If Republicans had any sense (which it is becoming increasingly obvious that they don’t) they would announce a positive plan to get the economy moving again, and deal with healthcare costs in the process. With a staggering Federal budget, and a national debt that is now greater than the GDP of most industrialized nations combined, we must do something to cut government spending, and free up our slumbering economic might. So, in no particular order, I suggest the following Federal and State initiatives.
At the Federal level:
1. Put government on a “diet” – every branch, every department. Amounts and time-tables can vary, but the message must be “you WILL do with less of the tax payers’ money.” Faze out, over no more than 5 years, ALL subsidies to businesses, from “green energy” giveaways to outdated farm subsidies like milk and sugar welfare programs. Limit EBT (“food stamp”) payments to one year. Limit “unemployment insurance” to 6 months – anything more than that is not “temporary assistance” – it is ongoing welfare. Studies show that extending unemployment benefits merely extends the time that those out of work STAY out of work.
2. Eliminate the EPA. This expensive bureaucratic leviathan has become an out-of-control unelected legislature by proxy – an “enforcer” for the progressive agenda, destroying entrepreneurship, making innovation almost impossible, and getting into areas of our lives that have nothing to do with clean air and water, like mandating carbon dioxide controls to deal with a myth: global warming. We have the criminal code and civil lawsuits to punish those who dump sewage into streams or pollute the air with (genuinely) dangerous chemicals. We don’t need the EPA.
3. Cut back OSHA by 90% – leave only enough staff to handle complaints. Like all governmental agencies, OSHA keeps expanding to the point of absurdity. Case in point, last year, an OSHA “inspector” declared that an indoor shooting range was “too loud” by OSHA standards, and thus a hazard to the employees’ hearing. Gosh, a gun range is loud? Who’d have thought? Besides, ALL employees wear hearing protection whenever they actually enter the shooting area of the range, which is only on occasion anyway. Again, if employees are injured or killed at work, we have the criminal code and civil law to deal with it. The only thing OSHA does is make it more difficult and expensive for business owners, especially small businesses.
4. Eliminate both the corporate income tax and the capital gains tax. The only thing the CG Tax does is force business to pass on the increased cost to consumers. It also encourages businesses to move their operations off shore, as many have already done.
5. Repeal ALL corn-based Ethanol subsidies. Ethanol is environmentally destructive, reduces gas mileage, and can void your car’s warranty. It is also unable to compete economically. And if other forms of Ethanol, from either sugar cane or switch-grass, can compete without governmental subsidies, then let them do it.
6. Repeal the current disastrously “progressive” Income Tax altogether and replace it with a flat national sales tax, or make the personal income tax a FLAT rate, with NO exemptions, and applicable from the first dollar. Because as long as we have an inscrutably complicated system that no one understands, and that allows half the nation to pay no taxes whatsoever, we will never get governmental spending under control.
7. Repeal ALL state laws that prevent consumers from buying health insurance across state lines. Such government restrictions merely prevent competition and keep prices artificially high.
8. Get government out of the health care business altogether. Few know it, but the cost of every medical procedure, from a visit to the emergency room to a major operation like an appendectomy, would be 40% less if it weren’t for useless government regulations that providers have to deal with, none of which do anything for the benefit of the patient, and in many cases may even cause harm, by forcing doctors to follow government mandates, rather than doing what they know is best for the patient. Many organizations now have to hire additional staff, at great expense, whose ONLY job is to monitor “compliance” with the mountains of regulations.
9. Lawsuit reform. “Loser Pays” is the way to go. In the health care field, the cost of just the liability insurance that doctors must have is staggering, going into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, depending on specialty. We have gotten to the point that EVERY doctor in Americ WILL be sued for malpractice at some point in his/her career. Do you really believe that ALL of them are reckless and/or incompetent? There are lawyers who specialize in filing hundreds of malpractice suits each year, knowing that they will likely get SOMETHING, just to make them go away.
10. Eliminate the “minimum wage” – it is nothing but a tax on unskilled labor, which always reduces the jobs available for those with the fewest marketable skills. Besides, the real reason Democrats vote for increases in the minimum wage is not to help the low-income worker, but to help their big union buddies – many union contracts are tied to an increase in the minimum wage.
11. Implement REAL energy independence. Eliminate restrictions on coal and oil exploration. Open up Federal lands for energy development. The environmentalist zealots have strangled American energy production long enough. North Dakotah should be the the model for the nation.
OK, that’s just a start, but you get the picture.