Now that CPAC, where politicians and pundits bathe in the spotlight is over, we can stop jockying for political position and get down to the serious business of offering Conservative solutions to the problems that challenge the United States of America.
The two gravest concerns we have looming on the horizon are an economy mired deep in recession and a gigantic, ballooning debt. How we got to this point is described in “Regressive Socialist Liars”. However, simply acknowledging that problems exist is only the first step. The real test is in offering solutions that work.
History tells us that government taxing and spending does not stimulate economic growth. In fact, the opposite is the case. It didn’t work for FDR to end the Great Depression, and it resulted in a “Misery Index” during Jimmy Carter’s term in office.
Higher tax rates results in reduced profits to investors, thereby inhibiting capital investment. Reduced capital investment leads to economic contraction, resulting in reduced tax revenue, which in turn tempts government to raise tax rates. In the face of lost tax revenue, big government proponents continue to persist in the belief that government spending will stimulate economic growth. Government spending on “jobs creation” is, by comparison to private enterprise, far less efficient. Not only is money wasted on costly unproductive pet projects, a portion of the revenue is lost before it ever hits the streets due to the cost of government overhead. The end result is less long term growth and larger deficits still, which in turn stimulate the government to increase tax rates yet again. The downward spiral is set into motion.
History also shows that the most effective method for stimulating the American economy is allowing individuals and businesses to keep their own money through tax cuts. It worked when Calvin Coolidge reduced taxes in the 1920’s. It worked when John Kennedy cut tax rates in the 1960’s. It worked again when Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush followed suit. When tax rates are reduced, the economy experiences sustained periods of growth. Despite businesses and individuals paying smaller percentages, because of economic growth, the IRS collects more revenue from a larger pool of taxpayers. Businesses enjoy profits which allow investments in expansion, which creates greater output, sales and profit, which in turn stimulate the need to hire new employees, who have more revenue to buy products created and produced within the private sector. This is especially true when the economy is based on manufacturing, an economic base to which we must return. An upward spiral is created. Not only are jobs created by cutting taxes, the increased revenues lower the government’s deficit.
That is, if you cut spending.
Regressive socialists love to point to tax cuts as the cause of deficits. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The reason deficits persist despite the increase in revenue is because spending continues unabated. The growth in revenue to the IRS gives politicians the cover they need to continue increased spending. The amount of spending growth has varied since the 1930’s. However, it has continued non stop decade after decade. The United States can’t afford any more increases in spending, no matter how seemingly insignificant the percentage of growth.
Government spending must be cut. Not just in some areas. The bottom line cost of the U.S. federal budget must be reduced by appreciable amounts. Not tomorrow, not next year, not next decade. Now.
Where to cut?
First, we should follow the example set by Ronald Reagan when he fired the Air Traffic Controllers when that union went on strike. Unions for local, state and federal government employees should be permanently abolished. Employees should be offered a chance to keep their jobs at private sector salaries. Since unionized government employees make an average annual salary which is $32,000 more than private sector employees, across the board savings would be considerably impressive.
Second, with the exception of proven friends and allies, America should cut all foreign aid. Why is the United States borrowing money (with interest) from the likes of Communist China in order to give it to countries hostile to our existence?
Third, the United States should withdraw from the UN, stop paying dues to support the organization, and expel them from our shores permanently. The UN was founded after World War II in order to prevent a third war involving nuclear weapons. Since North Korea and Iran are both on the brink of deploying such weapons despite the existence of the UN, why are we allowing third world dictators to come to our country, granting them diplomatic immunity, then sitting on our hands while they insult us and our way of life…on our dime? The UN is involved in programs and regulations that go so far beyond the original mandate that continuing to fund and be a member of this organization is no longer in the best interests of the United States.
Fourth, cut government subsidies. With the exception of being the referee when truly required, government should not be involved in the free market enterprise system. Government subsidies such as farm subsidies interfere with the free market principles of supply and demand, and are being kept alive by special interest groups.
Fifth, defund and dismantle big government departments that have proven over time to be both costly and ineffective. The quality of America’s education has declined steadily the Department of Education was established. Additionally, centrally planned curriculum has allowed Communist infiltrators to use the Department as a means to indoctrinate entire generations of America’s youth to their Marxist agenda.
The Department of Energy was founded during the Jimmy Carter Administration with the expressed goal of making America less dependant on foreign energy. The results have been the exact opposite of the stated goal. America is more dependant on foreign energy than ever before in our nation’s history. Why is this dismal failure still being funded?
There are a multitude of other big government programs that also feast on the national treasury with no positive results that can also be eliminated. Among these are the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Homeland Security. Surely it’s more to our nation’s advantage to free ourselves of the weight and expense of these essentially useless bureaucracies.
Now comes the hard part.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are the largest unfunded mandates for which the U.S. government is responsible. Simple arithmetic shows that when future rates of collection are compared to future rates of payment, these programs are simply unsustainable. Continuing to provide these entitlement programs unchanged will soon lead to the United States becoming financially insolvent.
When Social Security was established, the age of eligiblity, or the age you could begin collecting was 65. At that time, the average life span of an American male was 58, while women lived to age 62 on average. Combine that life expectancy and eligibiligy age, factor in people making Social Security payments for the duration of their working careers and the original system was not financially stressed.
Today, Americans live to a much greater age. The average lifespan of men is now 73, while women live to be an average age of 79. Combine this longer duration of payout with the increase in eligible recipients that will result from the maturation of the baby boomer generation and there is clearly going to be a financial burden on the existing system.
The age of eligibility should be adjusted to conform to our increased life expectancy. This same formula should be applied to Medicare and Medicaid. Additionally, no payments should be made to those who have not paid into the system. This would apply to all foreign nationals. If a foreign national is working legally within this country, they wouldn’t be responsible for paying in, because they wouldn’t be eligible to collect. If they’re here illegally, they shouldn’t be on anyone’s payroll to begin with.
Many will claim that this isn’t fair. I don’t recall the Greatest Generation complaining about fairness. Many were homeless, stood in soup lines, scrimped and struggled through the Great Depression, fought absolute tyranny on two brutal fronts oversees, then passed a free country with a thriving economy on to the next generation. They cared for them. They spoiled them. America’s current sense of entitlement must be altered to conform with the new realities of today’s world.
The debt we’ve accumulated and continue to accumulate is an existential threat to the United States of America. To mortgage the well being of future generations in order to postpone the enevitable is not just irresponsible and dishonorable, it would be the first time a generation of Americans chose to leave the country a worse place for their children than was the one they inherited. All to spare themselves the pains of growing up.
America has reached the point where it needs to start taking strong medicine. This will not be easy. These will be difficult times ahead. Are we going to continue to swill champagne when we can only afford beer and leave the bill for the kids to pay?
The gravy train is over. It’s time to prove once again that we’re the greatest people living in the greatest nation on earth. Let’s fix this problem. Not because doing so will be easy. Let’s fix it because that’s the right thing to do.