2014 Legislative Agenda

I promised myself I would step back and survey all my legislative proposals once I passed the magic number ten.

What I see is a surprising concession on my part to rely more heavily on Big Government; the essential need for judicial reform; a bias toward building more ‘competition’ into government practices; and a recurring call for constitutional overhaul. I was also surprised to see my political principles remained intact even though they were written well before I decided which policy issues to tackle.

Every generation has its prophets of doom. Luckily they’ve been wrong. But history shows eventually one of them will get it right. The beauty of the U.S. democracy is we often overcome impossible hurdles to forestall that doom. We have been known at times to enact transformative change. Like those I propose below.

Let’s roll.

Contents

  1. 2014 Legislative Agenda
  2. Proposal Listing
  3. Commentary
  4. Conclusion

Proposal Listing

Most of the listed proposals are directional rather than operational. For example, in Monetary Reform I call for the Fed to own and operate financial institutions that compete with the private sector. How would that really work in a free market? Stay tuned. The intent of the proposals is to set the direction for the work and not to lay out the detailed mechanics.

Private Jobs For All – A new government agency making investments into private industry for the benefit of the under $20K per year labor force.

Judicial Reform – Complete overhaul of our judicial system with a view toward eliminating one-size-fits-all judicial decision-making.

Monetary Reform – Vastly expanded authority for the Federal Reserve to oversee and intervene in financial markets, proactively.

No Free Lunch – Elimination of unfunded Federal regulations for business and individuals, analogous to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 for mandates on local governments.

Go Straight To Jail – Elimination of all Federal anti- business corruption regulations, replaced by (massive) ex post facto audits of business failures with probable jail time for those who contributed to the failure.

Charity for All – Highly progressive taxes on the wealthy offset by highly regressive tax refunds for charitable donations.

Community Revitalization – A Federal (or state) social program to facilitate voluntary relocation of well‑off retirees (or younger) into distressed communities.

Welfare Reform – Replace cash welfare with working welfare.

Voting Reform – A national conversation to redefine the purpose of the vote.

Healthcare Reform – A (sort of) single-payer system for acute medical care. Private escrow accounts for chronic care.

Tax Reform – A national experiment on alternate ways to fund the Federal government. How to fund it, not how much to fund it. Attractive alternatives include the Capitation Tax and the Confederated Tax.

Commentary

There are so many things broken in our government it’s sometimes hard to know where to start.

I stepped back and surveyed all my proposals and it’s clear Judicial Reform is the linchpin. For example, effective tax reform is blocked by inane judicial rulings that give corporations the same rights as people but without obligations.

“I demand a tax deduction for my expenses to lobby for more tax deductions!

Without Judicial Reform most of my proposals will get undermined in practice – and then get tainted in the public’s eye for yet another generation.[1]

My proposals for Judicial Reform have never been tried in a modern industrial society. They eliminate one-size-fits-all judicial decision-making. Every judgment considers the uniqueness of the case at-hand (e.g., no more class action suits). This will be fiercely opposed by The Chicago School of economic law, the trial lawyers association and the Wallace-ites.

My proposals for Healthcare Reform are my most politically savvy. They allow Democrats to save face while ditching the extremely unpopular ACA in favor of a single-payer solution, the darling of progressive-liberals. ‘O’ can claim success, saying ACA forced Republicans to accept a single-payer solution. Republicans can tout new market‑friendly escrow accounts which keep the federal government out of most healthcare decisions.

My proposal Go Straight to Jail is the scariest for lovers of freedom (i.e., yours truly). It seemingly enshrines ex post facto laws. Tyrants and ambitious politicians could be tempted to abuse this proposal to further their own political aims. But unless we seriously rein in corporate greed and corruption, putting real teeth into enforcement, the U.S. risks losing its global lead as a center for capital formation and entrepreneurship.

My proposal for Voting Reform looks wimpy but is the most urgent. We need to revitalize our shared sense of national community: pride in our Federal government. The proposal calls for what is essentially a limited constitutional convention with nationwide participation, revamping the 225 year old voting structures inherited from the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

* * * * *

I’m quite sympathetic to libertarian distaste for vesting more power into a central authority. But I’ve come to believe it’s the only way to effectively regulate global business (e.g., Monetary Reform, Go Straight to Jail). My other proposals (e.g., Healthcare Reform, Tax Reform) give better results by vesting greater powers into lower levels of government, such as states or communities.

Legislation is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration (to twist Edison’s phrase). It’s nice to dream but the real work of legislation does not happen sitting behind a keyboard. It happens in the trenches.

Conclusion

Stop and write down two or three legislative proposals (Federal) that you believe would be transformative for the nation. Don’t be overly constrained by current practices. Come up with concrete legislative proposals; not just pie-in-the-sky wishes. Step back and think in detail what it would take to make them real while protecting individual liberties and democracy.

What you’ll find, as I have, is transformative change is impossible without Judicial Reform. We need Big Government as part of the answer. We’re no longer a rural Jeffersonian America. But the judiciary routinely pushes the Feds into one-size-fits-all programs that hinder rather than help.[2]

Many rules from many authorities affect our daily lives: Federal, state, local, agencies, courts, employers, homeowner associations, etc. What should be the minimal rule set we follow simply because we belong to this particular nation? What do we really need, as a nation, in our Federal rules?

You want your values? Well I want mine. Don’t you get it?

We seem to be stuck in a rut? Judicial meddling.


1. On my list of future blog entries is one that hopes to reduce the capture of well-intentioned Federal programs by special interests. I’ve made no progress on it. It may be too tightly woven into the U.S. Constitution. The best I have so far is a move toward Equity Law as proposed in Judicial Reform. There may be other tweaks possible but I need much more thought before I can have any concrete legislative proposal.

2. Public management is not an arena in which to find Big Answers; it is a world of settled institutions designed to allow imperfect people to use flawed procedures to cope with insoluble problems. – James Q. Wilson (1989). Bureaucracy

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