|George P. Shultz|
Hoover Institution: Daily Report: George P. Shultz: How to Get America Moving Again
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger
George Shultz now a fellow at the Hoover Institution and of course former Secretary of State for President Reagan and I believe Secretary of Treasury or Commerce for President Nixon wrote an interesting article on how to get America moving again. I would call it a classically conservative Republican plan that moves away from the Tea Party of today and the libertarian-right of today. I don't agree with most of it. The only part I like was the part about lowering corporate taxes as long as you eliminate taxpayer funded subsidies. To get American business's more competitive with the rest of the world.
Lets take tax reform because Secretary Shultz mentioned it. Eliminate most if not all tax loopholes to lower rates across the board. Sounds like a good idea to me and if it was a choice between that and the regressive flat tax I would take the Shultz plan. But how about instead of taxing what people produce in America with their income, we tax what people take out of the country. I prefer a Progressive Consumption Tax that would tax people's basic necessities like food, water, housing, health care to use as examples at fairly low tax rates. And tax luxury items like second homes, expensive meals, ball games, luxury cars to use as examples at higher rates. Encourage people to make money and be productive and smart with their money.
As far as health care, I like the idea of health savings accounts even for low-income Americans that come with government assistance for them. I also like the idea of letting people on Medicaid opt out of Medicaid and choose a private health insurance plan, or open an health savings account. Because again it encourages people to take responsibility over their own lives, instead of government taking responsibility for them. Which makes things more cost-effective for everyone involved and encourages people to be smart consumers with their own lives.
Now how about some things that Secretary Shultz didn't mention. We need to literally rebuild this country and our national infrastructure system which would literally benefit every American especially low-income Americans who live in underdeveloped societies. And would open the way for companies to move into those communities and invest in them. But also would give access to companies to actually be able to get their products to those communities because the roads and other infrastructure would be there for that to happen. And as a result we would see new stores and business's opening up in these communities including local business's.
How about reforming public education in America with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act for anyone interested in combating poverty in this country.
Instead of financing schools based on where they are located, finance based on what they need to be successful. The Federal Government can help with extra funding for low-income communities for public schools.
Instead of sending kids to school based on where they live, let their parents send them to best public school that is best for them. That is called Public School Choice.
Instead of paying teachers based on how long they've been teaching, pay them based on how well their kids are learning. That is called Merit Pay. Encourage highly qualified highly trained people to not only go into public education, but make it worth to them financially and encourage them to especially educate in low-income communities in low-performing schools.
As far as low-income, low-skilled adults. Not just encourage them to finish their education so they can get themselves a good job, but make it an requirement for them to receive any form of public assistance. So public assistance literally becomes a way for people to move up in life. Not live in poverty with a few extra bucks. And the Feds can help out with financial assistance for education and for childcare so people with kids have someone to watch them while their parents are in school.
As far as energy policy. We need a National Energy Independence Policy that gets us off of foreign oil and gas and onto to American oil, gas and other of our own natural resources. You do that by encouraging American companies to develop, research and produce those resources in this country. That is called an All Above Energy Strategy where we produce all of America's energy sources in this country. Oil, gas, nuclear, solar, wind, water everything that we produce and produce it here. And be able to export them instead of importing other countries energy.
I love the ideas of cutting high taxes and pointless regulations and red tape. But that alone doesn't return America to prosperity as much as the Tea Party may claim it does. I also love the idea of deficit and debt reduction, but that is not possible without a strong economy. The economy needs to be first and rebuild that and then everything else opens up and becomes possible. And we are doing these things we also shouldn't be doing anything to add to the deficit and debt and that even includes emergency spending. Which means government needs to pay as we go from now on at least until we are back to economic and fiscal health.