What Would You Hope for from a Reformicon President?

 

PresidentialLecternImagine it’s January 2017, and the Republican presidential candidate has triumphed while the GOP retains its congressional majorities. Upon being sworn in, the new president governs in a thoroughly ReformiCon manner. (I put it this way because everyone knows that what a candidate says on the campaign trail often bears little resemblance to how he governs.)

What do you hope for? What would count, for you, as success after four or eight years of a president Reformicon administration?

In order to avoid tying this question to any particular candidate I take the lawnmower book as a reasonable indication of a ReformiCon agenda. For example:

  • A replacement for ObamaCare that provides subsidies to low-income Americans, leaves middle-class health plans substantially in place, leaves insurers unable to take into account pre-existing conditions, promotes consumer choice in the Medicare Part D sense, caps tax deductions for employer-provided insurance, and imposes less regulation on States (but requires them to integrate the new Federal tax credits with Medicaid).
  • Tax reform by way of a new child tax credit to encourage/reward child-raising.
  • Use the Federal education bureaucracy to promote school choice (including “course choice”), increase reporting requirements on school performance, pay Top People to research education, and allow school districts to declare bankruptcy (so they can start over).
  • For higher education, require colleges to have skin in the game for student loans, allow private investors to fund students, bust the existing accreditation trust, support apprenticeships and job training, and collect and publish more statistics on college outcomes (e.g. job prospects and pay performance).
  • Consolidate welfare programs into something that allows for experimentation at the State level, and/or provides some kind of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)-ish benefit, and provide vouchers for early childhood education.
  • Roll back oppressive occupational licensing, help the long-term unemployed with information and travel grants, temporarily lower the minimum wage for the long term unemployed, and fix the perverse incentives of the EITC.
  • Eliminate Too Big To Fail, nudge mega-banks to shrink by requiring extensive asset coverage, reform [not entirely clear how] patent and copyright protection.
  • Replace Depression-era labor regulations with regulations adapted to the flexible work practices of the modern world, consolidate child-centered tax credits and spending into one tax-credit for parents, etc.
  • Eliminate the “marriage penalty” in tax and benefit regulation.

Now these are policy tools for the achievement of goals. My question is really about how one would measure the success of these proposals.

How do you tell if Reformicare is better than Obamacare?

What should the marriage rate be in 2024 (it was 6.9 per thousand population in 2014, down from 8.2 in 2000)?

What should the birth rate be? (It was 62.9 for every thousand women of childbearing age in 2014.)

What should the experience of unemployment be like? (The average duration of unemployment was 28.9 weeks in January. Is this a relevant measurement?)

What should the experience of employment be?

How many young people should be in college? (The percentage of 18 to 24-year-olds enrolled in colleges was 41 percent in 2012; 2.9 million students were postgrads.)

At the end of president ReformiCon’s time in office, would you hope to care less about what was going on in DC than you do today, more, or the same?

Published in Domestic Policy
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  1. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    genferei: leaves insurers unable to take into account pre-existing conditions

    Everyone’s out to bankrupt either the insurance companies, or those without pre-existing conditions who have insurance.  The only way to handle those with pre-existing conditions is some kind of government pool.  It’s not insurance, it’s prepaid healthcare.

    • #1
  2. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    genferei:

    At the end of President Reformicon’s time in office, would you hope to care less about what was going on in D.C. than you do today, more, or the same?

    Oh, yes!  I would hope to care a good bit less about that, and a good bit more about what the states were doing with decentralized management of healthcare, poverty, energy, and education.

    • #2
  3. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    The judiciary might be an exception.  After 4-8 years of a genuine, across-the-board, Reformicon I have very high hopes for what the three new Originalist judges on the Supreme Court are going to do–and the thirty or so new Originalist judges on lower federal Courts.

    Is it too much to hope for that Michael Paulsen, Gary Lawson, John Yoo, and Richard Epstein are all federal judges now?

    • #3
  4. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    I hope that anyone running on this platform or elected with it fails and these half measures are discarded.

    • #4
  5. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Saint Augustine: Is it too much to hope for that Michael Paulsen, Gary Lawson, John Yoo, and Richard Epstein are all federal judges now?

    Not so sure about the last two: very unsound on national security…

    Still, if nothing else changed, would you consider an administration that delivered these appointments a success?

    • #5
  6. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    My wish list is similar, but differs in some ways:

    1.  Dump Obamacare and replace it with free market solutions (with safety nets).
    2. Mass elimination of federal agencies.
    3. For those federal agencies that remain (may they be few) slash by 2/3 their federal regulations.
    4. Simplify the income tax code, either with a flat tax or replacement with the Fair Tax.
    5. End all social welfare benefits for illegal immigrants.
    6. Stop (to the extent feasible) illegal immigration.
    7. Dis-incentivize legal immigration of folks who do not want to assimilate into our culture.
    8. End all federal subsidies for private businesses.
    9. End all federal protectionist legislation including tariffs (which make home industry less efficient and lazy).
    10. Promote interstate commerce whenever possible (e.g., removing interstate insurance barriers, universal concealed carry, ending impediments to interstate charitable solicitation and so on).
    11. Replace retiring or deceased Supreme Court justices with folks who respect the original intent of the Constitution.

    There are probably more.

    • #6
  7. Andy Blanco Inactive
    Andy Blanco
    @AndyBlanco

    Agree with pretty much everything.

    I’d just add:

    Two justices to replace Thomas and Scalia that won’t disappoint.  (maybe a third if we’re lucky)

    Bigger Navy.

    Full embrace of federalism, turning large chunks of domestic policy back to the states.

    • #7
  8. Andy Blanco Inactive
    Andy Blanco
    @AndyBlanco

    Saint Augustine: John Yoo, and Richard Epstein are all federal judges now?

    This I don’t think can ever happen.  Richard is too old now and John’s nomination would set off the dems like nothing we’ve ever seen.  I think it’s sad, they would both make excellent appellate judges.  That’s unfortunately what happens when you’re not afraid to speak your mind.

    • #8
  9. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Andy Blanco: Agree with pretty much everything.

    In my post or Mr Carroll’s reply?

    If you agree with the policy prescriptions in the original post, what would count as these policies succeeding? Upon what evidence would you declare victory?

    • #9
  10. donald todd Inactive
    donald todd
    @donaldtodd

    A reform of the military including weapons development and not allowing women in combat arms.

    A drop in the national debt.

    At least a couple of federal cabinet-level agencies removed from service.

    A 30-percent drop in actual federal laws – clean house, and a 50-percent drop in the legal decisions forced on Americans by federal agencies.  An assumption that we are citizens and not serfs living at the benevolence of the federal bureaucracy.

    A reformation of the tax laws for both individuals and businesses.

    A maximum of two terms each for the House and the Senate which would conform with the two term limit enforced on the president.  (Eg, no more old fogies serving life sentences in Congress.  I don’t mind 12 years of two six-year terms for the Senate but not more than that.)

    A recognition of states’ rights in areas such as marriage which used not to be a federal preserve.

    • #10
  11. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    genferei:

    Saint Augustine: Is it too much to hope for that Michael Paulsen, Gary Lawson, John Yoo, and Richard Epstein are all federal judges now?

    Not so sure about the last two: very unsound on national security…

    Still, if nothing else changed, would you consider an administration that delivered these appointments a success?

    I sure would!  Honestly, I don’t pay a lot of attention to the specifics of their views; they may get a lot of things wrong.  But, as I understand it, the difference between them in legal theory is more or less the difference between an Originalist and a quasi-Madisonian non-Originalist.  That makes them, on most cases, a big improvement over Kennedy, Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan, and sometimes Roberts.

    • #11
  12. Andy Blanco Inactive
    Andy Blanco
    @AndyBlanco

    genferei:In my post or Mr Carroll’s reply?

    If you agree with the policy prescriptions in the original post, what would count as these policies succeeding? Upon what evidence would you declare victory?

    Your policy prescriptions.

    I’d define success with healthcare as everyone who wants to buy it, can buy it.  Everyone is allowed to tailor a plan to their individual needs.  Medicaid is administered effectively by the states.

    On the regulatory and tax issues, I think just implementing them would be a success.

    On education, I think  victory would be every american parent has the option to move their child to any public school they can get the kid to every day.

    I think abolishing the accreditation trust and encouraging companies to hire from alternative training programs would be a huge win and would effect a sea change in higher education.

    I don’t know about the statistical questions, but obviously higher marriage rate, higher birth rate, less people in college and more in the workforce.

    Hopefully employment experiences and schedules will become more personalized.  I’m guessing unemployment will probably suck no matter what.

    • #12
  13. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    genferei: What do you hope for?

    Nothing, really.

    It’s nothing personal. I just don’t get the Reformicon mindset. It seems like it’s supposed to be for something, but for all their explaining and policy proposals, I’m never quite sure of what.

    What would count, for you, as success after 4 or 8 years of a President Reformicon administration?

    Things not being appreciably worse than they already are.

    • #13
  14. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera
    @TitusTechera

    I’m for the reformicons. I’m not sure they’ve got everything that’s needed, but I do not see any other part of yapping-the-mouth-conservatism that’s worth working for.

    So far as I understand, reformicons believe Dems are irresponsible about policy & the GOP irresponsible about politics. They’re not for destroying the welfare state, but only for diminishing it somewhat & making it work better for the people it’s meant to help.

    Politically, they seem to be about earning trust for the GOP & for conservatism–preparing to broaden the coalition into the lower classes so that there is any hope left that the opinion, America is a middle-class nation remain true.

    In the short term, they’re for making their kind of policy talk attractive & useful to politicians. They’re mostly about policy & expertise, I believe, because that’s their judgment on what can work in American conservative/GOP politics, which is also a judgment on America…

    So what I expect from a reformicon president would be that after four years, the GOP & conservatism are far less hated & far more acceptable to people–I say that to those who assume that reformicons really are conservatives, as opposed to something sinister in intention or effect.

    • #14
  15. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    BrentB67:I hope that anyone running on this platform or elected with it fails and these half measures are discarded.

    Why?

    • #15
  16. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    There are too many gimmicks in the plan that cement federal intervention beyond the limits of the Constitution. Putting this in place doesn’t solve the problems and gives progressives the same ammunition to criticize limited government.

    • #16
  17. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    BrentB67:There are too many gimmicks in the plan that cement federal intervention beyond the limits of the Constitution. Putting this in place doesn’t solve the problems and gives progressives the same ammunition to criticize limited government.

    Do you see a radical return to strict 1789 constitutional government as likely or feasible?

    • #17
  18. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Feasible? Sure. Likely? I don’t know. I am not sure the historical analogy is the best one because if we returned to a federal government similar in scope to the 18th century there are many civil services that will still be performed by states and municipalities that did not exist at that time. Additionally, there are roles and functions the federal is empowered with that didn’t exist then. E.g. Federal Communication Commission is probably appropriate with regard to interstate commerce, but it wouldn’t exist in the 1700’s.

    • #18
  19. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    BrentB67: Feasible? Sure. Likely? I don’t know. I am not sure the historical analogy is the best one because if we returned to a federal government similar in scope to the 18th century there are many civil services that will still be performed by states and municipalities that did not exist at that time. Additionally, there are roles and functions the federal is empowered with that didn’t exist then. E.g. Federal Communication Commission is probably appropriate with regard to interstate commerce, but it wouldn’t exist in the 1700’s.

    I question the feasibility especially over the short time scales you appear to favor. I too believe it is feasible to return to constitutional government – I just think there will be hundreds of incremental steps in between.

    Is your fear that some of these reforms would cement elements of unconstitutional governance into place?

    • #19
  20. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    BrentB67: I am not sure the historical analogy is the best one because if we returned to a federal government similar in scope to the 18th century there are many civil services that will still be performed by states and municipalities that did not exist at that time.

    You’re of course correct, that was a childish dig. I apologize.

    • #20
  21. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Jamie Lockett:

    BrentB67: Feasible? Sure. Likely? I don’t know. …

    I question the feasibility especially over the short time scales you appear to favor. I too believe it is feasible to return to constitutional government – I just think there will be hundreds of incremental steps in between.

    Nobody ever accused me of being as smart or patient as I am good looking. Seriously, you make a typical good point. I personally don’t see the will to take the 100 steps. Once we realize extra-Constitutional government is the problem then why retain any of it fitting that description.

    Is your fear that some of these reforms would cement elements of unconstitutional governance into place?

    Yes. I think we either abide by the original construct wherein the Constitution restricts the powers of the central government to a few, enumerated powers and strictly prohibits federal intervention elsewhere or we do not.

    If we enact some of this to me that is tacit admission that it should exist. I think it is harder to turn the ratchet incrementally to the right and acknowledge my binary tendencies.

    I think we are in the mess we are today by wandering outside those limits in the name of compassion, etc. that ultimately leads to our self imposed tyranny.

    • #21
  22. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Jamie Lockett:

    BrentB67: I am not sure the historical analogy is the best one because if we returned to a federal government similar in scope to the 18th century there are many civil services that will still be performed by states and municipalities that did not exist at that time.

    You’re of course correct, that was a childish dig. I apologize.

    I think it is a good question. We have to be prepared to engage arguments/questions like that.

    I’ve heard the “Oh, you just want just to go back to log cabins and illiterate pregnant women that don’t vote, etc.” stuff before. I am not insinuating that is where you were going.

    The issue is the limits the Constitution places on central government. There are things the federal government should be fully funded to do and execute vigorously. Everything else it should stay out.

    • #22
  23. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    BrentB67: Once we realize extra-Constitutional government is the problem then why retain any of it fitting that description.

    Because there are millions of people in the country that build their lives around those programs and we live in a Democratic Republic.

    • #23
  24. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    BrentB67:Yes. I think we either abide by the original construct wherein the Constitution restricts the powers of the central government to a few, enumerated powers and strictly prohibits federal intervention elsewhere or we do not.

    If we enact some of this to me that is tacit admission that it should exist. I think it is harder to turn the ratchet incrementally to the right and acknowledge my binary tendencies.

    I think we are in the mess we are today by wandering outside those limits in the name of compassion, etc. that ultimately leads to our self imposed tyranny.

    Fair enough and I fear you may be correct. There are two ways out of this in my opinion – incremental movement towards the right or catastrophic financial meltdown. I want to try for the former before resigning myself to the latter. I think the reformicon agenda gets us some of the way there, but I understand why some would be squeamish about elements of it.

    • #24
  25. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Jamie Lockett:

    BrentB67: Once we realize extra-Constitutional government is the problem then why retain any of it fitting that description.

    Because there are millions of people in the country that build their lives around those programs and we live in a Democratic Republic.

    Fair point, but what do you say about the millions of people having their earnings/private property confiscated to fund those programs? Do we not have private property rights?

    Wasn’t the point of the Constitutional republic to prevent that?

    I think the point you raise isn’t so much a Democratic Republic as it is a democracy.

    By that logic what if millions want to build their lives around slavery or some other twisted vile institution?

    The logic of majority democracy boils down to 2 wolves and a sheep voting on the dinner menu. Absent Constitutional restraint nothing restrains the majority.

    Your point is valid, reasonable, and part of the problem we are in today’s mess. I embrace binary ideological purity in attempt to refute any argument or measure that that enshrines any portion of the federal government outside the restraints of the Constitution.

    Today we might be wolves and tomorrow we may be sheep.

    • #25
  26. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Jamie Lockett:

    BrentB67:Yes. I think we either abide by the original construct wherein the Constitution restricts the powers of the central government to a few, enumerated powers and strictly prohibits federal intervention elsewhere or we do not.

    If we enact some of this to me that is tacit admission that it should exist. I think it is harder to turn the ratchet incrementally to the right and acknowledge my binary tendencies.

    I think we are in the mess we are today by wandering outside those limits in the name of compassion, etc. that ultimately leads to our self imposed tyranny.

    Fair enough and I fear you may be correct. There are two ways out of this in my opinion – incremental movement towards the right or catastrophic financial meltdown. I want to try for the former before resigning myself to the latter. I think the reformicon agenda gets us some of the way there, but I understand why some would be squeamish about elements of it.

    I am fine with incremental reform. I rejoice in incremental reform that I believe is in the right direction. But. I worry about a movement that may be only about the increments, and not really about the goal the increments should be moving toward.

    • #26
  27. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    BrentB67:

    Jamie Lockett:

    BrentB67: Once we realize extra-Constitutional government is the problem then why retain any of it fitting that description.

    Because there are millions of people in the country that build their lives around those programs and we live in a Democratic Republic.

    Fair point, but what do you say about the millions of people having their earnings/private property confiscated to fund those programs? Do we not have private property rights?

    Wasn’t the point of the Constitutional republic to prevent that?

    I think the point you raise isn’t so much a Democratic Republic as it is a democracy.

    By that logic what if millions want to build their lives around slavery or some other twisted vile institution?

    The logic of majority democracy boils down to 2 wolves and a sheep voting on the dinner menu. Absent Constitutional restraint nothing restrains the majority.

    Your point is valid, reasonable, and part of the problem we are in today’s mess. I embrace binary ideological purity in attempt to refute any argument or measure that that enshrines any portion of the federal government outside the restraints of the Constitution.

    Today we might be wolves and tomorrow we may be sheep.

    Oh I agree with you there, the problem being that we have a few hundred years of “constitutional” precedent that has removed some of those protections. So what you consider to be beyond the limits of the government is perfectly constitutional under todays legal precedents. I don’t know how to walk that back, do you?

    • #27
  28. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Jamie Lockett: So what you consider to be beyond the limits of the government is perfectly constitutional under todays legal precedents. I don’t know how to walk that back, do you?

    Not personally. Folks like IJ might. In order to establish Progressive jurisprudence precedent in the first place, prior precedent (like Lochner) had to be overturned. Overturning the overturners is a worthwhile goal, even as a long shot. Charles Murray said let a thousand IJs bloom. Maybe he was onto something.

    • #28
  29. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Jamie Lockett:

    BrentB67:

    Jamie Lockett:

    BrentB67:

    Fair point, but what do you say about the millions of people having their earnings/private property confiscated to fund those programs? Do we not have private property rights?

    Wasn’t the point of the Constitutional republic to prevent that?

    I think the point you raise isn’t so much a Democratic Republic as it is a democracy.

    By that logic what if millions want to build their lives around slavery or some other twisted vile institution?

    The logic of majority democracy boils down to 2 wolves and a sheep voting on the dinner menu. Absent Constitutional restraint nothing restrains the majority.

    Your point is valid, reasonable, and part of the problem we are in today’s mess. I embrace binary ideological purity in attempt to refute any argument or measure that that enshrines any portion of the federal government outside the restraints of the Constitution.

    Today we might be wolves and tomorrow we may be sheep.

    Oh I agree with you there, the problem being that we have a few hundred years of “constitutional” precedent that has removed some of those protections. So what you consider to be beyond the limits of the government is perfectly constitutional under todays legal precedents. I don’t know how to walk that back, do you?

    Other than never raise the debt ceiling, some kind of tax revolt, fiscal calamity as you mentioned earlier? Not easily.

    • #29
  30. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Jamie Lockett:

    BrentB67:Yes. I think we either abide by the original construct wherein the Constitution restricts the powers of the central government to a few, enumerated powers and strictly prohibits federal intervention elsewhere or we do not.

    If we enact some of this to me that is tacit admission that it should exist. I think it is harder to turn the ratchet incrementally to the right and acknowledge my binary tendencies.

    I think we are in the mess we are today by wandering outside those limits in the name of compassion, etc. that ultimately leads to our self imposed tyranny.

    Fair enough and I fear you may be correct. There are two ways out of this in my opinion – incremental movement towards the right or catastrophic financial meltdown. I want to try for the former before resigning myself to the latter. I think the reformicon agenda gets us some of the way there, but I understand why some would be squeamish about elements of it.

    I am fine with incremental reform. I rejoice in incremental reform that I believe is in the right direction. But. I worry about a movement that may be only about the increments, and not really about the goal the increments should be moving toward.

    I, and I think other hard core limited gov’t types will support incremental changes, but to date we’ve seen none.

    The damn Ex-Im bank survived and that is a lay up.

    • #30
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