“Chicago ain’t ready for reform," Chicago Alderman Mathias "Paddy" Bauler once famously groused, but is the United States ready for a Renaissance? Certainly many people of varying political stripes think so.
We are currently stuck with historic lows in terms of economic recovery rate and percentage of able adults in the workforce; historic highs of welfare recipients, single mothers, and out-of wedlock births; and an über-violent culture sometimes uncharitably but accurately described as sexual anarchy. Supporters of neither major political party seems satisfied with “establishment” candidates for President, with an avowed geriatric socialist and a poorly-coifed talk show host and real estate magnate currently serious contenders.
So do Americans continue our headlong slouch toward Gomorrah, or do we straighten up and fly right?
To do the latter, we could do worse than to read and heed the prescriptions of Peter J. Ferrara’s new book, Power to the People (The Heartland Institute 2015). In roughly 145 tightly-written pages, with extensive footnotes, the former associate deputy general of the United States, now a senior fellow at The Heartland Institute, the National Center for Policy Analysis, and the National Tax Limitation Foundation, lays out a thoughtful and well-researched six-point plan.
First, Ferrara says, we need to help ensure prosperity for all by setting up personal accounts for Social Security. Second, we need to improve the Medicare program for seniors and taxpayers. Third, we need to help the poor and the taxpayers alike by providing block grants for all. Fourth, we need to liberate the poor from the Medicaid ghetto. These are more than hortatory goals; Ferrara sets out details.
Fifth—although it has become perhaps Washington’s most tiresome cliché—we need to repeal and replace Obamacare with free-market reforms that will expand patient power, ensure health care for all without either an employer or an employee mandate, and reduce taxes, spending, and regulation.
Finally, we need to get the American economy booming again by abandoning the discredited Keynesian economic policies of the 1970’s. Instead, we should embrace the four points that made Reaganomics successful: cutting marginal tax rates, reducing non-defense discretionary spending, restraining money supply growth compared to demand in order to maintain a stable dollar, and deregulating the price of oil and natural gas.
Any one of these proposals, if enacted, would help put what was once the most powerful nation in the history of the planet back on track. Taken together, these proposals outline a coherent road back to freedom and prosperity for seniors, the poor, and those most in need of health care that has been lauded by the likes of Arthur Laffer, Steve Forbes, Steven Moore, Larry Kudlow, Grover Norquist, and The Heritage Foundation’s Romina Boccia.
Whether our next President is a socialist from Vermont or a reality-show TV host from New Jersey—or, preferably, someone else—he or she could do a lot worse than to read and implement the recommendations of Peter Ferrara’s most recent book.