Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Future of the Republican Party -- 10 Policies for Leadership

  1. The Republican party must lead an initiative to completely reform the immigration law and policy for the United States. This new law would make it very clear that if you want to become a citizen, then you apply for a temporary work visa, and upon receipt will pay federal income, social security and medicaid taxes. You will be eligible for Medicaid. If after 5 years of employment, without any convictions, the person passes language and citizenship tests, they will be granted full citizenship. I would allow all persons in the USA who entered illegally to immediately be enrolled in this program with two years eliminated from the 5 year element.
  2. The Republican Party must champion a comprehensive Household Tax Reform. The goal is that every citizen pay , excluding only the very old and the very poor, and that those who can pay more should do so without compulsion nor punishment, but rather obligation. This policy must borrow from the simplicity of the Flat Tax and the pro-consumption of the Fair Tax. It must eliminate over 10-15 years all personal deductions, including dependent credits and mortgage deduction.
  3. The Republican Party must propose a radical restructuring of the Corporate Tax Regime. The phasing out of deductions and loopholes and subsidies will match the gradual reduction of the tax rate over 10-15 years. (Say 1-2 ppts per year matched by 5-7% of $ value deductions). There should be an immediate tax reduction to 15% for all repatriated overseas cash/profits for 2013 only. There should be incentives for domestic investment and job creation.
  4. The Republican Party position on national defense and security must change. With a political history biased towards isolationism, the policy must include withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, with reinvestment of military expenditures in the private sector. R&D must be de-classified for commercialization. The new policy must articulate a doctrine for containing terrorism and punishing states which harbor and train terrorists, including regime change and occupation. The military must focus upon technology and de-emphasize enlisted personnel. Finally, a lasting global military alliance with India and China must be created, which will avoid the US role as an hegemony, and will de-emphasize Europe, but serve as a policing force for peace.  Overall, military expenditures should decrease to $400-500 billion per year form over 800 billion today.
  5. The Republican Party must address our national energy policy in a decisive and balanced way. We must develop our coal, natural gas and oil resources aggressively but safely, and at the same time reduce carbon dioxide from power plants. We must develop carbon fuels in the Arctic and Atlantic seaboards, and also take corn out of the tank and put it back on the table. There can be research support for solar and wind and batteries, but scale back the consumer subsidies as the market must form, not be created.
  6. The Republican Party must address the monetary and banking system in a new way. An egregious and unintended consequence of the great re-regulation post crisis was that in its haste to make banks safer, regulators removed any incentive for them to lend to the real economy. The GOP must support Basel III, but press for greater mortgage and commercial lending. Monetary policy has been too lax, and it will not improve employment. On present course, we will have inflation without jobs nor lending. QE must end, and the reversal must begin because each time the Federal Reserve buys long-term Treasuries, the rate goes up, not down as the market sees that the government believes the future will have no growth (eg real inflation).
  7. The Republican Party should propose an elimination of the so-called "debt ceiling." If the GOP is pro-free markets, then the global bond market will determine how much and at what price US Treasury and debt instruments should be issued. The market is the determinant of size and interest rate. The rest is arrogant politics.
  8. The Republican party must return to its libertarian roots for social policy.    The GOP should acknowledge that sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government's treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships. In addition, the GOP must recognize that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, and that abortion is de facto and de jure for nearly four decades.
  9. The Republican Party must affirm the 2nd Amendment, and support restrictions on weapons not related to sport nor personal protection.  Specifically, the right to keep and bear hand guns, hunting rifles and shotguns must be supported, while the ownership of automatic, semi-automatic weapons which discharge more than 9 rounds in a clip should be severely restricted.  The concept that the people must bear arms to defend ourselves against tyranny is vacuous because our military has artillery, drones, ships and planes.  We do not live in 1791 when this Amendment was passed, but we do live in world where personal weapons of mass destruction kill innocent civilians.  Restricting certain types of weapons was right when Reagan and Brady supported it, and it is right today.
  10. The final policy change has to do with our nation's approach to drugs, and specifically marijuana.  Marijuana and alcohol should be treated as recreational substances.  Education about the negative consequences of both should be mandatory in all public schools.  Both should be highly regulated, and marijuana should be legalized and sold in state stores.  As to more serious drugs like crystal meth, cocaine, heroin, we must fight aggressively against the organized crime elements which promote them, here and abroad.  Finally, the prison system is over-flowing with non-violent criminals who were sentenced under the "three strike" rule and other mandatory-jail sentencing guidelines for drug offenses. These must change for economic and moral reasons.

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