# Suggestions to Improve the USA

The United States of America is a great country but some problems we have are being completely neglected.

• Eliminate The Electoral College Step Function. At the root of the year 2000 and 2016 election boondoggles is a mathematical function called a 'step function'. A well known example is the process of rounding For example, 10.6 becomes 11 and 10.4 becomes 10 even though 10.6 is closer to 10.4 than either 10 or 11. The function is shown in the graph to the right. Instead of a smooth response to a change in x, y often jumps suddenly to a new value. By taking a popular vote and changing it into a single number, the electoral college performs a step function. As we have seen twice now, the consequence can be that a president can be elected who is not the most popular. I don't think we have an excuse for this system anymore because people now have plenty of information about the candidates. Unfortunately it requires a change of the constitution to fix.

• Eliminate The Tax Step Function. Tax brackets are also a form of a step function. They cause people to struggle to avoid the next incremental step. This is a waste of time and energy. It probably originated in a time when there were no computers, but there is no excuse for it anymore since just about everybody uses computers. Instead of brackets I would propose a smooth function. The most obvious one is a strict percentage of one's income, but currently we tax richer people at a higher percentage. This is easy to implement. For example, It could be a parabola, y = Ax2 + Bx + C. However a requirement of the curve is that it pass through zero, so the formula should be y = Ax2 + Bx (with C=0). More complex curves can be made using higher order polynomials. Computing one's tax would be simple and the tax tables would be eliminated. To be done: what is the simplest polynomial that implements the tax curve?

• Use Universal Standard Time to Announce Election Results. People in the western part of the country vote later than those in the east, creating the impression of a horse race and possibly making some people feel that their vote does not count. While that has never been true, we should eliminate the problem by announcing all federal election results simultaneously.

• Adopt the Metric System. Remember what happened when a Mars lander came to Mars? It burned up because one lander construction team used an English measure while another used metric. The root of that disaster is that the USA has not converted to metric. The United States is one of only a few countries that have not adopted the metric system. England took 10 years to convert and is finished now. Some people complain that the metric system is complicated, but it is actually much easier than the older system. What is complicated is all the conversions. I get the impression that teaching the conversions is what makes people dislike metric and resist it. If we just started working entirely in metric it would be quite simple. It only takes a short time to get used to. Another false argument is that we have a lot of equipment already devoted to the older system. However what this really means is that US companies are forced to have two production lines, one for the US and another for the rest of the world. This hampers us economically.
How to teach the metric system to Americans - The Oatmeal

• Eliminate the National Debt. Rather than creating a tax cut now, it is wiser in the long run to eliminate our debt. This way we can have (if we chose) a nice permanent tax cut later!

• Separate Church from State. Although the US law claims to do this, a Constitutional-violating residue is the phrase "In God We Trust" on money. To truly represent all of people in this country, these words must be eliminated. Let's go back to the original "E pluribus unum" which means "Out of many, one".

• Ecology and Environment Here are a few of thousands of projects we should be working on vigorously!

• Fund Alternative Energy Systems. In the 1970's we had an oil restriction. We have had 30 years to get out of this problem and we have done very little since then. What are we waiting for? Do we have to wait for the wells to go dry, a major permanent oil crunch? Even if this is to happen 50 years from now we should be preparing now while we have the ability to. Otherwise our society will collapse, as it is not likely that we could get nuclear plants on line quickly enough. But my bet is that we will be forced to use nuclear plants, after the disaster (if we survive as a society). Digging up wilderness to get 6 months of oil is a very short sighted solution.

• Eliminate Plastics or Make Them ALL Recyclable. Organic food producers not only produce safer foods but often they use plastics with the triangle symbol marked on them. I suggest that we create a law that requires all plastics to have the appropriate recycling mark. If a plastic cannot be recycled then it should not be used.

• Require Recycling: Eliminate "Waste". Why are we worried about filling our land with garbage when we can elminate much of the problem by recycling? A law should be created that makes it manditory to recycle all paper, plastics, metals and organic materials. After that there isn't much left! The newer idea is that there would be no such thing as "waste". Another law would require that all items manufactured have a recycle path. We are rich enough now to say that if you can't figure out how to recycle your product, we don't need it.

• Plant One Tree for Every Tree Cut. I believe that this is a law in India but don't have a good link. Clearly we would do well to plant two trees or more for a while.

• Highway memorials. Erect a memorial at all places where people died along the highway. The positive feedback may well prevent further accidents. The "obvious" symbol to use is a cross but this has serious problems because it violates the separation of church and state. Another possibility is the skull and crossbones, but that seems to imply a deadly poison rather than a car crash. What would be an appropriate symbol to use? How about a purple stick?

Tom Schneider's Home Page
origin: 2000 Nov 12
updated: 2020 Aug 18