Democrats will rue the day they asked that question.
Is the GOP really just the party of no, as Democrat talking points say and the Democrat party controlled media echo? Or do Republicans have a positive vision for America besides their well-justified opposition to the ultra-left Obamacrat agenda?
Gingrich’s American Solutions
The truth is that the emerging leaders of today’s GOP have been furiously projecting positive alternatives to the leftist agenda now reigning in Washington. Start with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who could be going toe to toe with Obama in 2012. The whole point of his grassroots organization American Solutions is precisely to promote a positive agenda of solutions to America’s mounting troubles, prominently featured at the organization’s website. A sweeping agenda of free market, smaller government reforms for just about every problem and issue is also presented in his recent book, Real Change, and in his soon to be released new book, To Save America.
On the economy and jobs, Gingrich is explicitly promoting the four components of Reaganomics. On tax rates, he proposes a 40% cut in the current 25% tax rate paid by the middle class, leaving 90% of workers effectively with a flat tax of 15% or less. He recognizes that America suffers from the second highest business tax rate in the industrialized world, leaving American companies uncompetitive in the global marketplace. So he supports cutting the federal corporate tax rate of 35% to the 12.5% rate Ireland adopted over 20 years ago. The Irish economy boomed as a result, raising per capita income, meaning wages for working people, in that long-time poor country from the second lowest in the EU to the second highest. Our own Treasury Department reports that Ireland raises more corporate tax revenue as a percent of GDP with its 12.5% rate than we do with our 35% rate. Newt writes at AmericanSolutions.com, “Small businesses are responsible for the overwhelming majority of jobs created in America. A reduction in the corporate tax rate would allow them to keep more of their money and hire more employees.”
On capital gains, which effectively double taxes future capital income, Gingrich proposes cutting the rate to zero, following 14 out of 30 OECD countries, plus China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and others, who have already zeroed out capital gains taxes, and as a result create more jobs. He also supports abolishing the death tax, still another layer of taxation on capital. He proposes immediate expensing, meaning a 100% first year deduction, for investment in new machinery and equipment, so that American workers can work with “the most modern and productive equipment in the world.” That means higher wages. Supply-siders emphasize this as a very pro-growth measure.
Ultimately, Gingrich proposes fundamental tax reform involving an optional 15% flat tax similar to the proposals of Steve Forbes and of the Wall Street Journal’s Steve Moore. Workers could choose the new 15% flat tax with virtually all deductions and loopholes abolished, or they could choose to stay with the deductions and complexities of the current tax code. (Almost all would pay less under the new option, and enjoy the lower costs of the far simpler tax code.)
Gingrich proposes as well to balance the budget within seven years, starting with the proportional equivalent of Reagan’s 1981 budget cuts, an immediate reduction of $180 billion in annual federal spending. He advocates next a budget cutting federal spending by $1 trillion over 10 years, as the House adopted in 1995 when he was Speaker. This all could be accomplished by returning everything except Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to 2007 budget levels, repealing all unspent stimulus funds, and terminating, not respending, TARP funding.
Gingrich would deregulate energy markets, unleashing the private sector as Reagan used to say, to produce reliable low cost energy supplies, further boosting the economy. This would include expanding offshore and onshore drilling, unshackling coal producers, and liberating nuclear power (safety standards still strictly enforced). Regulatory barriers to alternative energy would be squelched as well. Further deregulation would involve repealing the disastrous mark-to-market accounting requirements and the Community Reinvestment Act, which both contributed mightily to the financial crisis, and replacing Sarbanes-Oxley with far less costly requirements. Gingrich also proposes to break up and privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Gingrich advances as well the same strong dollar monetary policies as Reagan, to maintain the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, ensure lower interest rates and more capital investment over the long run, and avert any return to inflation. This all amounts to a full-blown reprise of Reaganomics, updated for today. It is a prescription for a renewed economic boom for another 25 years, as Reaganomics produced.
For the longer run, Gingrich proposes sweeping entitlement reforms, solving that potentially overwhelming problem with fundamental structural change that averts any need for a tax increase. He advocates empowering workers with the freedom to choose personal accounts for Social Security, eventually expanding the accounts to take over financing of all the benefits currently financed by the payroll tax, allowing that tax to be phased out entirely. He proposes building on the enormously successful 1996 welfare reforms by expanding the underlying concept of block grants to the states to finance mandatory work for welfare to the other 85 federal means tested welfare programs, including Medicaid, food stamps, and public housing.
On health care, Gingrich co-authored a Wall Street Journal commentary with Health Savings Account (HSA) and Patient Power guru John Goodman involving expanding coverage and reducing costs through greater patient control, incentives, and freer markets, including comprehensive HSAs. Gingrich, in fact, heads a whole think tank, The Center for Health Transformation, focused on advancing these ideas.
The Ryan Roadmap
Skyrocketing GOP House Budget Chief Paul Ryan has introduced legislation providing for the increasingly famous Ryan Roadmap — a comprehensive plan that would eliminate long term budget deficits, achieve full solvency for Social Security and Medicare, provide a comprehensive health care safety net for the poor and uninsured, and adopt comprehensive tax reform with low, pro-growth tax rates. The entire Roadmap is officially scored by CBO as achieving these results, with no tax increase. Indeed, the federal budget is balanced over the long run with both taxes and spending at their long run historical average of 18.6% of GDP.
For health care, the Roadmap provides effectively that the tax break for health insurance that currently applies only to employer provided insurance is extended to everyone. All workers would be eligible for a refundable tax credit of $2,300 for individuals and $5,700 for families for the purchase of health insurance. They could buy that insurance interstate nationwide, and would own it directly and individually, making it fully portable from job to job.
Medicaid would provide supplemental payments to the poor besides these tax credits to help them buy insurance. This would benefit the poor enormously, freeing them from the Medicaid ghetto that so badly underpays doctors and hospitals that 40% won’t even take Medicaid patients today, resulting in worse health outcomes for the poor. The poor would instead enjoy the same health care as the middle class, since they would be able to buy the same insurance in the marketplace.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?