REFORMING GOVERNMENT: The best way to "reform" government is to reduce unneeded and unnecessary programs and agencies. Congress should establish a commission similar to the successful Base Realignment and Closing Commission (BRAC), which shuttered outmoded military bases. Every government agency and program should be required to justify its existence consistent with its cost and benefit to the greatest number of Americans. If they can't, they should be eliminated.
INFRASTRUCTURE: From better roads to high-speed inter- and intra-city trains, the U.S. lags behind many European and Asian countries in providing low-cost, efficient and fast transportation for its citizens. It is one of the few areas where Americans would be willing to pay more in fares or even taxes to improve the way we move around.
Included in infrastructure ought to be the mining of America's considerable natural gas supply and a "to the moon" emphasis on nuclear power and drilling for more oil in America's backyard to ease our dependence on foreign oil. It will take years to break our foreign oil addiction and so new sources of petroleum on American territory must be explored, something this president won't do.
Curiously, Obama invoked a space analogy, mentioning the Russian "Sputnik" satellite launched in 1957 and the American Apollo program that sent astronauts to the moon in 1969. And yet this president has effectively mothballed our space program at a time when China is moving rapidly forward with theirs.
The president's speech was all about new spending ("investment" he called it), no matter what he said about reducing the deficit. Spending on big government is what liberals do. No one should be fooled by the rhetoric, or the theatrics of congressional Republicans and Democrats sitting together. The Republican challenge is to stop the president's liberal agenda while making the case for a better one.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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