promote farming (including production of hemp for clothing and other items), and it would stimulate the economy.

2. Increase taxes on alcohol and tobacco

Before people get up in arms about how expensive these items already are…admit it. Even if they tacked on an extra $5 to the cost of your carton of cigarettes or your case of beer, you’re still going to buy it, as are millions of other North Americans. Everyone knows smoking causes cancer, emphysema, and scores of other problems. And alcohol? On top of the thousands of folks who are the unfortunate victims of drunk drivers every year, alcohol leads to liver failure, cirrhosis, domestic abuse… Every one of those things means healthcare related costs. If the added few bucks a bottle or pack gets you to cut back or quit, you’ve just saved the country money on healthcare related costs. And if you decide to still indulge? The money goes directly toward funding a universal healthcare system that America so desperately needs (and NO it is NOT socialism!!!).

3. Legalize prostitution and tax it

Why is this even a question? I have never understand why it is illegal should a woman decide (willingly…) to charge money for someone to have sex with her? Hmmm, isn’t marriage a pretty similar arrangement? It could be argued that yes, it is fairly similar, or at least it traditionally was. What else is a dowry other than buying a bride? A woman (or man), in my opinion, has the right to do pretty much what they want to with their own body. If you want to charge people for sex? Go right ahead, it’s your body. Throughout human history, it was one of the few ways women have been able to earn their own money. Times have changed, somewhat, but not always for the better. Frankly, North Americans’ views on sex are too conservative, too prudish, too rigid (pun intended). I don’t want you to think that I’m advocating hookers on every street corner. Far from it. We certainly need controls and regulations in place to prevent, for example, underage children to be lured into it with the promise of love, acceptance and easy money. What I’m advocating is a system similar to that in parts of Nevada (please note I’m no expert so if I get some of this wrong you’ll have to excuse me). Bring on the brothels.

Brothels provide an environment where the women who work there feel safe. They have security guards to protect them if their customers turn violent or abusive, unlike a car parked in a dark alley. It’s off the streets and out of the neighbourhoods so you don’t have to worry about little Johnny discovering his daddy being taken on a trip around the world without ever leaving his car. Regular testing for STD’s and drugs, strict use of condoms, and the ability to screen potential employees and customers to ensure both are of legal age. Just like the other vices discussed (tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana), folks are still going to pay for it. Tax, tax, tax. I’m interested to see how much money the state of Nevada brings in from legalized prostitution but chances are it’s a decent chunk of change. Combine it with the other changes and whammo!!!! Healthcare is practically paid for! Not to mention creating, once again, more jobs (accountants, security, lab workers, regulators, inspectors…) and stimulating (tee hee) the economy.

I should clarify that this is not just for women. The brothel idea applies to everyone: men, women, transgender, whatever. Brothels should be able to cater to all tastes (once again, pun intended).

Now that we’ve solved the majority of the problem when it comes to funding Obama’s idea for universal healthcare, let’s move on a few ideas about how he can save America from destroying itself.

1. Promote healthy living and prevention rather than treating the symptoms.

Once again, an item that involves taxation. Sorry folks, I’m sure some of you have zoned out by now but please stay with me. America is fat. Correction, America is morbidly obese. And I’m not just referring to the United States; Canada is very much in the same boat. We’ve allowed ourselves to forget our European roots. We no longer sit down as a family to enjoy a meal together unless you consider sitting in the SUV, munching on Big Macs and fries on our way to hang out at the mall. We rarely exercise because, thanks to the way we’ve designed our “new world” cities, we have to drive to go to the grocery store. And because we’ve become so used to driving everywhere, we actually drive to the corner store. And the next time you see a fast food establishment not located in a mall, have a quick look around. Yep, go on. Do a 3600 spin. Chances are you’ll see at least one other competing establishment across the street from it. Or at least within a block. We’ve made it far easier to get a burger combo than a carrot and our expanding waistlines (and health care bills) prove it. Increase the tax on fast food. It is in no way nutritious no matter how much they promote their salads, muffins, or “low fat” options. Make it more difficult to open one of these businesses especially in lower income areas. Encourage stores that sell “real” food through lower taxes and other incentives to open up in locations where residents don’t have easy access to healthy foods. And food should be eaten…not gobbled down like it’s a race to the end. We should savour our food, reconnect with our family as we sit down together, talk about our days. We’d eat less AND communicate. Two things that are sadly wrong with North America these days.

Remember, in his pre-Governator days, when Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke at the White House (I think under Papa Bush) and got kids moving? Here in Canada, what ever happened to Particip-action? Sure we all hated it but it made us exercise. Cuts to physical education must be stopped. That’s preventative medicine. By getting kids to move around and “play” at an early age, they’re more likely to continue moving through out their lives. This’ll lead to healthier kids who become healthier adults; it will help with their grades. I remember being taught about the Canada Food Guide as a kid. I don’t think they do that anymore. What happened to health classes? Gym? Recess? Is it any wonder we’re producing a generation of fat lazy slobs? President Obama (and, ugh, Prime Minister Harper), find your own version of the Terminator and spend some time encouraging all these folks who believe in you to get up and move. It could be anything…sports, running, dancing, taking your new puppy for a walk every day. Something, anything, to put fitness and healthier living back into focus.

I’m not going to get started on the whole antidepressant deluge that we’re seeing these days including those being prescribed to our children. Yes, I believe that there are people out there that need them but for some, including parents, it’s far easier to just pop the kid a Ritalin in the morning and not deal with kids being kids.

2. Stop making America a “disposable” nation.

Cars, plastic dishes, appliances, everything. When did this happen? Some of you will be too young to remember but there used to be a time where Sally and Bob took a casserole over to their new neighbours, Betty and Tom, in a (gasp!) actual dish. Not plastic, not Tupperware … China. Porcelain. Ooooooh! And then! They had to wait a few days until Betty and Tom had finished it off, washed the dish, and returned it to Sally and Bob. These days, that rarely if ever happens. We’ve become a throw away society. Does anyone remember when people used to take pride in American made products? I vaguely remember the “Made in America” label campaign from the late 70s or early 80s but other than a few mentions of “Buy American” over the past few months, I’ve heard very little. Why not encourage quality-made, longer lasting products than all the crap we currently get from China? Items like they used to make which you don’t just automatically throw away when they have the slightest scratch or dent. People used to get things…wait for it…”fixed” when they broke. Yes, this will mean you can’t employ as many people in the manufacturing business as we currently do but seriously, do we need to put out that many cars every year? No we don’t. Make cars that last. Cars that provide top notch fuel efficiency. Cars that don’t need fixing every couple of thousand miles. You know why you still see “classic” American made cars on the road today? Because (1) people took pride in them and wanted them to last considering the amount of money they spent, and (2) they were built to a higher standard than the cheap pieces of shit we see in the car lots today. Those jobs though would be picked up in other areas. Such as…

3. Get a move on Green Energy

Create those “green” jobs you promised through wind farms, solar panel manufacture and installation, turning methane from garbage dumps to usable energy. Plant trees. Promote green spaces. Build electric cars. All talk and no walk it seems on this issue. Obama has the opportunity to turn the United States into a world leader once again, this time in terms of renewable energy and yet I have heard nothing but healthcare healthcare healthcare. Yes, I agree its one of the top three items he has to work on but he can’t forget the rest of his campaign promises. Perhaps also if we weren’t polluting the air, drinking chemicals from plastic bottles and having toxic substances leak into our water supplies, we wouldn’t have to be spending so much freaking money on treatment for people affected by these things. Once again, it comes back to preventative medicine.

4. Grow a political backbone.

The Democrats, if I have this correctly, control both Congress and the Senate. Is that right? Anyone? Anyone? Doesn’t that mean that you can pretty much pass anything you want without worrying about the Republicans blocking it? Hmmm, perhaps you should start acting like it. Get your party together and start acting like you control the government. Pass some laws and bills that are going to make a big difference as you promised and let’s get things moving. Yes, I know, I know, it’s not “that easy” but you know what…it kinda is.


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