Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The US can be a great country again - if it addresses some fundamental problems. Below is my list of problems and possible solutions:

Problem #1: Too many "leeches" and not enough "producers".
An economy cannot survive if not enough of its citizens produce useful goods or services. Government workers do not produce anything. Why, then, is government (federal and state) the biggest employer in the country? Because everyone is flocking to government employ as a way to make a cushy, stable, and lucrative living. Some, don't even do any useful work whatsoever - betting on the fact that one rarely gets fired by the government. Government is not the only place where "leeches" have proliferated. Just look at the number of lawyers and tax accountants in this country. There's a saying - we have 5% of the world population but 95% of the world's lawyers. And most of them only exist off the backs of "producers". Tax accountants exist mainly because of our overly complex tax system - created by "leech" government workers trying to justify their salary.

Solution: make government workers as accountable for their work as private workers. If workers don't perform, let them go! If workers have no meaningful work to do, let them go or re-assign them!

Problem #2: Too many lawsuits.
With the government as our shining light of proper behavior (see #1 above), we've become a country of unresponsible people. Nothing is our fault - everything is someone else's. So why not "leech" off others and make a quick fortune by suing them for perceived wrongs?

Solution: Tort reform. If someone brings on a lawsuit and loses, they need to pay the defendants' legal fees. This would immediately eliminate the many frivolous lawsuits clogging our legal system. Lawyers would have to start pursuing more productive pursuits.

Problem #3: An inferior K-12 educational system.
This is due to a combination of no accountability on the teachers (bad teachers can't be fired - they just stay on 'til they get to retire) and insufficient funds due to "leech" workers around them (e.g. superintendents of only 1-2 schools sipphoning off monies that should go to the teachers.

Solution: Just as with problem #1, accountability is the answer: teachers who don't teach effectively (as measured by national, standardized tests), should be let go. Similarly, superintendents need to show that they're managing a sufficient number of schools to justify their job (e.g. as managers, they have to manage at least 5-7 schools!) On the other hand, pay the most effective teachers and administrators more!

Problem #4: An unhealthy healthcare system. Many inefficiencies due to lack of computerization raise costs. Even more so, frivolous lawsuits (see problem #2) tremendously raise costs (costs of litigation, settlement, resultant liability insurance for doctors, etc.)

Solution: Some of the high costs would be brought down by fixing problem #2. Computerization is also pretty straight-forward with the only "stumbling block" being the need to keep citizen data private. Perhaps the solution is one in which the government keeps citizens' medical data on an ultra-secure data center which can only be accessed by the citizen! They would be able to download their medical data onto a portable device (e.g. flash drive) to take it to their doctor. Updates by the doctor are also stored on the device and, at the citizen's convenience uploaded back to the government's data center. In other words, the citizens have full control over their medical data and the government's servers act as a "backup".