Opinion: Carolina Journal Opinions

After the Midterms, GOP Must Lead

Even before the 1980 presidential election, the Reagan campaign was planning the first 100 days of a Reagan administration. The plan was precise and goal-oriented — designed to get America moving again.

Jimmy Carter had made a mess of the economy and on the world stage. The United States had lost a great deal of respect.

To be blunt, nothing seemed to work. Americans felt less secure economically and very unsure about the country’s role in the world. America was ready for change.
Today, in the fall of 2014 — by almost every measure — a great many Americans believe once again that the United States is on the wrong track.

I suggest that the Republican Party should emulate Reagan, and immediately after the midterm elections outline a specific agenda to jumpstart our anemic economy and ensure that America is safe and secure.

Suggested priorities for the 2015 Congress:

• Unleash the American economy. Clearly, this is the weakest recovery since World War Two. Our businesses and corporations are being penalized and are having a hard time competing with other major industrial nations because of our onerous 35 percent corporate tax rate. To jumpstart growth, to stimulate investment and job creation, and to make America competitive internationally, we must reduce the corporate tax rate to 25 percent.

• Secure the southern border. Fund and finish the border fence. Stop the practice of catch and release by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Enforce the laws currently on the books. We cannot ignore the growing national security threats of ISIS and Ebola. We should welcome those legal immigrants who play by the rules and enter this country legally, and we should be stalwart in our efforts to defeat any amnesty.

• Repeal Obamacare. Simply put, socialized government-run health care does not work. By a large majority, the American people don’t like Obamacare. Millions of our citizens have seen their health care canceled and premiums skyrocket, many have lost their doctors, and businesses have been forced to change many of their workers part-time status to avoid Obamacare mandates. We should expand health savings accounts, and make health insurance, personal, portable, and affordable.

And as we did with Bill Clinton and welfare reform, we should continue to put free-market health care legislation on Obama’s desk until we get this monstrosity off the backs of the American people.

• Reform taxes. Completely overhaul our tax system. It’s too complicated and too cumbersome, and the IRS is too intrusive. We need to end the massive paper work, simplify the code, and make taxes flatter, simpler, and fairer.

• Check Obama’s imperial presidency: President Obama has stated frequently that if Congress won’t do what he wants, he has a pen and a phone. Congress must check Obama and his administration when they attempt to circumvent Congress and the Constitution.

• Open the Keystone XL pipeline: The House and Senate should quickly approve the Keystone pipeline and send the measure to Obama’s desk for approval. The benefits are many. In addition to making America less dependent on the Middle East for oil, it is estimated that energy from the pipeline would create some 42,000 jobs.

In 2015, a proactive legislative agenda — driven by House
Speaker John Boehner and newly minted Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — should be viewed by our team as a fresh start for America and an opportunity to move forward.

This will pay dividends for Americans and set the tone for the 2016 presidential election.

Marc Rotterman is a senior fellow at the John Locke Foundation and a former member of the Reagan administration (1981-84).