The genius (and horror) of the Clinton Presidency was that, while advancing the growth of the liberal welfare state, he never did (or at least, after Hillarycare, never tried) things that would create obvious points of reference for labeling him as a liberal welfare statist. With Obama we have an even more horrific Presidency, but more clarity; his programs, his demeanor, his rhetoric, his cronies -- everything identifies him as a statist of the first order, i.e., not just a liberal or a progressive, but as a true socialist. And that makes the choice in the upcoming election a true choice... we can have more of Obama, or we can go in the 180 degree opposite direction. Riffing off of Victor Davis Hanson's list of policies Obama has introduced to harm the economy, Romney should promise to (and make this the mantra of his campaign) "do the opposite":
If one wanted to ensure permanent 8 percent to 9 percent unemployment, one might try the following:
1. Run up serial $1 trillion deficits
2. Add $5 trillion to the national debt in three and a half years... Romney needs to pledge and lay out a specific plan leading to a balanced budget by the end of his first term. We can't wait.
3. Impose a 2,400-page, trillion-dollar new federal takeover of health care, with layers of new taxation, much of it falling on the middle class and employers, even as favored concerns are given mass exemptions... Romney needs to pledge and then follow through on the repeal of Obamacare.
4. Scare employers with constant us/them class warfare rhetoric about a demonized one-percenter class and its undeserved profits; constantly talk about raising new taxes and imposing regulations, ensuring uncertainty and convincing employers of unpredictability in regulation and taxes. You cannot convince a country to go into permanent near-recession, but President Obama is doing his best to try.... Romney needs to pledge and then follow through on permanently lowering capital gains and dividend taxes, as well as marginal income tax rates, in order to re-incentivize the American investor/entrepreneurial class.
5. Appoint a bipartisan committee to study the fiscal crisis and then neglect all its recommendations.... Romney needs to adopt some hybrid of the Simpson-Bowles and Ryan plans with regard to reforming entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) to make them financially feasible in the future.
6. Subsidize failed green companies, while denigrating successful gas and oil concerns, as well as putting rich oil-and-gas federal leases off limits.... Romney needs to aggressively deregulate the energy industry, including pledging that the federal government will no longer subsidize some forms of energy production over others; he needs to open up drilling on federal lands and offshore; and he needs to rein in the EPA to allow the construction of new coal plants, new nuclear power plants, and new petroleum refineries. America has enough energy to create an economic Golden Age... no civilization in history has ever turned its back on its own wealth in such an irrational way.
7. Vastly increase unemployment insurance, disability, and food-stamp constituencies, while promising all sorts of mortgage, credit-card, and student-loan bailouts. Romney needs to pledge to reform the unemployment, disability and food-stamp programs, the bankruptcy code, and to get the federal government out of the mortgage industry and student-loan industry, period. We need to stop asking the responsible among us to subsidize the irresponsible. That's what's really "unfair" in the American economy.
8. Borrow hundreds of billions for stimulus programs that are not shovel ready, but are rather aimed to bail out state budgets, pensions, and unions.... The power of public employee unions must be broken. If I were Romney I would propose a constitutional amendment stating that public employment may not confer any property rights, including in pensions or retiree medical benefits, and that such benefits remain gratuities/gifts of the people that may be modified.
9. Federalize elements of non-profitable private companies, while threatening to shut down profitable plants for supposed union or environmental incorrect behavior.... Romney needs to pledge, and work to enact into law, a policy stating that the federal government will not intervene to bailout any company in any industry. The market will decide winners and losers, not political connections or cronyism.
One might add to this in foreign policy: be a friend to Israel and England, our best allies; stand firm against Iran, our enemy; support Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and all other countries of Eastern Europe who were once under the thumb of the Soviet Union; be suspicious of Russia, and vigilant in countering its aggression; be suspicious of China and vigilant in monitoring its expansion; be a friend to India, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand -- all of the countries of the broader Anglosphere; police our borders with Mexico. Etc., etc., etc. In all cases,
Do. The. Opposite.