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Image of the Day: Americans Remain Highly Positive Toward Free Enterprise and Business Over Government

In what sometimes seems like an era of constantly expanding government and demonization of free markets, a recent Gallup poll offers refreshing news - Americans overwhelmingly view free markets positively, especially relative to the federal government:…[more]

January 25, 2022 • 06:19 PM

Liberty Update

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The Next President’s Agenda Print
By Quin Hillyer
Wednesday, January 18 2012
One reason spending is exorbitant is that the federal workforce’s costs and rules are hugely overburdensome.

Okay, pretend I’m running for president. Here’s my platform.

Personal income taxes: Flat rate, 20 percent. Same applies to dividends and capital gains. $7,000 exemption per person in household (no more than two adults age 18 or above). Full tax deductions for charitable contributions. Deduction for home mortgage interest for primary residence up to $2,000 per month. Deduction for health insurance or health savings accounts up to $600 premium per person per month. Deduction for retirement savings just as now. No death tax. No AMT. Everything indexed for inflation (via the “chained CPI”).

A wealth tax: Ronald McKinnon explains. I’d do it with a $3 million exemption, indexed for inflation, at a rate of 2 percent. I would make passage of the wealth tax – the actual statutory language – dependent on (i.e., the tax not assessable unless adopted by) ratification of a constitutional amendment limiting it to those numbers.

Zero corporate income tax: None. Period. (Something would need to be worked out for Subchapter S corporations, LLPs, and other corporate structures approaching exotica. I don’t have details yet.)

Social Security: Change formula to a “chained CPI.”  Also, institute a version of the Pozen Plan, but nowhere nearly as progressively graduated as the original. Gradually raise both the “normal” eligibility age and the “early retirement” age by an additional year beyond what is currently in law. Institute a one-year pause of up to 2% in inflation adjustments to “correct” for over-generous adjustments in past years. Create purely voluntary individual investment accounts, with a five-year window for implementation.

Medicare: Model the entire system after the competitive aspects of Medicare Part D. Raise the eligibility age to eventually match Social Security’s.

Medicaid: Block-grant to the states, as in the Ryan Plan and others.

Reform of food stamp and other welfare-like programs: Adopt the Heritage Foundation proposals lock, stock and barrel.

Domestic discretionary spending: Baseline: Hard caps with a total overall domestic spending freeze, without inflation adjustment, for five full years – but only after enacting a total overall cut of two percent in non-inflation-adjusted dollars in Year One. Also, enact a five-year ban on all legislative earmarks, along with appointment of a study committee to recommend permanent reform of earmarking process after five years are up. For years seven through 12, adopt caps (it will be hard to enforce them that far out, but they should still be in place anyway in order to force Congress to sweat a little when attempting to break them) of inflation-adjusted spending minus two-tenths of a percent per year. Make no adjustment for population gains. The goal is to slowly ratchet down to somewhere near the inflation-adjusted spending levels that prevailed back in Fiscal Year 2000. If they were generous enough for Bill Clinton’s America, they should be generous enough for us now. Meanwhile, these would be hard caps, not goals. The goals would actually be for greater savings still, as discussed in the next item.

Adopt U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s federal workforce savings: One reason spending is exorbitant is that the federal workforce’s costs and rules are hugely overburdensome. Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson offers some cures.

Full offsets for all “emergency” spending other than a declared war, unless two-thirds of both houses of Congress concur: Again, as this would just be statutory language, Congress could of course find ways around it, but it’s better to have the language than not to have it.

Mission targets, not spending targets, for national defense: Adopt no targets, higher or lower, for overall defense spending. Instead, commit to financing whatever is necessary to make the United States armed services unchallengeable (or not seriously challengeable) by any other power on Earth, with a return to the two-war strategy of defense planning. The Pentagon should be seriously pressed to achieve as many efficiencies/cost savings as possible while doing this, but the mission of peace through strength, not fiscal concerns, should guide overall defense planning. Decisions on use of force should be guided by an updated version of the Weinberger Doctrine (wholeheartedly, only for clear objectives, etcetera), applied with muscularity.

Massive regulatory roll-back: The administrative state must be not just tinkered with at the edges, but attacked head-on.

A huge emphasis on rapid appointment of textualist/originalist judges, and on sweeping, internal reforms at the Justice Department: The administration of Bush 43 usually picked good judges, but rarely made a priority of fighting for them tooth and nail, or even of diligently forwarding nominations to fill all vacancies. A new administration should do all three. Meanwhile, the entire culture of the Justice Department  should be cleaned up like the Augean Stables.

Protect innocent human life, with great compassion: Life precedes both liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

There: Those are the high points. Now how do I get on the ballot?

Quiz Question   
In addition to fuel, how many products are made from oil and natural gas?
More Questions
Notable Quote   
 
"While Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi go all out to protect Ukraine's national sovereignty, at the same time they are orchestrating a clandestine invasion of America across the southern border."Two million illegal immigrants from dozens of countries crossed over from Mexico last year, and the Biden administration is facilitating the cartels' people-smuggling operation -- at taxpayer expense."Under cover…[more]
 
 
—Miranda Devine, Columnist
— Miranda Devine, Columnist
 
Liberty Poll   

Given the current volatility of financial markets, how are your investments, IRAs and other retirement accounts doing?