A Modest (?) Proposal

I am a defense/fiscal conservative, and while I am grateful to get a small bit of my money back via the stimulus bill, I am also outraged at both the pork and how it was done. Now, the President is proposing yet another multi-trillion stimulus bill aimed at infrastructure. For all that we need to put some serious money into infrastructure, this is not the time or the best way to do it in my opinion.

Over on Twitter, I put forth a recommendation on what should pass to get us going again. It would not add to the deficit per se, and would give us a great shot at a even better economy. I invited others to join in, and got some good ideas. I want to explore those a bit now, as I would like to have something to present that would form the basis of several good pieces of legislation. Why several? It would allow a better chance of keeping pork out, and let’s face it, Pelosi, Schumer, et al are going to do all they can to prevent an effective response and to add in everything they can think of to any legislation. This must be prevented at all costs.

We need to decouple from China hard and fast. For me, that means not buying anything from China unless it is a true emergency or there is no other current source. Note the current, as I expect to see many companies move out on their own. But, we need to push that hard, and grease the skids as much as we can. How?

First, we need to recognize Taiwan. Let’s cut the bull and do it. They are sending us masks and more right now, and have been a reliable ally and partner on multiple levels for decades. They deserve better than they have gotten. So, first bill is a simple and straightforward recognition of them — screw One China. Also, as a part of this, per Commander Salamander, we need to place limits on the number of PRC students and investigators in the U.S. Again, multiple stories and links to some of those professors and students both stealing samples and intel to take back to China, and to bring dangerous agents into the U.S. They are a disproportionate number of our STEM graduate programs. Also, such a law should ban efforts to by influence and places within academia either directly or through friendship centers and other means of indirect funding.

Second, we need to take a hard look at all the rules, regulations, laws, and bureaucrats who have hampered our response. If you’ve read my daily updates, there are link after link to stories showing how the CDC, FDA, and others have hampered — and still are hampering — a fast, effective response after creating the need for that response. Then, create a bill that returns these agencies to a focus on their prime mission rather than all the mission creep they have added on, and puts limits on future expansion as well as putting into law ways to step aside normal function when in an emergency. Some form of sanctions for those individuals or agencies who do so is needed. It will also need to explicitly render existing laws that hampered response null and void. In addition, the President needs to issue orders to eliminate as many of the excess regulations as possible.

Third, while it could go in the first bill, some form of meaningful tort reform and immunity from frivolous lawsuits and other attempts to place ridiculous indemnities on companies and individuals that step up in the face of an emergency. Again, if you go through my updates here, and on Twitter, you will find links to stories where companies could not step up as they would have faced company-ending lawsuits if things were not perfect. While there are some rules in place for situations like this, again, the bureaucracy sat on things until forced to extend those protections. How many will have suffered or died as a result? End it, now.

Fourth, introduce legislation that will provide tax incentives to companies to encourage making in America as much as possible, and to reward moving anything that can’t be done here from China to other, more friendly and free countries. There are a number of such out there, and if we go for a global distribution of such, we cut down on dependence on any one geographic area outside of the U.S. Anything done overseas must be predicated on free and fair trade, to the benefit of all parties. If no free and fair trade, no deal.

Note, not funding, but tax and other incentives that will encourage businesses to return as many functions as possible to the U.S. It will also need to encompass the other industries needed to support such efforts, from logistics to those that supply components/ingredients/etc. to those businesses. Just removing the regulatory overburden will help, but if we encourage without directly funding, we can get a booming economy quickly, without adding to the deficit.

Fifth, this pandemic having unleashed American ingenuity, provide tax incentives to companies and individuals to continue to modernize and manufacture the better/cheaper medical and other devices being designed right now. The Obama-era war on the medical/biomedical industries needs to end now. This is the right time to do so, and to encourage innovation in all fields. Remove the regulatory burden and make it possible to make a profit, and watch out.

Sixth, the degree that attempts by state and local governments to restrict the growth and improvement of hospitals has been shown to be a clear and present danger to the Republic and it’s Citizens. These laws need to be struck down on a state and local level, but we may also need a Federal bill to open the healthcare system up to the free market. This also needs to extend to the medical insurance industry, which needs reform and the removal of burdensome regulations that have made it bloated and expensive. Any such bill should formally end the restrictions on telemedicine, which have been waived for now. Telemedicine can and will help expand medicine into both poorer areas and areas with lower population density; and, telemedicine offers opportunities to deal with future pandemics while minimizing the risk to medical professionals and other responders.

Seventh, provide tax incentives to companies and individuals to develop better monitoring and modeling systems so that we can better identify and respond to pandemics and other emergencies. Even in the face of lying by any government anywhere. Better open-source intelligence could have prevented much of the disaster we face, as well as botched responses by any number of governments. Global companies have security sections that are, in many cases, supposed to look for such signs. Let’s see if there is a way to expand their ability to do so, as well as companies custom-built to provide that service. They are going to be far more agile and responsive to changes in technology and systems for response than any government agency (where this is the way we’ve always done it and Not Invented Here rule).

So, there you go. A modest set of proposals for consideration and rational discourse. If we trim the government, especially the regulatory environment, provide legal protections needed (along with tort reform), watch America take off. This will provide prosperity and an economy better than before without the corrosive effects and financial insolvency of WPA/ShovelingIt II.


UPDATE 1: Legislation to defund WHO based on COVID-19 and covering for China. Sound idea in my mind.