I touched on this a little bit the other day when I plugged the event, but fellow patriot O.P. Ditch recorded Dan Bongino at Monday’s New Fair Deal rally in Washington D.C. His speech ran around 15 minutes.
In his look at the ideas behind the New Fair Deal – ending corporate handouts, taxing fairly, stopping overspending, and empowering individuals. Bongino opted to treat the latter two as one item, and I think this is fair for the purpose of my discussion. This post is going to be an exercise in thought about the next two years.
I’ve seen MDGOP Chair candidate Collins Bailey talk about a “Contract with Maryland” but what would happen if we had a “New Fair Deal” for Maryland?
You might think that Maryland doesn’t have corporate handouts but I can assure you they do. I saw the other day where the InvestMaryland scam selected three companies to give a grant to – why is our state government selecting these winners and losers? And why is it that the same contractors always seem to get state work? Can you give me the reason that renewable energy has to have its own carveout in state law? Let the market work, as new, better ideas will naturally come to the fore.
Meanwhile, our governor rammed through a tax increase last year on the state’s producers – not only do they pay higher rates, but their deductions decrease once they reach a certain income threshold. We can flatten the tax rates out; in fact I would willingly pay a percent or two more in sales tax if they reduced the income tax rate down to 3% for all filers, regardless of income. And the state could easily afford that change if they just spent the median amount per capita, rather than an amount 10-15% more than the average. We could wipe out every last one of Martin O’Malley’s 37 tax increases and still have a little left over because the budgetary difference is about $4 billion.
But how do you empower individuals? Unlike the federal NFD, the state doesn’t really run any entitlement programs on its own. However, there is a lot which could be done to empower the counties and municipalities, particularly in the areas where they used to be much more autonomous until the nanny state stepped in.
There’s no doubt that these proposals would need to be fleshed out, but I think much of the basic principle could work. And while things can always change, Dan has seemed to place himself in the unique position of being able to make these changes in one of the “laboratories of democracy” we always hear about because he’s going to run for governor. Of course, I have no official announcement of this fact but I would lay the odds of him running for the state’s top job at about 80/20. I simply don’t see Dan going through the motions of forming an exploratory committee to run for a Congressional seat, wait until 2016 to run again for Senate, or fight a sitting Republican for Anne Arundel County Executive, not after he nationalized his first campaign and become a media darling. Obviously the Bongino/Keyes rumor was believable because one has to ask where else Dan would go? (Now if Bongino decides to make a trip to Iowa or New Hampshire people hereabouts will absolutely freak.)
So I wrote this post under the assumption that Dan might just borrow elements of the New Fair Deal and apply them to his own platform. There would be nothing like presenting Marylanders a clear choice between the tired old tax-and-spend mentality of cronyism which the state has labored under for decades, presumably with just a different face in Anthony Brown, and a different approach which relieves the Free State and frees it from the dependence on government at all levels.
If you are one of those who follows conservative grassroots activism, it’s likely you may have heard about the New Fair Deal rally being held in Washington tomorrow afternoon to coincide with tax day. While it will certainly be a modest event by the standards of other TEA Party rallies such as the 9/12 rally in 2009 or various Glenn Beck-led gatherings since, organizers believe a few thousand will attend with many staying around after the speeches to buttonhole various members of Congress about this new legislative program aimed at reining in government.
But the better question is: what is the legislative program? The four planks can be summarized as follows:
No corporate handouts
A fair tax code
The eight Congressmen who will be authoring the legislation in question, some of whom are among the most libertarian Republican conservatives in Congress, are Reps. Jeff Duncan and Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Doug Lamborn of Colorado, Tom McClintock of California, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Dr. Tom Price of Georgia, and Reid Ribble of Wisconsin. Mulvaney, Pompeo, and Price are among the speakers tomorrow at the event, which will also feature Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, Senator Mike Lee of Utah, activists Rev. C.L. Bryant, Deneen Borelli, Julie Borowski, Ana Puig, and Maryland’s own Dan Bongino. Borelli is featured in this video decribing some of the features of the New Fair Deal.
“The New Fair Deal is a four-part legislative package that ends corporate handouts, closes loopholes in a simple tax code, balances the budget, and empowers Americans with the choice to opt-out of Medicare and Social Security,” explained FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe. “Individual freedom, economic empowerment and equal opportunity are the ultimate fair deal for Americans. No more pitting us against each other while politicians and big business pick winners and losers in the marketplace at the expense of everyday individuals,” he added.
It goes without saying, though, that the devil is in the details. For example, ending corporate subsidies is great for avoiding the next Solyndra or Ener1, but my friends at the American Petroleum Institute would argue that the tax package for oil exploration is vital to the industry’s success. They may have a point, so perhaps the best solution is to prioritize which subsidies would be axed first and which ones would have more of a transition. Being a fairly mature industry, it may take somewhat longer for the oil and natural gas companies to deal with these changes, as well as the sugar farmers who were targeted in the video. I could see a time window of three to five years for these industries, but green energy? Cut them off yesterday.
As far as a “fair tax code” I honestly don’t think there is such a thing, particularly with the proposal of a two-rate system as specified. I like the idea of a “skin in the game” tax where everyone has to pay at least 1 percent (for someone making $20,000 a year that’s $200 – not a back-breaker if you know it’s coming) but I disagree with the progressive rate change from 12% to 24% at $100,000. If we are to have a flat tax, it should be one rate regardless of income. Why would I take the overtime which would push me from a salary of $98,000 (and an $11,760 tax bill) to $101.000 only to have that and much more – since the tax bill would steeply jump to $24,240 – entirely eaten up by taxes? I understand the populist idea of the secretary paying less than the billionaire, but the solution proposed would be ripe for complication because of situations like the above. I’d rather work on repealing the Sixteenth Amendment and creating a consumption tax, which would be the most fair of all because one can control their level of consumption to the greatest extent.
Another area which suffers from being too broad is the concept of “overspending.” Even if you cut off all discretionary spending tomorrow we would still have a deficit. Yes, we do need to eliminate the concept of baseline budgeting posthaste but we also have to lose the mindset which makes people fear their budget will be cut if they don’t spend their full allocation. While thousands and thousands of federal workers are superfluous to the task of good government, we have to educate the public as to why they need to be let go – you know the media will be portraying them as victims just like they tried to make a huge case that sequestration would be devastating.
Of the four planks presented, though, I really like the idea of the last one as expressed – the power of determining your own retirement and health care needs. In just 14 years I will be eligible for Social Security, but to be quite honest I don’t expect a dime from it because the system will be bankrupt by then in my estimation. (My writing was intended to be my “retirement” but real life intruded a little more quickly than I imagined it would.) The same goes for Medicare. If I had the choice, I would tell the government to give me back the money I paid into Social Security and Medicare – let me decide how to invest it best. This legislation may well allow me that option, although I suspect it will be tailored more to those under 40 who still have plenty of time to weigh all their retirement choices.
(Remember, though, I am on record as saying “Social Security should be sunsetted.” Nothing they can propose would eliminate that stance.)
The key to any and all of these changes taking place, though, is to remember none of this happens overnight. As it stands right now, the earliest we can make lasting national change in the right direction is January of 2017. Moreover, these Congressional visionaries and any other allies we may pick up along the way will be standing for election twice before a new President is inaugurated – and if the Republicans nominate another milquetoast “go along to get along” Beltway moderate who doesn’t buy into this agenda, the timetable becomes even longer.
But there is an opportunity in the interim, though. What statement would it make if Maryland – one of the most liberal states in the country according to the conventional wisdom – suddenly elected a conservative governor and confounded the intent of the heretofore powerful liberals in charge by electing enough members of the General Assembly to foil their overt gerrymandering attempts? No doubt it’s the longest of long shots, but let the liberals think they have this state in the bag. Wouldn’t it be nice to watch them fume as a Governor Charles Lollar, Larry Hogan, Blaine Young, or Dan Bongino is inaugurated – this after the stunning ascension of Speaker of the House Neil Parrott and President of the Senate E.J. Pipkin? Those who survived the collective hara-kiri and cranial explosions throughout the liberal Annapolis community would probably be reduced to bickering among themselves and pointing fingers of blame.
Our side often points to Virginia as a well-run state, but I think there are even better examples to choose from. Certainly there would be a transition period, but why not adopt some of these ideas as well as other “best and brightest” practices to improve Maryland and create a destination state for the producers as opposed to the takers?
If this sort of transformation can occur in Maryland, I have no doubt Washington D.C. would be next in line.