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Good government is increasingly rare but still within reach. It requires concerned citizens, aware of the issues facing us as a country, and willing to hold our elected officials accountable. It requires elected officials who place the needs of the country as a whole over the narrow interests of themselves, their campaign contributors, even the parochial interests of their constituents. The founding fathers were such men. We would all benefit if Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Franklin, Hamilton, and their contemporaries could return to us and comment on the current state of government in America.
Probably, they would make the following observations:
- We are much too ready to accept erosion of our liberty in return for government promises.
- We are spending too much and borrowing too much, and government represents too large a part of our national economy.
- Our system of taxation rewards failure and penalizes success.
- Special interests – corporations and industry associations, unions, racial and ethnic organizations, have replaced citizens as the real constituents of elected officials.
- Corruption at all levels has eroded the trust in government.
To stop this erosion of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we call on all current or aspiring public officials at all levels, to acknowledge our peril, and commit to a 5 point program for excellence in government.
The Five Points
- Protect the First Amendment – without free speech, tyranny is unstoppable.
Any and all infringements on the rights of individuals or groups to speak their mind in the public square will be opposed. This includes limits on media such as the “fairness doctrine”, “diversity”, “localization”, as well as government orchestrated attacks on media companies like Fox News, FCC actions on “net neutrality”, government subsidies (and control) of newspapers and magazines, and intimidation of companies or industry groups who oppose government policy initiatives.
Limits on political speech, including those represented by the McCain-Feingold bill will be opposed and hopefully overturned.
Restriction on the rights of workers in union elections will be opposed, including “card check” and mandatory arbitration.
- Reduce Deficits and the Size of Government – deficits expose us to creditor influence and unfairly burden future generations.
Currently, our budget deficit as a percent of GDP is larger than at any time since WW II. It has exposed us to undue influence by China and other creditors, and will be a significant drain on economic growth in future years. Future generations will be saddled with obligations for which they receive no benefit. All future budgets must be fully funded by same-year revenue, and spending must be redirected at deficit reduction so as to eliminate the debt in 5 years, at which time legislation must take effect requiring a balanced budget going forward.
Excessive spending programs, including TARP and the so-called “stimulus” must be curtailed and unspent allocations should be withheld.
Current health reform legislation, expected to cost in excess of $1T must be defeated in favor of real reform that will address the cost of private insurance premiums, health care costs, and government program liabilities. If such reform does pass, it will be a 2010 electoral goal to repeal it.
The federal reserve must be audited regarding TARP and TALF, exposing who got the money and what is the expectation for return to the treasury. An explanation must be forthcoming for the fed exit strategy to end quantitative easing and restore normal liquidity without hyperinflation.
- Restore Equitable Taxation – all citizens should share in the cost of government.
Today, we are approaching the tipping point where less than half of Americans will pay income taxes, and more than half receive benefits. This would lead to an unsustainable spiral, as the untaxed will demand more benefits for themselves and higher taxes on the “rich”. Very shortly, if this “looting” continues there will be no “rich”, no prosperity, and no wealth to re-distribute, since all incentives for productive work will have been extinguished. All alternatives to our current system of taxation must be pursued, including “flat tax”, “fair tax”, ‘VAT”, etc. until the perverse incentives of the current code can be corrected.
- Listen to your constituents – you are supposed to represent them, not the industry group or national party that funds your campaigns.
Public officials have enormous pressures on them from lobbyists of all persuasions. Even if an official is totally ethical, after a few years in office, the voices of the constituents that put them in office are often drowned out by the incessant special interests. All avenues of communication with constituents should be encouraged, including frequent town-hall style meetings, email and written communication that is not reduced to boilerplate form letters, and responsive staffers manning office phones. When a position is taken that has been strongly opposed by constituents, good leadership requires an acknowledgment of the opposition and a thoughtful defense of the position.
- Restore Trust in Government – corruption at all levels should be condemned and relentlessly prosecuted.
Public officials must demand an end to corruption, regardless of party or position. Any official who is indicted in a criminal prosecution should immediately resign their position until cleared of wrongdoing. An accusation of wrongdoing short of indictment, including violations of ethics rules of a legislative body should be quickly investigated and resolved. Corruption in institution leadership should not be tolerated – any target of an ethics investigation that drags on for longer than a month should voluntarily resign from their leadership position until the matter is resolved. Officials must demand ethical behavior from their colleagues.
Government Propaganda of all kinds must be opposed, including using the National Endowment for the Arts or compliant television networks to push administration programs.
The widespread use of unelected or unconfirmed “czars” in a position of power in the White House must be curtailed.
In order to restore trust in our electoral process, government and/or party funded groups such as ACORN that have been shown to be guilty of voter fraud, should be de-funded, investigated, and prosecuted as appropriate.
1. Do you commit to oppose limits on our first amendment right to free speech? YES / NO
- Limits on talk radio – “fairness doctrine”, “localization”, “diversity”, etc.
- Attacks on administration opponents – Fox News, Chamber of Commerce, etc.
- FCC imposition of “net neutrality”
- McCain-Feingold style limits on political speech
- Restriction on rights of workers in union elections, “card check”, mandatory arbitration
2. Do you commit to reduce the federal deficit and the size of government? YES / NO
- Insisting that future budgets are funded by current-year revenue
- Redirecting spending to draw down the deficit to 0 in 5 years
- Curtailing TARP and rolling back the unspent “Stimulus” money
- Killing Health reform in its current form or repealing it if passed
- Calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve to expose TARP recipients
- Demanding an accounting of the Fed exit strategy for quantitative easing
3. Do you commit to work towards a more equitable tax code? YES / NO
- Serious consideration of “Flat tax”, “Fair tax”, “VAT”, and other alternatives to the IRS
- Removing the perverse incentives of the progressive tax code
4. Do you commit to listen to your constituents? YES / NO
- Holding frequent public town hall meetings
- Replies to constituent queries with more than form letter boilerplate
- Acknowledging disagreements and adequately explaining controversial vote.
5. Do you commit to work to restore trust in government? YES / NO
- Calling for immediate resignation of indicted officials
- Calling for members in leadership to step down if ethics complaints persist for longer than 1 month
- Opposing government propaganda in all forms, including by NEA or compliant network media
- Opposing the use of unelected, unconfirmed czars in White House power positions
- Investigation and prosecution of all organizations involved in voter fraud