Over the last year or so I have become painfully aware of the problems that our Nation is facing. I know these are serious problems that affect a large percentage of the American public, if not all of us. Watching our politicians work and listening to the speeches and press conferences they are giving I don’t believe out politicians are as serious about doing the right thing as they are about furthering their political careers.
I realize I don’t know much about politics but there are a few things I would do if I were in Congress.
- The Federal budget needs to be balanced, not to just reduce the deficit but to make the deficit zero so we can start reducing the National Debt. The States are supposed to have there own sovereignty so the states should not be receiving money for pet projects that do not benefit the Nation as a whole. No more federally funded bike paths, hiking paths, memorials or beautification projects. If the states want to have these projects funded they should have to find the funds within their own states, if the citizens of a state want something they will figure out how to raise the funds. Federal funds should only be used in accordance with the Constitution. Legislation should be able to stand on there own merits, it should not take bribery in the form of earmarks to get passed.
- Stop subsidizing failing institutions with taxpayer dollars. The Federal Government has been pouring money into Amtrak and the USPS without any hope of either one becoming profitable. There are many federally funded agencies and institutions that are no more then bottomless pits. If these services are allowed to operate on their own without federal funding or interference they will either succeed or fail or their own. If they are truly a needed service let an entrepreneur step in and provide that service.
- Stop the spending that was passed with the Stimulus Bill. A large portion of this spending has been used on programs that are not putting Americans back to work. Spending is not the way to create jobs, cutting taxes and getting out of the way of both large and small business owners is the way to create jobs.
- Elected officials are public servants yet they act like they are royalty. Members of Congress do not need to travel in private jets with large staffs and fleets of Limos. These elected officials are elected by individual states to represent the States in
, not to fly all over the globe on boondoggles and retreats paid for by tax dollars. Congress should be using the technological advances that are now available to minimize unnecessary and costly travel. Washington
- Pay for all federal employees that are already well above the average for the private sector should be frozen; this includes members of Congress and their staffs. Serving your State and Country is a privilege and a duty, not a get rich scheme.
These are just a few of the things that could be done immediately to reduce the deficit and in turn start reducing the National debt. There are many areas that can be addressed on a long term plan. The country needs to get back to the basics of the Constitution. The Constitution clearly spells out what functions the Federal Government is responsible for, all others are to be retained by the States and the citizens. Most of the government programs we have come to blindly accept are not authorized by the Constitution except by the fact that we as States and citizens have allowed them the power. The States need to take back that power. All federally funded aid programs should be shifted to the States, this would include, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare, and Housing. As sovereign entities the States have the right to either fund these programs or to not fund them per the wishes of the citizens of the individual States. These types of changes would affect a large portion of the population all across the Nation so it would require a plan that would allow for a gradual shift of power and responsibility.
· Stop required contributions to SSI, Medicare and Medicaid. Immediately make these volunteer programs. For those that are already dependent on these programs and those that are close enough to retirement age that they would not be able to recover from the loss of this type of retirement program the funding would remain. Allow a 2 year period in which participation in the program is voluntary while the responsibility is shifted to the States. During this period the program would be run like any other retirement plan, the funds would be invested and not used to fund other programs. The States would then be responsible for determining if they want to continue the programs based on the desires of the citizens. There should be some provision for individuals that elect to continue in the program but their State decides to not offer the program, exactly what I don’t know. For the States that continue the program the funds that have been contributed to the federal fund would be shifted to the accountability of the
· All recipients of welfare would be evaluated to determine the continued need for assistance. Federal funding for welfare would then stop and the States would have the responsibility of funding the program. If a State determines it does not want to fund a welfare program that is the choice of the State. There should be intense investigations into any reports of welfare fraud.
· A Fair Tax program should be put into place for federal funds. Having a fair tax puts the responsibility of running the country on all citizens. All tax plans can be abused but at least with a fair tax program each individual has the power to control how much they contribute based on their spending habits. If you have rich tastes you will pay more, if you are frugal you will pay less. If an individual wants to live at a higher standard then they currently are they can through hard work. This will also put money back into the hands of the workers who will then spend more which in turn will stimulate our economy.
· Control of education should be with the States. Local control of the educational standards will force more involvement by parents. If parents want to see their children go on to college they will become active in increasing the teaching standards and ensuring the schools have properly qualified and motivated educators.
· Energy production should be either a private industry or a State industry. Unfortunately energy is an industry that is of the nature that competition is hard to have, only so many power lines can be strung. It is an industry that can be controlled at a State level. If a State wants only hydro, or nuclear, or coal burning then they should be able to control it. This does bring into question the environmental impact of some of these choices which does affect the entire nation since you can’t control the wind. In this case the States should be concerned with cleaning up our environment and placing regulations on not only power companies but all areas of industry to minimize the environmental impact.
· There should also be term limits on members of Congress. Career politicians stop caring about the welfare of the Nation and just look at how to save their careers. You would think that would mean keeping constituents happy nut what it really means it keeping special interest groups that just want federal funds happy. It also means they will cut deals that benefit the powerbase that is supporting them and will make them rich. We need Statesmen, not career politicians. I also feel the 17th Amendment should be repealed, put the power of who goes to
One area that is within the enumerated powers of the Federal Government is National Security. Our borders need to be closed. Immigration is a good thing for this country, if it is done legally. Illegal immigration is not only a drain on tax payer dollars it is a threat to the security of the Nation. Our country is a country of laws, supporting illegal immigration and even the consideration of amnesty is a blatant disregard for the law, it is also an insult to the immigrants that have entered the country legally and assimilated into society.
Our Founding Fathers also believed in trade with other countries. This trade should not only be free trade, but fair trade. If a country wants to only import products into our country there should be tariffs on those products to encourage equal exports. Fair trade would mean no tariffs, one sided trade, tariffs. In order to have products to export we have to allow the free market to operate. This Nation has the greatest diversity of products and skills to be found on the planet. We must have an environment that encourages businesses to keep the factories and jobs in the
Our Founding Fathers also believed we should stay politically neutral with other Nations.
I know changes such as I have mentioned would take time and would adversely affect a large number of people. Sacrifices were made to form this country; it’s going to take sacrifice to keep this country. Many Americans are uneducated on where their tax dollars go or where the funding for the special programs they are taking advantage of come from. The liability for the funding of this country should be on the shoulders of all Americans, not just a few. Historically Americans have been very free thinking independent individuals. The politicians today are trying to tie us all up in one nice neat little package and create a cradle to grave nanny state where you will have no say in what direction your life or your career will go. As I once heard a comedian say, Wake Up America!
Unfortunately I’m not in Congress and I never will be. The system has made nearly impossible for the average citizen to get into public office. Starting out at a local level is a good way to try and get there but even that is tough. The working class that makes up a large majority of individuals adversely affected by the direction the country is headed is too busy working trying to make ends meet and keep their families together. Getting into any level of Government requires money and connections, even more so at a federal level. It should only require desire, the desire to do the right thing, the desire to uphold the Constitution, not destroy it, the desire to pass on a greater Nation then we started with.