Every week on Monday morning, the Council and invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum… short takes on a major issue of the day. This week’s question: What steps would you take to revitalize America’s economy?
The Independent Sentinel: We need to restore confidence in our government and limiting its reach will go far in doing that. The EPA, Department of Energy and the USDA should be brought back to 1976 levels. Disband the Department of Education – we definitely don’t need them and their unfunded mandates. Require welfare recipients to look for a job. Stop advertising food stamps and get rid of those welfare credit cards which are an invitation to fraud. Make the Bush tax cuts permanent, reduce the Capital Gains tax, eliminate the estate tax (so the children can keep the family farm). Go through every regulation inflicted on businesses and reduce or eliminate them with their accompanying paperwork. Stop advertising U.S. food stamps and welfare in Mexico.
Scrutinize loans and subsidies, particularly for green jobs, and drill, baby, drill, but not in Brazil.
Throw out every Executive Order established by Obama.
Throw out Obamacare for everyone except for Obama, Biden, all Democratic Senators and Congressmen with their immediate families. If they don’t have a healthcare plan, don’t “tax” them, throw them in jail.
The Noisy Room: Here are the steps I would take:
1. My number one step would be to get rid of the IRS and go to a flat sales tax of 10% (and that would be the only tax). Romney could go down in history as a great president by just abolishing the IRS and it would immediately revitalize the economy.
2. I would get rid of the EPA, DOE and USDA and most government agencies as well and gut 90% of regulations out there. This would free up business to actually get work done.
3. I would repeal Obamacare in total and not replace it. Let insurance carriers cross state lines and privatize everywhere we can. I would also limit trial lawyers and frivolous lawsuits. Let the market dictate the cost of healthcare and encourage healthcare savings accounts.
4. I would banish unions unless their officers clear background checks and meet a list of restrictions. Politicians would all have to have strict background checks as well and be fully vetted.
5. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid all need to be redone and be cut. They also need new rules to ensure corruption and fraud are removed from the system.
6. Balance the budget each year and cut every agency except defense. Restrict politicians pay to that of our soldiers and institute term limits.
7. Restructure pensions and cut where necessary.
8. Cut every non-essential city program.
9. Drill for oil here in the US and make the US energy independent. Also update and strengthen the power grid.
Joshuapundit: To my mind, an important thing to remember is that old maxim, ‘first do no harm’. Change is necessary, but it has to be done gradually to avoid severe economic dislocation.
Chest thumping ala’ Rick Perry about eliminating whole departments is a good example of what I’m talking about.
Much of the federal, state, city and county bureaucracies extant today were instituted as a reaction to the so-called ‘war on poverty and the race riots of the 1960′s. The idea was to co-opt that by creating a minority middle class, and it worked..except we can’t afford it any longer. Nevertheless, suddenly eliminating the economic activity of several huge government departments and the economic activity of say, 500,000 people earning $50-100,000 per year is a cure worse than the disease, in the short term. The key is to allow the government employment rolls to shrink by attrition, to use l;ay offs to transfer people to other federal jobs where they can actually perform needed functions and to re-direct some of these departments in entirely new directions…for instance, imagine a department of education whose main focus was developing apprentice programs in partnership with our private unions, or developing a new curriculum to replace the left wing twaddle being taught now, with federal aid to various districts based on whether that curriculum was successfully taught and implemented!
The keys to regaining our prosperity properly, to my mind, involve making America an investing, manufacturing and exporting powerhouse. In short, we need to stop importing other countries’ unemployment. Here’s what I’d concentrate on.
First of all, many of the laws and regulations of the previous administration0 need to be repealed, including ObamaCare, the Student loans time bomb, many of the current EPA regs and most of the so-called ‘green energy initiatives’. And personal income tax rates and particularly the corporate and capital gains rates need to be cut.
The entire idea here is to encourage investors to use one of our best resources, the American worker. I’m old enough to remember the 1980′s when everyone was talking about Japan the same way they were talking about China today. There were even serious books written about how we were destined to go to war.
What actually happened is that once there was a genteel hint that tariffs might end up being enacted, the Japanese began building factories here and employing Americans at American-style wages. The Chinese will do the same if we create a proper business and investment environment. In fact they’re going to have to build factories elsewhere simply because they face the same demographic problems Japan did, and does. China is destined to get poorer and older before it gets richer.
Second, America needs to use its energy resources to create cheap energy. Using fracking, gasification of coal and accessing our resources in the Gulf and in places like ANWR, we would not only eliminate the need to import energy but create thousands of good paying blue collar jobs and create export trade.
Third, Federal spending needs to be audited and scrutinized for waste and misdirection. Billions can be saved that way.
Fourth, we are going to have to seriously examine entitlements and change them inorder to save them. Paul Ryan’s plan was a decent attempt at starting this process.
Fifth, it is absolutely vital that we control our borders. Not only will it boost domestic employment, but it will be a major factor in cutting spending. In my home state, which has the largest illegal alien population in the country, the budget deficit is estimated as a whopping $19 billion. The state spends between $12 and $20.2 billion (depending on who’s counting and how) on social services for illegal aliens.
I have an excellent plan to encourage illegal aliens already here register for temporary IDs until they could be vetted and we could decide who stays and who goes, but that’s a different topic.
The Razor: Not to belittle those who seriously attempt to answer this question, but America’s economy is so huge that I believe that sheer size imposes serious limits on what one person can do to affect it. If the economy is too big to tackle, the next step would be to focus on one of the largest inputs into the economy. US federal government spending under the Obama administration accounts for 24% of the economy according to the CBO, 4% higher than the previous administration. The problem we face is that the federal government has grown so large that any attempts to reform it will fall afoul of the same problem facing anyone interested in revitalizing the economy. It too has become too big to tackle. There are simply too many interest groups, too many opposing forces, too much bureaucratic inertia to reform it.
Where I would start is to focus on small changes that would make a difference to the average person, that would then ripple through the government into the overall economy. I would start by simplifying the tax code. Take the average percentage currently paid within a set of brackets – it could be a dozen, it could be three it doesn’t matter – and that becomes the percentage paid by everyone’s gross income within those tax brackets. No more deductions; the percentage number should already have taken those into account. So if you gross $75k and your number is 8% then you owe the feds $6k. You can either pay in a lump sum or have a portion of this withheld every paycheck. This system is currently used by independent contractors who estimate their taxes, so it’s not completely new. What it would do would be to make tax preparation efficient. No more HR Block or Turbotax software. All you need is your W2s, your 1099s, add them up and pay the percentage the IRS demands. People would pay the same so there would be no hit to government revenues, making it revenue neutral.
Not only would this system make tax preparation easy and efficient, but it would boost transparency. People would know exactly how much they paid the federal government, and could take a more active interest in how their money is spent if they felt like it. It would also end the charade of people believing they’ve gotten a gift from the IRS when they receive their tax refund checks. Finally it would decrease the size of the IRS. Auditing would be straightforward so there would be no need for tens of thousands of auditors. Tax specialists in arcane deductions would be forced to find a job in the private sector, which wouldn’t be easy I suppose because GE wouldn’t be hiring them to fiddle its way into paying no corporate taxes.
Would this revitalize the economy? I’m doubtful but it would be a move in the right direction.
Ask Marion: The election of Mitt Romney will immediately revitalize America’s economy because American business owners as well as foreign investors and our allies and trading partners will breathe a huge sigh of relief knowing that a business man who, like Ronald Reagan, will not only surround himself with other businesspeople but with people who are experts in areas that he is not, to enrich his leadership ability. It is what good business people and leaders do. And they will know that all the unfriendly business policies from ObamaCare to the choking restrictions of the EPA will be reversed in one way or another, so they will begin hiring and making plans for the future, which they haven’t in years now under President Obama. So by the time Romney is sworn in, an economic recovery will have already begun.
As to specifics:
· Give every state in the union a waiver from ObamaCare and then let the courts and congress unwind the mess. When HC is replaced tort reform must be a major part of the new bill.
· Initiate a ‘create one new job’ campaign asking every business to add at least one new employee with the incentive that the federal government would pay one half of that person’s salary for a year.
· Go through the federal budget, which is now 3-years-old, as well as the ledger of the Obama White House’s expenditures, line by line, as Candidate Obama promised to do but didn’t and would veto, reduce, get rid of, or adjust every expenditure, department and program.
· Appoint Ron Paul to head up the Fed, have it audited and then either nationalize it or disband it.
· Review and reverse virtually every Executive Order and unnecessary, questionably lawful or restrictive regulation signed, passed or created by Obama, the Obama White House and czars, the EPA, and other federal departments. I would also reduce the power and size or get rid of most of the departments of the federal government, starting with the Department of Education and the EPA.
· Give as much of the responsibility and rights back to the states as possible and encourage them to break the unreasonable teachers unions contracts and exchange their former unreasonable contract benefits for enriched curriculum, including trade programs, and would develop a voucher system for parents to use at schools of their choice or toward home-schooling, to make us competitive in the future.
· Abolish public sector unions at the federal level.
· Extend the Bush tax cuts temporarily for everyone and then initiate a flat tax in place of our present system and get rid of inheritance taxes permanently.
· Create a board to go back through every law and provision passed and the federal appointments approved by the Congress during Obama’s tenure that would not have passed if Al Franken (or anyone else) had not been seated illegally (or were allowed to remain seated after voter fraud and improprieties were found), or by any other procedures or loopholes that were illegal or broke the law affecting the outcome of the process.
· Would allow no one in Congress to go on break or vacation until an agreement on the budgeting for our military is resolved; counter acting the automatic cuts incurred by the in-action of the Super Committee.
· Would design a long-term plan and budget to reduce the deficit to be presented to Congress the day after Romney’s inauguration. Senator Rand Paul Unveiled a FY2013 Budget Proposal in the Senate and Paul Ryan always has an updated version in the House, so that would be a good place to start.
It is going to take bold and unpopular steps, leadership courage and conviction, and sacrifices by everyone for a long time to turn things around! But if every small business could just add one new job what a difference it would make!
Well, there you have it.
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it.