Friday, November 23, 2012

A New Direction for Conservatives (pt 2) – The Agenda

In A New Direction for Conservatives (pt 1) I outlined the reasons why I believe it is time for Conservatives to abandon the Republican Party and establish a new political organization dedicated to advancing conservative policies. In that post I also described the principles I believe should guide this new political party, which I have named the Foundations Party.

In Part 2 I will stop short of describing a full party platform for the sake of brevity, but I will describe what I see as “Top 10” Agenda for the Foundations Party. Once again, I invite comments and discussion on the ideas I am presenting.

Top 10 Agenda:

Budget Reform – The current budget deficit and looming economic cliff are a result of a lack of budget discipline and planning. Clearly, the budget process in Washington is broken and in desperate need of reform. We support immediate reforms that will include:

• End Baseline Budgeting
• Immediate across the board cuts in current spending levels of an average of 10%.
• Temporarily cap federal spending at 30% of GDP until other reforms are put into place.
• Give the President line item veto authority
• Pass a balanced budget amendment

Economic growth – The U.S. Constitution does not give the federal government either the authority or the responsibility of regulating the economy. A free market economy was the driving force of our growth as a nation, and is vitally important to our continued survival. Government management of the economy is antithetical to a free market economy, and is therefore something to be avoided if at all possible. While federal action cannot and should not be used to stimulate economic growth, there are many actions that could be taken to eliminate the negative impact of excessive government influence on our economy which will have an overall positive effect on economic growth. Reduction of burdensome government regulations, changes in tax policy, and repeal of Obamacare are all examples of these types of reforms. We support a coordinated effort to immediately identify and act upon government reforms that will restore the free market to our economy and allow for economic growth.

Energy – Development of clean, sustainable and renewable energy is a goal we must work towards, but we cannot reach those goals by government decree. Our nation is blessed with abundant natural resources and large amounts of energy sources that are necessary to drive a growing economy. We must continue to use these energy resources wisely while at the same time allowing the free market to drive the quest for alternative energy technology. Our government should encourage development of our energy sector rather than stifle its growth.

Reducing the size of government – The Constitution founded a federal government that was limited in size and power, and over the years those limits have been violated and ignored. The result is an enormous, unwieldy, inefficient, and over reaching burden on freedom and prosperity. Many federal programs provide services that are desirable, but are more appropriate for state or local governments. We support government reforms to identify and eliminate government programs and agencies that are either not authorized by the Constitution, unnecessary, or ineffective.

War On Drugs – Illegal drug use is a scourge on our nation and a danger to our society as a whole. It is also true that the federal government’s “War on Drugs” has been a drain on the federal budget, and largely ineffective. Since the manufacture and sale of these drugs is by definition a type of commerce, the federal government’s role is constitutionally limited to stopping importation across the U.S. border, and regulating the sale and transport of drugs across state lines. All other drug legislation should be at the state level, with state enforcement of those laws.

Healthcare Reform – Despite the Supreme Court’s unfortunate interpretation, the Constitution does not give the federal government the responsibility or authority to provide medical insurance to citizens, or to interfere in the doctor/patient relationship. We support immediate and full repeal of the misnamed Affordable Care Act. Reforms to our healthcare system on a federal level should be limited to those which reduce the federal government’s role in what should be a private transaction between a patient and a healthcare provider. Any further reforms should be left to the discretion of individual states.

Tax Reform – The Constitution gives Congress the authority to levy and collect taxes for the purposes of paying our debts, providing for the common defense, and to provide for the general welfare of the nation. No authority or responsibility is given to the federal government to use that power for any other purpose such as social engineering, wealth redistribution, or behavior modification. The tax burden should be evenly distributed across the population in a manner that is fair and equitable, and tax laws should be written in such a way that they are easy to understand and to comply with. Our current tax system fails to meet those standards. We support efforts to fundamentally change the nature and scope of our tax system in such a way that the tax burden is shared by all citizens without placing an undue burden on any, and that simplifies the tax code.

Immigration Reform – A nation cannot exist if it does not have borders which are secure. Efforts to secure the borders are made infinitely more difficult when we adopt policies that encourage and reward illegal immigration. We support the following steps to reduce illegal immigration:

• Elimination of the “anchor baby” path to citizenship, with a Constitutional amendment if necessary.
• Strict enforcement of laws requiring employers to verify their employees’ eligibility to work, and heavy penalties for those who fail to comply.
• Establish sanctions against those localities which adopt a sanctuary city status, including doubling of income tax rates, limits on federal spending and employment.
• Strengthen border security and adopt a zero tolerance policy for illegal border crossing.
• Once the border has been secured, and illegal immigration has been reduced to the fullest extent possible, provide a path to legal residency for those people who can prove they have been law abiding residents of the country for more than 25 years, and for their immediate family members who have been here with them. A fine should be included as a part of the process, and no path to full citizenship should be made available. A one-for –one reduction will be made in the immigration quota for the person’s home country.

Legislative Reform – The legislative process has become simply a tool to grow government rather than a means of ensuring good government. In order to return common sense to the process, we support the following reforms:

• Members of Congress shall not exempt themselves from any legislation they might pass, and all past exemptions will be nullified.
• All legislation shall cite the specific Article of the Constitution granting Congress the authority to pass that law.
• No legislation may be voted upon until sufficient time has been allowed for members to read and understand the bill being considered. Any member in a leadership position in any party may require the bill to be read aloud on the floor of that legislative body before it is voted upon.

Amendments – Pass and ratify the following Constitutional Amendments:

• Require a balanced budget
• Repeal the 17th Amendment
• Establish term limits totaling 12 years for members of both the House and Senate

3 comments:

  1. It's easy to agree with a return to Constitutional principles and government. I also agree that Republicans in general have abandoned our founding principles. In some ways, Democrats and Republicans are two wings of the same big government party.

    On taxes and spending, the general welfare clause has been abused to mean anything.

    A balanced budget amendment is a blessing and a curse and would not address the debt and the fact that we are financing current consumption with permanent debt - recipe for disaster with mathematical certainty.

    Without a flat tax, a balanced budget amendment does not put enough pressure on the spending side of the equation, and after all, we have a spending problem.

    Term limits are an essential requirement.

    In addition, government owned by and for big business must cease. I am not against big business, but I am against big business using government to reduce competition, lock in profits and operate above the law. This, of course, is about campaign finance, regulatory and tax reform.

    To return to a 'free market', many things are required, including regulatory reform and a return to the rule of law. America must become the place to invest. Eliminate corporate income taxes, which are simply indirect taxes on consumers. America has the world's largest market and Bernanke has not yet destroyed the dollar. There would be an investment boom that would create jobs and revitalize the economy.

    Developing a basic platform is the easy part, Finding the people on the national, state and local stage is more difficult. Just how many 'Republicans' will abandon their positions and vested interests to support a new party? If the conservatives splinter, will a leftist hegemony be the result (although one could argue that is what we have now)?

    I am prepared to argue for a new party.

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    1. If you are interested, please send me an e-mail, and join our forum at: http://foundationsparty.freeforums.net/index.cgi

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