Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Following Up on the Pledge

A legitimate criticism of the the Pledge to America is that it doesn't get specific about how to slash the size of government, except for repealing the stimulus and Obamacare (not bad starts, however). Reason magazine steps into the fray with this month's issue appropriately titled "How to Slash Government Before It Slashes You." If Republicans are too get serious about governing they need to look at some of the best ideas (my picks, there were many more, so go subscribe already):

  1. Reform Medicaid by changing the funding from a matching grant to a block grant. Matching funding encourages the states to just spend more, rather than getting costs under control.
  2. Reduce federal education spending back to 2001 levels. The federal government doesn't educate a single child, but the Education budget has risen 80% in the last decade.
  3. Switch to defined contributions pensions at the federal, state and local level. (This has been partially accomplshed at the federal level.) It won't solve the immediate issue, but the shift will pay long term benefits to both employees and taxpayers. (Meg Whitman has proposed this, I may vote for her yet.)
  4. End Davis-Bacon "prevailing wage" laws. The requirement was originally a racist attempt to deny blacks jobs on federal projects, its impact is to increase the cost of all federal contracts to the benefit of union shops.
  5. Bust up Fannie and Freddie. Because these agencies operate with the backing of the Federal Reserve, as well as the Treasury, they will continue to be a drain on the economy. Like a compulsive gambler with a trust fund, they will always take on excess risk and leave you, the taxpayer, stuck with the bill.
  6. Just start cutting. In the 1990s, Canada, under a Liberal government even, mandate actual cuts in the size of government to deal with a ballooning deficit. The key was a concerted campaign by the Prime Minister to convince the public of the need for cuts. This might have to wait until after Obama is defeated in 2012, but it can be done.
I would like to add my own:
Reduce regulation and then fire regulators. Not only will this save money, but it will grow the economy as businesses are unburdened from the overwhelming number of new regulation that has piled up over twenty years.

There, the GOP needs to take a look at some of these ideas and get ready to govern. They better cut spending, or they will find themselves with primary challenges again. The Tea Party has shown its clout, time to use it for the good of the Republic.


  1. I like yours better than any of theirs.

    I'll add another of my favorites: abolish 'collective bargaining'. Its extortion and getting rid of it would pull the rug out from under EVERY union in the country. That's a major reform of education, other public employees, manufacturing, transportation, energy. Probably a bunch more too. And as unions atrophied or got fired en masse, their dirty money would dry up in politics as well. And the economy would get a major boost as companies converted to lower paid but more numerous and less entitled (i.e. happier) employees.

    Should just go write a blog on this.

  2. Just make it so unions can't span more than one employer, and abolish public sector unions.

    So, no "autoworker's union"-- there's the Ford, Chevy, etc union.

  3. Shane, Foxfier,
    I disagree with you guys on this one. Collective bargaining comes under freedom of association. I object to government rules and interference that tilts towards the unions.

  4. @B-Daddy That's a misconception. Employees have freedom of association on their own time and in their own homes, but no freedom of association on the property of their employer. The employer has the right to set the terms before they set foot in his factory. Including firing employees for forming an organization. That's the employers freedom of association. So 'collective bargaining' rights are actually a violation of rights even of the freedom to associate.

    Its kind of like the freedom of speech. You have it, but that doesn't mean you can force a TV station or newspaper to broadcast your views. You have to exercise that right on your own dime. Otherwise it just becomes license to point a gun at your neighbor and compel him to pay for the exercise of your rights. Which is absurd.

  5. Being required to join a (very politically active) union in order to work is freedom of association?

    I am familiar with some of the stuff unions were made to counter-- I'm also familiar with the excesses from day one, since my grandfather crossed picket lines when he thought the strike was stupid. (Didn't get bothered, much-- also made Wolverine look like a skinny wimp, though, and EVERYONE knew granny.)

    What justification do you find for public sector unions? As the latest meme going around points out, there's nobody protecting the interest of the tax payer in that deal.

  6. Shane, Foxie, thanks for elucidating. You're not really saying that we should pass laws forbidding union membership, if I get you right. You're just saying that the current laws prevent employers from exercising their own rights. I can understand that position, but it has to be rolled out very carefully, because it can be easily misconstrued.

  7. Employees, too.

    NONE of the teachers I know like the teacher's union!

    I might forbid membership in a public service union, though-- baring some rather major reforms.