Sunday, January 9, 2011

Insanity Pleas

Increasingly, watching the news is like seeing a road company production of Marat/Sade. I hear politicians mouthing the same stale platitudes and offering the same pointless proposals that I have listened to my entire life. May I make one point clear? We are going bankrupt.

That fact, unmistakable and urgent, should be dominating our political discourse. Instead, the hacks in Washington and Sacramento are behaving as if business as usual will get us out of this mess. California is broke - desperately so - and Washington is very nearly broke, and persisting in the same rhetoric and the same tactics is not going to fix it. We will be the first generation in American history to leave our children impoverished, having saddled them with a debt they cannot hope to pay. And in the face of this, the so-called leaders of our state and nation continue to argue for increased spending, more government regulation and higher taxes as if the bus of our economy were not already dangling over the cliff.

The same inane arguments between liberals and conservatives continue regardless. The simple fact is that there is a vacuum of leadership at every level of government which is becoming more acute and lethal as generation after generation of politicians refuse to speak the truth to the public, and implement the painful policies of austerity and sacrifice that will be necessary to save our prosperity from extinction. On one level the solution is simple: Government has grown far too big and intrusive and it spends far too much money on programs that were never imagined or intended by the Founders. The size of government is the problem, and so the solution begins with reducing it radically. This will not only be salvation for the economy, but for personal liberty as well.

It is in the details that the devil devours everyone who comes near. All right, let me begin with this: Reduce the size of government by ten percent across the board and impose a freeze on any new government spending. Since fraud and waste are endemic in government programs, simply eliminate as many as possible. Personally, I would start at the federal level by eliminating the Departments of Labor, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services and Commerce, and by privatizing the post office. Beyond that, I would dump the current tax code and replace it with a universal flat tax on individuals and corporations of no more than fifteen percent, and enact balanced budget legislation requiring federal and state governments to live within the means provided by the tax. Needless to say, Obama Care must be repealed and the new corporate regulations rolled back as well.

We must free the economy to do what it does best -- create jobs, opportunity and wealth. Give every disincentive possible to the growth of government and offer every incentive possible to private enterprise. Reward risk, innovation and excellence. Return to our faith in the power of the free market, personal liberty and individual initiative, and cleanse our society of the debilitating lie that government is not the problem but the solution.