The question remains is there a true national leader with the vision and strategy to return America to its former glory? Limited government, fiscal conservatism, and a strong international presence

Still waiting for evidence of true national leadership

By —— Bio and Archives--August 1, 2011

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We have been bombarded with media coverage over the last several months on the debt crisis in general, and the debt ceiling in particular. The net result of all this Presidential focus and Congressional negotiations is an agreement to not balance the budget, but simply slow down the growth. The American people will see through this bipartisan spin to realize that we continue to spend money we do not have and will for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile our President continues to apologize for American history and strength, which has only served to weaken our image across the globe. The 2012 Presidential race has already begun with numerous candidates asking for our support. These candidates have not yet identified the fundamental causes of our problems, so their current plans are short sighted and tactical.  What is the role of our federal government and what are we doing today that we should cease and desist?  Once the real root causes are understood, then concrete plans can be created to reverse the damage done to this country, begin to grow the economy again, and set the example for the rest of the world to follow.  Who will emerge as a true national leader?

A true leader would identify actions that are needed in the first week in office.  Repealing ObamaCare and the Dodd-Frank financial reform bills would right two of the biggest wrongs from the Obama administration. Next making the Bush tax cuts permanent would remove business uncertainty and jump start the economy.  Another first week measure would be repealing Executive Orders 10988, to de-authorize federal workforce unionization, and Executive Order 13166, to define English as the one language of government, would set the tone that the government works for its citizens first. Finally during this first week, the new President should announce a high level study group to examine the United Nations, and the cost benefit of America’s future role.

A true leader would also identify key first year federal actions and expected legislation.  A key federalism initiative would be to begin dismantling half of the Cabinet Departments and their associated federal regulations: Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Human Development, Interior, Labor, and Transportation, with a target of completely decommissioning all of these Departments by the end of the term.  Another long term process that must be done quickly concerns amending the Constitution: 1) amend the 14th Amendment to clarify only children of citizens are automatically citizens themselves; 2) repeal the 16th Amendment to abolish the income tax as a precursor to replacing it with a national consumption flat tax; 3) repeal the 17th amendment returning to the state legislature the role of electing Senators; 4) a new Amendment to term limit federal Congress and Supreme Court judge jobs to 12 years; and 5) a new Amendment to require a federal Balanced Budget each year. There are also many parts of our federal government that really should be privatized: Amtrak, Post Service, Import-Export Bank, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Reserve Banks, and ownership of General Motors. There is really no reason for the federal government to be in the insurance business, so privatize federal medical insurance, flood insurance, windstorm insurance, crop insurance, and terrorism risk insurance. Medicare and Medicaid should devolve back to state control. The federal government is notorious poor at selecting winners and losers in the free market, so stop funding agriculture subsidies, energy subsidies, and high speed rail. Cost benefit analysis should drive down our funding of the United Nations and our total foreign aid. Although many of these efforts may take several years to complete, the size and cost of the federal government should shrink by over $1 trillion per year.

A true leader would also recognize that the scope of repair needed will not be accomplished in the first year alone. Until the income tax can be replaced with a flat consumption / sales tax, major reform is needed to simplify and reduce the burden of the income tax system: lower to top rate for both corporate and personal tax to 25%, abolish capital gains tax, abolish the Alternative Minimum Tax, abolish the death tax, and liberate seniors for social security tax. The federal government must begin the transition to a privatized Social Security System with personal ownership, funding, and investment decision making. Here again the transition may take years to protect current users while new users migrate to private sector alternatives. Once the Energy Department is abolished, the energy market should revert to the free market without government subsidies tilting to favored sources. Leasing federal lands can unlock huge energy reserves and will be a huge step towards the goal of energy independence.  Excess federal lands can be sold to raise additional monies to needed infrastructure investments. Finally immigration must be addressed to allow managed immigration of desired new citizens, while closing down our borders once and for all without rewarding those who came illegally in the past. Other countries struggle with the same problems that we have. Our solving these issues will once again demonstrate why America is exceptional and a model for other countries to follow.

The question remains is there a true national leader with the vision and strategy to return America to its former glory?  Limited government, fiscal conservatism, and a strong international presence are not new principles. Many of the changes recommended are just a return to founding principles. Downsizing the government by 50% will be very painful. A return to economic common sense will cut the cost of government in half will be a shock to the bureaucracy.  A return to American exceptionalism will be the easiest fix since only our President and his administration is talking this country down, while we still remain fundamentally strong and committed.  It is so sad that it took 75 years for the “frog to realize that he was being boiled” and finally jump out of the pan.  It is never too late to begin the multi-year exercise of dismantling the damage done to our once proud country.  All we need is a true leader to step forward with a vision and strategy to get there!

David Coughlin -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dave Coughlin recently retired from IBM after 31 years. He is now a political pundit who manages his web site “Return to Common Sense” and is an active member of the White Plains Tea Party. He was educated at West Point (Bachelor of Science, 1971) and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (Masters, Administrative Science, 1976). He currently resides with his wife in Hawthorne, NY.

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