In case you hadn’t heard, our Congress isn’t doing too great.
According to a recent poll, only ten percent of Americans approve of Congress – a drop from March, when polls reflected approval ratings of around 18. The plummet in approval has been even steeper among Republicans. Back in January and March, polls showed around a third of Republicans approved of Congress. Now, only 14 percent do.
Drastic as these numbers are, they’re not especially surprising. After claiming for years that it would fully repeal Obamacare and replace it with a patient-centered, market-driven alternative, Congress has fallen on its face, with this eleventh hour failure in the Senate being the last straw in a long line of disappointments and frustrations.
There’s only one way to turn this situation around. When Congress gets back from its August recess, it must immediately get to work on tax reform. Aggressively pursuing a new tax plan that puts money and trust back into the hands of the people will help our legislative branch win back the trust of the people in turn.
Here are the three things they need to do:
Lower taxes across the board.
Even though our country was founded on a rebellion against unjust taxes, we’ve somehow managed to forget that over the course of the past two hundred years – so much so that we now have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.
What’s more, we impose extra burdens on those who have the drive and the gumption to start their own businesses or find their own clients. The self-employment tax punishes independence and discourages innovation. It’s also particularly problematic with the way our economy is currently trending. More and more Americans are eschewing traditional 9 to 5 jobs and taking up gig work, using the internet as a way to find contract jobs and freelance opportunities.
We must eliminate the self-employment tax so American workers have the freedom to set their own schedules and create their own work without having to shoulder any additional tax burden. We must also establish a flat tax of 15 percent across the board – for large corporations and small businesses as well as individuals. It will not only attract companies back to our shores and create jobs, it will allow our hardworking citizens to spend their own money as they see fit.
The only way that such a significant reduction in taxes will work, however, is if we reduce our outrageous federal spending and get our $20 trillion-dollar debt under control. We have robbed future generations of their freedom by stealing their money and spending it to support our decisions and our expenses. We’ve also robbed older generations: Our massive debt forces the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates near zero, which ultimately pulls the rug out from seniors and retirees who have been saving for decades.
The first step to reducing spending will be to eliminate Obamacare, removing the crushing burden that the program puts on our economy. The next step will be to correct the course of already-existing entitlement programs that are currently careening towards insolvency. We must also take a long, hard look at our defense spending – the Pentagon hasn’t been audited since before 9/11 – and make sure we’re using taxpayer money to defend our interests abroad and not wasting it on nation-building and unnecessary international interference.
Above all, we must introduce a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. The American people have to balance their checkbooks, and so should Congress.
Level the playing field.
The only way that major cuts in taxes and spending will be fair is if we level the playing field. Currently, our system is rigged against middle class families and small businesses, neither of which have powerful corporate lobbies carving out loopholes and deductions on their behalf. A flat tax – one that treats large corporations, small businesses, upper class and middle class families all alike – will force everyone to pay their fair share and foster a dynamic economy and job market.
It will also put the over $400 billion Americans spend in time and money to file their taxes back into the economy. We’ll go from tax season to tax two minutes. Instead of spending nine billion hours every tax season, Americans will be able to fill out their return on the back of a postcard and move on with their businesses and with their lives.
These are the kinds of policies Congress needs to push for if they have any hope of winning back the respect of the American people. Midterm elections are just around the corner, and if Congress fails as dreadfully on taxes as it did on healthcare, you can guarantee that conservative grassroots activists will show up and vote come 2018. Only a party that actually respects and represents the views of those that put them in office can – and indeed deserves – the power and privilege of elected office. Let’s hope Republicans can right the ship of state and steer it towards a fairer, freer country for us all.
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