Sunday, November 07, 2010

Modest Proposals: Agenda for the 112th Congress

Social Security, Medicare, Defense, Interest, Welfare, Education, Other.

Useful links:
"A Modest Agenda for a New GOP Congress" by David H. Horwich

"How the New Congress Can Roll Back Obama’s Agenda"

"Republicans won the midterm elections. Now can they survive?"

"Top 10 challenges John Boehner will face as Speaker of the House"
By Bob Cusack

Thousands of Democrats to be jobless in Washington
By Al Kamen

"The Six Arguments You Meet in Political Hell"

"How to Cut $343 Billion from the Federal Budget"

"What Republicans Need to Do Now"

"Conservatives Treat a Foe Like a Foe"

"The Globe discovers that Massachusetts has shot itself in the foot…AGAIN"

1. Replace the current tax system with either a flat-rate income tax or a national sales tax, or some combination. This should replace both individual and corporate income tax, capital gains tax, and the Alternative Minimum Tax. A possible tax rate would be 20% or 25%.

It's not necessary to make this revenue-neutral because "starving the beast" doesn't work, and apparently raising taxes makes people more opposed to government spending!

2. Eliminate all earmarks, and all discretionary spending. The first targets should be corporate welfare and the very next targets should be all spending in "blue" areas, i.e. those which voted Democrat. Once that happens, we can expect bipartisan support for eliminating all spending in "red" areas.

Perhaps we can start by using "reverse earmarking": bills will specify that no funds for their programs can be spent in certain areas. When Democrats are faced with a choice between eliminating a program, or keeping it but having it only go to Republican areas, I expect they will see the light.

We can certainly keep government programs such as interstate highways and other transportation, national parks, the United States Postal Service, PBS and anything else, simply by making them self-supporting. Highways will have to be funded by tolls, license fees, and gasoline taxes; parks will be funded by ticket sales and donations; the USPS and PBS will simply have their subsidies eliminated.

3. Replace all current welfare and other social programs (other than Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) with a flat-rate demogrant of, say, $10,000 per person per year.

4. Replace Medicare and Medicaid with a comprehensive universal system that gives each person a voucher for whatever it would cost the government to give them basic health care plus catastrophic health insurance from Medicare/Medicaid, but allow people to use the voucher for private insurance, including HSAs that can roll over instead of being literally stolen at the end of each year. To clarify, people with preexisting conditions or other issues which cost more will get bigger vouchers, because the amount of the voucher will be whatever it would cost the government to provide Medicare/Medicaid for that particular person.

This could be funded out of the $10,000 per person demogrant.

5. Replace

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Nothing But Class

I just filled out a survey on When asked what I disliked about their website, I replied, truthfully, that
It is very difficult to find a specific clip or episode. Your "filing system" is a horrible mess. Many times I have clicked on a link for a clip or episode, or something else related to a show (such as cast biography), and gotten something completely different. Sometimes I clicked on the link for a show and been taken to a completely different show. This happened so frequently that I COMPLETELY QUIT USING YOUR WEBSITE EXCEPT WHEN I WAS DIRECTED TO IT FROM AN OUTSIDE LINK. THIS IS A BAD THING FOR NBC. BAD JOB! I never go to your website except on the rare occasions when there is a link to it within an article that I read -- and even when there is a link to your site, I usually don't bother to click on it if I see it goes to By the way, since I no longer use a regular television set, this means the only time I ever see any of your shows is on Hulu. Congratulations: from my perspective it would be hard to do a worse job if you were actually trying to do badly. In fact, it seems to be happening right now with the clip that I want to see, which is the link to "Saturday Night Live - Countdown with Keith Olbermann" on