As I have stated before I want the tax code rewritten. Ideally I would prefer going entirely to a sales tax (no corporate tax, no death tax, no income tax, no capital gains tax, no luxury tax, no tariffs, nothing but a flat sales tax). Short of that I want a flat tax rate with no loopholes (and again most of those other taxes eliminated). But if we can’t even have that, or at least a stepping stone to those other programs, we need to A.) lower the tax rates and B.) eliminate ALL loopholes. All of them, even the ones that encourage things we like, like mortgage deductions and child tax credits. ALL OF THEM.
However, I have proposed a very special kind of exemption in “Republicans and Reincarnation” that I will stand by.
That exemption was that Congress should offer a multimillion dollar prize to anyone who can create an engine that can replace the internal combustion engine that is cheaper and has fewer emissions. In addition to the prize they will be exempt from ALL taxes for the rest of their life. I do this because the kinds of people who tinker with this kind of technology in their garage don’t always think long term enough to consider the advantages of compounding royalty payments and thus they don’t see what should be the obvious incentives to spend time coming up with inventions that we need. The scatterbrained genius needs immediate incentives to work or at least to channel their energies. The only thing they would have to give up is the right to negotiate price on selling the rights for this invention. They will still be paid for every use of their invention, but I want these inventions in use yesterday and I don’t want them held up by negotiations, (and if we’re paying that kind of money for it Congress will not be able to hold it back if it knows what is good for it). (Especially since there is a mild conspiracy theorist in me that isn’t willing to fully dismiss those stories that better engines have already been invented but bought up by oil companies and kept out of the public’s view…I have no proof beyond hearsay and personal accounts. But given the short sighted nature of a lot of companies right now it wouldn’t surprise me).
Yes I fully understand the nature of capitalism, that it will always create the thing we need, when we need them. I understand that. But there are some things we could use right now even though we haven’t reached the level of absolutely need. I would prefer to get around the necessity for that kind of need and the temporary hardships it brings to an economy. For instance we all know that eventually the internal combustion engine will be replaced when the reserves of gasoline start going dry, and we know there will be a period of hardship in that change over period, so I would just like to skip the hardship if we could.
So here is a list of inventions I think congress should offer a $100 million dollar prize for, plus having to pay no taxes if you’re the first to come up with it. And I will justify why all of these would save us more money than the costs.
1. The first is obviously the replacement for the internal combustion engine that actually works. I don’t care if it’s electric, a brilliant new type of internal configuration on the internal combustion engine, hydrogen fuel cells or the static electricity engine from Atlas Shrugged—I don’t care if it’s long lived hamsters on steroids and meth with a tread wheel…all I care about is the following: It costs less than $100 to build. It can power truck or SUV with a full load for 300 miles, without being refueled, while going at 65 miles per hour or higher. It must be able to be refueled in less than 10 minutes from a completely empty and a full refill can cost no more $20. Oh and it has to have 20% less emissions than the cleanest internal combustion engine available. This is the problem with all the current alternatives electric cars have no speed or ability to pull large loads (not to mention they take too long to charge). Hydrogen fuel cells are too expensive. I want powerful, fast and cheap. If you can get those standards on a fully loaded SUV then the figures for a small sedan should be even better. The advantages to this are obvious. I don’t really care much about the emissions because I don’t believe in the BS that is global warming, but I live in Phoenix and so I do know the problem that is smog so I would like to see that lowered. Obviously if we weren’t dependent on oil (or at least as much oil) then that will hurt the bottom line of oil sales in the Middle East, which means less money going to terrorism, which means we might not have to spend so much fighting terrorism. Further with less money being spent on fuel and shipping this will of course save money in your pocket, which will bring cost down and profits up…and you can figure out how that cycles through the economy and works better for everyone.
2. A battery that will work and survive for 7 or more years in temperatures ranging from 30 below 0 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. It also needs to hold at least 3 times the charge of a battery of comparable size can do now. This is one of the biggest problems of electric cars. Here in the South-west you can’t have an electric car because everything is so spaced out that you risk using an entire charge before reaching your destination and it gets so hot out here that car batteries need to be replaced every two to three years (expensive enough in a regular car, outrageously expensive in an electric car). On the east electric cars won’t function when it gets too cold. If you could overcome these problems with electric cars, even at their current levels of horsepower would be far more efficient and useful and thus worth the cost. The benefits then become the same as invention 1. However improved batteries that store more would have additional uses that would save us all money even if we had improved battery technology. Just for example how much power does it take to power every street light in the world every night? Right now it’s prohibitively expensive and bulky to power most of those with solar cells and batteries…but it might not with much smaller, more efficient batteries that didn’t have to be replaced. Apply that same idea to numerous other small things that could run off better batteries. That’s a lot of saved energy, which means a lot of saved money.
3. One of Obama’s BS ideas to help get more jobs was infrastructure improvement. Wow more jobs for unionized construction workers, I’m sure that will help the economy. However, this does bring up a fact that infrastructure is a large and continual part of federal, state, and local government costs. One of the reasons why is because that crappy asphalt and concrete we put on the roads keeps wearing out, develop pot holes, become road hazards and need to be replaced. And replacing them takes time (lots of time, which hurts traffic and destroys productivity, not to mention all the wasted money just sitting there letting the engine idle in traffic) and lots of money—those workers are union and government. They are about as overpriced and overpaid as work gets in this world. So here is what I want, I want someone to come up with some kind of chemical that can be added to the concrete or asphalt, or some new substance all together, that will prevent it from wearing out or at least radically slow the decay. If you could make every road last just 10 years longer than they currently do the saving in government expenditures alone would pay for that prize for inventing the stuff.
4. We haven’t come upon it yet, but more than oil we have another natural resource that is getting very, very sparse. Water. “What?” you say, “The Earth is covered in the stuff!” Yes it is, but that’s salt water. Clean, desalinized, drinkable water is becoming more and more rare (especially with continuing growth of world population). There is not nearly enough drinkable water to support 7 billion people at first world level (and it should be our goal to get everyone up to first world level) at present. We need more drinkable water. But most processes for desalination are prohibitively expensive as it currently stands. Trust me we will need a cheap and quick way to desalinize massive amounts of water within the next 50 years. Let’s make sure we have the technology to do so without having to first have millions die from not having enough to drink. Further if you could cheaply do it, then you could easily do it to supply areas suffering from drought which always causes economic problems.
5. Cars that drive themselves. We all saw Minority Report (and a few other films) and have seen cars that just take verbal commands and take you to your destination while you can spend your time reading, working, talking, doing anything other than have to pay attention to the other insane people on the road. The average American spends about 130 hours in a car. Think of what you can do with an extra 130 hours, about 5 and half days (just for comparative purposes if you’re Jack Bauer you can save the world a half dozen times and kill 143 people in that amount of time…so there is a lot you can do in that amount of time). So an average extra 5 days worth of time for all 300 million people in the US, less stress from driving the freeway. This system would have to be based on being able to avoid accidents, so lower insurance rates and less money wasted on fixing cars. And let’s not even talk about the fact that you’d never have a drunk driving a car, so the loss of life from driving goes down drastically. Yeah I think that’s worth $100 million.
6. The fruit picker. To hell with making robots walk and talk. I want someone to develop a robot that can 90% of the time recognize if a vegetable or piece of fruit is ripe and then harvest that plant without damaging it. People complain about the plight of the migrant worker…well this would eliminate the need for that kind of work. Which would in turn eliminate this country’s terrible habit of keeping a pseudo slave class in the form of illegal immigrants. The saving for this should be more than obvious.
7. Plants with over active metabolisms. Think about it. Think of how much the lumber and paper industry could benefit from trees that took half the time to grow. Or what plants which convert carbon dioxide into oxygen twice as fast could do for any future space programs…which could in turn open up space itself for exploration, mining and colonization. I know I’m stretching with this one…but it has possibilities. I’m a little worried about this being brought to the food industry, but it has possibilities as well. In the end it would pay for itself I think.
8. The transporter. All the other things on this list I think are actually possible but just have yet to be invented (okay I’m stretching with number 7, but it’s not out of the realm of theoretically possible). This one, well, what I know of quantum mechanics tells me that this is never going to happen. Still I want one. I don’t even care if you never figure out how to get it to transport organic material. Think of what you could do just in terms of shipping with a transporter. It would of course be prohibitively expensive up front, but long term I think this could pay for itself.
Why is there nothing from the medical field here? Yes I know that most of our current government expenditures are in the medical field, but this is to encourage people to start tinkering in their garages on their off time. Do you want medical experiments going in people’s garages? Hell no.
Why are there no flying cars? Because while the flying car is cool there are two big problems. First it offers no additional economic value. Second because how do you brake something that’s flying?
And yes we would all love a light saber or a time machine or a holodeck, but again those are not exactly scientifically possible and I’m not sure they would be good for society.
I might also like to see a Roomba that can clean bathrooms and kitchens, but I’m not sure that will save $100 million in the economy.
What other inventions could redefine the world?