Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

23 March 2010

Americans Demand Smaller Government

While our socialist federal government is busy expanding the powers and the many intrusions of government, the American People are clearly saying they want smaller government.  The latest Fox News poll says that 65% of American voters think the government is too big and is restricting American freedoms.  30% say they are comfortable with the size and role of the federal government.  So, by more than a 2 to 1 margin, the American People want to be free to exercise more of their individual rights than the government now allows them to.  84% of Republicans think it is too big.  [Who on earth are the 16% of Republicans who do not think it is too big?  Why are they Republicans at all?  I suppose these are the people who just have to have the political party of their parents or of the majority of people who live around them.  These are the social metaphysicians, as Ayn Rand called them.]  Wonderfully, 74% of independents also think government is too big.  Woefully, 51% of Democrats believe the size of the government is OK, but this is, for the socialist party, a very weak level of conviction in favor of big and bigger government!

Overall, this is very good news, but it comes with some hints that many Americans who want smaller government and who say they want to be more free to live their own lives, may still hold some contradictory views.  Let me set up the argument that this is the case by noting a few more results of the poll.

78% of voters believe the government is "larger and more costly" than it has ever been before.  65% think the national debt is a bigger problem than terrorism (23%).  79% of voters believe it is possible the economy may collapse.  Republicans believe this the most at 84%, but independents are almost as inclined to worry about this at 80%.  Democrats lag the independents on this concern by 8%, but 72% is still a large majority of Democrats with major concern over the economy.  62% of voters believe Obama has no plan to deal with the severe weakness of the economy, while 35% think he does.  Republicans at 88% know he has no plan and 67% of independents know he has none.  Even 33% of Democrats have at least one eye out of the sand.

The people think Congress is even more clueless.  24% think the Democrats in Congress have clear plans to fix the economy.  These must be all Democrats who think this nonsense.  But, only 16% think the Republicans have such an economy fix-up plan.  Well, we cannot expect that any Democrats are likely to think the Republican Congressmen have a plan.  They do not even think their party in Congress has a plan!  So, the implication is that the mere 16% of the voters who think Republican Congressmen have a plan are probably all Republicans.  I would guess few, if any, independents are included in the 16%.

What should the Republican plan for the economy be?  It is simple to state.  The Republicans should seek to make government smaller and make it protect, rather than violate, the rights of the individual.  This is what 65% of the American voters want.  It is about time the Republicans actually make a concerted effort to do this.  This is not just a plan for the economy, but it certainly includes a plan for the economy, in the very limited way it is appropriate for government to play a role in the economy.  There is little the government should do for the economy other than to get out of the way and let a free and hardworking people do their thing.  Now even though this is exactly what most American voters want, most would probably say that this is no plan.  There is always that expectation that government must have a plan for every problem and every issue, even if the best plan is for the government to get out of the way.

So, the Republicans do need a plan.  Here are some components of my proposed plan:
  • Republicans have cut taxes in the past, but start this time with cutting spending and follow that with some tax cuts.  Cut spending where it will remove as many obstacles for the private sector as possible.
  • Repeal ObamaCare, which at once will restore our freedom, cut the deficit, and improve health care.
  • Tell the EPA it cannot regulate CO2 emissions.  These emissions do more good as plant food than they do any harm in warming the Earth.  That bit of warming is probably good anyway.  Insist on rational benefit analyses to back up any EPA chemical tolerance claims.
  • Open up most federal lands for oil and gas exploration and field development.  Open up most off-shore areas for similar development.  This will create jobs and tax revenues, while providing reliable energy.  Use any income to reduce the deficit.
  • Sell much of the western lands held by the government and use the income to reduce the deficit.  The point of doing this is not actually so much to reduce the deficit now as it is to put the land to more productive uses in the private sector, which will further reduce deficits by generating more tax revenue in the future.  One benefit will be more energy production.
  • End the wasteful biofuels and alternative energy development projects.  Some research funding may be retained, but if the use of these fuels makes sense, let the private sector develop them.  End the subsidies and the mandates for their use.  The end of the ethanol subsidy and mandate programs will save consumers a bundle.
  • OHSA should be kept away from companies that do not have high accident rates.  Since companies are subject to liability lawsuits, there is really no need for OHSA anyway.
  • Contract out more government services.
  • Work up a comprehensive plan to end crop subsidies and restrictions.  These should be ended with a rational phase out plan.  Consumers will save a bundle.  Animal husbandry will save money also.  American exports will expand.
  • End federal programs for financing exports, but work up agreements with as many other countries as possible to encourage free trade between our countries.
  • Fold the Dept. of Labor into the Dept. of Commerce.  The class warfare between labor and management is only encouraged by this archaic separation of functions.  There is no reason to encourage labor unions as a special interest group anyway.  The resultant cabinet department should be much smaller than the two combined are today.
  • Push the approval of Yucca Mountain through so we can finally get started on cleaning up and consolidating nuclear waste.  Nuclear power should not be discouraged with the many harassments it puts up with today.  The cost of nuclear power will come down with rational government policies.
  • Reduce the excessive accounting and tax record-keeping requirements that put a very serious drain on the resources of business, especially small business.
  • The highest individual income tax rate should be equal to the tax rate of the median income person.  Joint returns should have taxable income divided by 2 with the tax calculated on that amount and twice the individual tax then is to be paid.  I am willing to allow a somewhat progressive set of rates for those with less than the median income, but not too progressive.  Everyone should pay something because everyone is deriving the benefits of a properly limited government and should have an interest in its expenses.  There really should be no corporation income, but if there is, the rate should also be equal to that of the median income earner's rate.
  • A near moratorium on new laws should be invoked, while Congress does a serious re-evaluation of the excessive number of laws already on the books.  Cutting back the irrational laws of the past will remove obstacles for the private sector and allow the paring of government watchdog agencies that are no longer needed to enforce those laws.  New mischief will be minimized, while old mischief is eliminated.
  • The Dept. of Education should educate the American public on what the public schools really cost on a per student basis.  The vast majority of school systems say the cost is much less than it really is.  Then the Dept. of Education should point out that in most cases what is spent greatly exceeds the per student cost of private schools and push for vouchers for students allowing them to choose either a public school, a private school, or even home-schooling.  The vouchers should be for somewhat less than the cost of the local public schools per student, so the local government will save money for each student who opts for a private school education.  This would lighten the load greatly on many local and state government budgets.  Many of these local governments are in serious trouble now and this is a painless way to relieve that problem, while improving education and reducing the burden of local and state taxes on the private sector.  [It will also reduce the power of the teachers unions and ultimately shrink them.  This, and the shift to private education, will weaken the socialist indoctrination of our children.]
  • Congress should stop writing tax laws with special taxes for special groups.  They love to penalize some groups and reward others.  Tax law should not be used this way.  It and other regulatory actions have clearly become tools of extortion.  The extortion must stop.  Tax laws should be reviewed to eliminate such provisions.  This will simplify the tax code and allow the reduction of IRS staff.
  • The inheritance tax should be eliminated.  This tax now kills many businesses and anyone who has spent a lifetime of productive work and built up wealth, should have the right to give it to whomever he pleases.  The government will get more tax revenue in the long run anyway by eliminating the death tax, which is just an envy tax.
  • The Commerce Clause of the Constitution should be used as it was intended:  to protect trade and commerce between people and companies in different states, not to inhibit it.  The elimination of federal government restrictions on interstate commercial activities would have a huge benefit for the private sector growth and health.
  • Anti-trust laws should be revoked.  The only monopolies and cabals able to take advantage of the People for any significant time and to any significant extent, are those supported by governments.  That government support for such monopolies and cabals should be ended.  That support frequently hides under the umbrella of a regulatory agency.  The free market is especially dynamic now and the Internet makes it easy to gather information on products and services and to make sales across the country, with special advantage to small competitors, so that monopolies locally or nationally are harder than ever to support.
The Republican party should come up with such a plan and start promoting it early and frequently.  For once, there appear to be plenty of Americans interested enough in government and its shenanigans that we may be able to sell them on real reform of our overblown government.  Right now, we have a socialist government and that must be corrected so we Americans can regain our freedom to choose our own values and manage our own lives in accordance with our self-chosen values.  The Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land, was intended to allow us just this individual freedom.

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