What Is to Be Done? Trump Has Some Ideas

Donald Trump has come out with his “Contract with the American Voter.” Hmmm, where have we heard this “contract” language before? Do I see the roly-poly profile of the person who’s name rhymes with “flute” lurking in the shadows?

Actually this is a good idea for Trump. Beyond the wall, tax cut plan, and his views of tighter scrutiny for Muslim immigrants, he’s been lacking in details. His contract is quite specific, offering 28 specific items in four separate groupings. The first six are the things he pledges to on his first day in office. Let’s take them in order:

  • FIRST, propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.

Probably still a popular idea, but of dubious effect. California has had term limits for 26 years now, and it hasn’t made much difference for the better that I can tell. But if President Trump really wants to get the full attention of Congress, he should go one step further than say that if Congress doesn’t pass and send to the states a term limit amendment, he will ask the states to call for an Article V convention to adopt term limits and a balanced budget amendment. It’s another bad idea whose time has come, as I argued in Forbes a couple years ago.

  • SECOND, a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health).

Better would be a call to reform civil service laws so that federal employees can be fired, and not just reduced by attrition. Trump is good at saying “you’re fired.” Why not ask for broader power to do this with federal employees, especially the ones who hold the American public in such contempt.

  • THIRD, a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.

A nice gimmick, but clever bureaucrats will figure out ingenious ways around this, just as they have gamed the cost-benefit analysis process that the Reagan people imposed on regulators back in the 1980s. Better to demand passage of the REINS Act (which stands for “Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny”), which will require Congress to approve all new regulations that would impose a cost of $100 million or more. Also, Trump should also demand an end to “informal” regulation through “guidance” letters (such as the egregious Title IX regime that would never make it through the formal rule making process).

  • FOURTH, a 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service.
  • FIFTH, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
  • SIXTH, a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.

These three sound fine to me. Just make sure that there aren’t loopholes for ex-officials to be “lobbyists” without having to be formally registered as lobbyists. Right now these simple bans would be easy to get around.

These and the other ideas on the rest of his statement would have been great for Trump to bring up during the debates. Among other things, then the media would have had to cover them. Moreover, if he made more of these proposals instead of tweeting about rotund beauty queens and etc., he might be running away with this election. A couple other highlights from the list:

  •   FIFTH, I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job- producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.
  •   SIXTH, lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward.
  •   SEVENTH, cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.
  •   THIRD, cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities.

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