conservatives, we should be encouraged by the early returns from
the burgeoning Bush presidency.
Daily, we need to remind ourselves, no pinch ourselves,
in amazement as we consider that the initiatives being batted
around in Washington these days are of a decidedly conservative,
even Reaganesque variety: Missile
Defense (SDI), cuts in marginal tax rates, serious talk of
school choice, and even faith-based charities will partake of
the government pie. It seems that after having staved off a
Rockefeller- wing takeover in last spring’s primaries,
President George W. Bush and the conservative GOP majority in
Congress are now so buoyed by recent electoral victories as to
be fearless in presenting conservative convictions as
foundations for policy making.
And more specifically, their modus operandi seems
to revolve around the “revolutionary” concept of choice, of
alternatives, that free up a greater number of Americans to
consider for themselves what exactly it is they are going
to purchase, where they are going to send their kids to
school, how much money they can stash in savings and
where they are going to invest these earnings.
Party has learned from the mistakes of previous years.
Whereas Speaker Gingrich and other members of the 104th
were prone to thoughtful yet seemingly belligerent courses of
action, today’s GOP conservatives are much more subdued, even
calculating in their demands. Bold proclamations declaring
highly expendable, the Department of Education and the Internal
Revenue Service, are no more; on tap today is a more docile but
equally ambitious agenda that allows individual Americans to
decide for themselves whether they prefer private sector or
government-laden solutions to their mortal problems.
This new administration wants to provide all Americans
several options from which to determine what suits their
particular social, political or economical fancy.
Subsequently, not only are conservatives putting forth a
bold new agenda, but we are able to do so without appearing too
Look at the
President’s proposed social security privatization:
Bush wants to give workers the option of staying
entirely in the current system or else investing a small portion
(roughly 2%) of their social security taxes in individual
retirement accounts. Contrary
to the bold-faced liberal lies, the Executive’s plan does not
plot the destruction of social security, but what it does entail
is options. Would
Americans continue to have 12.4 percent of their paycheck
squandered away in a program that offers maybe a 1
percent return, or would workers rather take a portion of social
security and put it into some sort of money market account, ie.
mutual funds (or even bonds), where even the most conservative
estimates put a person’s return over 30 years at 10 percent?!
Seems like a no-brainer to anyone that works for a
Yet detractors of
the plan claim this proposal would harm the elderly and
baby-boomers, which are near retirement en masse.
Security is imploding on its own; the Bush privatization plan
simply offers choices for young workers, and not any sort of
ultimatum demanding workers jump ship or else.
Talk of vouchers
and more freedom in the parental selection of schools for
children also raises the angst of big government and teacher
union types. Here
again, though, the President’s plans aren’t cause for
liberal alarm…yet. Bush’s
$47 billion, 10-year plan merely aims to set high standards,
promote character education and guarantee school safety.
(Un)Fortunately, the federal government won’t have too
much say in the implementation of these proposals; the grunt
work will be left up to the individual states, rendering the
states accountable for the results of their education policies.
If after three years schools fail to show improvement,
students will the have the option of taking a portion of
allotted education monies and use that to attend another school,
private or otherwise. Hardly
the sort of talk that provokes a revolution!
Reagan-esque tax plan is potentially revolutionary.
For not only would it infuse the private sector with a
much larger cash flow for consumers, but it would also mean
increased sales tax receipts, because presumably more disposable
income means folks buy more good and services.
Either way, government and citizen alike get what they
want for their respective survival; Washington’s coffers are
still running over with tax dollars (which is unfortunate) and
consumers have more net income with which to spend.
Specifically, Bush’s $1.6 trillion cut over the next
decade would reduce the lowest rate to 10 percent and the
highest bracket would fall to 33 percent.
Again, these cuts in marginal tax rates would allow
people more choice, as individuals are empowered to
determine what they spend their money on and consequently what
they are taxed on.
tax rates would also assist in the feasibility of the
President’s other major initiative, health care coverage for
the nation’s estimated 43 million uninsured.
Bush envisions a system that makes it easier for small
businesses to get lower-cost insurance through associations, and
what better way to assist these entrepreneurs than by cutting
their taxes and allowing them more choice and more
maneuverability concerning their health care provider.
In the same vein, the President seeks to create a $158
billion plan to cover prescription drugs for the elderly poor
and subsidize choice in drug plans for other Medicare
Again, the Bush
administration is not abolishing Medicare as we know it, but
instead simply providing the American people with alternatives
to the government dole.
And why should
government funded social service programs exclude philanthropic
Christian and Jewish organizations from doing likewise?
President Bush welcomes their input and their
participation not as a replacement for Uncle Sam’s secular
services mind you, but as an alternative…a
co-participant in the effort to assist the downtrodden.
Now of course, I think you’ll see these faith-based
groups continue to outperform their woeful federal counterparts,
but conservatives should be hoping to spur the government
providers to do a better job via this introduction of
competitors. This is republican capitalism as good as it gets, and the end
result will ideally be a more efficient War on Poverty (if there
ever was one).
reason to believe this new president is one of us; his policy
proposals thus far, are promising.
And we must remember that President Bush and his handlers
are more pragmatic than the well-intentioned Gingrich
Republicans from the 104th congress.
This newest edition of conservative leaders is smart
enough to realize that a complete overhaul of any particular
federal program, no matter how archaic and how unconstitutional
the program is, is not only viewed unfavorably by the public,
but it is also unfeasible politically.
The American public has sucked for so long on the tit of
big government that any weaning demands incremental, subtle
change. This is
simply reality, and if a party wants to play the political game,
they must play by the presiding rules.
Hence, the latest strategy of offering Americans choices
between Washington solutions (an oxymoron) and
private/marketplace remedies is really the only viable
In the process, however, we present a kinder, gentler
Conservative Movement, as congressional Republicans and
President Bush look less “extreme” (perception is
everything), even while our ideals and values are given a real
chance of becoming law.
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