Thursday, October 2, 2008

Conservative Domestic Policy

I don't know who reads Senator McCain's email. And I truly doubt anyone is going to take my suggestions seriously. And frankly, even if no one does, I'm still voting for the ticket. But I have thought through several ideas regarding this "Rescue" plan of Congress. And I think the whole deal stinks. I know Senator McCain voted for it only because he thought it best. And I trust his judgment.
However, this is what I would have suggested as the Plan, along with Domestic Policies:

1) Make the lenders restructure the bad loans for the customers. Have the back payments added to the principle and even delay first payment by three months. The lenders will do this in return for the feds buying up the truly bad loans...the ones where there is little chance of the borrowers ever repaying (foreclosure imminent). The delayed payments would be an economic stimulus. Those who are having financial troubles at home will have a fresh chance to catch up. Those not in trouble (and need no restructuring) will use the 3 months of payments as any consumer would...increasing tax revenues and helping the government pay for those truly bad loans they had to buy from the lenders. This keeps the government, for the most part, out of the lending business (something Sen. McCain spoke about earlier).

2) Force all congressmen/women to cut their personal budgets by 25%. No increase, just straight cuts, until such time as the budget is balanced. Make them take commercial flights sometimes. I bet airline safety legislation will pass very quickly. And having them use commercial flights will only help the failing airlines.

3) Make congress and most government agencies begin a 10 year process of replacing most, if not all, government owned vehicles with hybrid vehicles. This shows the government is serious about alternatives fuels and the expenditures will only aid the young industry.

4) Make ALL new government buildings GREEN. Be the leaders you are supposed to be and lead us into a GREEN era. And retrofit existing buildings, as much as possible, to be GREEN (recycle water, add geothermal, wind and solar power to them).

5) Demand Congress pass legislation requiring the entire federal government use a zero base budget. The money saved from this alone could fund alternative fuel research, retooling the auto industry, and revive hopes of a balanced budget again.

6) Change the structure of FICA. Have the cap set higher (i.e. - $250K or more), but eliminate the employee contribution on the first $25K of those earning less than $50K. I am definitely not privy the economic ramifications of this. But if the numbers work out, it would essentially give a tax decrease to low income families and raise revenue from higher earners (which is a legitimate raise). You could tack on the requirement that the reduction in FICA tax must go 1/2 into their company 401K (or personal IRA) and half can be received in the form of a higher paycheck. This increases the potential that low income earners won't be so reliant on SS at retirement and adds money to the economy which will only raise more revenue for the federal government. Having that money put into 401Ks and IRAs will also raise investment capital which will do Wall St. some good. It will also have the longterm effect of increasing tax revenues at the retirement of these people because the addition of a more fully funded retirement plan will give more discretionary funds to spend in the economy at retirement.

The Dems may think this is sneaky way of privatizing SS but the earners would still earn the same credits for SS benefits as they would if that money went into the system. They are just being given the money as a tax break and being required to put at least half into a retirement account. The Dems will also get their wish of higher taxes for the "rich" in the form of higher FICA taxes.

For the self-employed, who pay the entire 15.2% FICA tax, the same plan applies only to half the FICA payments.

7) Education - Increase funding of Charter Schools. Dems won't go for vouchers. But Charter Schools work great...especially when they are well-funded. Some provide oversite for independent study programs, some provide block classes a few days a week and still others are five-day a week classes. Fund them all. They all have their benefits. Not the least of which is heavy parent involvement. Those who wish to use more religious-based curriculum are free to do so, as long as the school does not pay for the books. It costs the state less to finance these schools, for the most part, and test scores show these students invariably do better than they would have in regular schools.

As far as secondary education, I think getting major corporations involved in education at the college level is vital. These are the companies wanting the best and brightest graduates. Give them incentive to work more closely with the universities. Heck, you could do this down the high school level as well.

In addition, I like Senator Obama's idea of making students who need government help for college join the military or Peace Corp or some other noble cause that the government would be wanting to fund anyway.

I also think Newt Gingrich had a great idea as well. Motivate our best and brightest high school students. Give them a chance to graduate from high school early. If they graduate in 3 years then the government pays for their senior year of college. If they graduate high school in 2 years then the government pays for their junior and senior years. I actually believe that many of the most troublesome high school students would jump on this idea and show themselves much smarter than they previously let on. I think juvenile delinquincey would decline, and our youth would be better served.

No comments: