Sunday, November 18, 2007

8 ways to save our economy

If I were king here are eight (8) things I would do to return fiscal sanity to our country. I welcome your thoughts and comments. (Note - these are note in priority.)

1. Cancel The Medicare Part D program: Too expensive and too inefficient; a mess that we cannot afford. "A camel is a horse designed by a committee."; Medicare Part D is a camel. In years past our politicians would build offices and monuments to themselves now they are building gold-plated entitlement programs that are neither understandable nor effective at solving the problem for which they were created. Bush's worst domestic program that is not needed when we already have a program that works just fine.

2. Replace Current Income Tax with National Sales Tax with no deductions or exceptions:
The single best and fastest way to restore sanity and trust to our government. The current income tax system is but a wage tax and touches mostly those whose salary is reduced by those who must pay the 941. Easy to implement - most every state currently collects from those selling products or services in their state - and more efficient - easier to track down 12+ million "sellers" than 160+ million individuals. For example a 22% National Sales tax combined with an $8,000/year prebate for each household spares the lowest earners while enabling everyone else to control and manage precisely how much tax they pay.

3. Cancel Corp Tax: Makes politicians feel good but doesn't work [has never worked] as it is just a cost passed along to consumers.

4. Raise Fed Gasoline tax by $.10/year for each of the next ten (10) years: It is in the best interest of everyone in our country for us to use less gasoline. Taxes when implemented correctly make sense and a tax on gasoline that is scheduled to increase at a prescribed amount over a period of time will enable consumers to make their own choices is just such an example.

5. Reduce the number of school districts to one per county: School districts are an anachronism that have outlived their usefulness with the exception of their ability at hiring over priced administrative staffs. Having one school district for one (1) town or worse one (1) school is simply a waste of money that offers almost nothing to students. (You don't need a school district to run a bus service let alone manage a set of elementary and secondary schools that serve less than 3,000 students) School districts exists almost solely for the purpose of hiring and spending money on administrative personnel. In addition to funding schools need teachers, principles and parents to be effective; not administrators.

6. Cut all Federal entitlement expenditures by 10% in each of the next three (3) years: There is so much fat, fraud and waste in every entitlement program that an across the board 10% cut is the least we should expect. Granted that most all of our Fed representatives are beholden to only a small percentage of their constituents and special interests but it would be a challenge worth offering.

7. Raise the qualifying age for Social Security to 70 for those born on or after 1958 and then to 75 for those born on or after 1967. The math is simple. Either we reduce SS by some small amount for all or the whole thing will collapse and serve as the foundation for a revolution. Defined pensions went the way of the unicorn so why shouldn't SS?

8. Elected officials should be for single but longer terms that are purely voluntary.Today's professional politicians (i.e. Murtha, Bruno, Byrd, etc) are the single most destructive force in our political system. They serve no one but themselves and exist solely to retain their power. Congress - save a few oversight committees - is a useless entity that serves no one but themselves. Time to hit the re-set button.


Ian said...

With regard to your National Sales Tax (FairTax), increasingly Mike Huckabee is What leadership looks like.

Mike Huckabee's ardent support for the FairTax sets him apart from all other viable presidential candidates. The FairTax Act of 2007 (HR 25/ S 1025) represents a prospective power shift of massive proportions in America. It lays out a practical ideal of voluntary payment of taxes, based on a substantial level of taxpayer choice that the plan affords. Since FairTax untaxes basic necessities (up to socially-accepted poverty-level spending), what is taxed is marginal, and/or desired or preferred, on a broader base of retail products and services. This is to say that the taxpayer may, under the FairTax, choose to purchase used products and avoid paying the tax. And, to the extent desired, the taxpayer may choose to self-perform certain services rather than pay for them. This will stimulate do-it-yourself education, improve citizens' self-reliance; indeed the FairTax represents the possibility of ushering in a new can-do, citizen psychology that would accrue to greater demands for government accountability - truly, a cultural sea change.

Government is the "necessary glue" that enables the social fabric to cohere. It does this by effecting "rules" that ostensibly provide members with equitable access to wealth and resources. It also must provide ostensibly equitable enforcement of those rules in order to mitigate threats to the social fabric. It is unrealistic to believe that the structures of a national government can be supported on donations, thus the need for taxes. Naysayers love to characterize anything purporting to be a "fair tax" as an oxymoron - but it is not true. The idea of fairness has to do with equitable sharing in the cost by all members who depend upon the social fabric for food, shelter, clothing and post-necessity economic enterprise. And, because of the shift of power from politicians and special interests under an enacted FairTax, the elected will find it more difficult to both enlarge government, and implement any dual system of taxation. FairTax strategist, Dennis Calabrese, discusses how the FairTax repeals the income tax, how it does away with the IRS, and how it addresses other aspects of frequent concern to skeptics.

The FairTax has a much greater opportunity for success to operate as a "self-regulating" mechanism because of increased visibility. One finds that the current system, ostensibly regulated by the Internal Revenue Code, is in fact poorly regulated because of continually increasing complexity (the effect of tax favors from politicians, through lobbyists, to favored corporations and other special interests) stemming from the desire by those holding government position to steer public behavior using tax code "carrots." We have seen how 100 years of this type of behavior has eroded the Nation's currency and the purchasing power of working family incomes. "Visionist," Tom Frey believes the current tax system will simply collapse; and economist Laurence Kotlikoff heralds - short of enactment of FairTax (or an otherwise unlikely change in spending habits) - the U.S. will shortly face an irrevocable economic breakdown. (Kotlikoff believes that passage of the FairTax can stave off the economic ruin we're facing, but would be surprised to see it happen.)

Frey and Kotlikoff may be right on both counts, and we may not be able to successfully evoke change; but shall we not try?

Mike Huckabee believes we should. He has the look of leadership.

(Permission granted to republish, in whole or part. -Ian)

Bruce Bergwall said...

Ian - I've been aware of HR 25 and S 1025 and have my fingers and eyes crossed hoping that our politicians will wake up. Whether it will foster the "can-do" attitude you've suggested is still an open discussion though an interesting take. Cheers