We live in an age of customization. Virtually everything we buy can be tailored to our specific wants and needs: we choose our favorite ingredients when we order Chipotle, we choose which apps we use on our smartphones, we choose the clothes we wear. However, America’s public policy doesn’t always reflect the people’s inclination to choose what is best for their individual needs.
Our government systematically neglects that uniquely American inclination to choose and has been doing so since the early 20th century. Progressives within the Democratic Party continually formulate policies upon the underlying notion that average Americans are incapable of making sound decisions for themselves. These inherently anti-choice policies come in the form of centralized programs such as Social Security, Federal education standards, and socialized healthcare.
Opponents of option-oriented policy solutions, like DNC Chairman Tom Perez, will spin the conservative position by making bold and outrageous claims like, “Republicans don’t give a [expletive] about people.” It may be news to some, but the truth is that conservatives do care for the betterment of Americans by championing real pro-choice policies…and in our case, millions do not in fact die.
In 1935, the Federal Government set up a system where 6.2% of a worker’s paycheck is withheld and used to finance payouts to current retirees. This means what is paid in payroll taxes is not set aside; it is not invested and the money does not grow. It was sold as a retirement savings program called Social Security. In actuality, it is a government calculated rationing system and it is slated to exhaust by 2035.
Give some credit to the American tradition of pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps. Let workers keep the money they earn. Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich explains, “We want you to have money in your pocket, a better job, a greater future, more money in your 401(k) for retirement. [Democrats] want all that money for their bureaucrats and their giveaways. You pick which team you like.”
Moving toward a system that allows the average American to manage his or her own finances is certainly attainable. Financial literacy is a vital life skill and needs to be taught, just like Math, English, and Science. Younger generations need to be educated in the subjects of Personal Finance and Economics in order to make informed decisions on how to save, spend, and invest. A move to phase out the payroll tax in exchange for pushing financial literacy will create a more economically independent society.
Coloring Outside the Lines:
Regardless of political affiliation, many agree that the current education system is deeply flawed. There is an overwhelming sense that the nation’s public schools are not effectively preparing our children for adulthood.
The problem lies in progressives’ inclination to opt for the Federal Government to control education. Lifting Federal standards from local school districts allow states and localities to experiment in a more market-oriented environment. Schools that are not as successful will at least have the flexibility to look toward schools that find what works and follow suit. Governing bodies that are closer to the people they serve, will hear their constituencies’ needs and are better situated to design education systems based on those needs.
Current law also designates students to attend a school based on where he or she lives. The only alternatives are private or homeschooling, which can become costly. School vouchers and education savings accounts (ESA) are revenue neutral solutions that afford parents the funding mechanisms to control where they send their children to learn. Conservatives have long championed vouchers and education savings accounts, claiming parents have a much greater sense than the Federal Government for what best serves their children’s educational needs.
The debate regarding the government’s role in healthcare is a symptom of a bigger problem and one that both liberals and conservatives can agree on; the cost of healthcare is too high.
Continuing the trend, the high cost of care can be credited to the U.S. government’s involvement in what should be an open pharmaceutical and healthcare market. It costs hundreds of millions of dollars in FDA trials to put a new drug on the market, making it increasingly difficult for small pharma to compete.
Laws on the books also prohibit individuals from purchasing insurance plans from an out-of-state provider. Thirty-three states have between two to four providers in the individual market. Five states only have one. Less competition in both cases leads to fewer options from which to choose, driving up costs for the consumer.
Conservative policy solutions include lowering the barrier of entry by cutting some of the regulatory processes burdened by the FDA. Conservatives are also pushing to open the individual health insurance market so that the consumer is not limited to one state’s health provider options, but gets an entire 50 states worth of options that best suit their medical and financial needs.
The Common Denominator:
When more government is involved, our options are reduced with very little consideration for quality and cost. It is easy to say we love “freedom” here in America, but we need to remember what that freedom entails. We live in an age of customization, whether it is designing your gym playlist or planning out the means of your retirement. Conservatives truly understand that, and recognize government as only a facilitator of freedom.
While progressives reach for one-size-fits-all programs, conservatives are leading the charge to open up more options and real choice for Americans to live a good life.