A Handshake, Not a “Contract with America”

Newt Gingrich’s new “Strategy Memo: Time for a Real Stimulus Bill” is helpful on highlighting tax cuts that could stimulate business’ capacity for job and wealth creation–but it needs a vastly more developed vision of limited government than it contains.

When I first read the piece today I didn’t’ think he had any government spending cuts or reductions in scope of govt at all, then noticed some welcome liberalization of offshore drilling, and some privatization. But apart from that, the Strategy outline doesn’t seem to contain much apart from rolling back some of the spending insults of the past 10 months to pay for tax cuts. Those make some sense; but along with no overarching vision of limited government–that is, the bounds of what Washington can and should do in our lives in our modern economy–there’s no “deregulatory stimulus.”

We do need tax reforms like we see in the Strategy outline, but also need to reduce the scope of government that leads to the calls for taxes in the first place. We haven’t even bugun to properly talk about the kind of sweeping spending cuts actually needed. We also need to “liberate to stimulate,” and at CEI have proposed numerous options in that regard. These include:

–A freeze on government regulation;
–A “Regulatory Reduction Commission” to weed out decades of bad rules;
–A radical abandoment of so-called “antitrust” law, a step essential to getting government off the backs of our economy’s greatest wealth-creating sectors
–Limiting the scope of meddlesome, turf-expanding agencies like the Federal Communications Commission
–A more ambitious “R3” program at the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy to give entrepreneurs an avenue to protest onerous rules pouring out of more than 60 agencies;
–The beginnings of “regulatory budgeting”;
–Ends to unfunded mandates on lower-level governments;
–Requiring congressional approval of any major or controversial new agency rule, henceforth.

There are many more steps to be taken, but the point is, any attempt to stimulate the economy today requires a vastly more radical commitment to rooting out statism’s underbrush than in this new Memo by Newt.