Turning Around the Economy

Finicky Republican voters are desperately searching for a candidate willing to discuss the details of their plans to turn the economy around and get Americans back to work. 

Republican candidates seeking to replace Obama as president have ridden a roller coaster of shifting public opinions as Republican voters nervously jump from one candidate to the next desperate to discover a truly conservative candidate with the vision needed to undo the damage caused by Obama’s radical progressive socialist policies. Voters are aware that all of these candidates are not Obama, they all support God, guns, country, mom, and apple pie, and they all want to restore the economy. The problem is that while they all want to fix the economy, very few have provided any details on just exactly what they would do to perform this feat. This has left voters speculating as to which candidate is most capable of accomplishing this task with a great deal of uncertainty as to the mechanics behind their plans. Just as businesses are unable to plan effectively when uncertainty is heightened, so to are voters unable to effectively get behind a candidate when uncertainty reigns in the political arena.

To determine what exactly is needed to restore the economy, one must first begin by defining the problem and listing the current policies that are exacerbating said problem. It must be recognized that government does not create jobs or wealth, but merely siphons off a portion of the productive gains of others to accomplish its work. Only the productive efforts of businesses, operating through market forces is able to create wealth and employment. Government only defines the rules under which the marketplace operates, thus creating market conditions. Constitutional limitation of federal government powers have long since been exceeded by activist components of all three branches resulting in our current explosion of government authority. This expansion in government authority has produced an expanding class of government bureaucrats along with their requisite need of constantly increasing funding to cover the expenses of their expansive intrusion into private affairs.

The problem is not as simple as merely being one of a depressed economy. Rather, the depressed economy is a symptom of the much larger problem of government intervention into the marketplace that has resulting in inept policies creating artificial market conditions and constraining business to conceal their misguided market interventions. The government is both unaware and unwilling to admit that its economic manipulations have unintended consequences which will be exploited by shrewd businessmen. With this in mind, let us turn our attention to actions the new president can undertake to restore economic activity.

Restore Certainty to the Marketplace

Alarmed at the agenda of the radical progressive socialists who propelled Obama to the presidency, American business interests have engaged in a strategic retreat from the marketplace to conserve their resources in anticipation of stringent regulations to come from an administration dedicated to supporting this radical agenda.

These regulations include passage of Obama’s signature healthcare takeover legislation known as ObamaCare that imposes unprecedented requirements on individuals to engage in commerce by purchasing health insurance in an unconstitutional expansion of the Commerce Clause which places a sixth of the American economy under government control. ObamaCare effectively nationalizes the health care industry in America despite what its supporters say. The uncertainty imposed by the passage of ObamaCare has spread fear through the medical community. It is responsible for the consolidation of medical practices, the early retirement of physicians opposed to its interference in their practices, and the realignment of medical, pharmaceutical, and insurance interests in preparation for its draconian government control. Repeal of ObamaCare should be item one of the new president’s agenda to help restore certainty to the medical industry.

The energy sector has likewise been bedeviled by regulations emanating from the Environmental Protection Agency in support of the green agenda of unviable alternative energy schemes. Uncertainty has paralyzed energy companies as the threat of new environmental regulations to obtain marginal gains in air and water quality loom on the EPA’s horizon to accompany those that have already been released. Gulf oil production has been under assault by the Obama Administration since the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill last year through a moratorium on the issue of new drilling permits. The new president should reform the EPA to sharply curtail its power and force it to concentrate on working with industry to maintain clean air and water instead of allowing it to be used as a political tool to advance green energy schemes.

The financial industry has been devastated by government policies promoting home ownership to those unable to repay their mortgage obligations. Government pressured banks to lend to risky borrowers and subsidized this risk by pressuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into purchasing these risky loans and bundling them into securities for sale to the public. A vicious cycle ensued whereby these bundled securities were further bundled into new investment interests and all trace of the underlying risks associated with the original securities vanished in the financial haze. The collapse threatened the very existence of the U.S. financial industry and required massive government intervention to stave off disaster. Government instigators of the mortgage collapse immediately pointed the finger at the hapless financial industry it had goaded into making the original risky loans and passed sweeping financial regulations in the form of the Dodd-Frank Act to cover their involvement. The new president should work to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act along with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act passed in the wake of the Enron scandal years earlier. These costly regulatory acts have done nothing to address the conditions that brought about their passage, and were unnecessary as any underlying financial fraud was already illegal to begin with.

Reining in out-of-control government agencies and forcing them to concentrate on focused regulatory oversight will go a long way towards restoring the certainty businesses require in order to effectively plan for the future allocation of their scarce financial capital. Business expansion will lead to economic expansion and rising employment numbers. Coupled with tax reform that aligns American business tax rates competitively with those of the rest of the world, an economic expansion not seen since the Reagan Administration will be unleashed upon America.

Restore Freedom to Individuals

Americans have watched the Obama Administration borrow and waste unprecedented amounts with nothing to show for all of the effort expended. Unemployment continues to increase as the Administration masks the true effect of the crisis and its inability to effectively deal with the situation by presenting fabricated statistics such as the number of jobs saved. Unemployment statistics appear to be declining but do not take into account the number of people whose benefits are exhausted and who have given up looking for work. To make a bad situation worse, the Obama Administration punishes Americans by forcing them to buy more expensive light bulbs, pay more for gasoline at the pump, and pay higher utility costs for the sake of promoting unsustainable, unviable, and more expensive alternative energy schemes. The new president should work to immediately halt these intrusions into the purchasing decisions of Americans squeezed by hard economic times.

The concept of eminent domain was created to insure that public projects could acquire the property needed to facilitate their construction for the benefit of the public good. This concept has been expanded in recent years to force the sale of private property to government entities for resale to other private owners whose development plans promised greater revenue to the government entity facilitating the sale. Ownership of private property and the rule of law are the two cornerstones of economic freedom that America’s mighty industrial engine is built upon. When citizens become convinced that they no longer have full ownership of their property and lose faith in the protection of the law to uphold their property rights, they cease to undertake the activity required to improve their property and increase its productivity. The new president should work to strengthen property rights by sharply limiting the use of eminent domain to seize property for public use and strengthen legal protections for property owners.

America’s tax system is an incomprehensible broken mess designed more to promote pet government initiatives than to collect revenues. Individuals navigate a confusing maze of instructions, publications, worksheets, and forms whose number continues to grow annually. Upon completion, the taxpayer has no assurance that he has completed the process within the confines of the law and nervously waits as the Internal Revenue Service either blesses his efforts or summons him to appear before them and justify his accounting with an audit. Tax compliance is unnecessarily burdensome to the taxpayer and supports a multi-billion dollar industry of tax advisers and preparers. The new president should undertake tax reform as a priority to streamline the tax code and restore it to its original mission of revenue collection. Adoption of a flat tax would simplify the process and allow taxpayers to avoid the expense of tax preparation. Corporate loopholes in the form of targeted tax breaks could be eliminated and the government would collect higher rates of revenue as economic potential is directed away from tax compliance toward more productive capital investment. Additionally, tax reform should include the provision that all Americans pay taxes to support the government that protects them.

Congress continues to pass unnecessary laws that continually redefine previous laws in an attempt to appear relevant to Americans. The Constitution specifically listed the powers granted to the federal government and further specified that all other powers were exclusively reserved to the states. The primary purpose of government is the protection of its citizens. The federal government protects Americans from invasion by foreign powers, while the states protect their citizens from each other in the form of laws against assault. Assault is a broad category encompassing such physical acts as murder, rape, robbery, and beating along with such fiscal acts as fraud, theft, and embezzlement. The new president should work to curtail the habit of Congress to pass new laws for the sake of looking concerned about current events by using the bully pulpit to remind Americans of the current illegality of actions that create sensational scandals. He should work towards policies which encourage personal responsibility and strengthen personal freedom including policies that restrict government payments to individuals.

By focusing on the preservation of individual liberty and personal responsibility, the new president will begin to restore the confidence of Americans in their government and unleash their desire to undertake rewarding risks. These are the policies which will encourage businesses to expand and individuals to plan for their futures. By removing government from the marketplace as much as possible, creativity will be unleashed as attention formerly focused on subversion of market interference by government is redirected toward more productive ventures. These are the things which Republican voters long to hear from the candidates describing a vision of American greatness built upon personal freedom and economic success.

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