Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
A laundry list
Published on October 17, 2006 By Draginol In Republican

So what exactly could the Republicans do to help win back the support of its base on a wide scale?

Here are a few things:

#1 Promose to bring fiscal responsibility back. Over at Instapundit, you can see Glenn Reynolds Pork busting. A lot of the pork is being done by Republicans. The infamous "bridge to nowhere" is but one example. When I hear things like "The deficit has been cut in half" it makes my skin crawl. Yea, because corporate taxes were up due to companies like ours paying through the nose. It had nothing to do with any sort of budgetary restraint. CUT spending some. Heck, just slow down the rate of increasing on spending and I'd be happy.

#2 Secure the borders. Good job that at the 11th hour house Republicans started to make some headway in actually doing this. Yes, it is a problem that the Republican President favors a quasi-amnesty plan but it took way too long to get this going. But at least they're finally starting to take this more seriously. Pass it before the elections.

#3 Corporate Tax cuts. One thing that would help American companies would be to decrease the taxes corporations have to pay.  As a business owner, I can tell you how obnoxious it is to have my company taxed and then get taxed again when I get paid (C corporation). Heck, I'd be happy with a cap on medicare taxation. Talk about a waste.

#4 Draw a line in the sand on prescription drug coverage. The issue isn't whether every American should have health insurance. The question is whether the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT should be responsible for providing these kinds of services. The answer (from conservatives) should be NO. It is not the role of the federal government to provide health insurance, housing, or food. The Soviet Union (and Cuba) provided those kinds of things. Governments are not effective at doing those sorts of things.

#5 Additional tax cuts.  Eliminate taxes entirely for those who make less than $30,000. It represents a trivial % of what the government takes in anyway. I realize that's not an entirely conservative point of view (i.e. everyone should pay equally but then again, any % based tax system isn't truly equal either).  But any individual in the United States can live on $30,000 a year easily. That's $15 an hour. So we simply don't tax people on the first $30,000.  Then we lower taxes across the board for everyone else.

#6 CUT SPENDING / BALANCE BUDGET. Tax cuts in the long term bring more revenue (up to a point of course).  In the short term, we would still need to cut spending.  The Department of Education is a huge pig of waste. The Teachers Unions do more harm to the education of our children than any other organization I can think of.  We'll get to that next. But in the meantime, make a definitive case to balance the budget and start paying off some of the debt in the near term.

#7 REAL "Progressive" EDUCATION.  Allow people to send their kids to other schools. Make schools compete for funding. In the near term, I can live with the fact that people have to send their kids to public schools (my kids do). But let parents send their kids to other public schools if the school they're child is at doesn't meet their needs. I pay high property taxes which help pay for my local school so I do understand there's some pain in someone paying a lot smaller amount, but I think you'd find most conservatives to be willing to let those who pay less in property taxes still send their children to better schools (as long as locals had first shot at filling available seats) in order to see some competition in our school system.

#8 GET THE FREAKING ENERGY POLICY PASSED.  It's 2006 and we still haven't opened up that tiny patch of ANWR up for exploration despite the fact that it's a desolate wasteland and will increase supply. Create incentives to drill in the gulf of Mexico (Before China and others get there first) and elsewhere.  As individuals, conservation is good. My next home I hope to design so that it's partially off the grid. I'd buy an electric car in a second if I could find a production one (My commute is 6 miles each way). But our government should be focusing on increasing the supply of inexpensive energy.

Feel free to add to the list...


Comments
on Oct 17, 2006
#5 Additional tax cuts. Eliminate taxes entirely for those who make less than $30,000. It represents a trivial % of what the government takes in anyway. I realize that's not an entirely conservative point of view (i.e. everyone should pay equally but then again, any % based tax system isn't truly equal either). But any individual in the United States can live on $30,000 a year easily. That's $15 an hour. So we simply don't tax people on the first $30,000. Then we lower taxes across the board for everyone else.


That's a good idea. Personally, I pay a lot in taxes and it really doesn't bother me since the government helped me get through college. I'm able to save a good portion of my salary and cutting my taxes, while it would be nice to save even more, it would do nothing for the economy. People who earn under $30,000 spend pretty much all they make and if they had a few extra dollars, they would probably spend most of it, which would stimulate the economy.
on Oct 17, 2006

You know Draginol, I'd be happy if the Republicans would make promises to do just about anything on your list.

Take a page from the old Contract with America days, promise to do something, and then FOLLOW THROUGH.

The big problem with the Contract with America was that once the Republicans had worked through it, they had no plans on where to go next.  They had no one leading the way beyond that initial contract.

There's always something that needs to be done, and plans that could be enacted.  The problem is there's rarely anyone setting the direction and tone and leading the way.  That's been the case for the last several years too, as President Bush had just a few goals when he entered the office, and once he got the things he original envisioned, he didn't have a Phase II, or perhaps a Phase III for his plans.

Democrats and liberals will laugh and say SEE!  HA!  We knew it, they finally admit it.  Look at Iraq, it's a great example, blah blah blah.  No plans.  No ideas on where to go next.  No exit strategy.

Well, phtttt! back on them.  They haven't had any real plans either.  Their plans have consisted of STOP EVERYTHING, OBSTRUCT PROGRESS AT ALL COST, and pray for disaster so they can hopefully come in and be the saviour of the Democracy and the Republic.

I honestly don't really care which side gets things done, but I'm tired of neither side TRYING, or using the lame excuse that the other side isn't cooperating.  GET SOMETHING DONE.

We've had how many years to get the Bush tax-cuts made permanent?  Hasn't happened.

Fix Social Security?  Hasn't happened.

Lots of lost plans along the way.  Damn it, focus, focus, focus.  Pick something and hammer it home.  Then pick something new, and hammer away on it until you've gotten something done.  Then move on down the list and every time you knock something off, put something new on the list to replace it.  Keep making progress, rather than standing pat and insulting the intelligence of the voters by doing nothing except voting in another pay raise.

on Oct 17, 2006
I like your list. Borders and energy are the biggies for me. All the money issues - I say - We can spend our bucks better than they can.
I was on my soapbox earlier in ModMans blog about age - liberal - conservative. So I'll stop now.
on Oct 18, 2006

Draginol For President!

 

on Oct 18, 2006
But any individual in the United States can live on $30,000 a year easily. That's $15 an hour.


Come live in rural Wisconsin where I live. I have my own apartment, computer, eat out a lot, and spend only the equivalent of $7/hr including taxes. No car, though.

I wouldn't feel like as much of an American if I didn't pay taxes -- but I would feel very stupid sending in voluntary contributions.

I always argue the liberal side of things on this site but if this were the Republican platform I would vote for them again, same as I voted for Newt Gingrich's Contract.
on Oct 18, 2006

I cant argue with any of your plans, and almost all of them are being neglected by the powers in DC.  However, some are not.  The Borders for one.  But with the Senate stacked up like it is, there is no hope for any kind of real plan being passed.  Taxes are another.  The only way they were passed (the cuts) in the first place was with the sunset clause, and the senate is not going to keep renewing that.

In short, the Senate is a good ol' boys club, whose contempt for the common man knows no bounds.  regardless of what they promise when running, they will betray that trust to be included in the "Club".

on Oct 18, 2006
Item 1 has some good points. However we need to first balance the budget and then begin paying down the National Debt which will require a annual budget surplus. Items 3 & 5 work against point 1. Cutting federal Education funding will do nothing to solve the federal Budget problem. Item 6- The amount of money from the Fed for education is nothing compared with the overall Federal Budget problem. Look at the Interest on the debt. That has exploded under Bush and will continue to move toward $500 Billion per year-- More then National Defense and more then all other non military and non mandated spending. Item 7 Private schools can not come close to educating the number of American Children. We need to improve public education to solve the problem. I have no problem with private schools but their numbers can not come close to solving the need to properly educate our children! Item 8 does not provide enough to solve the problem. We need to mandate higher mileage for cars, SUV’s and trucks, and have a Marshall plan to create wind farms, clean coal electric generation and solar conversion in addition to the elements you suggested in 8.
on Oct 18, 2006
"Look at the Interest on the debt. That has exploded under Bush and will continue to move toward $500 Billion per year-- More then National Defense and more then all other non military and non mandated spending."

Looking at the 2004 federal budget, h ttp://www.publicagenda.org/issues/factfiles_detail.cfm?issue_type=federal_budget&list=8 , interest on the debt was only $160 billion. My understanding is that we were able to "refinance" the national debt during the period of low interest rates in 2000-2002, but later on the interest costs will grow again (because for some crazy reason Greenspan had them stop selling 30-year Treasury bonds right then and restart only once interest rates recovered).
on Oct 18, 2006
Just 8 little actions aint gonna be nuff to get me back to those sellouts. Hang em out to dry another 40 years I say. I'm sure some of those weaklings have already tried some of these tricks. But I'm sure they failed cuz they are bad, or corrupt or less sophisticated than me. Not til abortion is illegal, guns are not regulated at all, foreigners are physically deported, the income tax abolished, and Tehran is bombed, will I consider the Republicats back in tougch with the real Americans.
You call yourself a conservative! You are part of the problem - you will settle for cuts and act like you have principles, but you're just like all the other east coast rinos who have no pride to stay home until we get ALL our demands NOW!!!
on Oct 18, 2006
Item 7 Private schools can not come close to educating the number of American Children. We need to improve public education to solve the problem. I have no problem with private schools but their numbers can not come close to solving the need to properly educate our children!


Competition is good. They haven't been able to "improve public education" by running it through a beaurocratic money eating machine. Change the system. Good schools with good teachers will attract children which will motivate other schools to improve or face "going out of business" and be replaced by schools that are succeeding.
on Oct 19, 2006

Just 8 little actions aint gonna be nuff to get me back to those sellouts. Hang em out to dry another 40 years I say. I'm sure some of those weaklings have already tried some of these tricks. But I'm sure they failed cuz they are bad, or corrupt or less sophisticated than me. Not til abortion is illegal, guns are not regulated at all, foreigners are physically deported, the income tax abolished, and Tehran is bombed, will I consider the Republicats back in tougch with the real Americans.
You call yourself a conservative! You are part of the problem - you will settle for cuts and act like you have principles, but you're just like all the other east coast rinos who have no pride to stay home until we get ALL our demands NOW!!!

Feel free to state what congressional Republicans have done in the past 2 years (before we hit the election cycle where they finally passed the border fence).

It doesn't take much to satisfy me, throw me a bone. An energy bill? A little less pork? I know, we're just so...demanding...

on Nov 07, 2006
Ok, I know this is an old thread, but I feel like I need to post here for the sake of posterity.

I think these ideas sound good off the cuff, but there are some severe flaws in them.

#1: Pork is an insulting waste of tax dollars. Problem is that people are only against it when they aren't benefiting from it. Nobody votes out their congressmen for earmarking 50 million dollars that will go into their community. All politics are local politics. You're absolutely right that we need to find a way to get rid of it, though.

#3: Double taxation is the price you pay for the corporate liability shield. The reason we set up corporations is to limit our own liability. If my companies makes Product X and someone misuses it or it fails unintentionally in a way that causes harm or damage, they can't sue me personally, only my company. A corporation is very nearly a citizen in its own right, it just can't vote.

#4: Call me silly, but I believe a society has a responsibility to provide for the needs of those who cannot provide for themselves. The elderly get treated like crap in this country. Are there some who abuse the system? Sure. Does the system need some serious renovation? You betcha. It doesn't mean we get to ignore the sick and dying who have no way to care for themselves, which at its heart is the goal of Medicare. Compare it to Cuba and the USSR all you want. The state is not PROVIDING the health care...it is only paying for it. There's a HUGE difference there (unless you count the VA, but I think everyone can agree the military needs hospitals). And you say "federal government" does that mean you are in favor of state-level healthcare? Talk about wasteful and unmanageable. Talk to someone who works in a billing office in a city that sits on a state border and ask them what they think about state-run medicade offices. I'm going to go with a single, centralized healthcare system is goign to be more efficient than 50 states with 50 different sets of rules on how to bill a hospital stay.

#5 I like the idea of what you propose here but it would be FAR from an insignificant portion of the federal budget. I was trying to crunch some real numbers on this, but the data is proving difficult to locate. But think of it this way: If I make $29,000 per year I don't have to pay any taxes at all. But if I make $31,000, by your plan I would have to pay taxes on $1000 of my income because the first 30 grand is free. So you're not talking about not collecting taxes on only the poorest people, you're also talking about eviscerating the tax revenues generated from the middle class. This is the tax group where a substantial portion of federal tax revenues come out of. The government simply can't operate with that kind of revenue loss. I'm not even sure it could operate without the 10% it takes out of the lowest tax bracket, at least not until you accomplish #1 on your list. More than 50% of this country earns less than 50,000 per year. Now you'd only be taxing them on 20,000 of that, which even if you continued taxing at their current tax rate will mean a massive revenue falloff.

You also can't just flip the switch and say, well once you make 30,000.01 you now owe us 15%. Then where would my incentive be to earn more than 29,999.99? I wouldn't want another raise until I could find someone to pay me at least 36,000 otherwise I'm losing money. I agree that the poor should be taxed less, but the better way to complish this is through reform to the EITC program, which gives a huge chunk of tax money back to qualifying taxpayers. There is too much legitimate spending that even if we managed to remove ALL the way, such a tax plan as you described would be completely untennable.

#7: I will confess to not being a big fan of unions. I think many of them have become fat, bloated and corrupt. The teacher's union is at times unreasonable (teacher tenure comes to mind) and at times utterly selfish, but to say they are damaging education is compeltely wrong. Many other countries have excellent public education systems (or at least better than ours) and they have them because they spend MUCH more money on them. You think it's fat and bloated now? Wait until someone realizes we need to double it in order to real make an improvement. Do we really need to spend more on our military each year than the rest of the world combined? We can still be the biggest spenders, but maybe if we shot for like 30% of the world's military spending instead of 40 or 50% we could afford books for our students, and then it wouldn't matter so much if your kid goes to this school or that school, because they'll both be good.

While I'm on that subject what you describe about sending your kids to school wherever you want is not a national issue. Local schoolboards decide that where I'm from. They called it "open enrollment". They changed it while I was in highschool. I went to a private highschool, because I had more friends at that school than the public school I was districted for. After my freshman year they changed those rules and I could have enrolled in the public school where a lot of my friends went but I decided to stay (nothing to do with the academics at either school...they were both fine).



#8: I can't say I really give a damn about arctic wildlife, but this is not going to be a silver bullet for energy sources. We could increase production by quite a lot on the oil supply we already have. The problem is that we have maxed out our refining capacity to the point where we don't just import crude oil anymore, but refined gasoline also. Nobody wants an oil refinery in their town, so they can't ever get zoning permits. Like I said, all politics are local politics. The oil companies want to built more refineries, but nobody will let them.

If the government would incentivize the manufacture of alternative energy vehicles the way they incentivize the building of ethanol plants there would be some real motivation. I'd like to see the government put up a 50 billion dollar prize for the first company to produce and sell 1 million cars that run purely on renewable, non-polluting energy sources or even a car that gets like 90MPG with traditional gas.

#9: My addition: Electoral reform. If I hear one more story about election tampering, voter fraud or diebold machines I'm going to tear my hair out. In my opinion the gerrymandering of voting districts should be made unconstitutional, and we need crackdowns on soft money and influence peddling from lobbyists. These aren't really partisan issues, as both parties have a vested interest in retaining the status-quo, because that's what keeps getting them re-elected.
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