Runners-up from Nightside Interview (+ Interview itself)

May 7th, 2010 by Al Lewis (alewis)

Some of the other finalist ideas besides the winner about the phone books are listed below.

Instead of taxing private golf clubs at the open-space rate normally used for farms etc, create a category of land tax halfway between true open space and full taxation, and allow clubs the choice of either:

(1) truly becoming open space, with no fences and allowing non-members some reasonable degreee of access (like one day a week the links are open to the public), or:

(2) remaining exclusive and paying more taxes because there is no public benefit.


This particular idea strikes us as an excellent one.  It was emailed in after the show.  I might elaborate on it in a future posting.

Have a “job swap” board where people in certain occupations (like nursing, teaching etc.) could find someone to switch positions with, to be able to work closer to home.  (Obviously this swap would have to be approved by the bosses but what boss wouldn’t, other things equal, prefer employees who live in the community?)

Put a heating coil in windshield wipers so that windshields don’t ice up.

Instead of raising the prices of stamps, provide an option of MWF or Tuesday-Thursday delivery (Saturday delivery isn’t going to last much longer anyway) and assess an extra charge on people who still want delivery every day instead of raising prices for all of us.  Daily delivery is by far the most labor-intensive portion of the US Postal Service.

For some reason going to the bathroom seemed to be a focus of ideas: 

(1)    Stall doors should open out instead of in to allow easier access. 

(2)    Wastebaskets could be placed outside the restrooms so that people can open the doors with a paper towel.

Likewise, driving was also on people’s minds, idea-wise.  The best driving idea was to turn lights to flashing red/yellow late at night.  Don’t you feel like an idiot waiting at an intersection in the middle of nowhere without a car in sight?

And, finally, one that was not quite original but excellent nonetheless and I might elaborate on it another time:   Instead of charging for auto excise taxes, registration/license fees, insurance etc., put a chunk of those fees right in the price at the pump. 

Then, to use auto insurance as an example, you’d get an annual statement instead of a bill from your insuror to reconcile the price of insurance with the paid-at-the-pump portion.  You might owe money or get a check, depending on how expensive your car is, how much insurance you bought etc.  The advantage of “variabalizing” these fixed costs is that avoidable driving of inefficient cars (and hence using either imported oil or oil from places that tend to have spills) is discouraged vi higher gas prices…but without a politically unpalatable gasoline tax.

Finally, here is the interview itself:


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One Response to “Runners-up from Nightside Interview (+ Interview itself)”

  1. Ben Hoagland Says:

    The post office is obsolete. And no, not solely because of emails (although that is a large part).

    The Post office was originally a government entity to ensure communication and protect from criminals etc (think the Pony Express). Post offices followed a centralized stronghold model. Think of the old huge granite buildings present in most towns. This model is obsolete. It has moved to smalled decentralized hubs. It explains the prevalence of all the Pakmails, Kinkos, and many others.

    There needs to be a drastic structural change in our postal system and we have to allow for realistic competition. Neither of these will ever happen because its a government bureaucracy. Enjoy the next postage hike.

    I really like the stall door idea. Why they open inwards has always bewildered me.

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