Nemo me impune lacessit

No one provokes me with impunity


No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Article 1, Section 9, Constitution of the United States

If this is the law of the land...why in a republic (little r) and as republicans, do we allow mere POLITICIANS to the right to use a "title of office" for the rest of their lives as if it were de facto a patent of nobility. Because, as republicans, this should NOT be the case...just saying...

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

A New Plan For America

A New Plan For America
By Richard A. Vail
Over the past several weeks there has unfolded in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts something unprecedented in recent American politics. A Republican victory in blue/blue Massachusetts in which a Republican has won a seat in the U.S. Senate is something that hasn't occurred since 1972. However, the real significance of the victory of Scott Brown in Massachusetts is that the GOP will have the opportunity to update the party platform. Rather than maintaining "Compassionate Conservatism" or "Democratic Lite" which has guided the party for the past 8 years an opportunity has arrived to change this to a more comprehensive message. The current "Dem Lite" platform, has cost the party dearly, and is politically a dead end. By readopting a less intrusive small government, lower tax platform, the party can recapture the excitement that's been lost since 2002.

A number of dire issues face this country. By adopting conservative solutions to these problems, the party can show the country the relevance of its principles, by providing genuine alternatives to the Obama, Pelosi, Reid triumvirate currently reigning in Washington, D.C. These policies that they have enacted in a strictly partisan fashion over the past year have deepened the recession and added untold numbers to the unemployment rolls. They have given rise to a genuine populist, grassroots movement in the Tea Party.

The largest lesson of the past several decades isn't that the existing major political parties are the only alternatives, but that independent voters are equal in size to all the registered party members. Mr. Obama was able to ride a tide of independent voter dissatisfaction to the presidency, he has made one key mistake. He ran as a moderate, and then immediately after the election ran hard left and has attempted to radically remake the American economy and governmental system. Over the course of the past year, that has cost him most, if not all of the independent voters he courted so successfully. The key to victory in the future will be to successfully regain the trust of those great mass of independent voters, many of whom lean to the right politically, and maintain that trust. Thus, while the Tea Party movement isn't Republican; at its roots, many of its basic tenets ARE. These can be adopted and offered as an alternative to the socialist, big intrusive government solutions being offered by the Democratic Party.

I. Tax Code. Beyond high unemployment, there are several fundamental issues that now face this country. First of all, the tax code is an utter mess. It's so complicated that no one can figure it out, least of all the IRS advisors on the help lines sponsored every year by the government. The complete Internal Revenue Code is more than 24 megabytes in length, and contains more than 3.4 million words; printed 60 lines to the page, it would fill more than 7500 letter-size pages. Or in book format, 16,845 pages in FY2006.

My suggestion would be to simplify it to this extent. If you make more XXX dollars per year (above the poverty line, depending on size of household), then you pay XXX dollars, up until you reach a maximum rate of 20%. No other exemptions would be allowed.

The same rate would apply for business...and NO exemptions. That way the tax is spread all the way across the board, EVERYONE pays exactly the same rate. So if you make (for simplicity sake) $10,000.00, you pay $2,000.00. If you make $1,000,000.00, then you pay $200,000.00. Is it fair certainly, everyone pays the same percentage. Let's call it the Fair Tax Plan for America. Additionally, until the national debt was paid off, a national sales tax of 2% could be implemented. The funds from this tax would be put solely against the debt. No other diversions would be permitted. Once a balanced budget is achieved and the debt paid off, then the income tax could be reduced to a significantly lower level. A pledge that is near and dear to every taxpayers heart.

II. A Balanced Budget Amendment. However, to make a plan such as this to work, Congress would need to have the discipline to NOT spend beyond the country's ability to pay. What I mean by that is that Congress would not be permitted to execute any more deficit spending. All increases in spending in one area, must be offset by cuts in another area. Thus, by supporting a Balanced Budget Amendment, the party would be able to justify real reductions in the size of government. Under this system, as well as real reform in the tax code, within a period of 50 years, this country could eliminate the national debt.

Additionally, by placing real limits upon the size of government, many of those who are unfruitfully working in the public sector, could be returned to the productive, industrial side of the economy, thus reopening our fast fading industrial sector. American workers are the most productive workers in the history of civilization. Most important of all, earmarks must end NOW. We cannot afford to have spending outside of the budget. That defeats the purpose of fiscal responsibility. Additionally, it is a huge reason for the loss of the GOP majority of 2006, the country at large could see no difference between Republican's spending habits and those of the Democrats.

III. Terms Limits. By adopting term limits as well as limits, more people would have the incentive to become active within the present political frame work. No citizen of the United States shall be elected to the House of Representatives to more than four (4) consecutive, two (2) year terms to office. No citizen of the United States shall be elected to the United States Senate for more than two (2) consecutive, six (6) year terms of office. No citizen of the United States shall receive any retirement benefits from serving in either the United States House of Representatives or the United States Senate. Congress shall not exempt itself from any laws of the United States of America, in whole or in part. (this is a huge part of why the present attempt to seize control of the American health care system is so unpopular, because our "ruling class" is specifically exempt from its provisions!) Congress shall be in session for a period of not less than 90 consecutive days in the Spring, and 90 consecutive days in the Summer of each year. Each sitting of Congress may be extended by the President for a period not to exceed 30 days. The Spring session shall start on the first Monday of March. The Summer session shall begin on the first Monday in June. An additional 45 day session to begin on the 2nd Monday of November shall be called by the President if so deemed necessary, this session may not be extended unless a period of National Emergency is formally declared by the President. {This section I think is necessary to basically force Congress to actually the past decade they generally only spend 2 1/2 days per week actually working in Washington, DC. Most often only from Tues afternoon to Thurs afternoon!}

IV. Establish A Modern Industrial Plan. This is something this country has been lacking for at least four (4) decades. We have lost more industrial jobs overseas than have been created. We must in order to remain at the top of the world's economic summit, return to being an industrial nation. We have the ability to produce heavy industrial machinery of the highest quality, that very few countries can match. We need to encourage this with official policy. In addition, we need to divest the government from holding stocks, bonds or any direct interest in any corporation. Government exists to govern, not invest in business directly.

V. A Realistic Energy Plan. Whether you believe the world is warming due to man-made causes or not, it is time to develop a realistic plan to exploit our natural resources. It makes absolutely no sense not to begin drilling domestically for new sources of oil. Saying that it's ok to do so in Saudi Arabia or Nigeria is disingenuous at best and at worst hypocritical.

We have vast shale oil deposits that stretch from Colorado well north into Canada. We as a country in order to stop the steady bleeding of our financial future overseas to those countries who produce oil, take our money, then steadily work to destroy us (Saudi Arabia is the major indirect source of funds for Al Qaeda) is to commit slow suicide. Nor does being "green" mean that we must destroy our economy either. Simply by exploiting those natural resources that we directly control, we will immediately begin to wean ourselves away from a dependence on foreign sources of oil. In addition, we must begin to seriously search for alternative fuels.

We need to increase the funding for alternative sources of energy especially geothermal , wind and solar (including methods of obtaining same from space) in addition to alternatives to hydrocarbon fuels (oil/coal). In addition, we also need to reinvest in nuclear power . France and Japan both use nuclear power plants for 75% or more of their electrical energy needs.

VI. Real Health Care Reform.
1) Break the monopoly. Allow competing health care organizations. If doctors can’t lose their licenses, they are free to provide solutions they know work, but that the AMA won’t allow.
2) Tort reform. Most of the tort lawyers are parasites, and oddly enough, like John Edwards many are Democrats. They add no value, except to keep some doctors honest, but their role should be far more limited. Limit damages to actual loss, and only with gross negligence. Loser pays the winner's legal bills.
3) Make health costs 100% tax-free. Better, eliminate the 16th amendment (the income tax system). Then establish a national sales tax system. Additionally, allow portability between states and permit ALL of the health insurance organizations to provide insurance regardless of state lines. The moment you do this, people go out and join co-ops and get great rates.
4) Pharmaceutical Costs. Force the Pharmaceutical companies to sell to other countries at the same rate as they charge their biggest customers here. They will then pay more, and we’ll pay less, as we will no longer subsidizing them.
5) Fix SS/Medicare. Decree that those now under the age of 50 will no longer be eligible for benefits upon early retirement. Move the retirement age back a couple years, since people are living far longer (I would move the age to 65 as a minimum for eligibility for Medicare). Prosecute all the fraudulent disability claims vigorously.

VII. Controlling The Size of Legislation. Another issue that is beginning to irk the country is the sheer size of bills being presented to Congress for passage. The "Stimulus Package" was more than 1300 pages and concealed pork and payoffs to a degree never seen before in America. The plan to seize control of health care (Mr. Reid's version) topped 2200 pages and contained even more corrupt political deals. Formerly, bills presented to Congress were written in a concise manner that actually made sense while still having an important impact upon America. Now we have a Congress that not only doesn't ever actually read the those bills they vote on, but often "shop" out the construction of bills to those so called "special interest" groups so that they don't actually have to do the work of reading them.

It's so bad, that Arlen Specter (D PA) admitted in a town hall last summer that he doesn't read them at all, he has his staff do it. Basically, Congress only writes huge complicated bills when they want to hide pork and special interest preferences...How can I make that statement? Easy...

Homestead Act (1862) 9 pages.
National Labor Relations Act (1935) [aka "Wagner Act"] 25 pages.
Social Security Act (1935) 82 pages.
Civil Rights Act (1964) 74 pages.

These bills are of tremendous historical importance to our country. They changed fundamentally how things are done. What this proves is that it's not really necessary to write a hugely complicated bill to change the way things are done in America unless you're trying to hide pork.

IX. Secure Borders/Immigration Reform. This is a very contentious issue to pursue, but in times of extreme economic recession will favor citizens and legal residents. First of all, we must have reasonably secure borders. While the Canadian border is not often the source of contention, the southern border with Mexico is another matter altogether. Both need to be reasonably secure, while permitting the free flow of goods in both directions. On the Mexican border, we must interdict the crossing of not just of illegal workers, but the possible movement of terrorists as well as eliminating illegal drug traffic.

It will be physically impossible to deport the millions of illegal workers back to their home countries, but what can be done is the vigorous enforcement of laws already on the books. Additionally, by adopting heavy fines for first offense followed by loss of business operating licenses as well as extreme punitive fines for additional offenses will discourage employers from hiring illegal workers in the first place. Ideally this can be pitched in a time of great economic distress as being measures to favor unemployed citizens and legally resident aliens.

To conclude, By showing the country that the Republican brand has returned to its fiscally conservative roots, the party can begin the job of wooing back all of the right leaning independent voters that have been lost since the 2006 election cycle. Additionally, it will wrest control of the party from social conservatives who have been driving the party since the early 1990's. In 1992, when George H. W. Bush allowed the socially conservative (the so called "moral majority") far right minority to gain control of the party many independents turned away from long term support of the party. These voters have upon occasion returned to voting for GOP candidates (1994, 2002), but they have not supported the party with any regularity. This can be avoided by returning the party to being the champions of fiscal conservatism while leaving social conservatism to state and local governments.  By establishing a long term Plan For America, and adhering strictly to it, the GOP can regain control of first the House of Representatives in 2010, and then the White House and US Senate in 2012 and thus be able to enact all of the facets of this plan.

This has been posted on as well.


MissTammy said...

Here, here!!!!! I agree with everything you propose.

I go back and forth on term limits, though. I am mostly for them, but congresscritters who want to remain in office may be more apt to care about what their constituents think, as oppposed to someone whose term is up knowing they have nothing to lose by voting contrary to what their constituents want.

I think we're lucky with regards to this Hell-th Care bill that there aren't any term limits...I suspect that many of the Blue Dogs would have absolutely voted it right through had they known they were in their last term anyway.

Rich Vail said...

I agree on the term-limit amendment as well...when I'm pissed at lifetime office holders, I'm very other times...con. Mostly because short-term office holders will become MORE dependent upon 'professional staffers' and thus they will have ever more control over the legislative process than is already the case.

On the other hand, by producing such mammoth bills, politicians automatically cede day to day control to their staffers...and so it goes...