Our friend, economist, former head of Club for Growth and current president of the Free Enterprise Fund, Steve Moore has some great new ideas to jump-start the Social Security reform effort.
First, to explain big-time ideological battles require years of public debate before the change agenda is bought by the public.
Second, the White House should go back to principles and push the good news about personal accounts, "ownership, personal control, more secure financial future and the prospect of hundreds of thousands of dollars of real personal wealth for every worker."
Third, just say no to plans that ask workers to pay more, work longer and get less.
Fourth, solvency problems of Social Security are real. The National Center for Policy Analysis calculates if entitlements are not restrained, that within 20 years ALL FEDERAL TAX REVENUE will be spent on Social Security benefits, health care and prescription drugs and that's it!
Fifth, and a brilliant concept is to take the trust fund surplus which has been raided yearly forever for additional government spending and give it to workers to fund personal accounts. This would allow workers to divert 2 to 3% of their paychecks into personal accounts without threatening current benefits. Over ten years this would put $500 billion in investment accounts for workers and would establish a personal account precedent for the future.
TCR COMMENT: This idea needs to be pushed by all of us with our representatives and the White House.
The Texas Senate Business Tax Plan
Dare We Say A True Corporate Income Tax?
While reviewing the Senate plan on taxes with a 2½% tax on income and a form of payroll tax, one wonders if temporary property tax relief is worth it and why we have not yet studied the entire Texas tax system and redo it from the ground up?
The Senate to its credit is doing the best it can to pretty up an old, dying pig (our present system).
Maybe it's time to punt and go back to the drawing board. TCR has been pushing a broad based consumption tax which can apply to about anything anyone consumes or uses, with minimal to nonexistent exemptions.
If the people of Texas don't like that, there are other ideas. TCR's concern about the Senate and House Bills is if it's an income tax by any other name but only for the wealthy, that's how the federal income tax started. Let's debate and decide the issue and not adopt an income tax without really talking about it.
TCR Flash: After you think it can't get any worse, the Senate seems to be planning to end the homestead exemption on school taxes that are going to be part of the state-wide property tax! All the more reason to start from scratch.
Is Sharansky The Canary in the Coal Mine?
The resignation by Israel Cabinet Minister Natan Sharansky and best selling author of The Case for Democracy (one of President Bush's favorites) is a potential disaster with Israel's withdrawal from Gaza without getting anything in return.
His letter, dated May 2, 2005 is most instructive. TCR excerpts the important points:
"I have opposed the disengagement plan from the beginning on the grounds that I believe any concessions in the peace process must be linked to democratic reform within Palestinian society."
"Will our departure from Gaza encourage building a society where freedom of speech is protected, where independent court protect individual rights, and where free markets enable Palestinians to build an independent economic life beyond government control? Will our departure from Gaza end incitement in the Palestinian media or hate-filled indoctrination in Palestinian schools? Will our departure from Gaza result in the dismantling of terror groups or the dismantling of the refugee camps in which four generations of Palestinians have lived in miserable conditions? Clearly, the answer to all these questions is no. The guiding principle behind the disengagement plan is based on the illusion that by leaving Gaza we will leave the problems of Gaza behind us. Once again, we are repeating the mistakes of the past by not understanding that the key to building a stable and lasting peace with our Palestinian neighbors lies in encouraging and supporting their efforts to build a democratic society. In my view, the disengagement plan is a tragic mistake that will exacerbate the conflict with the Palestinians, increase terrorism, and dim the prospects of forging a genuine peace. Recent events across the globe, whether in former Soviet republics like Ukraine or Kyrgyzstan, or in Arab states like Lebanon and Egypt, prove again and again the ability of democratic forces to induce dramatic change."
"As Minister, I share collective responsibility for every government decision. Now when the disengagement plan is in the beginning of its implementation stages and all government institutions are exclusively focused on this process, I no longer feel that I can faithfully serve in a government whose central policy - indeed, sole raison d'etre - has become one to which I am so adamantly opposed."
"In my view, the disengagement plan is a tragic mistake that will exacerbate the conflict with the Palestinians, increase terrorism, and dim the prospects of forging a genuine peace."
TCR COMMENT: Déjà vu in the Middle East. In our rush to peace, we forget you need a partner for peace and one is still lacking. The road map has not gotten past stage one. President Bush, who has a clear vision, must know that.
Stop Pussy-Footing Around!
End Judicial Filibuster Now!
Guest Column by Shirley Spellerberg
Member of the State Republican Executive Committee
Ten years ago we were told that Republicans couldn't get anything done in Congress until we have a Republican president. Now we have a Republican president and a majority of Republican (unfortunately not conservatives) in both houses of congress and we still cannot get anything done!
Why? There are a number of reasons why we are in a stalemate in Washington:
- Republicans do not know how to play hardball! They just don't seem to understand they will never be able to win the approval of the liberal media and the liberals in Congress no matter what they do.
- If they do not stop pussy-footing around and do not exercise their constitutional option to end the judicial appointment filibuster, it will not matter who is elected President, Senator, or Representative because a tyrannical judiciary will dictate conduct in every aspect of our society by ignoring our Constitution and looking at international law upon which to base their decisions. This should be grounds for impeachment.
- Without the will to get tough on important issues such as judicial appointments, protection of our borders, enforcement of our immigration laws, preserving our national sovereignty through rejection of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), withholding support and funds from the corrupt and anti-American United Nations, putting an end to the non-military spending spree that is going on, preserving our Judeo-Christian heritage as a nation 'under God', then having a Republican Congress and President who fail to take a bold stand on issues vital to our survival as a free nation is downright harmful to our liberty.
- American is at a crossroads. 'Politics as usual' is leading us down the path to destruction.
- Contact our US Senators, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist at (202) 224-3344, Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell at (202) 224-2541 and urge them to step up to the plate and end the judicial appointment filibuster. The scare tactic of 'we will need the filibuster in the future' means nothing if we fail to have an up or down vote on judicial nominees NOW.
TCR COMMENT: Congrats to Shirley Spellerberg, she nails it. It's now or never, our GOP's in Washington need to get at it.
Watch TCR Editor Gary Polland face off with liberal Democratic activist David Jones - weekdays on Standoff on Local 2 News at 4:45 p.m.,. Monday through Friday on KPRC Channel 2 in Houston. Email topics to TCR or www.click2houston.com, for what you'd like to see debated.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who recently completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his ninth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last three years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant and can be reached at (713) 621-6335.
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