As candidates move up the political ladder it’s interesting to see the direction they move on the issues. The shifts are often radical, but the direction is almost always intended to cater to some group they deem important to their election, or more aptly, their campaign treasury.
As a Member of the House, Kristin Gillibrand received a 100% rating by the NRA. Today, her rants might persuade you that the NRA is worse than a Limp Bizkit revival. Tim Ryan, the little-known congressman from Ohio, who is now an even lesser known candidate for President, entered Congress as a staunch opponent of abortion. Today, he’s pro-choice all the way and even champions “those brave women who celebrate their abortions.”
It doesn’t matter whether it’s Kamala’s formerly tough-on-crime demeanor, Bernie’s past adoration for the Soviet Union, Joe Biden’s distant collaboration with Republican colleagues in the Senate, or Booker’s once calling Obama’s attacks on Wall Street “nauseating.” They’ve all offended one group or another in the Democrat matrix and so to climb the ladder they sacrifice their moral compass by hyper-extending to embrace the most leftist view possible.
To some extent the same thing happens among Republicans. Those who would once have been red-faced over an unpaid credit card balance barely turn pink with a half-trillion dollar annual deficit on the federal ledger.
Were I so inclined, and gifted with endless energy, I would run for president on a platform of meaningful, muscular reform that actually does the right thing for America and our future no matter who’s special interest ox requires goring.
By that I mean I’d work to take what we have and make it work at a cost we can actually afford. Easily said, I know, but harder than hell to actually do. But if our politicians did what would insure the brightest future for our people, instead of whatever would assure their own elections, they might discover a natural convergence of those two objects.
Here are some of the things I would work on.
- Any honest observer can see that charter schools typically outperform other public schools, especially in the poorest communities. Students from charters generally score higher on math and English, graduate at a higher rate, and go on to college. And, more charter students avoid the kinds of behaviors that set many of their public school peers back. Still, progressives argue that charters hurt other public schools in the system and should therefore be dismantled. Of course, there is no evidence charters damage other schools. In fact, exactly the reverse; good schools force bad schools to get better. But who needs evidence? It’s enough that teacher’s unions want charters closed because the teachers who work in them aren’t unionized. So, of course, Democrats want charters closed as well.
Instead, I’d work to expand school choice so every family could choose the best possible option for their own students. What’s more, I’d give school boards the right to fire any teacher who was more interested in making his school a better place to work than a better place to learn.
- If something isn’t done to stop it, Social Security is projected to go broke in 20 years or so. No one has the guts to fix it because every time someone raises their head on the subject, liberals panic the elderly who depend on social security claiming Republicans are out to get them. And, since the elderly are a major voting block, Republicans are loathe to make themselves a target.
I’d change social security, but NOT for those above the age of 45. For those under 45, I’d raise the early retirement age from 62 to 65, and make the full benefit age 70 instead of 67. Further, for those who chose not to take any distribution from Social Security, I’d give them 100% of what they contributed into the system taxable at their tax rate when they died.
- Next, I’d replace our complicated and unfair tax system with a simple flat tax on all income above 150% of the poverty rate. Under that mark, families would owe nothing. Above that level, currently about $40,000, everyone would pay one low, flat, rate — about 15%. Same for companies. That means the entire tax lobby in Washington DC would have to go find work doing something productive instead of benefiting their clients by making the already burdensome, confusing, and inefficient tax code more burdensome, confusing, and inefficient.
- After that, I’d reform the way the federal government spends money. It’s crazy we have a $23 trillion federal debt. It’s even crazier no one does anything about it while it continues to balloon year after year. In fact, net interest payments will total nearly $7 trillion over the next decade! And NOT one penny of it will go to reduce the debt. Of course, those lobbyists who didn’t lose their job with tax reform will likely do so with spending reform. But hey, they’re smart, I’m sure they’ll find something useful to do.
In addition, I’d sponsor debt reform and require an amount equal to the interest paid on the debt be used to reduce debt principal. If an interest payment on the $24 trillion debt is $50 billion, then another $50 billion will go to reduce the $24 trillion principal amount.
- Another thing I’d do is require that the price of all medical procedures, treatments, and medicines be disclosed up front. If patients saw the price tag before they bought, they’d know what they’re getting into and have a chance to shop around. I can assure you, enterprising health professionals would see the opportunity and prices would become more competitive. And, In the case of an emergency, only the lowest price on the schedule would be charged.
- When individuals and companies choose to form associations across state boundaries, I’d allow those associations to buy health insurance from any insurance company in the country. The larger the insurance pool, the lower the price. I’d also require health insurance companies to post their premiums from worst case to best case. That is, if all employees were over 65 and if all employees were under 40. This would include at least three types of coverage.
- I’d take the $150 billion we currently spend to subsidize illegal immigrants and instead use it to provide housing for homeless vets. All federal payments to illegals would be phased out over a 9 month period. Each illegal would be given an application for legal entry that must be submitted to the American embassy or consulate in their home country. Illegal immigrants who remain in the U.S. would be deported so they too can apply for re-entry. Anyone found returning illegally will be forbidden from applying for legal entry for 20 years.
I didn’t say it would be easy. In fact, so long as people continue to vote for politicians who promise the easy life at the expense of others, it’s probably impossible.
But candidates who promise to lift one group up by tearing another down are only digging themselves a hole from which they or future generations may not be able to escape. When climbing the ladder we should all check to make sure we are actually moving up and not down.