7 Seven Critical Measures steps to reclaim freedom
We must pass a balanced budget amendment that focuses on cutting expenditures while capping federal spending to no more than 18% of GDP. If Congress won’t move a Cut, Cap and Balance Amendment forward, we should begin the process of working a Constitutional Amendment through the states and force it upon Congress.
2-) ENACT REAL ENTITLEMENT REFORM BY MODERNIZING SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE:
Anyone who suggests we can fix our fiscal crisis without addressing entitlements is not being truthful. Here are the facts: entitlement spending (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other mandatory programs) already consumes 66% of our federal spending. Financing promised entitlement spending will require doubling the marginal tax rates for all income brackets over the next 30 years.
We must enact Social Security Reform if we want to survive. We can do that by:
- Not jeopardizing the future of American retirees. My plan will preserve the existing Social Security program for those 55 or older.
- Creating Personal Savings Plans that would allow workers under 55 to invest one third their Social Security tax into personal retirement accounts. These private accounts would allow future generations to be independent of the government when they reach retirement age. They also have the added benefit of being owned and controlled by the individual and not the government.
- Redefining Social Security back to its original intent – a true insurance plan to guarantee against poverty in old age. To accomplish this, we must begin means testing Social Security benefits to those who really need it.
- Using a more accurate Cost of Living Adjustment formula to figure future COLA increases instead of the current system, which overstates inflation.
- Implementing a more reasonable retirement age that reflects the dramatic increases in the life expectancy we have experienced since Social Security was first created.
We must also enact Real Medicare Reform.
By implementing free market reforms, the cost of Medicare can be contained while Americans are assured they will have access to quality medical coverage when they enter retirement age. To do this we must:
- Never jeopardize the medical future of American retirees. My plan will protect those Americans 55 or older by preserving the existing Medicare program.
- Repeal the unsustainable spending incorporated in Obamacare.
- Allow individual states the freedom to innovate and experiment with Medicare programs through federal block grants.
- Allow free market competition to drive cost down by transitioning Medicare from a defined-benefit entitlement system. This can be accomplished by providing future retirees (those currently under 55) with a federal contribution that they can use to purchase Medicare’s premium-based plan or one of other private health care plans. This payment will be risk adjusted so those with greater medical needs receive a higher payment.
3-) IMPLEMENT PRO-GROWTH AND PRO-FAMILY TAX REFORMS:
The current tax code is unjustifiably complex and unfair. It is designed to benefit those who have the money to pay lawyers and accountants and to disadvantage those who are trying to play by the rules. Worst of all, it has the enormously divisive element of not requiring a fair distribution of the burden. Will Rogers once said, “Any government that robs Peter to pay Paul will always have Paul’s vote.” This is the situation we find ourselves in now. To remedy this, we need to implement real tax reform that will:
- Reduce the power of the IRS by allowing taxpayers to complete their taxes on a postcard if they so choose.
- Create a new code consisting of just three rates: 10%, 15% and 25%
- 10% for incomes less than $35,000 (single). Recognizing that it is a burden to have and raise children we would broaden the 10% tax rate to married couples earning up to $50,000.
- 15% for incomes between $35,000-$75,000 (single). Again, recognizing that it is a burden to raise children, we would broaden the 15% tax rate to married couples earning between $50,000-$100,000.
- 25% for incomes above $75,000 ($100,000 married).
- Allow tax deductions only for home mortgages and charitable giving.
- If they choose, taxpayers can stay with the existing tax structure.
- Protect the working poor through a $2,000 (individual) and $3,500 (married) tax credit.
- Implement a straight 15% corporate tax.
These reforms would allow for average tax revenues of approximately 18.5% of GDP, (our historical average) while greatly reducing the power of the IRS.
4-) REVIEW ALL FEDERAL SPENDING, RULES AND REGULATIONS:
Explosive government spending and regulations have taken us away from our Founding Father’s vision of the role of the federal government.
We need to examine every line of federal spending to ensure that it falls within the Constitutional limitations envisioned by our founding fathers. Rather than voting on omnibus spending bills, where Congress lumps all federal programs into one massive bill, Congress should be required to pass spending bills on an agency by agency basis, thus affecting an actual review of agency spending.
We should also examine all federal regulations.
In 2009 the Code of Federal Regulations totaled 163,333 pages. One hundred and sixty-thousand pages of rules and regulations that strangle business, distort decision making, instill resentment and fear into the populace, slow down economic growth, empower bureaucrats in Washington and intrude upon our lives.
Since taking office, President Obama has added tens of thousands of pages more to the Code. None of these regulations have passed the scrutiny of the voters or the direct blessing of Congress.
We need to control and eliminate these federal regulations. To do that, we should implement a five-year Sunset Rule, during which time we review every rule and regulation. Those that can pass Congressional muster should be kept. Those that don’t pass a vote in Congress should be automatically eliminated at the end of the fifth year.
5-) ENSURE OUR MUTUAL DEFENSE:
It is the fundamental responsibility of the federal government to provide for our mutual defense. And though national security is not foremost on many people’s minds right now, sometime in the near future we will face a national security crisis again. Insurgents are gaining power in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran is on the verge of a nuclear weapon. Pakistan is unreliable and sitting on a nuclear arsenal. Hostilities are growing in many corners of the world. History assures us that another security crisis will come. When it does, it is absolutely essential that we be prepared. We must keep our military strong. We must provide our troops with the tools that they need to succeed.
But that doesn’t mean the military shouldn’t be exposed to the same scrutiny that the rest of the government will face. By closing overseas bases and streamlining operations, the military can sustain some reductions in spending without hurting national security.
6-) DE-FEDERALIZE OUR PUBLIC LANDS:
Why are huge tracks of Utah owned and controlled by the federal government? Some say 67% of Utah is federal lands. Some say the number is closer to 75%. The truth is, no one knows, because the government isn’t even capable of conducting an accurate inventory of their holdings, let alone effectively administering such vast swaths of lands.
We are losing hundreds of millions of dollars in energy royalties while allowing bureaucrats in Washington to dictate what happens in our own backyard.
Many of these public lands could be – and should be – controlled and administered by the state. If they choose, states should be allowed to sell these de-federalized lands to private entities.
We, the people of Utah, are capable of protecting our own backyard from abuse or exploitation. We are capable of protecting the true wilderness that we love – indeed, the reasons that many of us have chosen to live here – without cutting off so many of our lands to multiple use.
De-federalizing public lands is vital to a coherent energy strategy.
It will lead to greater energy independence, an issue that is critical to our national security.
And at a time when the rising cost of energy is devastating middle-class families, our leaders in Washington DC are making it more and more difficult to develop energy on public lands. Over the last two years, oil development on federal lands is down 13%, while natural gas development is down 10%. This is a direct result of President Obama’s unwillingness to allow drilling on public lands.
I am the CEO of a company that works extensively with independent energy producers. I understand how difficult it is to get a drilling permit on federal lands. It is painfully slow, incoherently arbitrary, and always expensive. Worst of all, at the end of the process, an environmental finding is often thrown under the heavy hands of the courts.
But if we allow our states to have more control over this process, we can open up more of our lands to multiple uses. This will lead to significant increases in revenue to state coffers, most of which will be spent on education. More important, we will become more energy independent. And by increasing our supply of energy, we will drive the cost down.
7-) FIX IMMIGRATION:
Controlling our borders is one of the fundamental responsibilities of the federal government, a responsibility in which they have failed. Because of this failure, illegal immigration has become a national security threat. It is also extraordinarily expensive, costing tens of millions in health care and education costs.
There is also a moral argument to border enforcement in that it is fundamentally unfair to those who are waiting, sometimes for years, for the chance to enter our country legally.
The answer to the problem of illegal immigration is fairly straightforward.
- Enforce the security of our borders by all means necessary
- Enforce current laws by prosecuting those who are involved with identity theft, Social Security fraud, and other criminal activities.
- Reduce the economic incentive to enter our country illegally by instituting an E-Verify program. This will also ensure that employers know who they are hiring, fulfilling their responsibility to the security of the nation as well as to their other employees.
- Never allow a pathway for citizenship for anyone who has entered the country illegally. Require those who have entered the country illegally to return to their country of origin and go through the legal immigration process before they are allowed citizenship.
- Do not allow local communities to aid and abet illegal behavior by providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants. Cut off all federal law enforcement funds to sanctuary cities.
We Can Fix This
Yes, we are facing a crisis in this nation. But we have been through tough times before: Jamestown, the American revolution, the crafting of an inspired Constitution that has been a model to the rest of the world, the Civil War, the great depression, WWII. All of these were great challenges that we were able to rise above.
And I am certain that we will rise above this too, for we are still, as Abraham Lincoln said, the last best hope on earth. We are still, as John Winthrop and Ronald Reagan said, the shining light upon the hill.
We can get through this. We will get through this.
We, the people, have always shown the courage to do the right thing.
And when we do, so many good things are going to happen.
Our economy will explode as we release the entrepreneurial spirit that made our nation great. More and more business will be started and grow. As the economy begins to expand, tax receipts will increase, helping to reduce our debt even more. Employment will pick up. And the jobs that will be created will be real jobs, not artificial positions created by government borrowing and debt. People will begin to feel more confident. Consumer spending will then increase, lending more strength to the boom. With growing confidence, and decreased government interference in housing and lending practices, housing markets around the country will stabilize, allowing families to reach once again for the American dream. We will fulfill our obligation to the next generation by maintaining a strong military and more secure borders.
Then we will see the most important thing of all.
People all across America will feel the new wind of freedom. They will believe once again that our best days are before us. No longer will our children look to their future with dread. They will know that we – this generation – had the courage not to burden them with unsustainable government interference and debt. We will stand once again as an example of discipline and leadership to the world.
We will see the revitalization of America and a bright future once again.