Friday, April 15, 2005

Another New Idea.

I have long advocated the need for Progressives to start controlling the agenda by proposing wholly new and original ideas. I’ve proposed advocating for a cap on CEO salaries, for example, or pushing for a real national pension system.

Here’s a new one.

Remember how the Repubs made so much hay from the idea of a “balanced budget amendment” years ago? Of course it was nutty from a policy perspective, but it enabled them to portray themselves as being in favor of fiscal restraint and discipline, and quite opposed to the free-spending Washington spenders (which were thought in those days to be Dems, since we controlled the Congress).

I have an idea for something similar. How about a constitutional amendment prohibiting any state from receiving more in federal benefits than it pays into the federal treasury in taxes?

This would allow us to portray ourselves as in favor of state-level fiscal responsibility, and against free-loading states whose grip on the federal treasury allows them to take advantage of the hard working folks of the states that pay their fair share.

Now, one problem with this strategy is that it doesn’t do much to bolster the confidence and stature of red-staters, given that the main point is to show these folks that without help from their blue state neighbors, they wouldn’t be able to afford stop signs. But I wonder if there’s a way to re-work this idea so that it would serve the purpose of showing how detrimental it would be to the Repubs’ base if they actually got their wish – a federal government that only spent on defense, and also of showing how re-distribution of wealth is not evil or inherently unfair (as we will no doubt be hearing when the Pres chucks Soc. Sec. “reform”/phase-out in favor of “tax refom”/middle class tax increases.

Just throwing this one out there.

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