A New Contract With America?

What are the five essential goals that would make up a new Contract for America-style campaign for 2014? Here are my five goals:

  1. Pass a balanced budget amendment capping all federal spending at no more than 20% of GDP with only a supermajority exception in the case of a declared war. This amendment should also severely limit government’s ability to form GSEs or other instruments designed to move revenue and spending “off-budget.”

  2. Repeal Obamacare. Simplify the marketpla…
  1. The King Prawn

    How do we square federalism with limiting state insurance restrictions? I’m all for NY and CA being as stupid as they want with their in house regulations. Have we reached a point where their stupidity is so injurous to the whole of the nation as to require the heavy hand of the central government?

    Other than that, I like your list. I’m still a little iffy on a BBA. Spending cap set to reality, yes. A thousand times yes. It’s what the rest of us call budgeting.

  2. BrentB67

    Agree with KP – #2 just abuses the states. The solution isn’t for the federal government to do a better job, the solution is to get the federal government out of all of it.

    #1 – Nothing but a weak cop out for voters who don’t want to participate in the process and hold elected officials accountable.

    #3 – 55 is too young. No way we get the population between 55-65 onto the existing programs and remain fiscally relevant. It is also in conflict with your #1.

    4-5 Good thoughts.

    Overall, I like the idea of a defining bullet point list to focus our efforts, but I think 2/3 of this fails to secure the republic.

  3. Doug Kimball
    The King Prawn: How do we square federalism with limiting state insurance restrictions? I’m all for NY and CA being as stupid as they want with their in house regulations. Have we reached a point where their stupidity is so injurous to the whole of the nation as to require the heavy hand of the central government?

     

    State insurance restrictions are not restrictions, but minimum coverage menus and policy features.  States dictate and define coverages (birth control, rehab, acupuncture, etc.) and other coverage issues (deductibles, out of pocket limits, etc.)   I say, let the market deal with these issues so that insurers can market products nationwide.  It’s a free trade versus state’s rights issue.  I think that the states and the industry can get together and develop standard policy and coverage features that are simple and straight-forward enough to be universally accepted and  easily enforced.  The states have every right to fine and punish any insurer that mistreats a policyholder.   States could still mandate universal coverage.

  4. Doug Kimball
    BrentB67:

    In a perfect world, a balanced budget amendment would be unnecessary.  But in our imperfect world, otherwise uninformed voters need to know that there ARE LIMITS to what we can spend as a nation.  Politicians also need both restraint and a reason for restraint, that is something other than a shortage of paper stock at the Federal Reserve or a dearth of buyers at the treasury auctions.  No doubt, any constitutional amendment can be circumvented.  This is a limit, not a perscription.  We should spend less.  Regarding item 2, I want government generally out of health insurance, both the feds and states.  Finally, perhaps 55 is too young.  These are guidelines, not limitations.  Until we have a framework for revision, though, we can’t do the math to see what solution is actuarily viable.  I don’t suggest that anything is beyond compromise. 

  5. Simon Templar

    Started to post this:  Congressional term limits.  

    Then deleted it.  Read ~Paules post on corrupt politicians and decided that I had to come back.

    Yes, I agree that Congressional term limits is a cop out; but with so many no/low information voters re-electing sugar daddy, may generate just enough turn over to save the republic.  Oh yea, and the Fair Tax por favor.

  6. James Of England
    The King Prawn: How do we square federalism with limiting state insurance restrictions? I’m all for NY and CA being as stupid as they want with their in house regulations. Have we reached a point where their stupidity is so injurous to the whole of the nation as to require the heavy hand of the central government?

    Other than that, I like your list. I’m still a little iffy on a BBA. Spending cap set to reality, yes. A thousand times yes. It’s what the rest of us call budgeting. ·

    Federalism isn’t independence. The Federal government has some core duties. One of those is employing good men such as yourself. Another is stopping the states erecting protectionist boundaries to interstate commerce. It’s more of a core function than the annually renewed existence of the army.

    I also agree that the BBA without changes would be problematic; amongst other things, it would make recessions far more politically angry than they are at the moment; perhaps basing the cap off a multi year rolling average with CPI adjustments? Still, with tweaking, I’d like to see the BBA returning to prominence in GOP platforms.

  7. WI Con
    Doug Kimball

    The King Prawn: How do we square federalism with limiting state insurance restrictions? I’m all for NY and CA being as stupid as they want with their in house regulations. Have we reached a point where their stupidity is so injurous to the whole of the nation as to require the heavy hand of the central government?

    State insurance restrictions are not restrictions, but minimum coverage menus and policy features.  States dictate and define coverages (birth control, rehab, acupuncture, etc.) and other coverage issues (deductibles, out of pocket limits, etc.)   I say, let the market deal with these issues so that insurers can market products nationwide.  It’s a free trade versus state’s rights issue.  I think that the states and the industry can get together and develop standard policy and coverage features that are simple and straight-forward enough to be universally accepted and  easily enforced.  The states have every right to fine and punish any insurer that mistreats a policyholder.   States could still mandate universal coverage. · 1 hour ago

    Edited 44 minutes ago

    I’d include into that the ability of hospitals & clinics and associations to offer their own insurance/health maintenance contracts.

  8. Doug Kimball
    Fred Cole: I was for a BBA until someone pointed out to me that it’d have to be air tight to keep the government from printing its way to a balance.  Which is  one of the many problems with a central bank.

    #4 won’t happen.  Congress likes the power too much. · 2 hours ago

    I refer you to the tax reform act of 1986 – revenue neutral, most deductions eliminated, virtually eliminated the tax shelter, lowered and flattened rates, indexed rates with inflation. 

    It not only can be done; it has been done.

  9. Fred Cole
    Doug Kimball

    Fred Cole: I was for a BBA until someone pointed out to me that it’d have to be air tight to keep the government from printing its way to a balance.  Which is  one of the many problems with a central bank.

    #4 won’t happen.  Congress likes the power too much. · 2 hours ago

    I refer you to the tax reform act of 1986 – revenue neutral, most deductions eliminated, virtually eliminated the tax shelter, lowered and flattened rates, indexed rates with inflation. 

    It not only can be done; it has been done. · 0 minutes ago

    Flattened some, but left the system in place that allowed loopholes to come back.  

  10. E. Blackadder

    Don’t think so small.

  11. Joseph Eagar

    I don’t think running on repealing ObamaCare will work, politically, in 2014, but we can certainly put forth our ideas to “amend” it out of existence and replace it with our own ideas.

    Immigration reform seems inevitable; if the GOP won’t make a play for the nativist black vote, buying off Hispanics is our only option (of course, that didn’t work for Reagan, but who knows, maybe it’ll work today).  I’ve always supported legalization myself, but only after the border’s been secured (I like Mickey Kaus’s idea of waiting five or ten years).

  12. Joseph Eagar
    Fred Cole: I was for a BBA until someone pointed out to me that it’d have to be air tight to keep the government from printing its way to a balance.  Which is  one of the many problems with a central bank.

    #4 won’t happen.  Congress likes the power too much. · 4 hours ago

     #4 will happen, the loopholes will simply come back after a while.  That’s the nature of politics.

    On the BBA, one of the interesting side effects is it would prohibit the government from capturing the inflation tax by running sustainable deficits.  Instead, the gains from inflation would flow into the private economy, where they would (hopefully) turn into greater investment (or at least less useless consumption).

  13. Joseph Eagar
    BrentB67:

    #3 – 55 is too young. No way we get the population between 55-65 onto the existing programs and remain fiscally relevant. It is also in conflict with your #1.

    I agree; I certainly don’t look forward to paying the taxes that’ll be necassary to pay for entitlements, myself.

  14. Doug Kimball
    Joseph Eagar: I don’t think running on repealing ObamaCare will work, politically, in 2014, but we can certainly put forth our ideas to “amend” it out of existence and replace it with our own ideas.

    Immigration reform seems inevitable; if the GOP won’t make a play for the nativist black vote, buying off Hispanics is our only option (of course, that didn’t work for Reagan, but who knows, maybe it’ll work today).  I’ve always supported legalization myself, but only after the border’s been secured (I like Mickey Kaus’s idea of waiting five or ten years). · 4 minutes ago

    I don’t know how to deal with Obamacare, a monstrosity, other than repeal.  We simply must reject it in its entirety.  It may need to be wound up and transitioned, but in the end, it must be tossed into the sea with two ten pounder balls tied to its feet.  There are many other large and overweaning laws that need repeal.  Don’t get me started on Davis-Bacon. 

  15. Pilli

    This amendment should also severely limit government’s ability to form GSEs or other instruments designed to move revenue and spending “off-budget.”

    NOTHING should be “off-budget.”  If the government spends for it, it needs to be in the budget.  This idea of “off budget” spending is the one most distorting and expensive function of government spending there is.  If something isn’t in the budget that needs spending, something else that IS in the budget needs to be CUT.

  16. Joseph Eagar
    Doug Kimball

    I don’t know how to deal with Obamacare, a monstrosity, other than repeal.  We simply must reject it in its entirety.  It may need to be wound up and transitioned, but in the end, it must be tossed into the sea with two ten pounder balls tied to its feet.  There are many other large and overweaning laws that need repeal.  Don’t get me started on Davis-Bacon.  · 7 minutes ago

    Repeal certainly isn’t going to happen, now, though we could run on it.  Not with Obama in the WH.

  17. cdor

    I believe you have written an excellent platform upon which conservatives can move forward, Mr. Kimball. Unfortunately we must battle BOTH the Democratic AND Republican Parties to accomplish this.

  18. James Of England
    cdor: I believe you have written an excellent platform upon which conservatives can move forward, Mr. Kimball. Unfortunately we must battle BOTH the Democratic AND Republican Parties to accomplish this. · 1 hour ago

    Other than the immigration element, which of these positions has not received near universal Republican support?

  19. cdor
    James Of England

    cdor: I believe you have written an excellent platform upon which conservatives can move forward, Mr. Kimball. Unfortunately we must battle BOTH the Democratic AND Republican Parties to accomplish this. · 1 hour ago

    Other than the immigration element, which of these positions has not received near universal Republican support? · 7 minutes

    The BBA gets words of approval but no action. When the R’s controlled the Congress and the Presidency, what did they do? Spent us into greater debt and created another entitlement is what they did. When the Tea Party produced tremendous energy propelling Boehner into Majority Leader what has happened? The R’s have squelched that energy, throwing Tparty folks off of committees, undermining Congress folks like Bachmann. And what has the House done to inhibit funds for Obamacare? We get lots of words and not much achievement that I can see. You must disagree James so show me where I am wrong as I am looking for a place to land and the R’s are not accomplishing anything that I can see to gain some hope.

  20. Butters

    There has to be something in there about corporate welfare. Crony capitalism is destroying our free market system,

    Outlaw all bailouts, guaranteed loans, and subsidies to corporations.

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