Perry’s Populist Proposal: Political Pandering or Realistic Reform?

  Bookmark and Share    As Texaxs Governor Rick Perry desperately tries to keep his poll numbers from falling through the fall, his campaign has adopted a strategy that is designed to capture the attention of voters by injecting politically unorthodox policies and reforms that are meant to portray him as the anti-establishment candidate. 

Perry began his campaign by declaring that he wanted to make government as inconsequential in our lives as possible.  That line drew attack from those on the left who can’t fathom government not being a major factor in our everyday lives, but it sparked hope in those on the right who believe that drastic measures must be taken to limit government.   If the Perry campaign had the discipline to move that message forward from the moment he uttered his presidential  intentions, he would probably be a lot further along among the Republican base and even the TEA Movement. 

For whatever reason, Perry’s stated intention went undeveloped as the campaign failed to focus and articulate that theme.  This strategy did briefly show itself when Perry came out with a flat tax proposal several weeks ago.  But in that proposal he was not alone.  Herman Cain had already his 9-9-9, hybridized flat tax plan and Newt Gingrich had introduced his own flat tax proposal months before Perry did. 

But the launch of his own flat tax proposal was a good, strong first step in the direction he set out in when he first launched his presidential.  It was late, but better late than never. 

However, since then, Perry has found himself spending more of his time making and explaining mistakes and verbal gaffes than he has spent defining himself.  In fact, instead of being able to define himself as the Beltway outsider and reformer-in-chief that he wants to be known as, he has been defined by verbal gaffes.   So much so that he has become a form of political comic relief and established a reputation as the blunderer in chief.

It is amid that backdrop that Governor Perry now tries to get back to being a serious reformer and he does so with an aggressive plan that proposes reforms the judiciary and Congress and the way it does business.

In its entireity, the proposal is a populist plan designed to tap in to the TEA movement-like frustration with government and politicians. 

While the proposal does indeed seem to be a collection of common sense reforms, and in many cases do offer some reforms that are worthy of following up on in general, it is little more than a shallow wish list of pandering political rhetoric.  So much so that, when lumped all together, the plan is rightly or wrongly seen as little more than a desperate attempt to  remain or given the reality of Perry’s campaign, to become a candidate who is not inconsequential in the race.

As I stated, not everything contained in the Perry reform plan is a waste of time.  There several significantly valuable reforms that should and must be pursued. In fact, most of it is quite reasonable.  The problem is that  when combined with some of the unrealistic aspects of the proposal, it is hard to understand how much of this plan is based on perry’s political resolve and how much of it is simply political pandering.

 I have long been an advocate of several of Perry’s suggestions, most notable is the proposal to require a 2/3 majority vote in order to raise taxes.  For the purposes of of a site called U4Prez, I included such a provision in y own Flat Tax proposal (note point #6).

Other realistic proposals of merit include, Perry’s entire section pertaining to regulatory reform, rreigning in the federal bureaucracy.  Many of these proposals which include such things as , eliminating three federal agencies, restructuring the Department of Homeland Security, auditing all federal agencies, privatizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, cutting duplicative services, and capping federal spending, are certainly what I would  I would consider to be “givens”.  While they are obvious to you and me, they are not obvious to politicians.  That makes them worth mentioning.

Other aspects of Perry’s plan seem to redundancies designed to make his proposal look more meaty.  This is especially the case when it comes to Perry’s numerous calls to audit each agency and to review all federal agencies from top to bottom.

All in all, the Perry proposal is a mix of good ideas and obvious campaign propaganda.  it is up to you to consider which is which and whether Perry is displaying his true political heart, or simply stretching his fingertips in a desperate attempt to hang on the cliff’s edge.



The Perry Reform Plan


Fundamental Reform of the Legislative Branch

•Establish a part-time, Citizen Congress, cutting congressional pay in half and allowing them to hold jobs in their states and communities.
•Slash congressional staff budgets and force lawmakers to do more of their own work.
•Criminalize insider trading by members of Congress.
•Amend the Freedom of Information Act to make it apply to Congress and the White House. 

Fundamental Reform of the Judiciary

•Nominate judges who respect the Constitution and who will not make law from the bench.
•End life-time appointments to the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary through Constitutional Amendment.
Fundamental Reform of the Executive Branch

Regulatory Reform and Reigning in the Federal Bureaucracy

Regulatory Reform

•Halt all pending federal regulations, order an audit of every regulation passed since 2008 and repeal those not affordable, effective and appropriate.
•Pass legislation to automatically end federal regulations unless Congress renews them.
•Require federal agencies to justify every dime every year – including a specified regulatory budget for each agency.
•Develop an online, searchable database of all current federal regulations.

Federal Bureaucracy

•Eliminate the Department of Commerce, Department of Education and the Department of Energy, consolidating key programs into other agencies.
•Restructure and reform the Department of Homeland Security (including transitioning the Transportation Security Administration to a public-private partnership) and the EPA.
•Review all federal departments from the top-down.
•Privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
•Order a Full Audit of all federal agencies to identify waste, fraud, and abuse within the executive branch.
•Work with Congress to require that duplicative programs actually get cut.

Fundamental Spending Reform

Balance the Federal Budget

•Fight for a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) that protects against tax and spending increases.
•Cut Congressional pay in half if Congress fails to propose a long-term balanced budget. Freeze federal civilian hiring and salaries until the budget is balanced.
•Veto any budget bill that contains earmarks, and work with Congress to ban them.
•End federal bailouts.
•Cap federal spending at 18% of GDP and balance the budget by 2020.
•Reduce non-Defense discretionary spending by $100 Billion in the first year.
•Pass a law that requires Congress to reduce existing spending equal to or greater than any new proposed federal spending.
•Work with Congress to institute automatic Government Shut-down Protection.
•Veto bills with new, unfunded mandate on states, local communities, or schools.
•End Baseline Budgeting and require common-sense scoring rules.
•Require Emergency Spending to be spent only on emergencies.
•Pass legislation requiring a two-thirds majority for any tax increase.

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One Response

  1. […]   The commercial than refers to several populist points from Perry’s recent multifaceted, reform proposal that seeks to change the way government does business by reforming both the government  process […]

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