It is inherently American to work, to risk and to dream. Our government's policies should encourage that.
Last week, President Obama unveiled his eagerly anticipated jobs plan. After 43 minutes of his speechifying, Americans were left wondering: We waited 30 months for this?
Indeed, it seems Mr. Obama's first term has been spent advancing a legislative agenda that pays no mind to our ailing economy and the Americans whose sufferings are casualties in his ideological war. After a failed stimulus package, preferential industry bailouts, and the disastrous government overhaul of the health-care industry, it seems the plight of the American worker has remained an afterthought.
This is the worst jobs recovery since the Great Depression. If the Obama administration's aim was to merely tie for last place with the previous worst recovery, it would have created eight million more jobs, based on comparative data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If our recovery were more typical of the postwar era, as former Sen. Phil Gramm reported on this page in April, we would have 14 million more jobs today.
As a longtime leader in the business community, I know firsthand that government does not create jobs. It can only create the conditions in which businesses operate. These conditions can spur growth, or they can suppress it. The conditions imposed by the current administration have suppressed growth.
Still, there is hope. That hope begins with economic certainty, a sort of assurance the president seems unwilling to provide. I, on the other hand, have proposed a plan that would stabilize and grow our economy:
"Cain's Vision for Economic Growth," also known as the 9-9-9 Plan, is founded upon three guiding economic principles: Production drives the economy. Risk-taking creates growth. Units of measurement must be dependable.
The plan begins with restructuring the tax code to include the broadest possible base at the lowest possible rate. The elements are:
• A 9% corporate flat tax. Businesses would deduct purchases from other businesses and all capital investment. The resulting gross income is taxed at 9%.
• A 9% personal flat tax. Individuals would deduct charitable contributions, then pay 9% on the rest of their income. Capital gains are excluded.
• A 9% national sales tax. This levy would be placed on the consumption of all new goods. Used goods purchased would be excluded.
My plan would also permanently eliminate taxes on repatriated profits, as well as payroll taxes and the estate tax.
All of these measures would free up capital, spur production, and incentivize risk-taking, thereby fueling the economy and creating jobs. The plan has been designed to be revenue neutral initially, and then revenues would grow in line with the economy.
But these policies must be coupled with sound money. A dollar must be worth the same tomorrow as it is today. Stabilizing the dollar's value starts with the federal government taking significant measures to rein in its spending and pay down the national debt. Americans must be assured that the federal government will live within its means and get serious about eliminating our crippling debt. Repealing ObamaCare, Sarbanes-Oxley and the Dodd-Frank bank-regulation bill would be critical steps.
Finally, my plan promotes enterprise zones, also known as "empowerment zones." Coupled with tax reform and monetary stabilization, empowerment zones would revitalize inner cities by providing tax credits to businesses that hire workers living and working in underprivileged areas.
Some of the most tragic unemployment numbers can be found in minority communities and in urban centers around the country. Empowerment zones would create a whole new generation of wage-earners providing for their families. The late Jack Kemp, a secretary of the department of Housing and Urban Development and a dear friend, was one of the first lawmakers to propose empowerment zones. He understood the tremendous economic benefits they would provide.
Each job lost today is not merely a statistic. Americans are struggling to determine whether to pay their mortgages or buy groceries, whether to buy school uniforms or pay the electric bill.
Such despair is unfitting for the greatest nation the world has ever known. After all, it is inherently American to work, to risk and to dream. Our government's policies should encourage that, not stifle it.
Not sure I agree with all of this, but there are a lot of good thoughts and ideas.