Your Top Two, Number-One Priorities

 

William_CaseyLast week, I suggested that Republicans should identify a short list of easy, low-risk, political victories with a mind toward establishing credibility and gaining momentum toward bigger, riskier, more important projects. That begs the question of what those bigger priorities should be, and that makes for some difficult decision making. As my dad’s former boss, Director of Central Intelligence Bill Casey, once explained to him:

If you’re brilliant, you can accomplish one thing. If you’re a genius you can accomplish two. The trick is to figure out the two things you want to get done, forget everything else, and be willing to take the beating you’ll get when everyone complains about all the things you didn’t get done.

So, Ricochetti, what are the two policy priorities the Republicans should pursue in 2017, should they win the presidency and hold congress? Bear in mind that we can only expect one of them to get done if the new president and congress are brilliant.

Choose wisely.

Image Credit: “William Casey” by Central Intelligence Agency – https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/directors-of-central-intelligence-as-leaders-of-the-u-s-intelligence-community/page150_preview.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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  1. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Mine:

    1. Restore America’s reputation abroad. Demonstrate that America’s friendship is something to be coveted, just as its enmity is something to be feared. Be consistent. Avoid stuff like this.
    2. Pass something along the lines of Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity. Middle-class entitlements are choking our budgets.
    • #1
  2. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @Manny

    (1) Corporate tax reductions.

    (2) Immigration reform.

    I think corporate tax reform is the single biggest issue holding back the economy.  Get those taxes as low as possible.  Immigration reform because it’s splitting the party and need to get it off the table, and unfortunately we will have to give somewhat on that with the Democrats.

    How about a third:

    (3) Kill Obamacare and replace it with a more market friendly reform.

    • #2
  3. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    1. National Defense. Rebuild the military which includes both hardware, and undo the terrible effects on morale and combat-readiness that have been the fruit of the Obama administration. This is a prerequisite for Tom Meyer’s first point.

    2. “When you’re in a hole, stop digging.” This will probably be easier. No new pensions or emoluments for Federal Workers. Tighten up on enforcing any Federal entitlements. No “bridges to nowhere.”

    • #3
  4. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @EustaceCScrubb

    1) Replace Obamacare with free market solutions

    2) All out war against ISIS and support Israel (and sane Arab) nations in opposition to Iran.

    • #4
  5. user_158368 Inactive
    user_158368
    @PaulErickson

    I am still having trouble with the cardinal / ordinal number disagreement of the OP title, but putting that aside, Eustace’s response work for me.

    • #5
  6. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Pass a broad Opt-Out law, so Americans can choose to lose the protection of regulations by not being bound by them. This would apply to any good or service freely contracted between any parties.

    Put most things out to bid. Allow non-union companies to bid on work ranging from postal service to defense to bringing back Bad Guys Dead or Alive. A bounty system works much better, and costs much less, than a massive bureaucracy. 95% of what the government does could be done better using private companies.

    • #6
  7. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Bigger, riskier, and more important, eh? Buckle your seatbelt.

    1) Replace the national income tax with a national sales tax. No exemptions or credits. Put the burden on private organizations to solve extra-ordinary financial needs.

    2) Eliminate the Department of Education within 8 years (two presidential terms). Again, put the burden on private arrangements. That would require a slew of cultural changes in response. It would hurt like hell for a generation. But it is absolutely necessary to end government’s chokehold on propaganda and child formation.

    • #7
  8. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    1.) Set up a parallel mostly unregulated healthcare/insurance system outside of Obamacare and eliminate the mandate.

    2.) Head off the increase in Medicare spending? Is this even possible to do? How do we spend less on elderly health care? Stop forcing people into it after they turn a certain age?

    • #8
  9. Mario the Gator Inactive
    Mario the Gator
    @Pelayo

    1) Repeal and replace Obamacare

    2) Tax Reform – Whether it is the Flat Tax or a national Sales Tax (Fair Tax), both are a vast improvement over the current system. A corollary to this would be a severe cut to the size of the IRS staff.

    • #9
  10. user_129539 Member
    user_129539
    @BrianClendinen

    1.Destroy the power of the Judiciary, knock them down so they are by far the weakest of all three branches. Unelected Lawyers using the tyranny of common law nullifying and rewriting statutory and constitutional  law is the biggest treat to our freedom we ever have had. ISIS are just little school boys playing at being tyrants compared to many of the men and woman in black robes.

    2.Remove 80% of the Cabinet positions and 100% of the ,which would include 100% of the regulations they oversea. If it is a good law force congress to specifically vote on it and move it to the cabinet position it should be in.

    Yes there would still be a lot of bag regulations and a few good ones, but it is a lot simpler to basically sack all the bureaucrats and insure the federal administrative and statutory laws they were overseeing just go away rather than move to another department.

    • #10
  11. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @WardRobles

    1. National Security. Secure the borders, modernize the military, and treat our friends like friends and our enemies like enemies. The administration has systematically weakened our ability to survive as a nation in a more dangerous world, so this has to be the first priority.
    2. National Sclerosis. Reduce, eliminate, and simplify government interference with personal and economic freedom. The Administrative State did not just take over health care. 97% of home mortgage securitization is still done by the government, 8 years after the mortgage crises began. Reverse this bureaucratic march through our institutions.

    • #11
  12. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:Mine:

    1. Restore America’s reputation abroad. Demonstrate that America’s friendship is something to be coveted, just as its enmity is something to be feared. Be consistent. Avoid stuff like this.
    2. Pass something along the lines of Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity. Middle-class entitlements are choking our budgets.

    100 percent agree.

    • #12
  13. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    I’ll take Mike H’s #1 and Ward’s #2.

    • #13
  14. user_331141 Inactive
    user_331141
    @JamieLockett

    1) Tax Reform – I woulds prefer a national sales tax (less economic distortions), but would settle for a flat tax. While you’re at it get rid of corporate, capital gains and estate taxes (remove double taxation).

    2) Education Reform – basically vouchers. But really anything that lets our youth escape failing schools.

    • #14
  15. thelonious Member
    thelonious
    @thelonious

    I have 2 common sense but not very important things we could get behind that would have huge public support.

    Eliminate the penny.  We don’t need it anymore.  There’s more pennies in our couches than are in circulation.  They cost more than they’re worth.  Why wasn’t this done 10 years ago?

    Eliminate daylight savings time.  I don’t know a soul who like daylights savings time.

    I know these are small but they’re full of common sense.  We show the populace we have common sense they may by into the argument of eliminated the Dept. of Edumaction or abolishing our corrupt tax system for a national sales tax or flat tax.

    • #15
  16. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    thelonious:I have 2 common sense but not very important things we could get behind that would have huge public support.

    Eliminate the penny. We don’t need it anymore. There’s more pennies in our couches than are in circulation. They cost more than they’re worth. Why wasn’t this done 10 years ago?

    While I totally agree with you, I’ve never been convinced that “They cost more than they’re worth” is a valid criticism. The penny is a medium for exchange, theoretically multiple times, so why does it matter if it cost more to produce than one exchange is worth?

    • #16
  17. thelonious Member
    thelonious
    @thelonious

    Mike H:

    thelonious:I have 2 common sense but not very important things we could get behind that would have huge public support.

    Eliminate the penny. We don’t need it anymore. There’s more pennies in our couches than are in circulation. They cost more than they’re worth. Why wasn’t this done 10 years ago?

    While I totally agree with you, I’ve never been convinced that “They cost more than they’re worth” is a valid criticism. The penny is a medium for exchange, theoretically multiple times, so why does it matter if it cost more to produce than one exchange is worth?

    I see your point.  I believe it costs 33 cents to make one penny.  I heard that somewhere at one time so I must be accurate.  My main point about the penny is it’s more of a hassle than what its worth.  If it weren’t for coin star machines I’d probably never get rid of that feral currency.  Also more and more transactions are done with credit/debit cards making small change even less useful.

    • #17
  18. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    It’s not low-hanging fruit, but if I had two priorities, it’d be (1) legal reform and (2) following up on international defense commitments.

    I’d pick these because they’re cornerstones to other big problems. Legal reform is crucial to breaking the grip of the bureaucracy through regulation. When you hear stories of the IRS threatening multiple lawsuits, demanding reams of private and often political information, that’s just one example of how the law is used as a political weapon.

    I also think that Obama’s failure to follow up on his “red line” commitment was what opened the current floodgate of events, especially in the Middle East. If you make a promise or a threat, you absolutely have to stand by it. Otherwise, every situation becomes negotiable. And now, all of our adversaries are testing our resolve, pushing here, pushing there, because they saw Obama back down and they’ve calculated that Obama doesn’t have the stomach for a fight. Putin saw it. China saw it. Iran saw it.  So did Saudi Arabia, and other countries who figure they’re on their own now.

    The priority is that the moment the next provocation happens, America asserts its interests and backs it up. That changes the ballgame.

    • #18
  19. J Flei Inactive
    J Flei
    @Solon

    If the criteria are that they be easy and low risk, and the aim is to gain credibility, I would say:

    1) Decriminalize pot.  Most of us agree with this, and it will be very popular on the other side.  It could change the GOP’s image right out of the gate.

    2)  Simplify our taxes.  I am not good at any logistics having to do with this kind of thing, but a flat tax sounds great to me, and so does a sales tax instead of an income tax.

    Then worry about our image abroad, Obamacare, entitlement reform, Dept. of Ed, EPA, IRS, etc. etc.

    • #19
  20. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Ooh, I like Mulville’s proposal. Change my two to a national sales tax and tort reform.

    Every tort lawyer should graduate law school only after surviving a weekend in the woods with Dick Cheney.

    • #20
  21. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Solon JFlei:If the criteria are that they be easy and low risk, and the aim is to gain credibility, I would say:

    1) Decriminalize pot. Most of us agree with this, and it will be very popular on the other side. It could change the GOP’s image right out of the gate.

    2) Simplify our taxes. I am not good at any logistics having to do with this kind of thing, but a flat tax sounds great to me, and so does a sales tax instead of an income tax.

    Then worry about our image abroad, Obamacare, entitlement reform, Dept. of Ed, EPA, IRS, etc. etc.

    Easy and low risk ones are the subject of the earlier thread (also covered here).

    This thread is about the big ones.

    • #21
  22. J Flei Inactive
    J Flei
    @Solon

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Solon JFlei:If the criteria are that they be easy and low risk, and the aim is to gain credibility, I would say:

    1) Decriminalize pot. Most of us agree with this, and it will be very popular on the other side. It could change the GOP’s image right out of the gate.

    2) Simplify our taxes. I am not good at any logistics having to do with this kind of thing, but a flat tax sounds great to me, and so does a sales tax instead of an income tax.

    Then worry about our image abroad, Obamacare, entitlement reform, Dept. of Ed, EPA, IRS, etc. etc.

    Easy and low risk ones are the subject of the earlier thread (also covered here).

    This thread is about the big ones.

    Oops, sorry I missed that.  Then what you said, or Aaron Miller.

    • #22
  23. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    A robust economy fixes a lot of problems and our tax code pushes business – and therefore jobs – away.  So priority number 1 would be to make our corporate tax rate competitive with the rest of the world and stop taxing American corporations on profits earned overseas.  Allow them to bring home foreign profits without the double taxation and they might distribute more profits back to shareholders.

    Number 2 would be to decentralize authority back to the states wherever possible.

    • #23
  24. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    My difficulty here is the struggle between the urgent and the important.  It may be that Iran becomes the number one priority because of sheer life-and-death urgency.  That doesn’t mean that, ideally, it should be the priority.

    Domestically, the first issue is the Supreme Court, and of course that depends utterly on circumstances and the Senate.  And anyone who is not wholly liberal who stays home on election day because you don’t trust the candidate — no matter how untrustworthy he might be — has, I think, failed to fully grasp how much worse things could become, quickly, if Scalia or Thomas or even Kennedy were to be replaced by an Obama or Clinton appointee.  Say what we like about Roberts, at least we got through the Bush years no worse off on the Court than we were before.

    Then I’d say entitlements, lumping Obamacare in with that.  And after that education.  Not going with specific policy recommendations because what you can do depends utterly on what Congress looks like.

    I’m not entirely sure whether you can do this so simply, but an overall push to give as much possible back to the states might be very effective.  Not least because you might get some bipartisan support if you lumped things together cleverly.

    • #24
  25. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    1. Return all federal lands to the citizens of the states that own them with the exception of military bases and national parks.

    2. Pass an executive order that all government activities which interfere with markets or private sector activities are to cease immediately unless congress specifically passes new authorizing legislation. Such legislation can be vetoed.  Work with congress to pass a ‘sunset’ bill on all such legislation.

    • #25
  26. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    1. Restore economic confidence in the market by raising interest rates.

    2. Restore America’s image abroad by restoring ties with our traditional allies- Israel and most of Eastern Europe.

    3. Flat tax punishes owners of both property and business. Cut spending and force the 47% to pay something other than payroll tax. Might have a serious effect upon voting.

    4. Can’t agree with a national VAT sales tax because there is no such thing as eliminating a tax- this would only be an add-on and positively devastating to business.

    • #26
  27. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    1.) An interest rate floor on savings bonds of 6.7%

    2.) The post office should purchase and lease back all local loops. thereby eliminating the need for local monopolies and bypasses the absurd oversight necessary for other local loop unbundling

    • #27
  28. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @Manny

    Solon JFlei:If the criteria are that they be easy and low risk, and the aim is to gain credibility, I would say:

    1) Decriminalize pot. Most of us agree with this, and it will be very popular on the other side. It could change the GOP’s image right out of the gate.

    Most of us agree?  Maybe Libertarians, but I don’t.

    • #28
  29. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    1)      A surtax on any legislator, legislative aide or government employee above a specified grade that subsequently earns income from lobbying or who’s position was substantially facilitated by their prior government service; Glenn Reynolds revolving door tax.

    2)       Zero out federal funding for all enforcement of civil rights laws regarding disparate impact, Title XI programs, race norming or consent decrees requiring reverse discrimination policies. Defund the racial grievance industrial complex.

    • #29
  30. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Reduce SS, Medicare, Income Security, and other health related spending by 250 Billion each

    • #30

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