Americans of every political persuasion are frustrated at the difficulty of getting things done in Washington. I am too. We have real problems, but much of the time we get political rhetoric from all sides rather than real solutions.
In fairness, this Congress has made some progress in certain areas. Discretionary spending has been cut -- really cut, not just a slowed growth -- for two years in a row. That includes Congress' own budget and many of the agencies that issue and enforce regulations. Some specific regulations have also been put on hold. A few provisions from the new health care law have been repealed. And rather than talking about more spending and bigger government, the focus is on where and how to cut spending and shrink government.
But this recent article on National Review Online got me thinking. It asks us to imagine where we would be if the policies in the bills passed by the House over the last 17 months became law without needing to get approved by the Senate and the White House. And then the picture looks quite different.
The new 2,700 page health care bill passed by President Obama and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi would be completely repealed.
The country's debt would be reduced when measured against the overall economy, well on the way toward a balanced budget.
The biggest drivers of the debt, mandatory spending programs, would be reformed in a way that is more fiscally responsible and also more focused on helping the people they are meant to help.
The tax code would be reformed with fewer loopholes and deductions and a top rate of 25% for individuals and corporations, putting the U.S. back into a more competitive position with other major countries.
Many of the regulations that are preventing job growth would be repealed, and any new regulation that would have a significant economic impact would have to be approved by Congress before it could take effect.
The Keystone pipeline would be approved, and other pro-American energy policies would be in place.
The country would be better protected against cyber attack with information held be the federal government used to help defend private and commercial networks.
The across-the-board spending cuts from sequestration that would devastate defense and even some domestic programs like medical research would be replaced by savings from other programs that have grown dramatically in recent years.
Again, these are some of the policies that have passed the House, and there are many others.
Realistically, we can expect that most of the House bills will continue to be stuck in the Senate for the rest of this year. But reviewing what the House has done shows what may be possible in the future.
As always, I am interested in your feedback and your suggestions on these issues and others that matter to you. I hope you will contact me with your opinion by phone, email, letter, website, or Facebook.