Like many conservatives on Redstate and other sites, I am motivated by the calls and enthusiasm for the return to conservative principles. The little voice in my head wonders if conservatives are ready for hard choices and positions this will require. Regardless of the election cycle, we will always have Republicans repeating the mantra of calling for fiscal responsibility, low taxes and limited government. Every stump speech will repeat these “red meat” lines to the cheering adulation of their like minded audience. But no politician wants to be honest with the electorate about what this means. The one thing that will almost always be missing is the specific agenda that this message requires. The professional consultants and pollsters will express the dire consequences to their clients that will come from being specific. Are we ready for candidates who will spell out the conservative approach with specifics like these?
Agricultural policy: Government has no business picking winners and loser in our agricultural sector. Our absurdly expensive price support and subsidy programs not only waste American’s tax dollars but cost American’s at the grocery store with inflated food prices. Our Congress has allowed an alliance of farm state agricultural subsidies with inner city low income food stamp subsidies … both interest groups insure an unstoppable force for permanent growing spending. If elected, (insert candidate) will pursue a program of de-linking Agricultural subsidies with low income food subsidies with the ultimate goal of eliminating federal government distortion in our farm economy.
Education: The government monopoly of education has failed our children. The teachers unions are motivated by their own interest of securing ever greater tax dollars while at the same time ensuring they are never faced with competition. It is time to stop accepting the false premise that education is underfunded … increased funding only begets more funding with poorer results. If elected (insert candidate) will never falter in pursuing private competition at the local level and reducing the influence of federal mandates and funding and returning education policy to its rightful place as a state and local responsibility.
Health Care: Our country has the greatest health care system in the world. However citizens are separated from decision making on the costs their health care requires. As we have approached government spending of 50% of health care costs, the current system is rapidly becoming unsustainable. The desire for a nationalized single payer system may be unstoppable if we do not return health care to the marketplace and this system will ultimately result in degraded and rationed care. There is no such thing as free health care. The federal government has a role in establishing a regulatory structure that provides access to indigent care and private catastrophic insurance coverage but it is time that individuals understand that neither the government nor your employer is going to be able to pay for every cost. Just as choices are made on spending for housing and food, those same choices must be brought to American’s health care. If elected (insert candidate) I will work toward bring competition to the health care market for the choices YOU will have to make.
Social Security: Sadly our Social Security system in simply the largest Ponzi scheme in human history. Generations of elected representatives have perpetuated fraudulent accounting with the Social Security trust fund. There is no money to fund future benefits as the trust fund has been spent. Any redemption of the trust fund must be met with new borrowing or higher taxes. Any candidate promising anything different is lying to you. For future recipients Social Security the hard truth, this will require reform including retirement age adjustments, benefit calculation changes and yes a private investment account component. If elected (insert candidate) one thing I will not support is another fictitious attempt to raise taxes and further perpetuating the trust fund myth.
Taxes: It is easy for any politician to claim support for lower taxes. The sad fact is our tax system is broken. Its very design is structured so that interest groups can lobby for special privileges as the expense of other individuals. Furthermore any tax system that expects 2% of its citizens to provide 62% of the funding is morally unjust and unsustainable. If elected (insert candidate) I will pursue a complete restructuring of our tax system by either implementing a flat income tax or replacing the income tax with a national sales tax. We must have a tax system that stops picking the winners and losers in our economy and is simply focused on funding the necessary funding of federal government. For example, this means long standing preferences for mortgage interest or charitable contributions must be eliminated. If Congress can no longer grant favors with taxes, the power and influence of Washington DC will be vastly reduced.
I could continue with many other examples on issues such as energy, environment, state rights and abortion and I may do so in future diary. Are we conservatives ready to be honest about what our beliefs require and is the American electorate ready to hear this truth from politicians? Can we really expect national support for our message if we don’t tell our supporters what we want to do?