I picked up a five things to-do list from Grover Cleveland over at Pileus Blog if he were supreme ruler of the land. He in turn got his 5 from a prompt by Angus over at Kids Prefer Cheese. If readers have any more Top 5 lists they’ve come across let me know and I’ll link them accordingly.
Anyway, here are Angus’s Top 5:
1. Increase the inflow of immigrants, especially skilled immigrants.
2. Increase school choice, especially for lower income families.
3. Big tax reform with a broad base, low rates, and a carbon tax included in the mix.
4. Use a combination of size limits, leverage limits, and capital requirements that move with size/leverage to reduce the frequency with which finance blows up the economy (instead of trying to micro-manage a la Dodd-Frank / Volcker rule).
5. De-porkify the Federal Government (Dept. of Agriculture, Ex-Imp bank, small business administration, military procurement).
Other priority items would be work to privatize public universities,work for a “trade not aid” approach to developing countries, and work on patent reform.
While Grover Cleveland lists his Top 5 in this order:
1. End sugar subsidies in the US. This would save consumers and other sugar users about $4 billion or so (see here for more on this).
2. Repeal the 17th Amendment to increase the power of the states in the federal government.
3. Declare victory in the Cold War, retire NATO, and bring back all of our soldiers from Europe (though I would still have a bilateral deal with Italy to keep a Navy base in the region). Obviously, this would end our Article 5 treaty obligation that currently commits the US to the collective defense of states such as Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia – among too many others – against armed attack.
4. Rewrite the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution so that precedents such as Wickard v. Filburn will by logic be overturned and ObamaCare clearly ruled unconstitutional.
5. Strengthen protection for private property by adding an explicit ban on the use of eminent domain for private purposes to the takings clause of the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
All ten of these are really good. I like Cleveland’s more than Angus’s, but notice how subsidies, immigration reform, and tax reform are all big issues. If I were supreme leader here would be my Top 5:
- End all farm subsidies and enact bilateral or multilateral trading treaties with as many African states as possible. I would focus on states in the Gulf of Guinea and work on issues of land reform and property rights with leaders in this region.
- Overhaul our entire immigration policy. I’d like to see Canadians, Mexicans, folks from the Caribbean, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Chilean, and northern Europeans be able to move freely between their home states and ours, and fewer restrictions upon others as our trade ties deepen between them and us.
- I’d get rid of the current tax system as well (including the repeal of the 16th amendment), and replace it with something along the lines of those proposed by Henry George. A tax on land and
resourcespollution but nothing else seems more than reasonable to me.
- I’d get our troops out of Europe (and abolish NATO), Korea, and Japan. This could be offset, however, if we were to include the states we protect into a broader free trade zone like the one we have here in the US. Think about it this way: instead of reaching from Hawaii to Maine, the new free trade zone would reach from South Korea to Slovakia and Estonia (and Turkey!).
- I would either impose term limits on Senators (but not House members) or repeal the 17th amendment so that, like Grover Cleveland stated, there can be much more decentralization in the political process. Also, I would include a nullification clause a la Randy Barnett where 2/3 of state legislatures would be able to overturn federal laws if they so wished.
What would be your Top 5? I am a little bit shocked that ending the drug war didn’t show up on any of our lists. Would ending the War on Drugs be in your Top 5?