Note to self:
“So, let’s assume for a second you’re a totalitarian dick who has eight years to get something done that would make you a plausible dictator for life. This would mean solidifying your power and improving the US enough for populist support.
“First, you blackmail Congress. That goes without saying. Fuck Congress, you’re a totalitarian dick. Or fuck Congress, we saw the last 16 years. Whatever.
“Second, you use your awesome data to blackmail all the major banks and transaction processors into letting you PRISM up the financial sector. Or maybe the financial sector is already backdoored and you can skip this step. Raise your hand if you think you’re going to need step two. Nobody? Ok.
“Third, you go on a crusade for efficiency and equality. Empower the IRS with a supercomputer and access to all that data. Self-employed? We’ll figure out who your clients are and automatically skim the taxes. Hate filing taxes? That’s ok, we’re going to stop asking you how much to deduct and just figure it out ourselves daily. Annual property and auto taxes are broken out per day, so no more DMV trips just to renew plates. No more tax bills, no more tax evasion, no more tax refunds, no more waiting until the end of the year for getting credit for things that the government is going to give you a tax credit for. Perfect taxation, processed constantly. Also, much improved data for tuning the tax code to make sure everyone pays their fair share without removing government incentives entirely.
Fourth, you take all the above data and administer welfare and social programs through it. Entitled to benefits? Here you go. It’s automatically sent to you, and we’ll keep track of changes electronically. Student aid? Automatic.
Fifth, you automate the regulatory agencies. The FCC, SEC, and big parts of the ICE and ATF turn into computer-assisted desk jobs. Law enforcement all around becomes streamlined. Did you say you stole something? Did someone say the same something was stolen? Knock knock! Warrant? The mailman can pick you up. Illegal immigrant? You’re a lot easier to remove. So much easier that conditional amnesty becomes a possibility. Employed and law abiding? We’ll mail you your Social Security card. Paid less than minimum wage and working in terrible conditions? We’ll mail you a picture from your employer’s prison and give you a couple months to find new work. Running drugs and guns? We’ll mail your family about your new accommodations. Human trafficking? It might be better if your family doesn’t know where you go.
“Now you’re a god among men. The US has improved more in three years than in the previous thirty. Your re-election campaign is a formality, and you run against the leader of some Amish community for the Republicans. Oddly enough, there’s a decent third party candidate in the US’s newly influential Pirate Party saying something about how you’re using all that data to become a totalitarian dick, and we need a lot more transparency. Good thing we’re in the US and no one takes him seriously. And it’s too bad about that leak to the press about the time he tried to Google up some nude pictures of 16 year old girls.
“Now that you’re re-elected, you go totalitarian dick. You can’t win another election, so you need to win the country. Let’s start with moral panic. Do you know what sort of dirty shit people are doing on the internet? Kiddy porn is a good first step, since even that silly hippy was caught with a sticky hand in his pants. Terrorism, too. Can’t have that, and do you know how many people are searching for information on bomb making, airborne pathogens, and dangerous chemicals? We’ll need a new class of citizen – attempted felon. Attempted felons need to attend educational programs for correction, or they’ll lose access to government benefits and be subject to more invasive investigation.
“Release statistics that say the attempted felon program slashed violent and sexual crimes substantially, and look, no terrorism! (Or, look, if we had expanded the program, we could have caught that terrorist!) Expand the program. Implement a national firewall that filters out information that is contrary to public safety. Also, un-American sentiments. Criticism of the government. You know, the stuff that gets in the way of being a totalitarian dick.
“Now, the coup de grace. Totalitarian dick + populism. For life, yo. The income gap between rich and poor is growing too large. Nationalize everything, standardize incomes, and make the American dream possible for the bottom 50%. Don’t worry, the media says everyone approves, and no one can hear any complaining.”