Monday, November 28, 2011

My Letter to the RonPaul2012 Campaign

Recently I received in the mail the “Executive Summary” of “Ron Paul’s ‘Plan to Restore America”—a report in which the candidate states his plan to

  1. Slash spending by $1 trillion in his first year as president by eliminating five cabinet-level departments (i.e., Energy, HUD, Commerce, Interior and Education) and several other major reforms
  2. Dramatically overhaul entitlements
  3. Cut government waste
  4. Reduce taxes
  5. Slash away at over-regulation
  6. Audit the Federal Reserve System

Mind you, I think all of these are worthwhile goals and probably should be undertaken. However, I think Paul has little chance of selling his ideas to the American public as they are stated in his campaign document.

Here is what I wrote to the campaign:

28 November 2011


Congressman Ron Paul
Ron Paul 2012 PCC
P.O. Box 2012
Lake Jackson, TX 77566

Re: Ron Paul’s “Plan to Restore America”

The Honorable Ron Paul:

I have no illusions about this letter actually being read by Ron Paul—at least in its first reading. However, I would urge whoever is giving it its first reading not to toss it aside lightly. I am confident that you will find it worthwhile to read through what I have to say and to not take it too lightly.

A day or two ago I received your campaign’s mailing of the Executive Summary – Ron Paul’s “Plan to Restore America”. I do not know if a full version (not an executive summary) exists. However, I am 100 percent confident that—expressed as it is in the document before me—the plan will be rejected by the vast majority of voters and will lead to the downfall of Ron Paul’s campaign efforts.

Nevertheless, I believe the plan has merits. The problem is that I do not believe the American people will accept the actions necessary to turning “fish soup” back into an “aquarium” in giant leaps or without some accommodations. We must realize—as I am certain Congressman Paul does—that market interventions by the government result in making some people or groups “winners,” while placing others at a disadvantage. Necessary, but draconian, measures to unwind big government will, as a result, create entirely new sets of “winners” and “losers.”

In order to make these changes palatable to enough of the citizenry to maintain generalized political support for these changes, some temporary accommodations during the transition from the “old order” to the “new order” will almost certainly be necessary. These accommodations—or some suggested accommodations—must certainly be included in “the plan” articulated for the voters.

For example, let us suppose that a thorough examination of the likely effects of dismantling the U.S. Department of Education will cause the disemployment of some 8,000 workers—about 4,000 department employees and another 4,000 contractors or those in state departments of education whose positions will likely be terminated as a result of the federal closure.

Simply throwing these folks out on the street will be distasteful to them, to their families, to the unions, and (probably) to millions of good-hearted voters all across the U.S. These employees and contractors, who were once made “winners” by the economic intervention of the U.S. Department of Education, will now suddenly become “losers” as the result of the department’s closing.

However, if a temporary accommodation were to be made for them, then many of those who would likely raise raucous opposition to the department’s closing would be silenced by the apparent “fairness” with which the matter is being handled.

One way of accomplishing this might be to set up a prorated severance pay arrangement somewhat along these lines:

Years of Employment

Months of Continuing Pay

More than 20 years


More than 10 but less than 20


More than 8 but less than 10


More than 5 but less than 8


More than 3 but less than 5


More than 1 but less than 3


Less than 1 year

0.5 * Months

Such an action does the following:

  1. Recognizes that changes in government does, in fact, create new “winners” and “losers”
  2. Helps make those closely attached to the situation more supportive of the change
  3. Provides ammunition to stop the mouths of some who might otherwise oppose the action and use “compassion” as the argument
  4. Begins reducing the burden on the taxpayer from day-one following the closure

Of course, with every such dramatic change in the government, the full gamut of potentially new “winners” and “losers” needs to be understood as fully as possible and temporary accommodations for these changes need to be created in such a way as to silence as much potential opposition as possible. This would be true for changes to entitlements, corporate welfare and protections, and more.

With regard to the Department of Energy, for example, a careful examination of the offsetting effects of reduced regulation versus existing subsidies should be undertaken to determine who will be the new “winners” and who will be the new “losers” when the department is closed. Then, some temporary offsetting accommodations should be made to the investors, owners, contractors, subcontractors, workers and suppliers to the industries affected.

The same should be true for all major changes as big government is unwound. If this is not done and, more importantly, if such concepts are not clearly articulated in your “plan,” then I fear that the general public cannot and will not accept the dramatic changes to the status quo that you propose.

Please feel free to call me if you would care to discuss this matter more fully. I am available at xxx-xxx-xxxx and would be happy to speak with you.

Very truly yours,

Let me know what you think about how we can go about turning “fish soup” back into an aquarium. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Nice idea, but its completely wrong. When someone gets terminated in the private sector, they don't get up to three years of continuing payments so they can go and get another job and have two incomes coming in. This is just more government handouts. You must work for DOE.

RDCushing said...

Thank you for your comment. No I don't work for the DoEd, but I am a political pragmatist. If we are going to dramatically shrink government, I do not believe the American people will buy into a "meat cleaver" approach. If we are going to gain majority support for such actions, we must make accommodations for the "losers" under the new regime.

Like you, I wish it were not so; and perhaps it need not be done precisely as in the example I gave. But it WILL need to be done, or the cutting will not get done.

NIFTYTAX said...

When IBM downsized back in 1993? they offered employees $125,000 to voluntarily leave. Some of the people that stayed found out in1995 that they were down-sized, got severance pay of $25,000 and were escorted out the gate!

Bob in Boston said...

Ron Paul has specifically said that he had an orderly plan to disassemble the extraneous agencies and wasn't just cutting them off cold turkey, but I don't know that I've seen specifics anywhere. Your point is well taken - it doesn't really matter if he has the best plan in the world for an orderly transition if it's not communicated clearly to the citizens.

RDCushing said...

Thank you for your comment, Bob. I'd be interested in hearing more about Ron Paul's actual plan. I find it nowhere in his published campaign literature.

Jacob said...

Don Blair said...

All worthwhile commentary. I think Mr. Paul does have the needed medicine, but none have the courage to enact the needed change except Mr Paul. Regrettably the only other way this is resolved is collapse and chaos, but most of the public just cannot seem to see what's clearly in front of them.

bobby knuckles said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
BillboTex said...

Although it takes a little longer, most fair method is Romney's "attrition" of non-essential fed employees. Why do we have non-essential fed employees anyway?

And yes, Romney's "self exportation" will work fine with illegal aliens, when all "magnets" are STOPPED. ALL of them.