Tue, 03 Mar 2009 21:10:40 +0000 – By Marc RottermanSenior Fellow, John Locke Foundation/Former Reagan Administration Political Appointee
President Obama and the Democrats who control Congress have a plan for the radical leftward transformation of the economy. They want to raise taxes, raise spending, and increase regulation to levels not seen since the 1970s--or the 1930s.
At a time when even liberal Democrats, such as Jim Cramer, are afraid that President Obama is taking America off a cliff with his left-wing agenda, it is time for Republicans to put aside feuds and factionalism and get serious about pulling together an alternative vision, a new plan of their own.
I propose a conference on economic policy, to be held in Washington. Nothing fancy, nothing overly elaborate -- because the situation is urgent--Republicans have to block the multi-front Obama agenda of tax increases, more Wall Street bailouts, socialized medicine, "cap and trade" energy policies, and, yes, thousands and thousands of new earmarks.
Participants could include Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, and a leading economic reformer. Other possible participants could include Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.), a leading conservative in the House, and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, who has emerged as perhaps the most biting critic of the various bailouts.
In addition, Republicans--and all Americans--need to hear from such great free-market economists as Steve Forbes, Steve Moore, Larry Kudlow, Art Laffer, Dave Smick, and Larry Lindsey.
The conference should be held in honor of former Republican Congressman Jack Kemp, the man who converted much of America--including Ronald Reagan--to the new idea of supply side economics back in the 1970s. It was "Reaganomics," of course, that saved America from the "stagflation" of the Jimmy Carter era. Unfortunately, Kemp is very sick now and will probably be unable to attend.
So the logical convener of the conference would be one of Jack's close allies in the House, the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich -- the GOP's idea man.
This New Republican Economic Agenda Conference should be take place in Washington but beamed, via TV and the interactive Internet, to the entire country. Why? Because Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public need to be part of this debate, too.
Everyone understands how urgent the situation is. Now the time has come to do something.
Marc Rotterman is a Senior Fellow at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh NC and a former political appointee in the Reagan administration.