for building a better, stronger America so the American Dream can live on in following generations.
While American families try to make ends meet, the federal government spends at an alarming and unprecedented rate. The budget deficit has exceeded $1 trillion in each of the last three years and is projected to exceed $1.2 trillion this year. The national debt is approaching $16 trillion. Forty-three cents of every dollar the federal government spends is borrowed.
Washington politicians have made matters worse by failing to adopt a budget for the past three years. The result is low growth, high unemployment, high gas prices and economic insecurity. To restore confidence in our economy and strengthen our currency, we need balanced budgets and a plan to pay down our debt. This will spur economic growth and increase prosperity.The longer we wait, the more severe the required solution will be. If we continue on our fiscally reckless path, we’ll face punishing tax hikes, severe austerity measures and a permanently stale economy with high unemployment.
To avert the looming financial crisis in the long term, we must reform Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the key drivers of the national debt. We must also reform the tax code and end corporate tax subsidies for favored industries.
In January 2011, the Administration announced a new get-tough policy on overregulation. Acknowledging that “rules have gotten out of balance” and “have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs,” we were promised a comprehensive review of regulations imposed by the federal government. Despite this, a flood of new regulations from Washington continued throughout 2011, with 32 new major regulations.These new rules increase regulatory costs by almost $10 billion annually along with another $6.6 billion in one-time implementation costs.
During the last three years, a total of 106 new major regulations have been imposed at a cost of more than $46 billion annually, and nearly $11 billion in one-time implementation costs. Worse, hundreds of new regulations are winding through the bureaucracy as a consequence of the Dodd– Frank law (the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act) and Obamacare.
In much the same way that high taxes hamper investment and innovation, escalating regulatory costs undermine the American economy, especially small businesses. But regulations are not just a problem for businesses. American workers have been hit hard by the persistent lack of job creation that results from regulatory excess.
We must eliminate excessive and unnecessary business regulations that hinder job creation and innovation. Congress should approve all major rules before unaccountable bureaucrats enforce them against the public. It’s also essential that we simplify the tax system. This will spur investment, promote growth, and improve the standard of living for all Americans. We must encourage entrepreneurial activity – free from excessive government interference – so businesses can hire new workers and grow.
Comprehensive tax reform is essential to the long-term stability of our economy. The current practice of picking winners and losers through tax policy must end. It’s inexcusable that big companies like GE with full-time lobbyists can exploit tax loopholes and federal subsidies and pay no corporate income tax, while small businesses and ordinary families must sacrifice to pay their taxes.
Tax reform should lower tax rates, reduce the deficit, simplify the tax code and make America the best place to start a business and create jobs. The corporate income tax rate is now the highest in the industrialized world and our method of taxing foreign income is outside the norm. The current system puts U.S. corporations at a competitive disadvantage against foreign competitors, which leads U.S. corporations to move operations and jobs offshore. A territorial tax system should be adopted to put the U.S. system in line with other countries, leveling the playing field for U.S. corporations so that they can compete without having to leave the United States.
And finally, we must permanently eliminate the alternative minimum tax and estate tax.
Washington politicians have failed to advance an energy policy that will lead to American energy independence and lower energy prices. They have blocked construction of the Keystone Pipeline that would bring oil from Canada to America and create thousands of jobs. Instead, they have subsidized Solyndra and similar companies that have gone bankrupt and laid off thousands.
We need to pursue an “all of the above” energy policy that allows all energy technologies to compete in the marketplace on their own merits, and in a responsible manner. Only then can we enjoy energy independence and steady economic growth.
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) into law. Among other things, the law:
- requires virtually all Americans to buy or obtain health insurance;
- creates federal subsidies to reduce the cost of purchasing health insurance coverage;
- expands eligibility for Medicaid;
- cuts Medicare;
- imposes a tax on high premium health insurance plans (so-called Cadillac plans);
- imposes taxes on higher income individuals and families; and
- imposes numerous other taxes on investors, medical devices, etc.
In March 2010, the administration estimated that the cost of the health care provisions of Obamacare would be $931 billion over the period 2010–2019. In March 2012, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the cost of the health care provisions of the law to be $1.76 trillion for the period 2012-2022, nearly double the 2010 estimate. And most of the provisions of Obamacare don’t even take effect until 2014. There is no way to know how much the health care provisions will cost when fully effective.
The Congressional Research Service reports that the number of new bureaucratic entities created by Obamacare is currently “unknowable.”
The constitutionality of Obamacare has been challenged in court by twenty-six states and private parties as well. The case has now reached the Supreme Court, which will decide the constitutionality of the law. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments the last week of March 2012 and is expected to decide the case by the end of June. The oral arguments can be heard here: Monday’s Argument, Tuesday’s Arguments, Wednesday’s Arguments.
The future of healthcare in America depends on whether the Supreme Court upholds Obamacare. As Justice Kennedy noted during oral arguments in the case, Obamacare changes the relationship of Americans to their government. The case couldn’t be more important.
If Obamacare is upheld, we must work diligently to control the cost of the program and to rein in the vast bureaucracy created by the law, if not repeal it. If it is struck down, then we must enact market-based solutions that address the need for insurance by the 30 million or so uninsured Americans rather than a government takeover of the health care industry.
Please visit again soon for updates about the case and the Supreme Court’s ruling.
More than 50 million Americans receive Social Security benefits. When Social Security was adopted, average life expectancy was 64 and the earliest retirement age in Social Security was 65. Today, Americans on average live 14 years longer, retire three years earlier, and spend 20 years in retirement. In 1950, there were 16 workers per retiree. Today, the ratio is 3:1 – and by 2025, there will be just 2.3 workers “paying in” per retiree. Unless we act, these demographic changes will bring the Social Security program to its knees.
We must takes steps to save social security and do so in a way that does not affect today’s seniors or those nearing retirement. First, for future generations of seniors, we must adjust the retirement age to account for increasing life expectancy. Second, cost of living adjustments for social security benefits should be calculated using the same inflation factors the government uses for budgeting and tax purposes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that those factors more closely approximate a cost-of-living index than the factors currently being used for social security. Finally, some form of means testing may be necessary to ensure that benefits will be available for the most needy seniors.
We also need to develop incentives for future generations of seniors to accumulate personal retirement savings that supplement social security and address the gap between what Americans need for retirement and what they currently have. An ideal system should be open to all and encourage Americans to build wealth through savings and investment. The system should also permit Americans to transfer the remainder of their accumulated savings to their heirs.