When President Obama delivers his State of the Union message Tuesday, he must demonstrate strength and compassion. Despite his lame duck status, Mr. Obama should outline a bold agenda that addresses issues few politicians are willing to face, such as:
-Directing the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate why rental cars never come with an owners’ manual in the glove compartment. Considering the complexity of modern auto instrumentation, and the wide variety of makes and models, it is unfathomable that rental companies like Avis and Hertz leave customers clueless about how to operate their cars.
-Signing an Executive Order forcing the Federal Communications Commission to levy fines against any TV news organization that misappropriates the term “Breaking News.”
-Requiring the Federal Trade Commission to order call-centers to phone customers back whenever they are mysteriously disconnected after 20 minutes and left without the name or number of the operator in the Philippines with whom they were speaking.
-Forming a Joint Commission in Congress to write legislation banning the trend among movie theaters to have waiters and waitresses take food orders during films and then deliver odiferous meals, clumsily, during the most important scenes.
-Issuing an Executive Order that bars hosts on home shopping channels from uttering: “when they’re gone they’re gone,” “you won’t find a deal like this in the real world,” “I own one myself,” and “literally.”
-Ordering the Food and Drug Administration to issue new regulations for medicines prescribed by veterinarians. These should include: (a) prices shall not exceed double the amount charged for similar drugs given humans, and (b) any pill prescribed for a dog must be food-flavored so the animal consumes it readily, rather than slyly leaving it at the bottom of an otherwise spotless bowl.
-Directing the Federal Aviation Administration to mandate that whenever a passenger boards a plane wheeling a suitcase the size of a Mini Cooper that couldn’t possibly fit in the overhead bin, the bag shall be strapped in a seat while the passenger is green-tagged and placed in the cargo hold.
-Commanding the Federal Election Commission to develop better rules for presidential contests, including: (1) no more than four dozen debates in a calendar year, (2) no more than 18 participants in any single debate, and (3) no debates on Saturday nights.
-Naming Vice President Joe Biden to head a task force to regulate noise in sports stadiums. Scoreboard operators shall be forbidden from asking fans to “Make Some Noise!” when decibel levels are dangerously above 100.
-Urging Congress to finally pass the Apple Bill. This legislation would prohibit tech firms such as Apple from introducing more than three versions of a product in any given year that make the prior version either outdated or uncool.
-Demanding that the Transportation Security Administration reduce the volume of food and drink confiscated at airports by ordering that items be donated to local charities, rather than placing them in TSA break rooms.
-Imposing a ban on TV commercials by the U.S. Postal Service. It’s time to acknowledge that no one needs a costly pitch from Madison Avenue to realize they can still mail a letter if, by chance, they should ever want to.
-Directing the Consumer Product Safety Commission to verify that no food labels list a “portion size” that is smaller than what 98 percent of the U.S. population eats in one sitting.
If anyone in the West Wing is reading this, please remind the president that we’re counting on him to make the most of his final year in office. Also, if he can push through only a single law, make it the one about not turning movie theaters into dining halls.
Peter Funt is a writer and speaker