Ross Mackenzie

Herewith some key policy recommendations for the second Bush administration now forming up - with emphasis on a biggie. . . .

Among others, the new administration should do these things:

- Complete the mission in Iraq and move to a strategy of coalition troops in key locations as ultimate backups while stable, unified democracy takes root there.

- Track all illegal aliens (including terrorists) in the United States, and move to temporary-worker cards for legals.

-Crack the legislative code on the liberal Democratic lock stymieing so many administration nominees to the federal bench.

- Infuse the environmental "problem" with free-market solutions.

- Likewise, infuse the developing energy shortage with incentives that will bring about energy independence.

- Enact a private-investment corollary to Social Security, now facing unfunded liabilities of $26 trillion. As even Bill Clinton pointed out, the only options for reforming Social Security are: raise taxes, cut benefits, or invest privately. John Kerry ruled out the first two; President Bush embraced the last.

- Permanentize the Bush tax cuts and eliminate the estate tax.

- Further, simplify the tax code - truly simplify it, even through a revenue-neutral flat tax whereby taxes would be filed via hardly more than a post card asking, How much did you make last year from all sources? The tax paid would be a stipulated low percentage of that amount.

-And - the biggie - move to one year of compulsory universal service with a front-end military component for all men and women 18-23.

This is the biggie because - well, let's go back.

It is clear our standing active-duty military is too small and currently stretched thin by demands in Afghanistan and Iraq - with the prospect of difficulties with the likes of Iran and North Korea to come. We are overstressing our Reserve and Guard forces through rarely envisioned long-term use of their services.

It is equally clear the nation could benefit hugely from an enhanced sense of service on the part of the young. Compulsion and service are notions commonly - but not exclusively - fostered by the left. For example, in the presidential campaign just ended, Kerry floated a plan as part of his Real Deal to (his words) "require service for high-school students":

John Kerry believes we need to think big and do better and get more young Americans serving the nation. As part of his 100-day plan to change America, (he) will propose a comprehensive plan that includes requiring mandatory service for high-school students.

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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