Retirement and Social Security Reform
Riding In To Fix Failure: Four Rs Of Reaganism
Investor's Business Daily
June 8, 2012
By Ernest S. Christian and Gary A. Robbins
Four Republican Pillars: Do Mitt Romney, Sen.
Rob Portman, Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Marco Rubio herald a
second coming for the small-government . . .
"God moves in mysterious ways" - and so too does
the remarkably self-correcting course of U.S. history. The
sometimes balky Republican Party has been given an urgent
assignment: It must lead a second Reagan Revolution that replaces
government-induced failure with private-sector success.
The vital ingredients of Reaganism 2.0 are individual achievement
and community common sense -- a formula with a proven track
record in both the private and public sectors. Government
does not have to be clumsy and wasteful, but it does need
to be small and on a short leash.
The gloomy alternative is the failed big-government formula
embraced by President Obama. First, it creates failure with
high taxes and excessive spending. Then, it subsidizes failure
with more spending and even higher taxes in a self-perpetuating
We are already in the fourth year of trillion-dollar annual
deficits, likely headed for a fifth, and, at the president's
insistence, next January the economy will be hit with a gigantic
tax increase. No wonder jobs are scarce.
Mr. Obama is on course to push tax rates back up to 70%, the
top rate in 1981 before Ronald Reagan came to the rescue and
reduced it first to 50% and then to 28%.
Reagan was the ultimate non-Obama -- a happy and successful
president who helped Americans help themselves. There was
nothing mean-spirited or bitter about him. Unlike Obama, he
would never pit American against American or sneer at those
who cling stubbornly to religion and the Constitution. Reagan
was himself devoted to God and freedom.
He was proud of America and America was proud of him. He took
office at a bad time, when the economy was sinking into a
recession. He quickly cut taxes and launched a successful
economic recovery that in the third year (1983) had already
pushed the GDP growth rate up to 4.5%. For the remaining five
years of his presidency, GDP averaged a robust 4.1%.
Obama took office near the end of a recession. He increased
deficits and debt and never produced an adequate economic
recovery. From the second quarter of 2009 through the last
quarter of 2010, the average growth rate was only 2.5% - which
is not even sufficient to keep up with new entrants in the
job market due to population growth, much less to provide
jobs for the pre-existing unemployed.
In Obama's third year (2011), the GDP growth rate was only
1.7% (compared to Reagan's 4.5%). In the first quarter of
2012, it was only 1.9%. Further decline seems likely.
The four Rs of the much-needed second Reagan Revolution are
Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio and Rob Portman. Together
they can get Washington's boot off the economy's neck and
let Americans be Americans. Jobs and prosperity can then return
Romney is the skilled chief executive ready to take on history's
largest "turnaround" job - restructuring the federal
government into an efficient, financially sound enterprise
that uplifts (instead of downgrades) the American people.
If he succeeds, America will succeed.
Ryan is both the thought leader of the emerging new 21st century
Republican Party and the natural inheritor of Reaganism. He
is a happy warrior who accentuates the positive and inspires
others. People understand and agree when Ryan explains in
flawlessly accurate but simple terms the inevitably adverse
consequences of excessive federal taxes and spending: the
two things that lie at the heart of the failed Obama administration
and that have cost the Americans so dearly for many decades.
The goal of Reaganism 2.0 is to make people exponentially
better off - first, by making government smaller and the job-creating
private economy larger; second, by using free-market principles
to make government and needed government programs work better
at less cost to the taxpayers.
Success means that no one is harmed, all are benefited. Washington
must stop playing favorites, hurting some Americans, rewarding
others, and, in the end, making everyone worse off.
Ryan, Portman and Rubio all have the intellectual and other
capacities to be ideal running mates for Romney - and on their
own - to be outstanding presidents. A half-dozen Republican
governors are also more than capable of ascending to the White
House. And the Reagan-oriented talent pool in Congress is
Extraordinary progress can quickly be made by a skilled chief
executive assisted by Cabinet officers and others who are
themselves capable of being good presidents - but only if
they all remain true to the spirit of Reagan, cheerfully putting
America's interests first and their own last.
Christian is a lawyer and former Treasury tax official
who served on President Reagan's transition team in 1980 and
helped draft the original Reagan tax reforms enacted in 1981.
Robbins is an economist who served at the Treasury Department