Many badly-needed, common-sense reforms are unlikely to ever be passed until voters force government to do so:
Demand that Congress stop blocking our Constitutional right to an Article V Convention.  
All 50 states' legislatures have made 592 (or more) requests for an Article V Convention, yet Congress ignores it.
Don't Re-elect Irresponsible Incumbent Politicians.  Always.  Every election, UNTIL incumbents finally pass badly-needed, simple, common-sense, no-brainer reforms,  and  address the nation's most  pressing problems.  
Rewarding and empowering irresponsible incumbent politicians by repeatedly re-electing them will simply make them corrupt and irresponsible.  
Voters should demand transparency and common-sense simplifications to eliminate clever over-complications designed to reduce transparency to create opportunities for self-gain.  More transparency within government is needed, to make corruption more difficult to exist and grow.  More transparency within government is needed to make it easier for voters' to peacefully force government to be accountable and responsible too!
The purpose of voting is not to continually re-elect irresponsible incumbents.  Better government will make your life better, and bad government will make it worse.  It is just plain, common-sense.  Don't be lazy and don't be fooled, and remember that most (if not all) irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, incumbent politicians are standing in the way of badly-needed, common-sense reforms.
Government will not become more responsible until the voters do too.  And, that is not likely to occur by rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians by repeated re-electing them; letting them enjoy a cu$hy 90% (or higher) re-election rate;  letting the two-party duopoly take turns being irresponsible, while the nation's pressing problems are allowed to grow in number and severity.

  These simple changes would solve a LOT of problems, the Federal government would not need nearly as much money, and  many other improvements and efficiency would naturally follow:
(a) ETHICS COMMISSION:  Create an independent Ethics Commission to monitor, audit, and investigate unethical conduct, and report illegal activity so that violators will be held accountable.
  (b) ONE  PURPOSE  PER  BILL:  Start simplifying government by allowing ONLY  ONE  purpose per bill  (i.e. only one or more items that are necessary for the one purpose of the one bill). This will cut out the pork-barrel and graft that sneak into huge bills, in which pork-barrel consisting of numerous unrelated items is hidden within thousands of pages that few (if anyone, much less voters) reads or scrutinizes. This will allow voters to easily see how politicians voted.  This will increase transparency, which will lead to more accountability, and responsibilityCurrently, it's nearly impossible to know why a politician voted for or against a bill.  Perhaps, this lack-of-transparency is by design?  It's certainly become a popular vehicle for hiding excessive pork-barrel, graft, bribes, and waste.
(c) GRADE  PERFORMANCE:  Create and maintain a list of the most pressing problems facing the nation, and show, on a regular basis (e.g. once per month or quarterly), the problems that are being resolved, how they're being resolved, and show the problems that have been resolved.  Government must provide a way to grade it's performance, just like we all do (in school, college, and professions)Otherwise, there is no direction and chaos will prevail.
  (d) PUBLICIZE  VOTING  RECORDS:  Also, widely publicize voting records of politicians, on the internet and elsewhere, so that everyone can see the voting records of all Congress persons.  Transparency and access to all information must be allowed (the only exception would be for national security).  Similar to a surveillance system that discourages illegal behavior due to risk of being seen and held accountable, transparency will effectively discourage abuse and corruption, and make it easier to identify those accountable. The "Freedom of Information Act" has already made some information accessible, but not widely publicized.
  (e) FISCAL  RESPONSIBILITY:  Then, cut spending and waste, eliminate duplicate, overlapping, and unnecessary departments, agencies, commissions, committees, etc., reduce the waste, and start reducing the Federal government to only the few things that it is best suited to do. Do we really need all of these offices, departments, agencies, etc. Initially, the Federal government was only supposed to provide for a National Defense. Perhaps we should try to get back to the few original responsibilities?  In 2005, the Executive Branch employed about 2 million people, and the Congress employed several hundred thousand people, and many of them get paid a lot of money to do whatThe nation could be headed for a Fiscal/Financial meltdown due to a potential, simultaneous culmination of several of the following to create the perfect storm:
spending in excess of $2 trillion per year
over $9 trillion National Debt, 28% of each tax $dollar required for interest on the National Debt
$42 trillion in nation-wide debt
looming shortfalls in Social Security; the government, for decades,  has been taking the surpluses from Social Security and replacing it with worthless government bonds (that is a dishonest ponzi-scheme);
plundered pensions going bankrupt and looming bankruptcy of the Government Pension Benefit Guaranty Group ($450 billion in the hole)
looming shortfalls in Medicare/Medicaid
the race to the bottom, globalization & outsourcing, falling incomes, declined manufacturing (will we remember how to make anything?)
rising cost and declining quality of health care
rising cost and declining quality of public education; public tax funds being used for private schools;
a bad money system;  our monetary system is a massive fraudulent ponzi-scheme;  the government is printing and borrowing money to just pay the interest on the National Debt, which is like paying your VISA credit card with your VISA credit card;  this ponzi-scheme creates the ever-present, and destabilizing inflation;  since 1950, the amount of money printed has increased from $150 billion to $6.9 trillion in year 2000;  we and many future  generations will have to deal with this massive, dishonest fiscal irresponsibility, someday;
corporate/investor fraud; cooking the books; stock fraud; failure of the SEC to regulate and prosecute violators
rising cost of fuel and energy; energy vulnerability
arising cost of the war on terror, war in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. ($money, lives, and disabilities)
rising cost of illegal trespassers, burdening public schools, hospitals, health-care systems, crime prevention (unsecured borders; governments that will not enforce the laws and prosecute those that illegally employ illegal trespassers)
waste, pork-barrel, big $money in rotten elections and politics, limited access for 3rd parties on voting ballots, government growing & growing
a ridiculous and increasingly stupid, costly, unfair, and abused tax system

  n Remove the barriers to access to ballots:
Remove the barriers that are preventing and making it very difficult for other candidates (e.g. independent or 3rd party candidates) to get names onto voting ballots.  Our current 2 party system (i.e. Democrats and Republicans) is failing us with its extremely lengthy, shallow campaigns which require an ever-escalating amount of money to win public office.  And, often  at best, the votes of only 25% of the eligible voters is required to win (i.e. since there is usually less than 50% voter participation) This is a serious problem, and such barriers are a violation of the constitution, and it is severely limiting our choices of candidates by only a few with access to wealth and power.  NOTE:  About 122 million people (of the 200 million eligible voters) voted in the 2004 presidential election.
  n Reform the Election Process:
The ideological basis of our democratic republic is to provide for an orderly change of government allowing the people to choose those that will best represent them.  That's the theory, but it is far different in reality.  Some simple changes are needed to level the playing field for all candidates, and end unfair and dangerous influences by only a few people that abuse their vast wealth and power:
Government  should  NOT  be  FOR-SALE !
Limit political contributions from any entity (e.g. person, corporation, organization, etc.), per year, to 1% of the average American annual income.  Regulation of political contributions is allowed by the Constitution. Unfortunately, the courts have decided that political contributions can not be banned entirely, but can be regulatedTherefore, contribution limits should not be so large that the wealthy and corporations carry more influence than the individual voter (as it is now, and is obviously unfair to the average voter).
Only allow contributions by American citizens. Prohibit contributions from corporations, PACs, Unions, and other organizations.
No candidate may spend their own money in excess of the average American annual income;  otherwise, a very wealthy person could conceivably buy an election, and control the media, news, propaganda, etc.
All donations must be deposited into a single fund managed by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that:
a)  disperses donations to the intended recipients.
b)  enforces donation laws and restrictions (e.g. enforce annual donation limits, enforce restrictions of donations only originating from American citizens or 100% owned corporations, and enforce other laws governing elections, etc.)
c)  disperses donations above the permitted limits (if any), equally, between all registered candidates;  there is no need to disclose the identity or source of donations, since only American citizens and 100% American owned corporations or organizations can make political donations, and everyone is limited to the same annual maximum of 1% of the average American annual income; 
  The FEC must disclose to all contributors that all amounts above the established 1% limit of the average American annual income is dispersed equally to all registered candidates.
Make it illegal for candidates to public office or government employees to solicit or accept money, gifts, favors, or future promises of any kind (above and beyond the allowed limit)
Also, make it illegal for any family member, group or organization to solicit or accept money or gifts, or spend funds on the behalf of a candidate for office or government employee.
Government should not be for sale. When money enters the election process, it is rotten. Peddling influence represents a flagrant conflict of interest, and must be eliminated. Conviction for violation of this law would also forfeit the employee's government pension (if any). 
Make it illegal for government office holders or employees to accept outside employment during their employment by the government.
Prohibit all government employees or office holders, for two years after leaving government employment, from accepting employment with any government contractor or sub-contractor,  government consultant, lobbyist position, etc.
All candidates for office will be provided some free and equal media time during the election campaign (including print, radio, television, etc.).  Remove the big money that allows only some to control the newspapers, radio stations and TV stations.  Election statistics show that in over 90% of elections, the candidate that spends the most money wins
Hold elections on a week-end  and/or  declare important election days a national holiday.
End voter-registration.  Instead, all eligible voters should use a secure form of identification, such as biometrics
When each voter submits their vote(s), they will receive a computer-printed slip of paper with a randomly generated number that can be used to find a record of their vote in a publicly listed record of all votes (e.g. on the internet, telephone, news paper, etc.).  This will preserve anonymity, reduce election fraud, and provide a public record of each election.
Make it illegal to start campaigning before a certain date prior to an election, so that all candidates have equal campaign time, so that campaigns will be less time consuming, and less costly to the tax payers.
Remove the straight-ticket voting lever (or button) in all voting machinesVoting machines should not be promoting party-only voting.
Remove and prohibit the party affiliation via names and symbols (e.g. Democrat, Independent, Republican, etc.) next to the names of all candidates
n Prohibit Gerrymandering:
Prohibit Gerrymandering, in which electoral district or constituency boundaries are manipulated for an electoral advantage, and to disadvantage electoral opponents.
n Term-Limits:
Voters, if they wish, can impose immediate term-limits by merely not re-electing incumbent politicians.  Voters could immediately eliminate the few truly bad career politicians that remain in office as long as they keep bringing home the pork.  Unfortunately, too many voters are too easily bribed (ironically, with the voters' own money).   So, a large part of the problem is the slumbering electorate.  Currently, irresponsible incumbent politicians will never voluntarily pass such a law imposing term-limits,  or any badly-needed, common-sense reforms that may reduce their power, opportunities for self-gain, or reduce the security of their cu$hy, coveted seats of power.    Since irresponsible incumbent politicians will never voluntarily pass a law for term-limits (among many other badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms), they deserve to have term-limits imposed:
  for the very same reasons that there are term-limits on the office of president;
  because most (if not all) incumbents are currently irresponsible and unaccountable;
  because too many irresponsible incumbent politicians have acquired concentrated power and wealth and are extremely difficult to oust, due to numerous unfair incumbent advantages that they have given to themselves;
  because too many irresponsible incumbent politicians always outnumber incoming newcomers to congress, and will not allow newcomers to pass any badly-needed, common-sense reforms either;
  because voters apathy, complacency, and despair is a fact of life;  therefore voters need something to help eliminate irresponsible, incumbent career politicians (i.e. term-limits);
  Some people will say it causes the loss of good politicians (if there is such a thing), but the high re-election rate of incumbents also keeps good politicians from ever getting into Congress.
  because tenure corrupts (more about Term-Limits as
  However, we have a Catch-22.  Since irresponsible incumbent politicians will never voluntarily pass many badly-needed, common-sense reforms, it is now up to the voters.  Stop repeat offenders.  Don't re-elect irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians !
  n A Better Voting System:
We need more choices.  The two main-parties have effectively limited our choices to them alone, and they simply take turns being irresponsible and unaccountable.   Perhaps we should also consider a change in the voting system.   Perhaps something like the "Approval Voting" System. "Approval Voting" is a system in which voters can place vote(s) for multiple candidates.  The single candidate receiving the most approval votes wins the election. This simple change could have a profound and positive impact on elections. Some nations are already using this system.  This system provides several benefits:
provides more choices, which
increases voter turnout, and
can provide better representation for minorities, and
increases chances of the strongest candidate, and
eliminates the "Spoiler Effect"  and  "Wasted Vote Syndrome" , and
reduces negative campaigning, and
focuses more on issues than geographical areas
More about Approval Voting:
  n Abuse of Wealth to Control Government:
Some of the changes (above) may require changes to the Constitution, but the Constitution is not written in stone, and government should not be for sale.  Graft, bribery, influence peddling, and unfair influence by some that abuse vast wealth and power should not be legalThe purpose of the Constitution is to ensure that the government is Of the People, By the People, For the People.  Power should not be vested in the scepter of a few with vast wealth;  it should remain in the hands of the people.  How is that possible, if a few with vast wealth and power have a louder voice than the people?   Thus, campaign finance must be addressed.  Offices of government should not be sold to the highest bidder.  Only 5% of the wealthiest have 59.01% of all wealth.  10% of the wealthiest have 70.45% of all wealth.  But 90% of average citizens (with only 29.55% of all wealth) can not compete with the other wealthier 10%.  This gives rise to an elitist government, and this may be why many in government do not really want to address the following:
campaign finance reform
government FOR-SALE, influence peddling, lobbying by wealthy special interest groups & corporations, and the unfair influence of vast wealth
reform of the tax system, and the numerous tax loopholes and tax shelters that primarily benefit the wealthy
the National Debt;  after all, who is collecting the interest ?
  Being wealthy is not a crime, but using it to control government should be.  Already,  83% of all federal election campaign donations (of $200 or more) come from a mere 0.15% (only 300,000 people) of all 200 million eligible U.S. voters.  That's right.  That is not a misprint.  A mere 0.15%  of all 200 million eligible U.S. voters made 83% of all federal campaign donations (of $200 or more).  What chance does the remaining 99.85% of the remaining eligible U.S. voters have against a few that abuse vast wealth to control government?     One way is to STOP re-electing, rewarding, and empowering irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, look-the-other-way incumbent politicians.  It's that simple.  Just do the one-simple, common-sense, non-partisan, responsible thing that voters were supposed to be doing all along, always: 
x  Stop  repeat  offenders !
x  Don't  re-elect  irresponsible,  bought-and-paid-for,  incumbent  politicians !

    Wealth Distribution of Total Net Wealth in the U.S. (Year: 1998):

  Median wages have been falling since 1999, and the gap between the 1% of the U.S. population (with about 40% of all wealth, and growing) and the remaining 99% of the U.S. population has never been worse since the Great Depression of 1929.

There are two classes in the United States. One class derives concentrated power from its concentrated wealth. The other class has power only in numbers, and that power is largely ineffective due to their inability to mobilize through organization (such as merely organizing to not  keep re-electing irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians).

  l Uphold the Constitution!  And if necessary, amend the Constitution. It is not written in stone.  However, the majority should never be able to change or pass laws that violate the basic rights of any individual (or a minority). The government must uphold and operate within the limits of the U.S. Constitution.  Unfortunately, it is not doing that.  For example, the Congress and Supreme Court are violating Article V of the Constitution by ignoring 567 requests by the legislatures of all 50 states to make amendments (far in excess of the 2/3 requirement).
  l Demand that Congress stop blocking our Constitutional right to an Article V Convention.  
l Enforce the existing laws better, and stop creating new laws that are unnecessary, and duplicate numerous existing laws.  What good are any of them if they aren't enforced or only selectively enforced?
l Stop releasing sociopaths, pedophiles, rapists, murderers, and repeat offenders from prison to commit more crimes.
l Stop the frivolous law suits, meaningless class action law suits, and fraudulent personal injury law suits that some dishonest lawyers use to profit $millions from the misery of others.
l Stop IDentity theft. Implement a biometrics IDentification system, which is reliable, extremely difficult to falsify (i.e. fake, forge, counterfeit), and most likely to identify the true identity of a person. The most reliable method would be a combination of two or three (or more) of the following: iris-scan, retina-scan, finger-prints, toe-prints, height, voice-prints, hand-finger geometry, face-prints, DNA (when eventually sufficiently rapid and economical), and passwords (see links below for more about biometrics).
l Stop allowing corporations to cook the books and defraud investors.
  l Remove the President's power to pardon convicted felons. No one should have the power to reverse the verdict of a jury. This abuse of power undermines the law and judicial systems, and is a direct insult to the judge and jury.
  l Reduce the vast structure of the severely bloated, irresponsible, and unaccountable Executive Branch, which has over 2 million employees that are neither seen nor heard as they throttle our freedoms and prosperity. The Executive Branch has grown drastically in the last 100 years.  Also reduce the relatively smaller Congress by eliminating many of their hundreds of thousands of employees.  Congress can not compare to the Executive Branch in number of employees, budget, and power.  Despite all the fumbling and stumbling of the Congress, the Executive Branch has far more influence (i.e. with the Media, special-interest groups, etc.) and poses a far greater danger to freedom.  One of the first steps toward totalitarianism, is the destruction of the parliamentary or legislative branches of governmentWe must send a clear message to government (all branches), vote them all out, and elect people who will take their oath of office to protect and enforce Constitution seriously, restore the balance of power, and immediately reduce the bloated Executive Branch and Congress.
  l Stop illegal immigration. Stop allowing illegal aliens to trespass our national borders. 

The rights of foreigners, that illegally trespass our borders, do not trump the rights of a sovereign nation to secure their own border.  The U.S. is not for the public use of the rest of the world no more than your home is for the public use by anyone that isn't invited. 

Illegal aliens are burdening our education, healthcare, welfare, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, law enforcement, insurance systems, voting, and prison systems.  Many drive all about without automobile insurance or drivers' licenses.  They also bring disease and crime with them. 

The primary purpose of government is to provide for the national defense. 
That is the purpose of the homeland security. 
But our irresponsible government neglects the illegal aliens pouring across the borders.
Democrats want votes.
Republicans want cheap labor for greedy employers of illegal aliens.
So, voters get cheated, to the tune of $70 billion per year in net losses.

The U.S. could easily secure the borders with resources we already have.  We could simply position 153,000 border patrol persons (a mere 5.9% of the total of  2.6 million of our active military, guard, and reserves) along the borders where they could be more effective toward the goal of national security and defense.

The U.S./Canada border (about 4000 miles) and the U.S./Mexico border (about 2,000 miles) could both (about 6,000 miles combined) be secured with a fence and 3000 posts (fixed or mobile; each spaced about 2 miles apart; denser in some areas than others) with a maximum of 51 border patrol persons per post (17 persons per 8 hour shift per post).  That is one patrol person about every 621 feet (i.e. about the length of two football fields), or 8 patrol persons per mile. 

Also, the borders could have a fence and/or road that is patrolled with vehicles and monitored with cameras, thermal, night vision, seismic, and motion sensors. For more details and estimated costs, see: .

We can and should stop allowing illegal trespassers to cross our national borders. 

A biometrics IDentification system, patrols, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, remote cameras, radar, laser, sonar, thermal, seismic, and other sensors and technology could greatly enhance the ability to secure the borders also.  And, the Coast Guard could patrol the coast lines.  What good is a massive armed forces of 2.6 million (active military, Guard, and Reserves) if we don't even use a small percentage (less than 1%) of the troops to protect our nation's borders?    

See?  It is not as far fetched as some want you to believe it is, it would use resources we already have, it would not be that expensive, and it would make the nation safer. 

If you think illegal aliens pose no threat to American citizens, then please read the following. These are crimes that could have been prevented.
  l Also, ALL laws should be based upon and derived from two fundamental LAWs:
    (a) A person has the right to do anything they wish as long as they do not violate the inalienable rights of another. Live and let Live.
    (b) Force is never justified except for self defense and bringing criminals to justice (i.e. those who violate (a) above).

Stop pork-barrel spending, and searching for ways to hide more pork-barrel in a BILL. 
Stop waste, and pandering.
Stop running up huge debt that younger Americans will have to eventually deal with.
Stop stealing from the Social Security funds, and stop stealing the surpluses.
Stop creating and growing costly entitlement programs.
Stop the massive debt, borrowing, spending, and dishonest money-printing.
Stop corporate welfare.
Stop giving away tax-dollars to nations, except for well justified reasons. 
Stop over-complicating things unnecessarily in order to hide abuses and plunder.
Stop legal plunder, which perverts the law to legalize the very thing the law should oppose.
Stop perpetuating the  "great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else" -- by Frederic Bastiat 1848 .
Stop asking government to provide costly entitlements that should not be the function of government, and (as history shows) are not managed efficiently by government.  It is dangerous to grow dependent on government.

  (a) protect and make the funds for systems (e.g. Social Security, Medicare) totally separate and protected so that the Federal government can NEVER plunder those funds for ANY reason.  Also, modify the annual benefit payments amounts to be  I  times the poverty level (where I is always >= 1.0).  Every individual, when eligible, receives the same benefits The poverty level for 1 person will be determined by a government agency, will be recalculated annually, and may vary by state;  see details below.
  (b) or,  phase-out all such systems (e.g. Social Security and Medicare, and all similar entitlement systems)
  If government demonstrates that it can not be trusted to properly manage these systems (which appears to be the case), and if government continues to mismanage these systems, then they should all be phased out as quickly and painlessly as possible.  The sooner, the better, because the problem is huge, and it's only going to get much worse.  

In the beginning, Social Security was supposed to be a separate fund that could not be touched by the Federal Government.  But, politicians soon (in 1939) discovered ways (only a few years after it began) to plunder those funds.  Most of the surpluses that should now exist (for the 77 million baby boomers approaching retirement age) within the Social Security fund are now
gone !  Thus, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are merely  pay-as-you-go  systems. 

Unless protected from continual plunder, entitlement systems simply become another form of legal plunder and wealth redistribution (another perversion of the laws to do the very thing they were supposed to prevent),  which disproves the myth perpetuated by pandering politicians:  that we can all live at the expense of everyone else.

Simplify the tax system, which is currently ridiculous, unfair, abused, and effectively regressive (as income decreases, tax increases as a percentage of income; i.e. the rich get richer and the poor get poorer).  What we have now is an out-of-control "TAX-EVERYTHING-AND-SPEND-SPEND-SPEND" system, and the Federal government has mushroomed into a bureaucracy of nightmare proportions, in which government attempts to meddle and control everything (and usually doing a bad job of it), while being accountable for nothing.  

It is very difficult to devise a tax system that everyone will approve of, and that is perfectly fair to everyone. The best tax system is a very contentious subject, but the most fair system is probably the following:

A tax system based on a very simple 17%  Flat Income Tax Percentage, where:
(6.01)  only personal income is taxed;  corporations pay NO income tax; such taxes are simply passed on to consumers; this is not a free pass for corporations to pollute and abuse the environment and resources and corporations should bear the costs and penalties for all damages they cause; tax payers should no longer pick up the bill for corporations that cause pollution and harm;
(6.02) it is the ONE and ONLY federal tax that may apply to each eligible tax payer;
(6.03) there is NO tax for those with an income less than  N  times the established poverty level;
(6.04) there is NO tax except on income that exceeds  N  times the established poverty level; 
(6.05)    is a multiplier determined by the government, that could be higher, but never less than 1.0 ;
(6.06) the poverty level for 1 person, married couple, family of  1,2,...,TOTAL  dependents will be determined by a government agency, will be recalculated annually, and may vary by state; 
(6.07) the same income tax percentage applies to all tax payers with an income above  N  times the established poverty level for that state;
(6.08) starting 01-January of each year,  no one starts paying any income tax until their annual income exceeds  N  times the established poverty level, and only on income above  N  times the established poverty level;  the total income to date will be maintained by the government (since some people may have multiple sources of income); employers determine tax to be paid (if any) based on the total income to date;
  (6.09) there are NO graduated income tax rate percentages;
  (6.10) there are NO upper-level income caps (i.e. such as the current regressive caps for Social Security taxes);
  (6.11) there are NO tax loop-holes;
  (6.12) there are NO tax deductions of any kind;
  (6.13) there are NO subsidies or deductions for any industry or group;
(6.14) all income is taxed at the same tax percentage, including: inheritance, gifts, payroll, wages, prizes, lotteries, gambling, etc.;  i.e. all money that exchanges ownership;
(6.15) there are NO taxes on Social Security and Medicare benefit payments; both are benefits produced by taxes;  tax on taxes makes no sense; income tax was already paid on the gross income;
(6.16) the purpose of the tax system and the welfare system should not overlap; it causes unnecessary complication which could lead to abuses of both systems;  charities, deductions, and subsidies merely serve to make the system ripe for abuse;
  The benefits of a Flat Income Tax Percentage which make it more fair is the:
  elimination of the graduated tax scale that forces the wealthy to pay higher percentages based on income;
  and the elimination of the tax loop-holes and deductions, which makes the tax system very complicated, and allows everyone (but the lower income groups) to reduce or avoid paying taxes, and allows too much tax evasion; over-complication leads to abuse;
there are no high sales tax imposed on exported products;
still allows for accounting for Social Security and Medicare; if necessary, those percentages can still appear on pay-roll statements; for example:  8% for Social Security, and 1% for Medicare; and the remaining 8% for federal income tax; tax payers would still file a 1040 tax return annually, but it would be to merely resolve any over-payment or tax due, which should be minor, since totals are tracked by computer;  tax payers would still (as now) receive a periodic Social Security and Medicare statement showing their contributions;
everyone pays the same percentage (except the poor, who pay little or nothing); what could be more fair and require the least changes to the current tax system ? 
NOTE:   The 17% flat tax rate was arrived at by dividing the total current federal tax revenues (about $2 trillion in 2004) by the U.S. GDP (about $11 trillion in 2004), and subtracting 1% (i.e. 18% - 1% = 17%).   The federal government should be able to reduce spending by 5.6% which accounts for that 1% reduction for the 17% Flat Income Tax Percentage.

For example, for
 N  factor of 1.0  and a poverty level of $12K for a single person:

That is a linear (neutral) tax scale (income versus tax) on income above
N  times the established poverty level, which is most fair, avoids the common argument that plague the graduated (progressive) tax systems as being unfair by taxing higher income at increasingly higher tax rate percentages, and does not punish the poor, due to the low-income-exemption-level exemptionEveryone pays the same 17% on all income above the low-income-exemption-level. 
The Flat Income Tax Percentage system (above) would be better than what we have now, which is a severely abused, overly complicated, tax-everything (sometimes, more than once) system, full of gaping tax loop holes, tax shelters, exceptions that are unfair and give rise to a multi-billion dollar industry just to calculate taxes,  mostly benefits the wealthiest, and is hardest on the poorestFor instance, consider the unfairness of taxing earned labor income at a higher income tax rate than capital gains?  Why not tax all things at the same flat rate?   

Also, any new tax system has the dilemma of the possible necessity to drag portions of the old tax system along too (i.e. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.)

Also, here's a very interesting point.  One question about any tax system that is continually asked is:

    Will everyone (excluding the poor) pay their fair (or equal) percentage of tax related to income ?

Interesting isnt it?  What does that tell you?   It seems many people still want the end result of any tax system to be that everyone pays their fair (or equal) percentage of income (excluding those below the poverty level, which would pay zero tax). 

So, if we are continually tasked with proving that any tax system, in the end, must fairly tax income the same percentage (excluding the poor who pay zero tax), then why not simply retain the income tax, except make it a flat tax rate of 17%, eliminate all loop-holes, deductions, subsidies,  which will also mean little or no changes for accounting for Income tax, Social Security tax, and Medicare tax.   

Thus, all income is taxed the same 17% (i.e. all income above  N   times the poverty level), no more abused loop holes, deductions, subsidies, or other clever over-complications designed to evade paying taxes.

States, counties, and cities should adopt a flat income percentage tax too, since all sales taxes are regressive:
implement a similar state Flat Income Tax Percentage system similar to the system described above.
eliminate all other taxes (e.g. sales tax, property tax);  sales taxes punishes the poor with out a low-income-exemption-level or rebate of some sort;

The problems with a national consumption sales tax system:
All sales taxes are regressive (i.e. as income decreases, the income tax percentage increases; as income increases, the income tax percentages decreases).  A Flat Income Tax Percentage would be far easier to monitor than a national sales tax because there are far fewer (in number) incomes than the billions of sales transactions in a consumption sales tax system.  There must be some way to accurately track taxes due and taxes paid.
A Flat Income Tax Percentage would be fairer than a consumption sales tax system, because no sales tax system can prove that the tax burden will be evenly distributed (relative to income), and the middle-income-group may quite likely end up bearing most of the tax burden.  After all, while some say the wealthy spend more, it has not been proven that the wealthy spend enough to ensure that they bear a fair portion of the tax burden (relative to income).  All flat sales taxes are regressive unless everyone spends all of their income, in which case a flat sales tax is neutral.   No flat sales tax can ever be progressive. 
A Flat Income Tax Percentage would not require vast changes.  One serious problem with a switch-over to a consumption sales tax system is that many people have savings and retirements that they have already paid income tax on, and they would now have to also pay a new consumption sales tax when they spend it, which means they will be taxed twice
A Flat Income Tax Percentage would not require a reduction in salaries and incomes, which is essentially what would have to occur in a consumption sales tax system, because the theory behind the consumption sales tax system is that everything would cost less.  That is, the employers must cut employees wages, because no income taxes are being withheld, and the money has to come from somewhere.   So, if your salary is $50K a year today, but you take home $40K after income taxes, there should be a savings of $10K, and it must come from reducing your salary by $10K to $40K.  Theoretically, your take-home pay is the same as before, since you now keep 100% of your income. 
Compare 17% Income Tax System  and  the 30% Sales Tax (e.g. the plan)
Compare 17% Income Tax System  and  the Progressive Income Tax

Social Security and Medicare:
l Every individual, when eligible, receives the same benefits:    I   times times the poverty level;
l I  is a multiplier determined by the government, that is never less than 1.0 ;
l the poverty level for 1 person will be determined by a government agency, will be recalculated annually, and may vary by state;
l It does not matter if some pay more or less in a life-time;  the purpose of Social Security and Medicare should not simply be to hold your money and then give it back later.  The purpose is to provide the minimum required to survive on.  Any civilized society should be willing to do that much.  Otherwise, we are not civilized, and it is simply everyone for themselves, which could lead to anarchy, chaos, war, and survival of the strongest.  Also, people that have nothing to lose, and no way to improve their lot in life, can become dangerous to society.  No one is an island.  The benefits of a lawful, peaceful society are not free.  It is a small price to pay if it truly benefits society.

What is the objective in the design of a tax system? 
l fairness; a tax system that is neutral (i.e. neither regressive or progressive);
NEUTRAL Tax:   income tax is an equal percentage (e.g. 17%) of total income;
REGRESSIVE Tax:   as income decreases, the income tax percentage increases;
PROGRESSIVE Tax:   as income increase, the income tax percentage increases;
l has a sufficient probability of actually taxing income equally;
l retains Social Security funding and accounting;
l retains Medicare funding and accounting;
l adequately integrates and/or replaces old systems with new systems;
l defines the tax collection methods;
l has a sufficient probability of compliance;
l does not increase tax evasion;
l does not increase black markets;
l does not drive up the cost of all products and exports;
l does not contain hidden taxes (e.g. corporate income taxes that are merely passed on to consumers as regressive hidden sales taxes);
l does not tax the poor and truly needy;
l does not tax any income groups proportionally more/less than another;
l resolves the question of whether corporations should be taxed?
l allows for a smooth transition;
l does not double tax:  for example, with a national consumption sales tax plan,  money that has already been taxed would get taxed again when it is spent. 

  Fiscal irresponsibility is one of the first signs of an irresponsible government.  Introduce and pass a "BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT" bill. Make it the LAW. Also, place limits on borrowing, and the ONLY exception allowed for over-spending is for national emergencies, and those funds are limited ONLY for national emergencies.   Stop over-spending.   Stop pork-barrel spending.  Prosecute those that violate this law. 

And, the Federal government must begin (now)  paying  $1 billion  per day to pay down the debt, which could take about  143  years to pay off completely.  The daily debt payment must slightly exceed the daily interest (currently now about  $1 billion dollars per day for interest ONLY);  otherwise the $9 trillion dollar national debt will continue to grow larger forever.  Many will argue that this is impossible, but it is not.  The Federal government can obtain the $365 billion needed annually by cutting pork-barrel spending and waste and unnecessary offices, departments, committees, services, agencies, etc. 

Also, with a $11.4 trillion National Debt, and Social Security and Medicare being pay-as-you-go, where will the money come from? 

The massive debt, borrowing, spending, and money-printing will eventually have consequences.

  When Congress is in grid-lock (for more than 6 months), because bills can not reach the floor to be voted on (such as often results due to a filibuster by a minority), the issue should automatically go up for a referendum vote by the people. 

This will remedy one of the most abused rules that currently creates grid-lock and dysfunction (e.g. filibuster).  However, this type of referendum vote can never be allowed to violate the individual rights of any person. Thus, a referendum vote should not ever be used to modify or violate the Constitution.  Only elected government should be able to make Constitutional changes. 

This will help to prevent the majority from violating the rights of the minority, and help prevent the minority from creating grid-lock and dysfunction (i.e. help prevent either from violating the rights of the other).  The only time such grid-lock (via filibuster) is beneficial is only when a minority is justifiably opposed to the majority (i.e. because the minority is right and the majority is wrong).

The disadvantage of such mechanisms and rules (e.g. filibuster), is that it is abused, and grid-lock (e.g. via filibuster) occurs too often, even when decisions being blocked are beneficial to the nation.  Nobody likes the filibuster when it blocks legislation they favor, but likes it when it blocks legislation they oppose.  Thus, there is really no over-all usefulness of such abused mechanisms and rules.

  Real solutions are unlikely, without first recognizing the root problems, addressing the root causes, and core principles that will help shape the final solution

Part of the solution is:
Education.  All public schools should teach the following in civics/government classes:
  • the importance of Education itself.  In a voting nation, Education is paramount, and voters will get their Education one way or another. 
    Whether the voters get their
    Education the smart, responsible, and peaceful way,  or  the hard way, the voters have the government that they elected, and deserve.
  • the importance of Transparency.
  • the importance of Accountability.
  • Responsibility = Power  +  Conscience  +  Education  +  Transparency  +  Accountability
  • Corruption       = Power   -  Conscience   -   Education  -   Transparency  -   Accountability
  • psychology and the human tendencies that can breed corruption.  Voters need to understand the need for all of the components in the equation above.
  • the U.S. Constitution (which is currently being violated in several ways).
  • history.  Those that do not learn from history are probably doomed to repeat it.
  • common abuses, such as these 10 abuses that have have resulted in these deteriorating economic conditions that have never been worse ever and/or since the 1930s and 1940s.
  • people to recognize the tactics, and methods that some politicians use to over-complicate things, hide things, cloud the issues, obscure the facts, obfuscate, and legally plunder tax payers for self-gain. 
  • that Power, without sufficient amounts of Conscience, Education, Transparency, and Accountability leads to Corruption.
  • that Education can help compensate for insufficient Conscience/Virtue, if people understand the consequences of the abuse of Power.
  • that voters they must learn to keep a close watch on government, and demand Transparency wherever possible. To ignore government invites abuse and corruption.  Government should devise all systems with maximum Transparency, with controls in place to identify illegal activity, and hold violators Accountable (i.e. no presidential pardons that put politicians above the law).  Also, government employees accused of defrauding tax payers should lose part (or all) of their government pen$ions.  
  • The Voters can bring about this simple change, at no cost, peacefully, if they ignore the many clever distractions. The government must Education the voters to recognize and reject all of the many things (e.g. parties, party affiliations, petty partisan politics and bickering, religion, race, gender, wealth, age, nationality, language, level of education, etc.) that are cleverly used and abused to distract us, and divide the voters so that a majority can never exist to hold irresponsible incumbent politicians accountable. 
  • There are always some people that want to control and use others.   Voters must learn to recognize and reject the clever, circular distractions, and reject the greatest myth that is perpetuated by some pandering politicians . . . that taps into voters own selfishness,  that we can all live at the expense of everyone else.   Before long, everyone is riding in the wagon, while no one is left to push the wagonVoters must realize they are often being bribed with their very own tax-dollars.
  • Voters must understand that they, the Voters, are  ULTIMATELY  accountable, and ONLY the Voters can make this change possible, because it is unlikely government will ever reform itself voluntarily.  Voters are culpable too, and there will be painful consequences for their own excessive apathy, complacency, blind partisanship, wallowing in the circular and distracting partisan warfare, misplaced loyalties, greed, selfishness, delusion, irrational fear, laziness, and ignorance.
  • Voters must understand that government will not become more transparent, accountable, and responsible by repeatedly rewarding too many irresponsible incumbent politicians with 85%-to-90% re-election rates.  Government will not become responsible until the voters do too. 
  • Voters must understand that an uninformed vote is possibly worse than no vote at all.
  • Voters should try to energize and educate each other, share opinions and ideas, and debate government policies that affect all voters.
  • Voters must understand common-sense voting guidelines and strategies.

Bottom line:    We are the government.   The government is us.   Therefore,  vote  responsibly !

More solutions . . .

When is it OK for voters to vote for incumbents?

ANSWER:  Voters should never re-elect irresponsible incumbents.
In the beginning, due to the current, severe lack of transparency, voters may find it difficult to know which incumbents are responsible, and which are not.  If in doubt, vote them out, or research it further.  The fact is, few (if any) are responsible.  Few (if any) don't vote for pork-barrel, don't troll for campaign money, don't prevent newcomers from passing badly-needed, common-sense reforms, and don't look the other way.

In time, incumbents will get the message, and voters will then be able to know who is or is not responsible because of the reforms that are passed to increase transparency (e.g. One-Purpose-Per-BILL, Campaign-Finance-Reform, Election Reform, Tax-Reform, Balanced-Budget-Reform, etc.), accountability, and responsibility.

Thus, the answer is when:
incumbents are transparent, accountable, and responsible.
(b) incumbents adequately address the nation's most pressing problems, pass  badly-needed, common-sense, responsible reforms and increase transparency so that voters know exactly who to hold accountable.


The Problem and the Solution (account for the human factor)
CONGRESS' To-Do List (see what Congress has done since the NOV-2006 election)
The Growing Disparity Trend (these did not all come about by mere coincidence over the last 30+ years)
Irresponsible Incumbents (what irresponsible incumbent politicians do while troops risk life and limb)
PROs and CONs (why to stop re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians)
National Debt (it will take 143 years to pay off the National Debt)
Consider the Following Scenario (must we always learn the hard way?
Plunder of the Environment (population, arable land, over-fishing)
Solutions (common-sense, no-brainer reforms that politicians resist)
Help Educate Others (peacefully force government to be responsible and accountable too!)
Badly-Needed, Common-Sense Reforms
The Cheater's Philosophy (learn to recognize their manipulation)
Frequently Asked Questions