July 27, 2002

Shredded Wheat

How is shredded wheat made? I mean, you can't just shred a wheat kernel and come out with something that looks like shredded wheat, right?

A Modest Proposal

What if each individual, from babies to seniors, received "pollution points" in the same way that some industries do. Everyone would have a comfortable amount that they are allowed to pollute. (I'm speaking specifically of vehicle usage here, although I do realize there are many other ways that we pollute as well.)

If a person chooses to drive a small, efficient vehicle, or if they walk or ride a bike or carpool, then they can get monetary refunds to pay them back for unspent pollution points. In the same way, people who drive gas guzzlers or major smokers would have to buy extra pollution points in order to cover their usage. (They could buy points off of the people who use less.)

In fact, the ability to buy gasoline could be tied to this. (Otherwise, the same people who fail to get drivers licenses and to register their car would opt out of this as well. And they’re most likely the worst offenders.) When registering your car, you would be given a plastic card, like a credit card, that has your total pollution points on it for the year. In order to buy gas, you’d have to put this card into the gas machine or it won’t dispense gas. (Even if you pay with cash, you’d still have to swipe that card to get the gas machine to pump gas.)