The Dark Pony Party rides Again - 2008!Our two political parties have done it again. By throwing accusations at each other, Democrats and Republicans have skillfully distracted us from a painful truth.

Both parties are utterly worthless.

Outraged over the additional bi-partisan billions in spending tacked onto the bailout bill, readers have suggested that the best possible action is to vote against every single incumbent, regardless of party. No doubt some readers will call this a childish response to the current mess.

But is it? Do you seriously think re-electing the current crew, regardless of party, will promote better change than a complete reboot?

So the Dark Pony party is, reluctantly, running again. Vote Scott Burns for President of the United States. Vote for Brooks Hamilton as Vice President. Mr. Hamilton, a Dallas ERISA attorney, is a friend and patriot. He’s also an experienced hand at change. Mr. Hamilton was the prime mover in “Reinventing Retirement Income in America,” a paper we wrote for the National Center for Policy Analysis in 2001. Many 401(k) plans have since implemented suggestions we made in that paper. Here are the major changes America needs now:

  • Truth in Accounting. The government of the United States is the largest insurance company in the world. It was a de-facto insurance company more than half a century before it involuntarily became the owner of 80 percent of AIG. Politicians of both parties have lied to us for years about our financial condition because our government keeps its books on a cash basis. Cash accounting is a good method for Kool-Aid stands. But it doesn’t work when trillion dollar promises have been made to every American for future health, retirement, and disability benefits. When I am President, we will account for government spending in a way that recognizes the magnitude of future commitments and liabilities. If we did that, Republicans would no longer be able to talk about cutting taxes. Democrats would no longer be able to talk about cutting taxes and initiating expensive new programs. What few politicians, of either ilk, will admit is that we’re going to be flat out trying to fulfill the promises that have already been signed into law.
  • Truth in legislation. In the future, all legislation will be tracked by its revenue support. This means that politicians who have participated in the development of legislation will have to declare how much money they have received from the lobbies that do most of the actual writing of legislation. An alternative is to put them all on straight commission and terminate all benefits for legislators. Either plan will do just fine.
  • A simple tax code that can’t be bought. The only way we will reduce corruption and the power of lobbies is to end the ability to give tax breaks to those who pay for them. That means chucking the entire tax code. It means eliminating the corporate tax, the personal income tax, the employment tax and the estate tax. We need to replace the entire morass of current tax law with the Fair Tax proposal--- a national sales tax. The sales tax is coupled with a cash distribution to every household in America. The cash distribution will make the sales tax system progressive. Progressive means that the more you spend--- the more you benefit from the cornucopia of America--- the more you pay in taxes. Saving will not be taxed.
  • Simplified health insurance. Let’s end the Byzantine complexity of health insurance. First, health insurance would be a personal decision, not a (possible) employee benefit. Second, citizens would have a choice of health care insurance policies with different levels of benefits, just as retirees can choose between different levels of benefits when they choose a Medigap policy. Policies designed with incentives for healthy living--- exercise, diet, etc. --- would be expected to have lower premiums than policies without those incentives. When the Fair-Tax plan is in place, all households would receive an additional cash pre-bate that would help them pay for their health insurance.
  • A Manhattan Project for Energy. During World War II hundreds of talented scientists disappeared through a doorway at 109 East Palace in Santa Fe. They went to work on a top secret government project to create the atomic bomb. We need the peacetime equivalent of that project today--- deep government supported investment in all modes of energy efficiency and energy from alternative sources. We’ve already taken two economic knock-downs. Let’s avoid a third.

On the web:

The Dark Pony Party Rides Again (September 12, 2004)

Enough of This Tom Foolery--- Vote for Me!

Brooks Hamilton column collection:

NCPA: Reinventing Retirement Income in America:

The Coming Generational Storm: