What New Republican Majority Should Do
There are hundreds of things that the new Republican majority taking office in January should do. But here are a few new agenda items that should be included, perhaps in the first 100 days. I try not to duplicate ideas already being widely discussed, but add ides to the mix.
- Restore Obamacare cuts to Medicare. Democrats cut an estimated $716 billion from Medicare to finance the subsidies in Obamacare. Republicans should reverse these Medicare cuts and restore the Medicare Advantage program.
When low-information voters believe liberal lies, Democrats win elections. Sadly, it doesn’t matter what is true, only what the voters believe. In the Delaware U.S. Senate race, freshman Democrat Chris Coons ran ads of voters praising Coons for stopping the tea party from cutting Medicare. That ad also praised Coons as someone who tells the truth. Of course the tea party never wanted to cut Medicare. President Obama and Harry Reid actually did that.
Should Republicans repeal Obamacare? Can they? Since $716 billion was taken out of Medicare to fund Obamacare, Obamacare would collapse after Republicans fight to protect Medicare. Oh, darn. That means Republicans could defund and repeal Obamacare while destroying the liberal lie that they want to cut Medicare.
- Pass Ronald Reagan’s Tax Credit for Newly-Hired Employees. One of the disastrous effects of the Obama Economy is that tens of millions of Americans do not have recent employment experience and also suffer bad credit (increasingly considered in employment decisions). Employers are reluctant to take a chance on someone who hasn’t held a job in three or four years or more.
One of Reagan’s proposals in his Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 was a tax credit for businesses who hire new employees. (A hat tip to talk show host Paul Schiffer for this.) The complete cost of hiring a new employee, including all salary taxes, costs, and benefits, could be taken as a tax credit – not just a deduction. A tax credit allows the complete cost (100%) to reduce taxes or cause a refund. This makes the cost of hiring a new employee effectively free, for a limited period of time. This helps businesses take a chance on seeing if a new employee will work out without financial risk. This could put millions of Americans back on the track to a successful career, to paying taxes, and off of public assistance.
- Do not subsidize imports. If I want to import a 40-foot shipping container of chairs from China, instead of buying chairs made by North Carolina workers, America is a free country. But I shouldn’t expect the U.S. taxpayers to subsidize my choice to import chairs from China instead of supporting workers in North Carolina. All the costs to the U.S. Government of administering imports through U.S. seaports, including security and inspections, should be carried by importers through user fees. 100%. Without the taxpayer subsidies, imported products may no longer seem cheaper. Seaport user fees should exactly equal actual costs.
- Create Millions of Jobs. Eliminate depreciation tax rules for business equipment. Republicans can create millions of new jobs – real jobs – and strap a booster rocket to the economy by passing one simple bill. Eradicate tax depreciation rules. If a business buys $100,000 of equipment, tools, machinery, vehicles, computers, etc., they should be able to deduct the entire $100,000 from their taxes right away, the first year.
This simple change would cause businesses to go on a shopping spree, which would stimulate the economy. Businesses would expand faster, hiring more workers, by having the equipment they need to succeed. The enormous boost to the economy would be even bigger if the change were limited to U.S. made products (tricky under trade treaties).
Under current tax rules, if your business buys $50,000 of equipment in 2014 with a 10 year expected life (speculation), you can only deduct $5,000 from your taxes each year for 10 years. And then accelerated depreciation rules turn that concept into a confusing monstrosity. If the business sells it, mind-numbing recapture rules apply.
First, the rules are ghastly in complexity, creating a terrible burden of wasted effort and expense throughout the business world. Second, spreading out business expenses over many years discourages purchases of tools, equipment, machinery, and vehicles. Third, it is unfair. The business already spent the money 100% in the first year.
- Eliminate U.S. debt to China. China owes the U.S.A. as much or money than the $1 trillion that the U.S.A. owes to China. The theory goes that between 1913 and 1942, the government of China issued bonds to U.S. investors and the U.S. Government provided another $500 million credit to China. However, the diplomats in the U.S. Department of State, educated beyond their common sense, wouldn’t want to rock the boat. So the U.S.A.’s roughly $1 trillion debt to China could be wiped off the books, by applying the roughly $1 trillion debt, with interest, that China owes to the U.S.A. Yes, it could be complicated. But, still.
- Build a border fence. That will create jobs, like the Hoover Dam. Money for patrolling the open frontier could be used toward the cost. Remember that one nuclear bomb smuggled across the desert could ruin your whole day.
However, the border fence ground to a halt when the Government tried to buy entire private ranches which sit along the border. That’s nonsense. Only an easement along the border is needed – not outright ownership of entire ranches. The prohibitive cost of buying huge tracts of land that aren’t needed revealed the border fence project as “designed to fail.” Ranch land would increase in value when protected from a constant swarm of trespassers.
- Impeach lower-level officials. The culture of rampant law-breaking and politicization throughout the Executive Branch threatens the very fabric of our nation. But the power of impeachment extends to “all civil officers of the United States.” Article 2, Section 4. The Republican Congress should remove dozens of lower-level senior officials throughout the Internal Revenue Service and Veterans Administration, as well as Justice Department lawyers and State Department officials blocking release of information subpoenaed by Congress. We cannot save our country without putting the fear of God into bureaucrats and officials.
- Implement the “Penny Plan” to Balance the Budget. As championed recently by Kevin Wade, running for U.S. Senate in Delaware, benefits would trump cuts in programs like Social Security, Medicare, and veterans’ programs for those who legitimately qualify. It is expected that cutting fraud and waste save plenty.
- Empower Inspectors General to fire law-breaking employees. Give IG’s the power to initiate employment termination proceedings unilaterally upon discovering that a Federal manager or employee has broken the law or Departmental rules. Of course, the employee or manager has a right to a hearing and to respond before a final decision.
- Defund Common Core. Repeal any linkage of Federal funds forcing States to enact Common Core. If a State or locality thinks Common Core is a good idea, let them decide. But it should not be forced upon them by Federal blackmail. Note that I am not suggesting reducing any education funds, only removing the linkage requiring Common Core.
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