By Glenn Dorfman
With a clear pronouncement that I oppose the politics and policies of both sides of the aisle and am looking for legitimate solutions to the public and private institutional policies and behavior that is eroding America’s soul, I respectfully submit the following ideas for discussion on how we 'fix America.'
Republicans since Nixon have been deficit spending while talking about smaller government. The “great conservative,” Ronald Reagan, ran huge deficits as a percent of GDP, increased spending and raised taxes, net, during his two terms. Also G.W. Bush created the foundation for the mess we are in today by cutting taxes and radically increasing spending.
To be sure, President Obama has continued these irresponsible policies like a Bush clone.
Too many business people talk about the virtues of free market capitalism while advocating in Congress/StateHouses for special treatment---ethanol subsidies, farm subsidies, homeowner subsidies, mortgage buy-downs, refinancing schemes, special tax treatment for investment managers, and on and on.
I have a rule that would make all American voters and politicians more honest. If you support spending cuts, they must impact you first and then others, and if you support tax increases they must fall on you first, and then others.
All Americans, including Veterans, must sacrifice. At the same time, we must do a better job assisting our soldiers in readjustment. This country has never been very good at this and it is a national disgrace.
People who believe that fixing the American economy without pain should talk with the tens of millions of unemployed/underemployed people who have been suffering while the D’s and R’s conduct “business as usual.” Shame on both their houses!
Here is what I support to fix what ails us:
-- Generally, reducing the size of the federal budget by $5 trillion, net (not the political chicanery of cutting the projected increases in the budget). This means that those programs that are “entitlements,” and are on automatic-pilot must be reformed and the benefits reduced and retirement ages changed. Our politicians should immediately send the message to all Americans that the days of government taking care of people who can take care of themselves are over. In the future, our children and their children will have to buy senior health care in the private market place, and save for their own retirement through savings and investment. The more specific changes below will assist them in doing just that. Lowering income taxes through the elimination of all tax expenditures (deductions/credits). No preferential tax treatment for anyone.
-- Lowering the Social Security tax rate while eliminating the current income cap ($106,800-2011), making the Fund sustainable for future generations and reducing reducing the payroll tax burden on the majority of Americans.
-- Making all investment/ savings income non-taxable.
-- Ending taxation of corporate income.
-- Repealing Obamacare and Bush’s Prescription Drug Program, Medicare (Part D), replacing Obamacare with Medicare coverage, paying for it by increasing the 3% payroll tax to 6% (making Medicare solvent long term). Bush’s Prescription Drug program (which benefits Drug Companies over Seniors) could be replaced by a means tested increase in Social Security or dropped entirely.
-- Eliminating the Homeland Security Agency and making the FBI, CIA, and Military Security Forces responsible for Homeland Security.
Frankly, Democrats are without ideas or leadership and Republican ideas are target marketed to gain political favor or deny certain groups personal liberty (the supposed central theme of Republican philosophy).
When we see the Republicans cut spending in areas that impact their states such as farm socialism, home-ownership socialism, business socialism (tax expenditures) etc., as well as Social Security, Medicare, and Defense, I will apologize for being so curmudgeonly. Their gross irresponsibility as elected officials reminds me of the democrats they so often criticize, but who haven’t had a new, competitive idea in 40 years!
Republicans talk a lot about getting government out of “our lives” while, incredulously, many are radically motivated to have government interfere in the private lives of Americans on such personal matters as Abortion, Gay Marriage, and the privacy issues related to Homeland Security. In addition, the Republicans oppose the free market in areas such as stem cell research, and immigration. This is not my idea of less government, just power transfer from one group of tyrants/fools to another.
For myself, I have had enough political marketing and chicanery and am willing to do my part; make do with a lot less government and/or pay higher taxes to help move America to a better place for my children and grandchildren. Are you?
Glenn Dorfmann is a curmudgeon of sorts, with the heart of a poet. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org