With the 114th U.S. Congress having launched Jan. 3, it's time we the people step up and hold our representatives' political feet to the fire in order to see real, demonstrable change that will heal and improve our country, especially during these last two critical years of Barack Obama's presidency.
Here are my top 10 resolutions for the new Congress:
10) Reel in executive power and presidential orders.
I know that every president since the dawn of our republic has used executive orders. Theodore Roosevelt was the first to rack up over 1,000 during his nearly eight years in office. But it's time to return our country to the true balance of power that existed when the Founding Fathers carved our country. All but one president (John Adams) among the first five presidents were in office for eight years, and the highest number of executive orders used by any of them was eight. That was George Washington. Thomas Jefferson used four, and Adams, James Madison and James Monroe used one each.
9) Defund and repeal Obamacare.
The verdict is in. Obamacare doesn't save America money, red tape or heartache, and the worst is yet to come.
The Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics reported several ways in which Obamacare "will drastically limit access to life-saving medical treatment. ... These four areas include: the (40 percent) 'excess benefit' tax coming into effect in 2018, the current exclusion of adequate health insurance plans from the exchanges, present limits on senior citizens' ability to use their own money for health insurance, and federal limits on the care doctors give their patients to be implemented as soon as 2016."
Line by line, Congress needs to defund and repeal Obamacare. Then, instead of replacing it with another inept federal alternative, Congress needs to repeal any and all federal laws that restrict a free market in health care.
8) Restore the 10th Amendment and a real balance of power between the federal and state governments.
This would solve a host of federal overreaches. While they're minimizing the roles of executive orders and Obamacare, members of Congress should restore the original intent of the 10th Amendment and the balance of power to our states.
Our country would be light-years ahead of where it is if, before every thought of legislation, Washington paused to answer the question, "Did our founders intend for us to deal with this, or does it belong in the hands of another?"
If you wonder where the balance is, then listen to the wisdom written by a nearly 80-year-old Jefferson in 1823: "The States supposed that by their tenth amendment, they had secured themselves against constructive powers. They (have not learned from the past), nor (are they) aware of the slipperiness of the eels of the law. I ask for no straining of words against the General Government, nor yet against the States. I believe the States can best govern our home concerns, and the General Government our foreign ones. I wish, therefore, to see maintained that wholesome distribution of powers established by the constitution for the limitation of both; and never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold as at market."
7) Restore federal fiscal sanity and finally lower our national debt.
Back in 2010, I wrote in the expanded paperback version of my New York Times best-seller "Black Belt Patriotism": "Official government estimates forecast that (the national debt) will be double over the next decade. The White House has projected a cumulative $9 trillion deficit between 2010 and 2019, while the Congressional Budget Office estimates a more optimistic deficit as $7.1 trillion based upon higher revenues as Bush tax cuts expire. Washington's out-of-control spending could turn the nation's already-staggering $11 trillion debt into an astronomical $20 trillion."
We didn't even have to wait 10 years! Our worst financial nightmares have come true, as the national debt has nearly doubled under Obama, to a staggering $18.1 trillion.
How do we reduce the national debt? A start would be to do what we should do in our personal lives when our finances are out of control. We should cap and cut our spending, reduce our budget, allow the supply and demand levels to drop to points commensurate with our income (not credit line), learn to downsize and live within our means, limit high-cost fun and frivolity, and use what extra money we have to pay down our debt.
6) Our country needs the FairTax.
A recent widely circulated email incorrectly cites some higher taxes allegedly coming in 2015, but not all the stats are wrong. PolitiFact recently reported the accurate increases in various taxes under Obama:
In 2013, the top Medicare tax went from 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent because of Obamacare. This year, the dividends tax went from 15 percent to 23.8 percent because of "the high-income added Medicare tax under Obamacare." From 2010 to 2013, the estate tax went from zero percent to 40 percent.
PolitiFact also explained: "On Jan. 1, 2013, the top combined rate for the income and payroll tax went from 37.9 percent to 42.5 percent, or 43.4 percent due to the additional Medicare tax in the health care law. ... On Jan. 1, 2013, the highest capital gains tax rate rose from 15 percent to 20 percent. The Affordable Care Act's additional 3.8 percent Medicare tax for high-income earners can be added to make it 23.8 percent."
Any way you boil it -- whether you're directly hit by these taxes or you're indirectly hit through fiscal cuts, cost increases or a host of trickledown effects -- we're all paying higher taxes because of Obama's presidency.
What we need now more than ever is the FairTax, which is a flat tax. In short, the FairTax would do away with all taxes and put in their place a single consumptive tax. It's the closest practical modern proposal to the taxation system favored by America's founders. They did not penalize productivity through taxes the way we do today. They had no IRS. But they did tax imports. The founders believed in free trade within our own borders and a system of tariffs on imported goods.
Next week, I will give the remaining five resolutions for the new Congress.