My take on the most important problems.
Herein, I list the problems I consider most important, and give my opinion on what should be done about them. Unfortunately, many of these items aren’t considered problems by the Democrats; Republicans consider them problems but often can’t agree on what we should do.
These problems are interrelated. We need reform in all of them, but fixing some might have positive effects on others.
The National Debt. It’s now over 16 trillion dollars. We’ve got to get it under control and begin reducing it. To that end, we have to eliminate the annual deficit -- and convert it into a surplus.
The Annual Deficit. We’ve been running a deficit of over a trillion dollars, and (it’s complicated, but in effect) we’re either printing the money or borrowing it from China and other countries. We need a balanced budget amendment. We need to cut spending. There are many government subsidies; all of which should be voted on again by Congress – if they arent’ renewed, they should expire. The Federal Government has too many employees. It’s doing things the Founding Fathers never intended. There are too many levels of management, or putting it another way, too much bureaucracy. Too many regulations to enforce.
There are whole departments of the Federal Government that are totally ineffective – the Department of Energy and the Department of Education should both be eliminated.
Entitlements. We desperately need to reform Social Security, health care (see below), the Food Stamp program, unemployment benefits, and Federal retirement programs.
Social Security: benefits should be means-tested; the automatic annual increase in benefits for new retirees should be reduced; people should have the option of investing into a private retirement account instead of putting money into the government program.
Food stamp eligibility should be reduced – we’re giving them to too many people. The food stamp credit card should be limited in what it can pay for – only staple foods, in bulk.
The Federal Government has no business paying unemployment benefits – that should be left to the states. Currently, the states determine who is eligible for Federal unemployment benefits, but the money comes from Uncle Sam – i.e., the taxpayers.
All recipients of federal aid to individuals should be tested for illegal drug use – no benefits to addicts or illegal immigrants.
Taxation. We are desperately in need of at least simplifying the tax code by cutting out almost all deductions and going to a two tier tax. Everyone who earns anything at all should pay some tax on it, such as 10 per cent. Deductions are the result of decades of political meddling and are intended to mold behavior of the population, but like most ideas of politicians, they inflict much more harm than good.
I think the best form of taxation would be the sales tax rather than income tax. However, we don’t want both a sales and an income tax, but such is inevitable if we don’t reduce the deficit.
The Balance of Trade (and loss of industries). Many people are in favor of equalizing things with China, who has been eating our lunch for decades. Entire industries have fled to China’s cheap labor force, and to several other countries, mostly Asian. Most people believe this should be done with tariffs or import quotas. I happen to believe we should not allow any import of manufactured goods at all, providing we have the capability of producing the product. We would however allow foreign companies to build plants in the United States and hire American workers to produce and sell goods in the US.
Health Care. We are heading to a train wreck with Obamacare, which is a living testimony to the incompetence of Democrat politicians.
In its place, we should endeavor to improve the current system, to make medical care less expensive. One of the drivers of high costs is the free care that exists now – anyone can walk into an emergency room and receive care – which is never paid for, so the costs are distributed to everyone. Hospitals and doctors should be able to turn away anyone who isn’t insured, or provided for under Medicaid. This sounds harsh, but health costs should be expected to come down drastically. This is a smarter solution than the government trying to force everyone to buy insurance. People might begin to take responsibility if they knew they might die if they didn’t.
Medicare should be means tested, becoming more an insurance for the poor rather than an entitlement for everyone.
The high costs of malpractice insurance should be reduced by setting limits on awards, and by “loser pays costs of winner’s legal expenses” in a lawsuit. Fewer unnecessary tests would reduce medical charges.
Insurance should be opened up to competition.
Immigration Reform. First of all, we need to locate all illegals. We should set a period of time, no more than three months, in which they must all register or pay a penalty if discovered. After they register, they should have a reasonable period of time to find employment or financial support – at which they would receive the equivalent of a worker permit. If they are unable to do so, they must leave. If they are migrant seasonal workers, they should be given a worker pass good for the season.
We need to get tougher with anyone discovered to be illegally in this country. Anyone found illegal and undocumented should be deprived of all assets held in the country, be photographed and fingerprinted, and face certain deportation without trial. This penalty only enforced after the free registration mentioned above.
We need to get tougher against anyone crossing the border. Border agents should fire on anyone running from them, or anyone carrying weapons. Any illegal apprehended after previously having been deported should face at least five years in detention.
The Economy and Unemployment. If we get the economy going, unemployment will almost take care of itself. Important steps toward getting the economy going are: tax reform, cutting taxes on businesses, repealing Obamacare, and cutting regulations on business.
Policy toward the Middle East. In general, we should favor peaceful regimes, such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the Arab Emirates. We should close our embassies and consulates in countries which can’t or won’t protect them, or where civil strife occurs. We should give foreign aid only to countries which are friendly, and should stop it when they aren’t. We should use blunt terminology – an Islamic terrorist is exactly that, and no softer euphemisms should be employed.
Iran and North Korea. These countries are special cases. Iran is attempting to obtain nuclear weapons, and Korea already has them. We must be prepared to use military force to curtail their capability.
Energy. Focus on becoming energy independent. Build the Keystone pipeline. Drill for oil. Encourage nuclear power plant development – our safety record is superb. Encourage wind, solar, and geothermal energy sources.
The Federal Government. The Executive Branch has too much power, as does the Judicial Branch. The Legislative Branch has too little power. State’s rights have diminished. We need amendments to the Constitution to return the division of powers to more closely resemble the original nature of Government. Mark Levin’s new book, The Liberty Amendments, beautifully describes what should be done, in my opinion:
Very briefly, his suggested amendments are:
1. Term limits for members of Congress;
2. Repeal the 17th Amendment, so that Senators are again chosen by state legislatures and thus will represent the states, not voter blocs;
3. Establish a 12-year term limit for members of the Supreme Court, and allow Congress to nullify a Supreme Court decision;
4. Limit federal taxing and spending;
5. Give Congress the authority to renew federal departments, agencies, and regulations, which will otherwise automatically expire every three years;
6. Establish limits on what laws Congress can pass under the Interstate Commerce Clause;
7. Clarify and protect private property rights;
8. Give states the right to directly amend the Constitution or nullify any new federal law without going through the Federal Congress;
9. Require that voters in any federal election produce valid photographic ID to establish themselves as legal voters.
I would add one of my own: Give each branch of Congress the ability to terminate any federal employee who refuses to testify or gives false testimony in a congressional hearing, (including those who plead the Fifth Amendment), or those found in Contempt of Congress.