Whenever altruists speak of vision, cynics chortle with, “Get real – politics is dirty business.” While the politicians are not among the favored groups in our land, they are elected to represent us and pass laws that – according to the Constitution – will further “domestic tranquility.” As we consider vision that people of conscience can embrace for America’s preferred future, here are some insights for domestic policy. All require integrity, consideration of future generations and some measure of thoughtfulness toward others. These virtues are sometimes in short supply within the environs of Washington, D.C.! Our experiment in liberty depends upon consideration of the common good. Here are some policies and principles that our public servants should consider:
- Poverty is ameliorated through personal, social, spiritual and political cooperation, including vibrant private/public partnerships, ethical entrepreneurship and well-administrated compassion.
- Economics is a moral science, with concern for value-creation, long-term flourishing and adaptability to global and local changes.
- Environmental stewardship and economic flourishing are partners for good, not rivals for power. It is possible to care for people and the planet and have healthy profits.
- Private property ethically managed is a foundation for wealth-creation.
- Universal healthcare is a moral mandate, administered as locally as possible, with federal ethical oversight and public/private partnerships that secure excellent, cost-effective care, with no violation of religious principles.
- Best practices help us reign in the costs of domestic and foreign aid programs without reducing services or hurting the most vulnerable.
- Balanced local, state and federal budgets are the norm, not the exception.
- Local and state governments still matter and activist judges cannot overturn the reasonable will of the people.
- The minimum wage should be phased out in favor of natural pricing and an increased Earned Income Credit.
- Immigrants are welcome, with proper screening, border security and accountability from business, educational, political and religious institutions and the immigrants themselves.
- The war on drugs includes recriminalizing marijuana sale and use (with very restricted exceptions for particular patients under a doctor’s care), destroying the cartel fields wherever they are found and holding our neighboring nations accountable for their corruption.
- Mental health and addiction needs are properly funded and no one is without help when needed.
- New businesses are encouraged with local, state and federal regulators stewarding resources for generations to come while opening doors for wealth-creation. The EPA is demilitarized and eminent domain is used selectively.
- Tax systems are simplified, IRS powers no longer violate the Constitution and more revenues are spent locally.
- Our welfare systems are humanized and reformed, with proper incentives to find work. Care for the vulnerable is improved, while rooting out corruption and fraud.
These are some of the policies that will help ensure improved economic and social conditions now and in the future. Changes in the IRS and minimum wage are uphill fights, with so many special interests competing for resources. The Clinton-Gingrich cooperation of 1994-1997 helped four million people get off welfare and find sustainable work.
The dignity of work, sustaining families and offering everyone access to opportunities to flourish are vital for stability and a thriving society. None of these suggestions work without personal virtue, the rule of law and property rights. Justice and responsibility are inseparable and fairness is not the guarantee of uniform outcomes. May we again find our way toward creativity and community, initiative and interdependence.