The USA After You've Been King For A Day?

You have been granted complete authority over POTUS, SCOTUS and Congress in a national referendum. You may confer with any body of experts you wish and the USG will immediately put into effect ANY legislation you deem wise.

Electoral reform, distribution of wealth, environment, health care, education, size of our military, our foreign policy … nothing is off the table. Recreate our country and how it relates to the world in your image.

And then live another life in it.

You die and are born again randomly into the general population. Happy with the changes you’ve made?

IMHO, there’d be lots of mind changing about what legitimate govt looks like.

Extra credit. Your new parents are chosen for you by national referendum.

I would choose to do nothing, absolutely nothing.

And then at the end of the day, I’d turn to the American people and remind them that we’re a nation of laws, not kings. In writing, because people have heard enough politicians speaking.

I’d add a p.s.: learn more about Calvin Coolidge.

Assuming my power extends to the state level, then we’d have a new constitution that’s much more explicit about the second amendment, the interstate commerce clause, and generally reinforces the fact that we’re supposed to be a federal republic.

I would ban general nosiness. Everyone now would need to mind their own damn business. Papparrazi (however its spelled) - banned. Tabloids - banned. Actual journalism reporting something “newsworthy” - you may proceed. also banned under this provision, the US military’s involvement in other countries unless the head of the nation requests it. Charity is still allowed of course.

I’m sure there’s a lot of problems with this (hell I’m thinking of several right now), but all in all, I think the whole damn world has become too nosy. Listen to Steven Covey people, focus on your sphere of influence, not the sphere of concern. Its a good start.

I would love it, unless I worked in advertising, because the first law I would pass is that annoying radio / TV ads are punishable by death by slow torture. Not all ads, mind you, just the annoying ones. Geico’s radio ads, for example. Most are annoyingly lame attempts at humor.

If I were king for just one day
I would give it all away
give it all away, to be with you

Enjoy the earworm!

My first thought would be, “Why have you guys chosen a foreigner as King?” Once I got over the shock, though, I’d make the metric system madatory. :slight_smile:

This is brilliant.


But let me continue. It should be clear that if you choose to change nothing, you’ll be much more likely to be born with AIDS into poverty than become the CEO at Goldman Sachs (cite?). Like the odds?

If you choose to change nothing, you are much more likely to be born into a country that subsidizes arms manufacturers by waging war and arming the world for profit than one whose flag is welcomed in every port of call.

Does institutionalized greed have a place in a world of growing need and shrinking resources?

Hey, I’m not even clear on the ground rules. Can I change the Constitution? You haven’t mentioned that. “complete authority over POTUS, SCOTUS and Congress” seems to exclude that. I’ve been mulling over how I’d ensure that the fruits of my one-day kingship weren’t overturned on the following day. But at the same time “Recreate our country and how it relates to the world in your image” seems to give me unlimited authority for that day. And your “You die and are born again randomly into the general population. Happy with the changes you’ve made?” seems to imply some durability to my changes.

Given that fundamental ambiguity in your OP, cracking jokes seemed to be the sensible response.

Strict Term Limits for Congress

the rest of the day would be spent…

“It’s Good to be King” (think Mel Brooks History of the World)

Hey, bra. You da King now! What you say, goes. Just gotta get down with being a subject tomorrow.

Rather than electing representatiives who want to be in Congrees, I would have random citizens sentenced to serve involuntary terms.

If you had complete control over POTUS and Congress, you could amend the Constitution how ever you like. Heck, POTUS isn’t even necessary.

But you’d better make SCOTUS put out something that interprets the change the way you want it interpreted.

You may construe “complete control” as the power to reconstitute (or eliminate) by fiat and to rewrite the Constitution.

Life, it has been pointed out, is a crap shoot, …where and into what circumstances you are born will largely determine what kind of ride you have.

This country, in broad strokes, was (is) putatively constituted as a democratic meritocracy offering social and economic mobility to its citizens along with protection from coercion, political, economic and moral. Why else would it be popularly supported?

This idea had some credence back in the time when, if you didn’t like your neighbors, you could pull up stakes, move a hundred miles west, and thru your own efforts and the help of the US military in removing the indigenous inhabitants, make a new and prosperous life for yourself and family. And if a few fat cats back east got obscenely rich in the process, so what? ‘I’ve got mine’ was enough for most.

Those.Days.Are.Gone. Got it?

So, in recognition of that fact and the given expressed faith of 90% of the population that you are the one guy/gal possessed of the wisdom to transform the US into a true democratic meritocracy (want to be randomly reborn into something else?, knock yourself out), what do you do?

For starters.

  1. The new legislative process is totally transparent. All policy debates, foreign and domestic are carried on CBN. No backroom deals.

  2. Define a generous poverty level and limit personal net worth to, say, 100 times the average net worth of the impoverished. Plenty of room there for conspicuous merit AND, the wealthy would have every reason to want to raise everyone’s standard of living … a hundred for me, for every one yours? Please have another. I can live with that. I envision an annual Tax Payer of the Year Awards Dinner with maybe, Capitalist Hero Medals for the top 3. Instead of honoring the best thieves in the room, we pay tribute to those who thru their industry and ingenuity have contributed most to society in a truly free market.

Next up, foreign policy.

I’d return the rebellious colonies to the jurisdiction of the British monarchy and rename New York ‘Chiddingfold-on-Sea’.

Ha, just kidding. In reality I’d do as davekhps suggests, although quicker; I’d resign all unelected unwarranted power immediately. Power corrupts, and absolute power…

I’d raise the taxes significantly for the rich, reduce them significantly for the poor and probably keep them close to what they are now for the middle and upper middle class.

I’d introduce free universal health care, including dental care, free school lunches - before someone tells me these things aren’t “free”, I mean paid for by tax money - and to put a lot more emphasis on the environment, I’d tax the fuck out of people driving SUVs and give tax incentives to people commuting by public transportation or with hybrid cars.

I’d enforce stricter gun control laws, and possibly outlaw handguns completely other than for specific hunting. I’d legalize marijuana and mild, well-researched hallucinogenics (and possibly MDMA) - but only allow licensed and strictly controlled distributors, as well as increasing taxes on alcohol.

I’d increase minimum wage nationwide to $10/hr to start with, and also make it mandatory for employers to provide 401K for all full-time positions. I’d repeal the UIGEA and let people gamble online as they wish. That was some silly bullshit. I’d lower the BAC to ~0.03 for DUI laws - just don’t effin’ drink if you’re driving.

This is only a few things I’d do. I’d also move into a big apartment in Manhattan and get some nice jewelry. I’d want to be referred to as the Slick Rick of Modern Monarchy! :stuck_out_tongue:

Agreed. “Insufficient data for meaningful answer.” I’ve watched The Twilight Zone, too—I know how this stuff goes down.

On the other hand, maybe I’d just go mad with power preemptively, and just screw with people to watch it burn. I might ban gay marriages…and all other marriages as well. All existing ones are dissolved, along with all legal privileges that go along with them, and surnames will now be strictly matrilineal, and it’s forbidden to change them; All death row and life-sentence inmates would be released…after being declared outlaw; I’ll legalize drugs…but grant Exxon an exclusive government monopoly on their sale and distribution within US borders for the next 100 years. I’m sure I can think up something involving conscription, the legality of birth control, and a desperate lack of organized gladiatorial fights…

This is probably why you need to screen your kings.

The OP seems to me to be just asking how you’d structure a country from behind Rawls’s veil of ignorance. The bit about being king is just window dressing.

I’m late for the party again. Thanks for the heads up.

From the wiki googling RVOI

I did imply this but let’s make it explicit.

POTUS isn’t necessary to change the Constitution, but 38 state legislatures are. Nothing in the OP about them.

But you’d better make SCOTUS put out something that interprets the change the way you want it interpreted.
Per the OP, I can change SCOTUS, so that was never a problem here.

Fortunately, adhay has clarified things:

I’ll try to use my sweeping powers for good.

Here’s a few Constitutional amendments I’d institute:

  1. Corporations aren’t persons, and are given no protections under the Bill of Rights. So corporations, as corporations, wouldn’t have free speech rights and whatnot; they’d have to rely on their officers, stockholders, etc. being willing to speak out on their behalf.

  2. Net neutrality. Yep, put that sucker in the Constitution. Write it in a way that it would apply to anything that might foreseeably supplant the Web as we know it.

  3. “Limited time” of ownership of intellectual property would be ‘limited’ relative to the timescale of a typical human life, with no incidents of private ownership to last more than 40 years from the creation of any piece of intellectual property, and Congress would have the authority to regulate IP within that timespan.

  4. The anti-hereditary aristocracy amendment: I’d Constitutionally establish Federal estate tax rates that get confiscatory after the first billion. I’d institute a rate schedule that looked something like this:

Portion of estate value      tax rate
0-10 million                    0%
10-30 million                  50%
30-100 million                 60%
100-300 million                75%
300 - 1000 million             90%
over 1000 million              99%

A couple leaving behind $10 million would be able to leave it all to their children, and a billionaire would be able to leave $168 million to his heirs, which would be enough to ensure that his great-grandchildren all would live comfortably if the assets were prudently managed over the generations.

But unless the heirs were able to increase their forebear’s wealth rather than merely live well off the interest, the political clout that comes with the ability to throw serious money around would vanish after a couple of generations. You might be Somebody because your father was, but not simply because your great-grandfather was. The Founders intended to dispense with aristocracies. Me too.

I’d be able to do that in my first couple of hours as king. I’m sure I can think of some things for the rest of the day.