Yearly Archives: 2014

Vision 2016: Part 3: Domestic and Economic Issues

Vision 2016: Part 3: Domestic and Economic Issues

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.

Vision 2016 Part 2: First Principles

As we continue this important series, it is vital that we agree on and understand the principles that support and shape our nation’s flourishing. Policies and programs, including necessary political compromises are built on particular conscious and unconscious values. Here are some of the key ideas for our nations future.

We the People unite in creating an America where…

  • Freedom of conscience and religion is protected as the first freedom and the deepest values of our citizens inform civil debate.
  • Life is cherished from conception to its natural end and no active measures are adopted to prematurely end it.
  • The freedoms of peaceable assembly, the redress of government and speech must be protected not restricted and the marketplace of ideas unhindered by bureaucratic notions of “fairness.”
  • Moral persuasion is as influential as public legislation.
  • Our natural rights are protected – not bestowed – by the government.
  • Government is subsidiary to the person, family, community, religious group and other voluntary agencies. In other words, sovereignty and support structures first rest with the people, not the federal government.
  • The Constitutional balance of power matters and all legislation gets to the floor for public debate by elected leaders and citizens.
  • Access to education, business markets and other opportunities are not stifled by corrupt business and political powers.
  • Equality of opportunity is not necessarily of equality of outcome.
  • Cultural, gender and racial diversity are celebrated along with unity on the guiding first principles of liberty, virtue and the common good.
  • Marriage is defined as one man and one woman, with legal allowance (state-by-state) for other approved adult relationships such as civil unions and domestic partnerships. Marriage so defined is one of the empirical cornerstones of future success for the next generation.
  • Citizens must show an official ID from their state and prove their residential status in order to cast a ballot. ID cards should be offered to qualified persons without charge. No votes cast by non-citizens count in any elections.
  • Disagreements do not devolve into personal attacks and caricatures and stereotypes do not obscure issues worthy of serious reflection.
  • History and hope meet and Americans can cherish their heritage and humbly resolve not to repeat her egregious errors. We live in a land of saints and sinners, humble servants and rapacious overlords, amazing sacrifice and regrettable indulgence.

With these first principles in mind, the coming posts will consider domestic and foreign policies that will bless both our nation’s residents and liberty-loving people around the world.

Vision 2016 Part I: Foundations for Our Future

A Time for Reflection
For half a century, America has been at a civil crossroads. Will the founders’ experiment in virtue-based liberty continue or will it be replaced by disempowering ideologies? Will American “first principles” of freedom of conscience/religion, assembly, redress and speech remain robust, or will political correctness stifle the full exchange of ideas? Will government return to its subsidiary role of protecting natural rights or continue the one hundred year trajectory of bestowing rights as largess from a Leviathan?

Will a civil center be recaptured so people of all faiths and philosophies argue peaceably, allowing their deepest convictions to guide them, or will elite secularists force free discourse underground? Will citizenship and the rule of law mean something or will pseudo-compassionate amnesty programs overwhelm labor markets and foster a one-party state?

Thinking further, will historic guilt lead to unwise capitulation to neo-racist supremacists or will Martin Luther King’s dream of “all God’s children” living together with equality and justice reassert itself? Will Americans shed their racial bias and welcome as friends all cultures and races? Will life from conception to coronation find protection or will social engineers dehumanize “unneeded” persons under the guise of economics, science or social good?

Globally, will the USA support its ally and the only democracy in the Middle East or capitulate to jihadists bent on Israel’s destruction? Will America stand with all people of conscience facing persecution or continue the present trajectory of submission to Islamicist supremacy?

The compelling issue for America’s future is a vision of the common good that will catalyze citizens to create a better future.

Forging a flourishing future requires devotion and discipline, inspiration and integrity, passion and principle as well as policies that work. I offer the following as a way of inspiring all people of conscience to contribute to their communities, our nation and world.

What is Vision?

Vision = a picture of a preferred and achievable future.

Vision = a pathway toward flourishing for all.

Vision = life between fantasy and fatalism, requiring faith and work.

Vision = offers hope that empowers present sacrifice for future generations.

What follows in the coming weeks are principled and practical aims designed to appeal to people committed to the common good; people that understand that liberty is rooted in virtue and self-regulation is essential for maximal freedom. I look forward to a great conversation.