1. LICENSE TO BREED: You need a license to drive, to carry a gun, and to practice medicine, so why don’t you need a license to have a child? Drivers’ licenses encourage safety on the road, gun permits allow us to keep track of our WMD, and medical licenses keep witch doctors away from the unsuspecting public. Along with safe streets, (arguably) less violence, and healthy people, shouldn’t we also strive for having better educated parents? Thus, let’s make people apply for licenses to breed before they start popping out devil children. Instead of swerving around cones in driver’s ed, applicants will learn to change diapers in parent’s ed. Of course, we can’t control the fact that some unlicensed deviants will still churn out babies under our nose. But to counter that, we could offer substantial tax relief only to licensed parents. With such a plan in place, perhaps this will discourage the Octo Mom from adding to her litter.
2. GET YOUR IRRESPONSIBLE FRIENDS SPADED AND NEUTERED: This would be Plan B, just in case the child license law fails to pass the Senate.
3. LOJACK YOUR CHILDREN: With modern technology, there has to be an easier way to keep track of your children. Imagine going to Wal-Mart and buying a Stolen Child Recovery System for $695 (about the same retail price of a LoJack for your car). With this system, you would get a tiny, non-invasive tracking device that you can stick on your child’s body. To them, it would seem like a bumpy freckle. To you, it would be peace of mind. With all the kooks and the baby-crazed unlicensed parents out there, you’d know that your children are safe. You’d also know if your daughter was sneaking over to Bobby’s house instead of going to the library, like she said. So, for the sake of protecting the privacy of the wild youth, perhaps we’d have to limit the LoJack tracking device to kids under the age of 10.
4. VICE TAXES: Vice taxes are not new, as the success of cigarette and alcohol taxes have led the Pigou crew to lobby for pollution and gasoline taxes as well. But if taxes really do impact behavior as much as economists like to believe, then why not tax vice in general? Anytime someone commits a crime, they’ll still have to go to jail or pay a fine, but we can also increase their effective tax rate for a specified period of time. (Just call me Dr. Seuss.) Get caught with a high-end prostitute? Pay a lump sum $500 fine, and then watch your tax rate jump from 35% to 38% for a year. Simple assault? Do your time in jail, then get released to +5% in your tax bracket over two years. Hey, if taxes really are the cure-all, then such a policy could have enough positive deterrent effects to justify its failings in rehabilitation.
5. GET RID OF HIGHWAY PATROL: One of the most costly and inefficient functions of law enforcement is highway patrol. Here’s an alternative solution: all registered vehicles must now get a small barcode stamped on each side of the car. Law enforcement will place discreet barcode scanners along the road, which will act sort of like the scanner at the grocery store checkout. When you’re speeding along the highway at 120, the scanner flags your car as “speeding”, and your registration information is automatically transferred to the police. Given that there might be several thousand people caught speeding a day, there will be some limits on how punishment is applied — perhaps out of every 1,000 vehicles caught speeding, 100 will be randomly chosen and ticketed. Or, perhaps every vehicle registrant will be notified that they were speeding, and everyone will get one black mark on their record… Ten black marks, and your license will be suspended. The possibilities are endless. And with the money we save on highway patrol, we can allocate more funds to worthy government ventures, like teaching our children… or bailing out AIG.