A Modest Proposal
Now that the election is settled it’s time to get down to the brass tacks of actually running the country. Much will be said in the coming days and weeks about tax rates and revenue increases. Little will be said about spending reductions other than those mandated by the fiscal cliff faced by this nation on January 1st.
President Obama campaigned on the premise that all that stands between this nation and economic recovery is the low tax rates paid by the rich. Bear in mind that his idea of “rich” currently stands somewhere around $250K in annual income. The President feels the Federal Government is entitled to 35% of every dollar made above that level.
The entire reason why we are having this debate is because some congressional boneheads decided to include a “sunset” provision in the Bush tax cuts which allowed them to expire (read “automatic tax increase”) 10 years after they were implemented. This made it easy for the government to increase taxes simply by doing nothing rather than actually have a vote for all to see.
Be that as it may, I humbly suggest calling the President’s bluff and use the same logic. Here is a modest proposal for the upcoming budget negotiations – Speaker Boehner and the President need not even credit me for the idea. Consider it my patriotic donation for the week.
First off we need to define exactly what “economic recovery” looks like. I submit the current status quo is not acceptable so I have consulted some historic data and made a rough approximation of what prosperity looks like. I believe the same can be said of Obama’s entire first term. So, here’s some major indicators used to assess the overall health of the nation’s economy in prosperous times:
- Gross Domestic Product – increasing at a 4% annual rate
- Unemployment – below 6%
- Gas Price – below $2/gallon.
So, here’s the deal. I propose we give the President exactly what he wants. Let him take the tax rates to the level he campaigned on. By his own assertion and promise, soaking the rich by making them pay “a little bit more” should result in an immediate economic turnaround. We should be able to see the results right away. But since it takes some time to get results, I’m willing to give the President three calendar years (2013-2015) for this to happen. I figure he’s already had four years and has little to nothing to show for it so three more won’t kill the country.
Here’s the deal though. Obama doesn’t get a free ride. If he wins the day and America returns to something resembling the prosperity I just described, I’ll be the first in line to shake his hand and congratulate him for a job very well done. There is, however, a consequence to losing. This is what should be hard coded into the tax-increase legislation:
If, on January 1, 2015 the above listed targets are not met and verified by an independent auditor, the following economic policies are implemented without the need for congressional or executive action:
- The Bush tax cuts are immediately re-implemented and made permanent by statute.
- Federal Government spending is immediately returned to the levels seen in the budget for Fiscal 2008.
Obama claims to have the solution, but I’m tired of having him pile drive the country into the ground without any recourse. He believes he’s got the best ideas. Fine. Go right ahead, Mr. President. But this time there should be consequences if your policies do nothing or make the problem worse. If you truly believe your policies hold the key to prosperity, prove it. Have some skin in the game this time. Good luck.
Here endeth the lesson.