The title of this post came from the first line of an e-mail I received from what I guess would now be considered The Cain Solutions. It was his explanation to supporters about his next steps in a continuing campaign to reshape America.
Rather than repost the entire essay here I want to focus on three passages, with the first being his reaction to the establishment.
…I knew the establishment would not like the idea of my success, because I will not get along by going along like so many do. I will not kick the can down the road to the next generation of leaders, because our problems are serious and they need to be solved now.
That threatens people who know there may be a political price to pay for enacting solutions that will work, and would rather wait things out and let someone else take the heat. That would not have been possible during a Cain presidency.
But if real solutions are achieved, it will not matter who achieved them.
This idea came from Reagan, who theorized that it didn’t matter who got the credit as long as the problem was solved. Obviously my view on that also comes from Ronald Reagan: “Government is not the solution, government is the problem.” Too often the cure is worse than the disease once Washington gets a hold of it, and if Washington doesn’t mess it up we can always count on Annapolis, Dover, Richmond, or somewhere else from Augusta to Honolulu or Juneau to Tallahassee to botch it. But sometimes they get it right, which is why we have 50 states which should take the lead in being laboratories to come up with solutions which might – I repeat, might – work in certain situations.
Unfortunately, we as a society fall into the trap of allowing government to take the lead rather than be the last resort.
Cain goes on to talk about the Presidential process:
And while I am disappointed (about withdrawing from the race), there are more than a few silver linings to doing this work outside the context of a presidential campaign. The process by which we choose our nation’s leader is ridiculous. There is little focus on policy substance and even less on candidates’ governing skills. If you’re not warding off some wild accusation, you’re explaining away a “gaffe,” which is usually the sort of slip of the tongue that anyone can make, but because some reporter heard it, it turns into a news-cycle narrative with a shelf life of six or seven days.
What he doesn’t say is that it only seems to work that way for conservatives. Those who the press favors get pass after pass for any gaffe they make – just ask the Obama/Biden team. Reporters salivate about that “gotcha” moment and some have even created “fake but accurate” evidence to get them there.
But the onus isn’t on the candidate to make these statements and corrections, but on the voter to determine what is wheat and what is chaff. What Cain describes is an inherent problem with the 24/7/365 news cycle – of course, cable networks need continuous content but our short attention span as a society doesn’t allow the hard-hitting investigatory reporting on things which are really important, such as the impact our government has on our daily lives. We could spend hours interviewing those who create jobs as to why they can’t do so in these tough economic times, but I daresay those who report the news couldn’t handle the truth because it would blow up their carefully cultivated narrative of greedy business owners hoarding their money. Cain was a businessman who knew the score, such as in this final passage I quote:
I was amused by the criticism I received for frequently mentioning my 9-9-9 tax reform, particularly by those who referred to it as a “catch phrase” and so forth, clearly demonstrating that they didn’t grasp what it’s all about. The 9-9-9 plan is the biggest transfer of power from government back to the people since the beginning of this nation. That’s what they are afraid of.
I talked about 9-9-9 so often during the campaign because it’s a major reform that would completely change the way we pay taxes, the way we do business and the way people manage their personal budgets. We need reform like that. Political consultants are forever telling candidates to “stay on message,” but I guess that doesn’t apply when the message is a substantive reform that would actually solve problems.
I am a person who probably has above-average intelligence, but I wouldn’t consider myself MENSA material. Yet it took me just one fairly cursory reading of Cain’s 9-9-9 plan to understand his plan was a means to an end, but not the end itself.
I hate to use the term “starve the beast” because it’s acquired a negative connotation from those who would preserve the status quo. But the eventual aim of Cain’s plan wasn’t to necessarily defeat statism monetarily because I’m convinced that 9-9-9 would at worst be revenue-neutral when figured on a dynamic rather than a static basis. To that end, increased economic activity and the influx of capital returned from abroad would more than make up for the drastic cut in income tax rates, with the added benefit of making everyone contribute to the pie in some small way. Paying a measly nine percent in income tax may mean a little sacrifice for those who don’t have a lot of income (and may be getting a big check from Uncle Sam due to earned income credit and the like), but they would also have many more opportunities to better themselves if they wish to take advantage of them.
The appeal of Cain’s eventual plan to me was that the government would no longer have the license to dictate behavior as they do with the current system. How many life decisions are made to create tax advantages for one’s benefit? After all, the act of being born is a deduction for having an extra dependent, while couples have to consider the tax ramifications of getting married. They’re encouraged to buy a house because mortgage interest in deductible, but in this day and age of plummeting home values that may not be to their advantage. Thousands and thousands of other choices are made because the tax man is lurking around the corner.
Admittedly, the FairTax doesn’t completely wipe away the behavioral aspect because buying something which is pre-owned is a consideration to avoid being taxed on a new item. Still, I would take the 95% improvement over the existing system any day of the week and twice on Sundays.
But I look forward to seeing what Herman has to say. Obviously he can get his radio show back and perhaps more stations will pick up on the program now that he has an enhanced profile. (Hell, I’d listen to him over Glenn Beck any day, and if Rush Limbaugh doesn’t stop taking half his program for self-promotion I’d love to see Herman do the 12 to 3 thing. This from a guy who’s had a Rushalanche.) The same goes for Cain’s syndicated newspaper column.
And if he’s available and wants to help out a great group of conservatives, I can think of a county near and dear to my heart looking for a Lincoln Day Dinner speaker for 2013. We’re flexible, call us.
Like Herman, I don’t see those on my side giving up the fight. We were knocked down, but when the cause is right it’s up to us to keep up the struggle. It’s true against all odds here in Maryland as it is on a national level.