The Republicans today are unleashing their plan for America if we once again give them control that is essentially a return to pre-Obama government and a pledge to do better. Have we learned nothing yet? Do they really think this is what the Tea Party and constitutional movement are all about, going back to the Bush years?
Without a team of lawyers and in the space of a single page I will lay out what needs to happen in order for America to have a chance at future prosperity and for individual liberty to increase going forward. Some of these things will require sacrifice by an entire generation in order to permanently undo massive errors made in the past century. Like the greatest generation we need to sacrifice now to ensure a better future. They were asked to sacrifice their very lives, we only need to sacrifice a portion of our time and money.
So lets begin. Two major changes will put an end to an enormous amount of problems.
1. Repeal of the 16th amendment that authorized the federal income tax.
2. Repeal of the 17th amendment that established direct election of United States Senators by popular vote.
Karl Marx describes in his communist manifesto, the ten steps necessary to destroy a free enterprise system and replace it with a system of omnipotent government power, so as to effect a communist socialist state. Those ten steps are known as the Ten Planks of The Communist Manifesto?
Step 2 is A heavy progressive or graduated income tax (The Federal Income Tax).
Step 3 is Abolition of all rights of inheritance (The Death Tax)
This is why the back and forth battle between Republicans and Democrats is mearly smoke and mirrors. Nobody is talking about the fact that the income tax itself represents 20% of the communist manifesto. Knowing that communism, socialist, Marxism is a system of guaranteed failure we need to remove the fundamental ability of a large central government to confiscate people's property.
Even with a seriously reduced government there will be a need to collect tax revenue. A Federal sales tax or VAT is a possibility or even a flat income tax but whatever we do a progressive income tax is something that must remain constitutionally forbidden. Our taxes should be tied to our expenditures and not our production. The progressive income tax makes it far too easy to institute major tax increase with relatively minor changes.
The 17th amendment removed a major component of what makes the United States a republic and not a democracy. Popular election of Senators allows senate races to be influenced by national interests and takes the people's focus completely off of local elections. These Senators also have no accountability to the states legislatures and routinely ignore requests by the state legislatures to meet with them. The sovereign power of the states needs to be restored and this would go a long way to achieving that.
The next step will shock many of you.
The defense budget needs to be cut roughly in half to the 300-400 billion range from the 700-800 billion we currently spend.
That is not a misprint or a slam on our military. We currently have hundreds of bases in over 100 countries around the world and the cost of running those bases is in excess of 300 billion a year. Our defense spending on keeping bases outside the US exceeds the entire defense budget of all the countries in the European union combined. We are subsidizing the defense spending of nearly every country on the planet even some of the wealthiest nations on earth. We need a plan to close these bases, reduce our standing army and return the responsibility of defending themselves to the multitude of nations worldwide.
The final step is where the sacrifice of a generation takes place.
The three entitlement programs that are bankrupting us need to be completely transformed.
Social Security and Medicare need to become true safety net programs for those who are no longer capable of providing for themselves instead of social welfare programs for everyone over the age of 65.
Federal pensions can no longer be guaranteed benefit plans and instead need to be run like the 401k programs everyone else in the private sector has.
To understand how critical these changes are you need to know that these three entitlement programs when combined have cost 1.2 trillion dollars so far this year while we have collected 1.6 trillion in tax revenue. That is a nice round 75% of all tax revenue going to fund the income and medical bills of retirees and the baby boomer retirement explosion has only just begun. Nothing else we do will matter unless these entitlements are either completely restructured or eliminated altogether.
By the way if you toss in the interest on our existing debt the number climbs to 1.4 trillion or about 88% of all tax revenue. How do we run everything else on only 12% of all tax revenue?
I understand that a great deal of people rely on these programs for survival and do so because we promised them these programs would take care of them and because they paid into these systems for decades. This generation has squandered their money and must now face the reality that we will not have these programs when we reach this age but must be willing to provide them what was promised and what they paid for. We must continue to honor Social Security and Medicare for those who are on it and for many who soon will be but must accept that we will not have it in the future. This generation of 20 to 50 year old workers must be willing to take the hit and provide for our current retirees while we save for our own future. We asked the greatest generation to sacrifice years of their lives and 100s of thousands of them gave their lives to ensure the freedom we now enjoy. This financial pain is what we must face to honor their sacrifice and make up for the theft of these programs by evil politicians in the last 40 years. Our children and grandchildren will someday look back on us as a great generation if we meet this challenge.
Federal pensions can no longer be guaranteed lifetime benefits that ignore the realities of the economy. Providing people 50-90% of their pre-retirement income after 20 years of service along with medical benefits is an unsustainable model that exists nowhere else but in government. Real and honest accounting must be put in place for these pensions so that all government contributions to these plans is part of their budget and the eventual payout is based on how much these contributions are worth at the time of retirement. Government employees like private employees will need to save their own money for retirement to supplement their pension which should not be hard considering how high government salaries are on average.
Without these big government programs to pay for the retirement income and health care of seniors we must be willing to be responsible once again for ourselves and for the care of our parents. Why is is that we routinely see people over 65 running for some of the highest elected positions in the country and yet we think everyone over 65 should not have to work? We are losing the experience and knowledge of great people who are fully capable of working due to the notion that we are owed 20-30 years of leisurely living no matter what.
The final step of this plan involves a radical measure to restore the original intent of the constitution as it relates to the enumerated powers of the federal government.
The US constitution clearly enumerates the powers of the federal government and allocates all other powers to the states and then to the people. I propose creating a panel of federal judges who can demonstrate a strong understanding of the enumerated powers to review every federal agency and every piece of legislation against these enumerated powers. Unless specifically authorized by the constitution these laws and agencies would be abolished. For example, Health Care, Financial Regulation, The Patriot Act and TARP.
Until we see a serious discussion of these things being debated what we will see is the continued slide into a centrally controlled nanny state with the two parties putting on a good show to keep us fighting amongst ourselves. High taxes, low taxes, our regulation or their regulation, more war or less war, Republican or Democrat, Hitler or Stalin.