What the President Should, But Won’t, Say in his State of the Union Address

When it comes down to it, there are really only five first-tier issues facing America:

1. We need jobs, and fast. The policies enacted by Presidents Bush and Obama have failed to stimulate the economy.

2. We need to eliminate the deficit in the next 2.5 years.

3. We have too many abortions committed every year.

4. We have two conflicts overseas being run ineffectively and inefficiently.

5. Corruption and transparency in government are at unacceptably high and low, respectively, levels. Additionally, Big Government and Big Business collusion is at a level that is entirely unethical.

President Obama should, but won’t, admit that the State of our Union is precarious, and should do the following:

1. He will push for a flat tax or a national sales tax, as well as the concurrent elimination of all other federal taxes in America on our citiWzens.

2. He will push to eliminate or lower the minimum wage.

3. The Federal Reserve will be audited annually, and will have less power.

4. He will follow through on his recent op-ed to eliminate some regulations.

5. He will repeal the Affordable Care Act, and push to institute tort reform and Dartmouth Atlas-style payment reform. He will also increase the size of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) so it can begin to cut down on the $100 billion, give or take, of fraud in Medicare and Medicaid.

6. He will convince his fellow Democrats to make the individual health insurance market less government-influenced.

7. He will try to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70 in the next two decades, and wall off Congress’ ability to take from the Social Security Administration (SSA) trust fund. Means-testing of Social Security will also take place.

8. He will eliminate or cut down the size of the Departments of Education and Agriculture, and eliminate all $90+ billion in private-sector subsidies to various energy, agriculture and other industries.

9. While the President should ban abortions, the fact is that he supports them. Given this reality, he should support H.R. 3, which bans all federal funding of abortions. He should also work to enact more welfare reforms and proper sexual education so that young people don’t think of abortion as a) necessary, and b) birth control.

10. He should get out of Iraq and Afghanistan by the end of this year, or at the latest by the end of 2012. We’ve spent more lives and dollars in those nations than ever expected, and there is no end in sight. Sending more troops to protect one’s political rear end does not count as a “strategy.”

11. He should push for term limits, and complete transparency for all Members of Congress. As an example: All donors to campaigns and Members will be recorded and posted on A Member’s wall and official website. The amount donated will be posted as well, and the issue(s) this person related their funding to. This will be done within 24 hours of the donations.)

12. Cap-and-trade should be off the table, and the lightbulb ban should be ditched.

13. Members should stop receiving pay the day they leave Congress. The idea of a lifetime pension is ridiculous for a public servant.

14. There should never be another TARP-style bailout ever again.

Obviously, I am a rather conservative individual, and President Obama is not. However, I think many of the above suggestions are not extreme, and in fact are things that could be supported on a bipartisan basis. Unfortunately, the event is more about political partisanship than actual results, which is symptomatic of why our nation is headed into deep, deep trouble in the next few years.

Update: Silly me- I forgot to mention in the “jobs” portion of this post that he should allow more opportunities for nuclear power, and in the budget section that he should push for reform of our defense contracting policies.

Where America Will End Up

I was checking out the online version of The New Hampshire Union Leader, and saw an article about NH Republican Judd Gregg’s effort to modify the tax code with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). I am not interested in any kind of progressive income tax, even the simplified one Gregg and Wyden offer, so I skimmed through it quickly.

Below the article, however, I ran across a brilliant analogy to the American tax code. I don’t know if the commenter, one Jay of Manchester (NH), came up with it…but it’s really, really good.

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

* The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
* The fifth would pay $1.
* The sixth would pay $3.
* The seventh would pay $7.
* The eighth would pay $12.
* The ninth would pay $18.
* The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.” Drinks for the ten now cost just $80 total.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men – the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share?’ They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

* The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
* The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
* The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
* The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 ( 25% savings).
* The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 ( 22% savings).
* The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar out of the $20,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,”but he got $10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I!“

“That’s true!!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!“

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!“

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

Steve Forbes has pushed the flat tax for well over a decade, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, talk show host Neil Boortz and Republican Georgia Congressman John Linder have pushed the Fair Tax for many years. Gregg’s idea is better than what we currently have- it gets rid of many special interest tax breaks, among other things- but it is not nearly as good as either the flat or Fair taxes. Increasingly progressive tax systems are always bad.

Personally, while the Fair Tax would be the best way to institute a tax- it gives you a choice of how much you want to be taxed, among other benefits, being a sales tax- I think the flat tax is the most politically palatable. The flat tax pleases Democrats, because of its innately progressive nature, but it does not become increasingly progressive, which should please Republicans. Furthermore, like the Fair Tax, it gets rid of the class warfare that permeates our current tax structure. The same rates are applied to all taxpayers, and any changes would thus affect all taxpayers.

Change The Filibuster?

Robert Creamer makes a good case over at Huffington Post for changing the filibuster rules. He critiques, offers multiple solutions and then defends against some of the more popular counters against his idea.
I am not a constitutional scholar, nor a scholar of congressional history, but Creamer misses several points:
1. He claims liberal policies become popular. I’m not sure popular is the right word- perhaps entrenched? Enforced by the heavy hand of law, despite public opinion?
2. “Change” is a word used heavily by liberals, and one of Creamer’s claims is that the filibuster is used to prevent change. Since he thinks Republicans hate change, the filibuster is a bad thing in its current form since it allows opponents of change a powerful weapon. However, it depends on what one thinks “change” is. Gun control and abortion are less popular than ever, so what say we change those for the better? Let’s also see what traction a flat tax or the Fair Tax could gain with a different filibuster. That’s “change” I think Americans could easily support, and change Creamer probably wouldn’t like.
3. We are not a democracy. We are a democratic republic. Hence why we have elected officials and not nationwide votes on every issue.
4. The will of the people, Mr. Creamer, is not with you on health care reform.

Taking $1 From Every American

Last evening thelobbyist’s founder Nick Brown gave me the quote of the day: “So what you’re telling me is they took a dollar from every American to pay off [Senator Mary] Landrieu (D-LA) to vote for health care reform?”

In short, Senator Landrieu demanded $300 million for her vote to start debate on the Senate’s health care bill. Initially worth $100 million, her critical vote for Democrats is increasing in price. The Senate is trying to hide its bribery by claiming the money is for any qualifying ?state,” saying, among other things, that it would be states that ?during the preceding 7 fiscal years? have been declared a ?major disaster area.?” In other words, for Hurricane Katrina and Louisiana.

Can we please call our senators and kill this bill? Then, next year, let’s vote the bums out. Please. In both parties. Starting fresh is a great way to go. Or, we could always rebel. Put a government in place that represents the people, institute constitutional term limits, have transparency with every political donor required to be listed on political websites and in every office, eliminate business subsidies, eliminate bailouts and cut the waste in defense, education, Medicare and Medicaid. Oh, and put in a flat tax or, even better, the Fair Tax that Mice Huckabee has made almost famous.