I used part of this quote by Thomas Jefferson for my headline:
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
Even though we can no longer prevent the large scale wasting of the labors of the people (via high tax, spend, and borrow policies), we can at least attempt to scale them back and eventually shrink them down to manageable levels.
At the federal level, the immediate task at hand was summarized by the Heritage Foundation in two recent website posts. Here are their lists in brief (click on the titles to read the entire articles):
This list, which we call “Solutions for America: Get to Work,” is comprised of the following calls to action:
FREEZE AND CUT SPENDING: Congress should immediately freeze discretionary budget authority at 2010 levels; and cut at least $170 billion from the federal budget for fiscal year 2012. This is only a first step. In the past four years, Congress has approved more spending that even the bureaucrats can handle. Congress must immediately survey the unobligated balances of all appropriations made in the past four years and should reclaim these unspent taxpayer funds and use them to reduce the deficit.
REPEAL OBAMACARE: Congress must immediately pass a bill that repeals ObamaCare. Until Congress is able to get the President to sign a law repealing ObamaCare, it must withhold funding, block key provisions and override regulations carrying out ObamaCare. Only after ObamaCare is rejected, can Congress undertake a careful, thoughtful legislative process to make practical adjustments that allow the free market to provide affordable, effective health care insurance choices.
STOP THE OBAMA TAX HIKES: Congress must reject the Obama tax hikes, and make permanent the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, thereby helping the economy grow and create more jobs.
PROTECT AMERICA: Congress must pass a budget resolution that won’t put our troops at risk or leave Americans vulnerable. It can do this by providing for defense an average of $720 billion per year (to be adjusted for inflation) for each of the next five fiscal years, in addition to the funding needed for ongoing contingency operations. Congress must make the defense budget as efficient as possible and reinvest dollars achieved from reforms in the military to offset the cost of modernizing and developing next-generation equipment.
GET CONTROL OF GOVERNMENT: Congress must immediately reestablish legislative accountability by posting complete legislation, ending earmarks, reviewing all unauthorized programs and respecting constitutional limits on government. Congress must check executive branch overreach with aggressive oversight, roll back recent government interventions, stop unnecessary administrative regulations and sunset new ones, restrict bureaucrats’ rule-making authority and override executive orders.
Please see the full document here. Each of these things must be done if Washington is to fulfill its electoral mandate and meet its constitutional responsibilities.
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Specifically, Congress must:
Block the Obama Tax Hikes. The current lower taxes must be made permanent for all individuals, businesses and investors. Government must get out of the way so the American economy can grow and create jobs.
Permanently Eliminate the Death Tax. Congress must stick with current policy and permanently repeal the death tax once and for all.
Eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax. Congress has enacted temporary patches from time to time to ameliorate the impact of the AMT on a growing number of taxpayers. Congress should repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax for good.
Repeal the ObamaCare Taxes. As part of the repeal of the ObamaCare statute, Congress should eliminate the ObamaCare taxes, including the “surtax” on dividends and capital gains which hinders economic growth and job creation.
Lower Corporate Income Taxes. The top U.S. corporate tax rate should be reduced to 25% to help eliminate the incentive to move businesses and jobs overseas.
Even though genuine progress on the road to happiness will have to wait for a Republican U.S. President in 2013, there’s plenty of power in the U.S. House right now to check the downward slide.