Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Republican “Hope”

Democrats, as we saw, think what’s wrong with the country is Republicans.The GOP wants to upend our perfectly acceptable status quo big government better people at the top more like Europe every day guided by Hollywood’s values care for the afflicted social welfare state.

Republicans see it differently. The economy’s not working, people need jobs, jobs come from the private sector, not government, a free market rests upon a population that wants jobs, values hard work and family, and wants success enough to postpone gratification for the sake of their children; people with hope.

So how do Republicans hope to arrive at our “shining city upon a hill”?  

Achieve sobriety.

“it would be useful to know how firmly the people believe in the discharge of each of modern government’s many, many responsibilities. Firmly enough to demand it, or firmly enough to pay for it? [S]tatesmanship in the 21st century [means] to mold public sentiment to incorporate . . . sobriety, undoing the impress that 80 years of New Deal-Great Society wishful thinking has made.” [emphasis added]

--William Voegeli, Claremont Review of Books

“Deficit spending once was largely for investments — building infrastructure, winning wars — which benefited future generations, so government borrowing appropriately shared the burden with those generations. Now, however, continuous borrowing burdens future generations in order to finance current consumption.

“Democrats — you know: the people respectful of evidence and science — even rejected a more accurate measurement of the cost of living that would slightly slow increases in myriad government benefits. Accuracy will be sacrificed to liberalism’s agenda of government growth. . . Democrats are ardent in embracing decadent democracy. This consists not just of infantilism — refusing to will the means for the ends one has willed — but also of willing an immoral means: conscripting the wealth of future generations.

“economists Glenn Hubbard and Tim Kane explain . . . ‘Our politicians are acting rationally [but] politically rational behavior is now fiscally perverse.’ Both parties are responding to powerful electoral incentives to neither raise taxes nor cut spending. Hence, ‘the clash over raising the debt limit that gripped Washington during the summer of 2011 was just the beginning, not the end, of our fiscal woes.’”

--George Will, Washington Post

Will places his faith in “a critical mass of Republicans” who reject “politically rational” behavior. They have “a different rationale” for being in politics.  

Embrace the future.

“No economy will [grow] that is as over-committed as this one is to the myth of the service-industry economy, in which too few people actually add value to anything. 10% of the economy goes to the legal cartel and 7% to overages in medical costs (compared with the costs in such prosperous democracies as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom, whose health-care systems are at least as good as the American one): That’s about $2 trillion that goes to these eminent learned professions, beyond what other sophisticated and prosperous democracies spend, proportionately, on the law and medicine.”

--Conrad Black, National Review

“manage [well] health care and the transition from [the big industry, big government, big labor] blue [model America to an information technology-driven economy, then] other issues can be managed more easily and with less pain. If we fail on the health front and stay stuck in the dying blue model, the pension and Social Security problems become unmanageable.”

--Walter Russell Mead, American Interest 

Pass better laws.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute offers three ways Congress can boost our country's growth:

1. Corporate Tax Reform. America's corporate tax rate of 35% is the highest in the industrial world. Also, we are one of seven countries taxing worldwide income. Canada and Germany have a 15% rate; both only tax income generated within their borders. The U.S. taxes net income earned abroad, but only when it is "repatriated" here, meaning U.S. corporations now hold $1.7 trillion offshore. $765 billion could be poised for immediate return.

2. Immigration reform. Government should make it easier for foreigners to work here legally. Only 13% of green cards are granted for employment (most reunite families or provide political asylum). Since green card waits can last a decade, most skilled workers enter on temporary visas, then have to go home or remain illegally. Yet immigrants are entrepreneurial; immigrant founders of U.S. businesses since 2006 now employ 560,000 workers and generate $63 billion annually. In Silicon Valley, 44% of businesses have immigrant founders. And tough visa requirements discourage tourists who spend here. We also need legal visas for unskilled workers, especially in agriculture. Government auctions of work permits and visas could lower the budget deficit.

3. Regulatory Reform. Congressman Lamar Smith's (R-TX) Regulatory Accountability Act passed the House but was not considered by the Senate. His bill would require cost-benefit scrutiny of rules that add most to business costs, and require agencies to adopt the least costly option. While such a bill is unlikely to be enacted soon, the House oversight committee could hold hearings to make sure cabinet agencies issue cost-effective regulations, and Congress can hold up executive branch funding when dissatisfied with regulations.

David Malpass, writing in the Wall Street Journal, wants Congress to guide the president toward our better future:
the president made clear that his goal isn't to get business going again but instead to expand government and redistribute income. . . the current debt-limit statute gives most of the power to the president, allowing him to shut down parts of the government and blame holdouts until he gets enough votes for more debt. Rather than rejecting an increase in the debt limit, fiscal conservatives should offer a lasting remedy[--]a debt-to-GDP limit that, when exceeded, would give the president the power to underspend congressional appropriations and to propose fast-track reductions in entitlements—but would also require him to make monthly reports to the public on excess spending and prohibit raises for government employees making over $100,000.

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