Monday, November 8, 2010

A Plan That Rolls Back Government And Treats The Voters Like Adults

Larry Elder gives us some food for thought in the continuing saga of our ever expanding debt. By proposing a Nov. 3rd Contract with America and giving some radical but sound examples of what can be done, he has begun the verbal discourse that is necessary for us to stop the decades long erosion of our freedoms and to restore our Constitution to its original precepts.

On Nov. 2, 2010, the Republican Party recaptured the majority in the House. In the Senate, Republicans now possess numbers sufficient to sustain a filibuster and stop objectionable legislation from getting to the floor.

Obamalism has now been arrested. Voters rose to say no to the two-year gusher of spending and the staggering increases in the annual deficit and the national debt. Under Obama and the Democratic congressional majority, the national debt, as a percentage of GDP, jumped from 69% to a projected 94%. Voters said "Enough!"

Now what?

We need a Nov. 3 Contract With America. This Contract acknowledges that the Founding Fathers designed the Constitution as a contract that limits the size and scope of the federal government, not as a "living, breathing document" that supports whatever desires voters want and politicians grant.

Sell or lease land. The federal government owns about 700 million acres, more than a fourth of all land in the U.S. For fiscal 2007, the government valued its land holdings only at about $1 trillion — but that includes a zero-dollar valuation for much of the acreage because it was never "purchased."

The national debt is approximately $14 trillion. The proceeds from sales/mortgages/leases will fund our current and near-term liabilities and, with other changes, will completely eliminate our debt.

Social Security. Workers under age 55 shall have the option of placing their retirement contributions in private savings accounts.

Medicare. Health care needs of those below the age of 55 shall be addressed with individual, tax-free health savings accounts. From these accounts, people can purchase policies with high deductibles, as we do with auto insurance. Non-emergency matters will be paid for out-of-pocket from the accounts.

Medicaid. Those currently on Medicaid must be grandfathered in, but by a date certain, all federal welfare payments will stop. The needs of the needy will be handled by the states and/or by the unparalleled generosity of the American people.

Eliminate, privatize, outsource or sell/lease many federal activities. These include, but are not limited to, Amtrak; the Tennessee Valley Authority; government-operated dams and nuclear power plants; the federal student aid grants and loans; public housing; and the Food and Drug Administration.

Also: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration; the departments of Energy, Education, and Housing and Urban Development; the Environmental Protection Agency; Freddie Mac; Fannie Mae; the National Institutes of Health; and the Federal Housing Administration.

Repeal laws that violate the principle of federalism. These include wage and hour laws; federal minimum wage; the Clean Air Act; the Americans With Disabilities Act; equal pay laws; the Davis-Bacon Act (mandating prevailing union wages for those working under federal contracts); and all federal anti-discrimination laws that apply to the private sector.

Taxes. Eliminate income, corporate, capital gains, dividend and estate taxes. Given the reduced size of government, the limited duties of the federal government as described in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution will be funded, as the Founding Fathers envisioned, with duties and tariffs.

Conclusion: The Nov. 3 Contract extricates the taxpayers from this unsustainable burden of spending and mortgaging our future. To do so without drastically reducing the size of government is like burning the living room furniture to keep warm. There is no "solution," only trade-offs.

Let's begin the conversation, and let it lead to action.

Read the full Investors Business Daily article here.

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