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