Hidden in President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address last week — and practically uncommented upon — was the seed of a revolutionary political platform.
“An amazing quality of life for all of our citizens,” the Chief Executive mooted, “is within reach.”
President Trump defined that “amazing quality of life” in part as making “our middle class more prosperous than ever before.”
Reversing Redistributionist Drift
But why stop there? Why not refocus government on making all Americans wealthier — by reversing our culture of wealth redistribution and destruction?
As it happens, the very week of the President’s oration, Democrats trotted out more evidence of their vision for America: doubling down on redistributionism in all its forms.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren’s calls for a 70% income tax rate and a wealth tax, respectively, were the most obvious Robin Hood schemes to share media shelf space with the speech. But how about the Divine Ms. AOC’s “Green New Deal,” ostensibly about climate change — but actually the most outrageous wealth-transfer scheme ever devised?
Her freshman fantasy would shift trillions in resources from a revived fossil-fuel industry and everyday Americans to favored Democratic “green energy” constituencies. Not to mention the throw-in guaranteed income that, in a true “oops” moment, was promoted as providing income security to those “unable or unwilling to work.”
Meanwhile, presidential wannabe Kamala Harris was affirming that progressives’ beloved Medicare for All unicorn would deep-six private health insurance — finishing Barack Obama’s work of converting the world’s best healthcare system into a platform for stupendous relocations of capital.
Redistributionist Policies & Well Being
But that’s the point: Programs from Social Security to Medicare to Medicaid to welfare to student loans require galactic asset movements with little improvement in well-being — and in many cases, poor outcomes.
Even as our Internal Revenue Code taxes savings, investment, work and payrolls — insanity for a country seeking to create jobs — and obliterates wealth through compliance costs running to hundreds of billions of dollars yearly and unproductive tax avoidance activity.
All of which also creates mis-incentives contributing to the mother (pun intended) of all economic and social downers: falling family formation and plunging birth rates. The loss of workers to pay for old-age entitlements is driving fiscal chaos and secular stagnation that has us headed toward Japan in a handbasket. In other words: it’s the fertility, stupid!
Yet progressives are calling for more of the same? Thanks, but no thanks.
But what if President Trump and the GOP were to counter progressives’ harebrained redistributionist hustles with an equally radical but truly “Green” New Deal — “Green” as in money? A plan to create wealth, not just tread water, in every social stratum at every stage of life?
A ‘Green’ New Deal
I’m not an economist, but since progressives are going wild and putting every crazy idea on the table, here goes:
- Clear-cut colossal subsidies and preferences that crowd out markets, create disincentives and reward rent-seekers.
- Further chop the $2 trillion of regulatory red tape that impedes competition and lards costs onto everything from homes to phones.
- Pull out the props supporting a rotting education apparatus paralyzed by edifice complexes, administrative bloat, radicalism and increasingly worthless four-year degrees. Replace it with an affordable, digitally-driven system giving students the choices needed to thrive in the 21st-century work world. And find a way to free young people from the $1.5-trillion overhang of debt hawked to them like so many Florida swamps, and now depriving them of any opportunity at the American dream.
- Go back to the future — the 1996 welfare reform — and reposition assistance as a temporary pathway to productive work, rather than a downward spiral into despondency and dependency.
- Convert Social Security and Medicare from crumbling pay-as-you-go entitlements to savings plans accessible throughout life, that make every working American an investor instead of a supplicant. Thereby switch from unfunded liabilities as far as the eye can see to massive investment pools funding next-gen technologies instead of bike paths, bullet trains and Bridges to Nowhere.
- Pursue tax reform that stops pummeling aspiration, productivity and job creation — and rewarding debt, over-housing, and health overutilization — and install a simple-to-administer consumption levy with a “prebate.” If necessary, start with a transitional plan like Herman Cain’s 2012 9-9-9 proposal, which by itself would set off a growth spurt unsurpassed in world history.
- Most of all, purge the endless disincentives to preserving the greatest wealth-creation program of all: marriage and families (look it up). For starters, alongside student loan and tax reform, call a truce in the Nanny State’s war on men and boys making all too many unsuitable marriage partners. (Tucker Carlson is dead on in lamenting how elites are failing to focus on family woes.)
JFK defended tax cut proposals by insisting, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” If progressives can treat radical, redistributionist reveries like serious policy proposals, why shouldn’t the President expand on his thought-provoking SOTU suggestion with an ambitious but realistic “Deal” that would raise, not wreck, riches for everyone?
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Author: JOHN MERLINE