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Chapter 3: 76 Ways to Restore America’s Greatness

September 9, 2012


Citizen responsibilities

  1. Free people must have the liberty to succeed or fail—so accept responsibility for yourself, your family, your neighbors, and your community.
  2. Exercise your freedom, but make sure your choices don’t harm others.
  3. Governments often cause more problems than they solve, don’t do anything very well, and get worse as they get bigger — so don’t ask for a government solution to every problem.
  4. Use your own common sense, and don’t trust career politicians or either of the major political parties.
  5. When discussing public issues, listen at least as much as you talk.
  6. Be willing to learn from others, and look for win-win solutions.
  7. Never engage in personal attacks, name-calling, or profanity.
  8. Don’t fall into the “24/7 news” addiction.  The media wouldn’t feed us so much celebrity news, political “horse race”–style coverage, and other nonsense if we didn’t keep feasting on it; shallow citizens result in shallow media.
  9. Don’t vote if you don’t have time to understand the issues.

Restore the freedoms

that made America great

  1. Return to the roots that made America great: lots of liberty (and opportunity) for individuals and a carefully limited amount of government.
  2. Stop burying citizens in hopelessly complex laws, regulations, and bureaucracies.
  3. Stop economic micromanagement by the federal government.
  4. Trust the long-term efficiency of free markets and the power of consumer choices.
  5. Allow free markets—not government bureaucrats and politicians—to set interest rates, the value of the dollar, wages, and prices.
  6. Don’t allow government to become the sole provider of anything, including health care.
  7. Allow patients to make their own health care choices, including legal voluntary assisted suicide.
  8. Improve educational choices, quality, innovation, and efficiency by funding students instead of bureaucracies.
  9. Reaffirm that citizens with no record of felony convictions, substance abuse, or mental illness can carry firearms without the government’s permission; allow states to find sensible gun regulations instead of imposing one-size-fits-all federal controls.
  10. Workers must have the right to join unions, but individuals must never be forced to join a union to get a job.
  11. Keep government out of religion, but be more tolerant of religious expression by individuals.
  12. Keep government out of marriage, and keep religion out of civil unions.

Rein in career politicians 

and special interest groups

  1. Eliminate all pensions and benefits for elected officials, make them obey the same laws that apply to other citizens, impose term limits and stronger conflict-of-interest rules, and cap their salaries at the median income of the private sector.
  2. Ban campaign contributions by businesses, political action committees, labor unions, trade associations, and other special interest groups.
  3. Cap the amount that individuals (including the candidate) can donate to a political campaign.
  4. Insist on clear and timely public disclosure of all campaign contributions.
  5. Require special interest lobbyists to submit their arguments in writing and post them on the Internet for public access.
  6. Require members of Congress to telecommute to keep them closer to voters and get them away from the corrupting influence of Washington.
  7. Limit the number of bills each lawmaker can introduce, and repeal several old laws for each new one that is adopted.
  8. Require voters to have a basic knowledge of American history, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the branches of government, and economics.

Rein in corporate abuse 

and crony capitalism 

  1. Expose the boardroom cronyism, interlocking directorships, and fat-cat consulting firms that allow management to rip off their companies at the expense of employees and shareholders.
  2. Reform corporate governance and executive compensation.
  3. End government bailouts, crony capitalism, and corporate welfare.
  4. Make corporate tax rates competitive globally to encourage investment.
  5. Simplify corporate taxes and regulations to give small businesses a fair chance to compete.
  6. Use a progressive corporate income tax to discourage monopolies and encourage the voluntary breakup of huge companies into smaller (not “too big to fail”) companies.

Stop deficit spending 

and government waste

  1. Stop burying the country—and future generations—in government debt.
  2. Get government spending under control by requiring balanced budgets and imposing on governments the same accounting rules that apply to businesses.
  3. Phase out all government guarantees and “insurance” (such as flood insurance).
  4. Stop welfare for businesses.
  5. Make government employees subject to at-will employment just like most private sector employees.
  6. Simplify taxes to build trust and stop political mischief.
  7. Phase in a flat tax for everyone with income above the poverty level.
  8. Phase out all tax preferences and loopholes, with the possible exception of charitable deductions.
  9. Equalize the tax rates for income and capital gains.
  10. Get control of entitlements with a broader, lower Social Security tax, gradually raise the Social Security retirement age, phase in means testing, and create win-win opt-out options for Social Security and  Medicare.
  11. Put the taxpayer-funded portion of congressional retirement accounts into the general Social Security fund.
  12. Replace all federal welfare programs with a negative income tax that would give people a temporary helping hand when they most need it, remove the stigma of being on welfare, avoid class warfare, provide incentives for people to pull themselves out of poverty and climb the economic ladder, and eliminate the bureaucracy, waste, and fraud in the existing programs.
  13. Cut the wasteful costs caused by our ineffective crime, courts, and prisons policies.

Limit the federal government

 to its rightful roles

  1. Carefully limit the role of government in order to protect individual liberty, provide more choices, and avoid political corruption.
  2. Hold the federal government accountable for doing a few things well (the roles that are specified in the Constitution) instead of doing everything poorly.
  3. Rein in federal government overreach and return power to state and local governments (or to the people themselves) by strictly enforcing the Tenth Amendment.
  4. Stop federal funding for state and local projects.  (There’s no such thing as “federal funds”; everything government spends comes out of our pockets!)
  5. Whenever the government guarantees or insures anything (such as flood insurance), it’s almost always because no sane person or business will take the risk—so phase out all government guarantees.
  6. Reform government compensation and rigged bidding practices to stop the rip-off  of taxpayers by government unions and career politicians, and make all government contracts subject to free market competition.
  7. Be suspicious of government censorship, and protect whistle-blowers.
  8. Stop government incentives for unwanted babies, and allow private organizations to promote adoption and birth control.

Reform our courts,

drug policies, and prisons

  1. Legalize, control, and tax drugs.
  2. End the War on Drugs in order to reduce the profit motive of criminals and unburden our overloaded police, courts, and jails.
  3. Legalize victimless crimes, including suicide.
  4. Adopt “loser pays” rules in lawsuits.
  5. Allow states to limit damages in lawsuits.
  6. Use lawyer-less people’s courts for minor cases.
  7. Eliminate the death penalty, but require prisoners to work for their food, lodging, health care, and privileges.

Defend our national security 

  1. Set a good example for the rest of the world with our freedom and economic success, not with bribes and military dominance.
  2. For short-term national security reasons, relax the environmental regulations that are preventing us from developing our own proven energy sources.
  3. For long-term environmental reasons, tax pollution instead of regulating it.
  4. Tighten border security.
  5. Remove incentives for illegal immigration.
  6. Be choosy about legal immigration.
  7. Issue work permits (but not citizenship) to illegal immigrants who are self-supporting and have stayed out of trouble.
  8. Keep a strong but tactical, defense-oriented, and efficient military.
  9. Use our military technology instead of our troops.
  10. Stop policing the entire world.
  11. Phase out aid to foreign governments.
  12. Stop funding terrorism through our dependence on foreign oil.
  13.  Promote constitutional liberty to the rest of the world instead of encouraging the mob rule of pure democracy.
  1. Mike Ruddell permalink

    I have been sharing some of the ideas put forth in Fixing America’s Broken Politics one person at a time. If all who have been inspired (as I have) by the common sense put forth in this book did this, we would be on our way changing the flat tire that is American politics.


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  1. Book chapters, with live links « Fixing America's Broken Politics
  2. Chapter 36: Action Plan to Save America « Fixing America's Broken Politics

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