Saturday, November 15, 2014

Reynold's Six (and More) for GOP

Professor Glenn Harland Reynold's six suggestions for legislation from the new GOP Congress are brilliant politically as well as financially and morally. Republican lawmakers are already acting on one of them. The genius behind these pieces of legislation is that the principles behind them will unite otherwise disparate elements of the GOP, but also put the Democrats on the defense, exposing the hypocrisy of their pretended stances on key issues. Furthermore, their passage would force Obama to sacrifice whatever remaining political capital he claims to possess, further alienating his base or frustrating Main Street Americans, thus diminishing Democratic chances of regaining any chamber of Congress or keeping the White House in 2016.

Glenn Harland Reynolds
1 End the federally imposed 21-year-old drinking age.

Not a big policy shift, but the ideology behind it is brilliant. A small matter to some, Congress would be enacting the principles advocated by US Senator (and potential presidential candidate) Rand Paul to defederalize key responsibilities back the states.

2 Decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher campaigned on his support for decriminalizing marijuana, and he just appeared with Democratic lawmakers exhorting his Republican colleagues to support the measure. The youth vote is already up for grabs, and moving to remove the restrictions and criminal sanctions on the controlled substance would be a political, moral, and financial victory for the GOP.

The more libertarian faction of the GOP would embrace this move, further ingratiating the otherwise divided elements within the Beltway GOP. US Senator Jeff Sessions would filibuster such legislation in the US Senate, since he staunch supports the War on Drugs. After his extended objections, the Republican US Senate conference could move the bill to Obama's desk. The President would make a fool of himself vetoing this legislation, since his previous Attorney General was slowing relenting on prosecuting use of this drug.

3 Repeal the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Here is a free market reform which Austrians like Friedrich Hayek have written about at length for generations. Control over intellectual property has extended to unconscionable lengths, granting arbitrary royalty extensions for Big Media. Reynolds points out that Hollywood has been a major donor to the Left for the last thirty years, and crippling this easy revenue stream would not only help Republicans but force the entertainment industry to come up with new material rather than rehashing the old.

4 Make birth-control pills available over the counter.

This reform would be more controversial, and a nullity, anyway. The federal government should not be wading into this matter in the first place. Washington should remove or restrict itself in areas where it has overstayed its welcome or overplayed  its authority. Not just Senator-elect Cory Gardner, but also Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal have suggested allowing direct purchase of oral contraception.

Public Sector unions like SEIU are too powerful
need to be scaled back
5 End public-sector employee unions.

This reform would be the boldest offering. Senator Rand Paul offered a national right-to-work bill, which went nowhere. Expecting heavy opposition in the US Senate, every Republican and some right-to-work Democrats would unite on this bill. Governors Walker, Snyder, and Pence (Indiana) have already enacted key labor reforms, increasing business and employment opportunities while impoverishing costly, rapacious unions and their revenue streams to Democratic candidates. The bipartisan momentum against unions, especially the public sector lobbies, is so strong nationally, that President Obama will only embolden opposition to himself and his party. Of course, he will veto this legislation, but the record of bankrupted cities and declining union dominance will only emblazon his party as the stodgy protectors of the statist status quo.

6 Institute a "revolving door" surtax on those who make more in post-government employment. This bold move would discourage the lobbying log-rolling which takes place once legislators leave Congress. Government employees would reconsider exploiting their insider connections for private gain. Furthermore, politicians would recognize the risks of seeking elected office with a long-term view toward lucrative K Street contracts upon retirement. Public service would  once again serve the public, rather than letting ambitious individuals service themselves at the public expense.

Other legislation which the Republican Congress should pass, which the President would veto only at Democrats' peril include:

Extensions of Race to the Top funding, with riders rewarding states who enact school choice, voucher programs, or eased restrictions on charter school development. Included in these education reforms should be incentives to reject Common Core or adapt it as expansively as states choose.

US Senator David Vitter

Imposing Obamacare on federal officials. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts ruled that Obamacare is constitutional? Then let him live under it, too, along with the Democrats and Republicans. Democrats would balk, exposing their elitist hypocrisy. This legislation has a long shelf-life, anyway, since Louisiana Senator David Vitter had proposed it last year, and colleague Ted Cruz referred to the reform repeatedly.

Raise the Minimum Wage in Exchange for Repeal of Individual Mandate or reducing other sclerotic regulations against business opportunity.

Delay the ACA Individual Mandate . . .indefinitely. Proposing a benchmark, like the enrollment of twenty-million people, or until federal technicians have removed the defects and faulty software problems which have frustrated individual enrollment. With such reasonable expectations on the books, the individual mandate will never be enforced.

The Republicans in Congress must present a unified field. They want to promote compromise and piecemeal reforms. Every legislative effort which offers more power to the states and the people, every bill which recognizes American citizens' needs for opportunity and expands liberty, and thus every bill which President Obama vetoes, strengthens GOP interests and diminishes Obama's media narrative of Republican obstructionism.

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