Peter Rush: President Obama's inaugural address needs to announce tax and immigration reforms and major spending cuts
NEW YORK — Mr. President, the campaign is over, now it's time to govern. I don't expect you to confess to being a tax-and-spend liberal, but you might want to admit most Americans are getting a tax increase. They know it and that will clear the air going forward.
And as you go into your final four years as president, the big issues that were ignored or kicked down the road continue to exist. Our children and grandchildren will pay the price if we do not act now.
Washington has a spending problem. Why a Democratic-led administration cannot find any place to cut spending is ridiculous. Now that tax increases on the affluent have been passed, it's time to address the other side of the equation.
Keeping spending flat for several years would be a big step in the right direction. Entitlement reform is necessary and everyone knows it. The steps will not be popular but are necessary and the president must lead his party, not follow it, with specific entitlement reforms.
Tax reform is needed, but whenever that phrase is uttered, it means different things to different people.
The first place to start is with the original tax code — flat, and progressive with few exemptions. Special interests on both sides of the aisle will fight for their special constituents, but some are certainly expendable — does Hollywood really need a special tax credit?
Our current corporate tax rate is the highest in the world which makes the United States less competitive with its global rivals.
Under the current tax code, the small business formed as a Sub S Corporation or Limited Liability Corporation will pay 40 percent tax on profits while major corporations like General Electric or Google pay close to nothing. Doesn't this cry out for reform?
Undocumented individuals are another bipartisan cause that must be addressed. Both Democrats and Republicans know that we are not going to deport twelve million people. And many of these young undocumented individuals have spent nearly their entire life in the United States yet have no path to citizenship.
While there are emotional positions on all sides, providing a clear and predictable path to citizenship is the correct thing to do. It will take leadership and moral courage to accomplish it.
Energy independence has been a dream of politicians since the oil embargos of the 1970s. The country is now on the path through technological innovations to finally achieve it. The implications for the United States and the world are profound because it untethers the United States from the oil-oligarchies of the world.
The country needs fossil fuels and hiding behind clean energy rhetoric neither solves the problem nor leads to a solution. Having low-cost energy improves our manufacturing ability while it reduces our need for foreign engagements. Energy independence means a safer America.
In the wide world of foreign relations, it is better to be respected than loved. While the country continues to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan, the country needs to support our allies, democratically-elected pluralistic societies that share our basic understanding of freedom.
Finally, it is time to go back to your first campaign and bring some civility to our discourse. There are strong egos on both sides of the aisle, but politics doesn't have to be "I win, you lose" proposition.
As the president of all the people, you must provide the statesman's approach that allows all participants to share credit for accomplishments. As a second-term president writing his legacy, your major initiatives, if accomplished, will positively impact the lives of future generations.
Peter Rush is the author of "Class Tax, Mass Tax."
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