In an effort to help with global warming, obesity, financial meltdown and the general malaise around the world, I have a few suggestions. They will hurt some people a little; some a lot. But they’ll help everyone in the long run. Here are my austerity measures, which I’ll be submitting to our new president in January:
- A 2-5 year moratorium on the manufacture of the following items. These things exist in surplus in the world and are not a necessity. Some people will be unemployed for a while during the transition to recycling existing supply, and making things which are really useful, but in the end the value of the items in my attic and garage as well as thrift and dollar stores everywhere will go up due to restricted supply.
- Baseball caps
- Coffee mugs (possible exemption given to coffee shop mugs)
- key chains
- porcelain and plastic figurines
- Restaurant happy-meal toys
- plastic flowers
- car air fresheners
- plastic vampire teeth
- dog and cat toys
- Fabric softener
- all plastic jewelry
- Styrofoam clam take-out containers
- Styrofoam coffee cups
- Styrofoam heads
- Styrofoam Christmas balls
- all glass Christmas baubles
- Disposable razors
- Bath salts
- Scented candles
- disposable chopsticks
2. Rationed gas supply, or alternatively, higher gas prices. Personally I like the idea of rationing, at least while we’re at war. Anything to get people out of their lonely cars and into carpools, buses, bikes and feets is headed in the right direction. This will be good from all angles, but it will be hard. Some people will have to insist that their neighborhoods put in sidewalks, or at lease paint lines so people can walk safely (the people who used to make Styrofoam heads can do some of this work). They’ll have to re-zone so it’s possible to open a store in a neighborhood. Ever wonder what It’s like to walk to the store? It’s cool. It isn’t an accident that shopping districts became islands impossible to get to without getting in your car. It was planned that way and it can be un-planned.
3. Meat rationing. Again, this has multiple good angles. Eating lower off the food chain is good for everyone and everything with the possible exception of a few cowering beans. Harvesting of local wildlife such as squirrels, pigeons, prairie dogs and citified geese would be allowed with some restrictions on method and areas. Also, serious consideration should be given to eating otherwise euthanized animals from overflowing animal shelters. This isn’t going to sit well with a lot of people, but what are we doing with all that meat right now? Is it ethically better to throw away animals we kill?
4. Refined sugar and corn syrup rationing. This will be good for everyone. Except maybe the sugar people. But they can start growing hemp (which should be encouraged) and rebuilding bridges. I didn’t say it wasn’t going to hurt, but in order to get better, it has to hurt. If you think you support the troops for example, but can’t go without your Snicker or Sunny Delite while they sweat in the desert, get over it.
5. Free birth control and/or family planning advice made available to anyone who wants it, worldwide. I love babies. Just like I love sugar. It is untenable however, to continue to increase life expectancy on the far end of life, and fertility and infant survival on the near end, but not increase landmass (on the contrary, look at coastlines, the land is getting smaller, not bigger). The only sensible thing to do is reproduce less. I want a million grandchildren. I do. But it’s wrong.
6. At a bare minimum, the health insurance industry needs to have all paperwork regulated and streamlined. A quarter to a third of our medical care expenses are dedicated to paperwork and administrative costs. People who currently juggle forms this can look for work at the Goodwill, or designing, decorating and building new power lines.
7. Here are some things people who are unemployed could be re-directed to do:
- Grow hemp
- Build mass transit
- Rebuild bridges and roads
- Teach kids
- Teach Adults English
- Plant trees
- Go to nursing school
- Build energy transmission systems
- Build renewable energy infrastructure (solar and wind)
- Insulate homes and buildings
- Take care of old people
- Decorate power poles
- Clean up brownfields
- Re-process toxic electronics
- Organize the jeans at the Goodwill by size.
- Sort and organize coffee mugs, baseball caps, figurines, etc for resale
- Clean my basement, put my photos in albums
I hear you saying, Lisa, this all sounds fabulous, where do I sign up? But you haven’t quite seen how it helps with our financial troubles. My financial theory is a little complicated and will require another post.
I’m sure I missed some moratorium items or some new employment ideas, feel free to add to my list.