Vail Daily column: Restoring the American Dream
The term “American Dream” was first used by historian James Truslow Adams in his book “The Epic of America.” Adams was attempting to describe the complex beliefs, religious promises and political and social expectations of the American people.
Adams felt America was a land where life should be better, richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. He described the ideal that every U.S. citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and initiative.
However, according to recent NBC-Wall Street Journal opinion poll, the majority of Americans feel their children will not experience the American Dream and will not have a better life than they do.
But there is hope. With the New Year comes new congress. So will the 114th Congress of the United States govern more effectively than it’s recent predecessors? Only time will tell, but the GOP has a unique opportunity to begin restoring that dream when they assume control of Congress.
This is a critical time for America, so let us hope the Republicans temper their November electoral victory with the knowledge that they did not win the election, the Democrats lost it — there is a difference.
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To quote Charles Krauthammer, “The prize for winning is nothing but the opportunity for Republicans to show that they can govern — the opportunity to seize the national agenda.” What follows are a few ideas the Republicans should seize upon to change the trajectory of the nation, break the gridlock in Washington and begin restoring the American Dream.
Start by heeding the words of the 30th president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, who said, “The chief business of the American people is business.” Unfortunately, for the last six years, American business has been under assault by government bureaucracy resulting in the lowest inflation adjusted median household income since 1995 and a national employment participation rate five points lower than when George Bush left office (Bureau of Labor Statistics.)
The Republicans should begin where they can expect significant Democratic support, i.e., authorization of Keystone XL pipeline. Next, they need to resurrect the trade negotiation authority Harry Reid killed in the Senate. Both issues will be a boon the economy and opportunities to demonstrate bipartisanship.
It’s doubtful the Republicans could gather enough votes to override a presidential veto so repealing Obamacare is unlikely. But there are other ways to rid the nation of this job-killing legislation. First, repeal the 2.3 percent medical device tax that’s exporting an enormous number of jobs. By the way, this tax is imposed upon corporate revenues, not profits — think about that the next time you pay your health insurance deductible.
The individual, employer and coverage mandates must be targeted, but even more importantly, Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board must be given less power.
The IPAB was created to contain medical cost by reducing Medicare spending. But most Americans don’t realize that when 15 presidential appointees make what the Affordable Care Act calls a legislative proposal the proposal automatically becomes law.
Why is this so critical? Because under the Affordable Care Act no measure for the abolition of the board can be introduced before Jan. 1, 2017, or after Feb. 1, 2017, and must be enacted by Aug. 15 of that year. In effect, by inserting this codicil into the Affordable Care Act, the architects of Obamacare want to bind in perpetuity, all subsequent Congresses to legislation that was foisted upon the American people by one party using half-truths, deception and backroom deals.
The president is almost certain to veto such legislation. However, that will put him in the unenviable position of having to defend each of these job-killing measures for the next two years and make clearer the economic debate for the 2016 presidential election.
Additionally, the Republicans should introduce legislation to repatriate the $2 trillion in assets held by U.S. corporations overseas, expedite the export of liquid natural gas and crude oil and resurrect the Simpson-Bowles Commission Report including a sweeping reform of both corporate and individual tax rates while abolishing loopholes. The goal would be to bring the Democrats into the negotiations and produce a tax bill by spring.
These measures represent a good start to fire up the economy, reduce individual dependence on government and begin restoring the American Dream. This is possible provided the Republicans don’t take the bait the next time the president pushes his executive authority beyond Constitutional bounds (amnesty for illegal aliens?) and if they steer clear of social issues.
Now that Harry Reid can no longer consign House-passed legislation to the waste bin it should be possible for Congress to actually work in a bi-partisan manner. Let’s hope the Republicans are up to it.
Quote of the day: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it — period!” — Barack Obama.
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes regularly for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at email@example.com.