Every New Year’s, we write personal lists of resolutions for ourselves. Lose the weight, advance the career, learn a skill, write that book. A good concept, especially if we really do accomplish some of them!
But the problems America faces today aren’t going to be resolved that way. We are being impoverished by a leviathan state, and problems caused by government action can only be solved by government action.
There’s no point in my proposing any resolutions to the Democratic Party; as a non-member, I have no right to expect them to listen to me.
But as a lifelong Republican, I hereby respectfully submit my recommendations to the candidates, officeholders, and party leaders of the Republican Party, here:
1: Focus on the unemployed.
Long-term unemployed now count in the millions; our government has failed them.
Over a third of the nation’s unemployed have been jobless for over six months, and even of the other two-thirds of those who’ve lost their jobs in the past six years of this ongoing non-recession/non-recovery, most have had to settle for worse jobs than they had before, often part time, often in other fields than their specialties.
A flatlining economy that doesn’t produce new businesses, an economy that doesn’t produce company expansions, simply doesn’t have as many jobs as it did before. Fewer businesses – particularly when all the remaining businesses are forced to make do with less, year after year – have room for fewer people.
There aren’t as many jobs for buyers, salesmen, foremen, machine operators, accountants, and managers as there were before. There’s only one way to change that: by spurring real economic growth, by encouraging new start-ups and existing business expansions. New companies need new people; only expansions create new openings across the board.
The Democrats have had their shot at this issue, their way – stimulus program after stimulus program, burning up money by the billions to no effect. Ask anyone you know who’s lost his job in recent years: propping up unions and state governments with the 2009 stimulus clearly wasn’t the solution; it just made things worse. Purchasing agents need companies to buy for; sales reps need products to sell; assemblers need an assembly line to work at.
It’s time to show that the conservative way is the right way. The Republicans need to propose an American Jobs Bill, with a clear and easily explained package that begins with a 50% cut in the effective corporate income tax rate (currently the highest on earth), the defanging of irresponsible union power, and especially, the full and immediate repeal of the many anti-jobs programs of the Obama administration, such as the EPA’s power over oil drilling and oil pipelines, and the awful cornucopia of taxes and regulations known as Obamacare.
2: Focus on the military.
The Democrats have been in charge for half a decade, and what’s been the result? The military is more stretched than ever, with constitutional and unconstitutional theaters all over the earth, and rules of engagement that make it impossible to do their job.
This is the sort of issue ordinarily led by the president, but we can’t wait another three years until the next one arrives. Besides, we have to plan for the worst; what if Obama is succeeded by another anti-American Democrat? The Republican Party must propose fixes that can be championed in Congress.
We need an Armed Forces Appreciation Bill, that restores the healthcare, salary, and pension levels that have been stripped by the current administration, that insulates the military from the Political Correctness that has allowed terrorists into the military and purged faithful Judeo-Christian personnel, and that reforms the rules of engagement abroad that have so often left our forces as sitting ducks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere.
3: Focus on honest elections.
Imagine: the candidate and candidate’s committee having to accept the same full responsibility on a stack of nominating petitions that a public company’s CEO and CFO must accept on a business’ SEC and IRS filings. Imagine making Dodd-Frank apply to politicians the same way that it cripples the corporate world.
From vote fraud to the warped primary system that allows Democrats and independents to pick the Republican nominee, so much about our election system is in desperate need of overhaul, from the first petition filing to the last elector of the electoral college in presidential years.
The Republican Party needs to double down on the many kinds of fraud that have allowed elections to be stolen, again and again, across the country. The Real ID requirements that many states have finally passed are a common-sense starting point, but millions more votes are stolen in a variety of methods – from the elder abuse in nursing homes (casting the votes of dozens of poor, sick elderly without their knowledge or consent) to the mining of registration lists by voting on behalf of real people who’ve died or moved away, real people who didn’t show, and unreal people who never existed in the first place but were planted on the lists as ballot opportunities.
The Republican Party needs to champion a new Voting Rights Act, cracking down on this massive fraud, stopping the unreal and the non-citizens from participation in elections, and aggressively prosecuting vote fraud all the way up to life imprisonment or even capital punishment in extreme cases.
It’s vote fraud that keeps the criminal class in charge of cities like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. It’s vote fraud that enables the theft and waste of tax dollars, the ghost payrolling that robs needy people of city services. It’s vote fraud that keeps urban neighborhoods destitute and crime-ridden. It’s vote fraud that drives employment out of our cities to other states and even other countries. If that’s not grounds for capital punishment, I don’t know what is.
4: Focus on American interests abroad.
The inexcusable parade of excuses and lies surrounding the embassy attack at Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 should be viewed not in its own microcosm but as a signal of a much broader danger.
At one minor embassy, despite numerous warnings and even begging letters from the ambassador and his security detail, the Obama administration refused to provide even minimal security to an embassy in a terribly volatile neighborhood where attacks weren’t only possible, they were virtually guaranteed.
The world has watched over the past 15 months, and has seen the refusal of the administration to accept responsibility or to change the policies that led to this unconscionable attack. The terrorists and other anti-American interests of the world learn from history, even if this administration doesn’t; the bungling of the Benghazi attacks has put all foreign American embassies, consulates, and other official government installations at risk.
We don’t need all the installations we have; in the internet age, we could do without many such sites. But if we do have them, they should be the most secure locations on earth. An American embassy abroad is US territory by international law; an attack on our embassy is the same thing, under the law, as a military attack on Chicago, Seattle, or New York. It must be viewed as an act of war, and the response must be appropriate to that understanding.
Since the Democrats have refused to protect our civil service in the wake of the Benghazi attacks, and have in fact defamed the victims while allowing the perpetrators to roam free in plain sight, the Republicans need to champion an American Interests Bill, pledging full support for all defensible US sites, the closure or movement of the indefensible ones like Benghazi’s, and locking in an unalterable commitment of full and immediate military support in response to any such attack in the future, a commitment that the executive branch cannot nullify for political or criminal reasons.
5. Focus on Retirement
Viewed through the window of history, the concept of retirement is quite new. Only in the 20th century did it become common for the average worker to reach a point when retirement became almost guaranteed, and then only because of a combination of savings, government programs, private sector programs (from pensions to senior discounts), and economic growth.
A variety of systemic problems in all these arenas has put the concept of retirement in jeopardy in recent years. Most private firms have given up on offering pensions to private sector employees, while government continues to offer unsustainably generous retirement packages to civil servants like bureaucrats, bus drivers, and Congressional aides. While some states, such as Wisconsin and Indiana, have taken the lead in government pension reforms, irresponsible programs persist both nationally and in many states.
Teacher pensions alone are bankrupting states like Illinois and California, where the machinist, salesman, mechanic and buyer must work until they’re 75, so that the teacher can retire at 56. Nobody thinks this is fair, and it’s crippling us, dividing the economy between private and public sectors, creating a whole new kind of class envy while sinking the productivity of the economy as a whole.
Since it is generally illegal to take back a retirement commitment already in place, more and more cities and states, not to mention private and public corporations, face bankruptcy as the only way out of an unsustainable promise made decades ago.
As the Democrats’ only proposed solutions have been to raise taxes, increase government welfare, and kick the can down the road, the Republican Party needs to address this issue. Now.
A Retirement Security Act might provide governments with reasonable relief from the current constraints, allowing moderate reforms to existing promises and union contracts so that companies and municipalities aren’t forced to seek bankruptcy as their only out, which often just dumps retirees into the welfare rolls. A Retirement Security Act would reduce the taxation on earned income for retirees, and ease the mandates governing savings limits and required annual distributions.
A Retirement Security Act would show that the Republican solution to such problems is the opposite of the Democrats’ approach – while they just create a new welfare program or enlarge an existing one, the conservative approach is to help people avoid the need for welfare.
Most important to a secure retirement, however, is the economy as a whole, and that brings us back to Resolution Number 1: We need an economic boom. More jobs, better pay for more workers, more people paying into Social Security, more individual funding of their own retirement funds.
More economic growth is the key to it all; only then can people can save appropriately, and those savings compound more dependably… not only for retirement, but for any rainy day, for any future recession or unexpected expense.
As has been quoted so many times these past fifty years, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Economic growth solves almost everything. As the Democrats are the party of economic destruction, the Republicans must stand up for economic growth, make it an election issue, and make it so popular that Congress can override certain presidential vetoes.
This nation is on a precipice; we can’t wait another three, or seven, or eleven years until the next time a Republican occupies the White House. There is much to do, and in this critically-wounded two-party country, the Republicans are our only hope.
So step up, and Be Resolved!
Copyright 2013 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Chicago-based Customs broker and international trade compliance trainer. A former spokesman for the Illinois Small Business Men’s Association and the Greater Chicagoland Young Americans for Freedom in the 1980s, and a county chairman of the Milwaukee County Republican Party in the 1990s, he has now been a recovering politician for over sixteen years.
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