In fact, the Republicans did produce a counter proposal to President Obama's stimulus plan. Here are the highlights.
1) a permanent 5% tax cut in all marginal income tax levels 2) cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% 3) no extra spending and no earmarks 4) make the dividend and capital gains tax of 15% permanent 5) repeal the AMT permanently 6) repeal mandatory withdrawals from IRA's at 70 years of age 7) make all withdrawals from IRA's tax free in 2009.It would have cost half as much as the president's stimulus plan (not debateable), and according to the Republicans, it would have created twice as many jobs. (that of course we'll never know) This plan was totally ignored by the media. The president pretended that it wasn't even proposed. None of the ideas were, of course, implemented. While we can debate its worth, no one can debate that it was proposed. I have the internet link to prove it.
Once again, the Republicans presented their alternative to cap and trade. The bill was billed as an all of the above approach. It called for expansion of nuclear power, drilling for oil, and tax breas for energy innovation. I was not terribly impressed with the bill myself but that is a matter of debate. It is NOT however a matter of debate that a full bill was introduced for energy independence. Once again, the President decided to use NONE of their ideas, and the media all but ignored its existence. Yet, it's there and again I have the link to prove it.
3) Health Care:
There are actually several Republican plans making their way through Congress. One is a plan that was devised by Robert Bennett of Utah with Democrat Ron Wyden. Here are some highlights.
All employers, along with individuals and the government, will share the responsibility of financing health care. During a two-year transition period, employers who provide employee health benefits would be required to convert their workers' health care premiums into higher wages. Employers who don't currently offer health benefits would have to make phased-in "Employer Shared Responsibility Payments," which would be used to provide financial assistance to individuals and families of modest income. After two years, all employers would make "Employer Shared Responsibility Payments." These payments would reflect the relative ability of small and large employers and low- and high-wage industries to make such payments, and would have no direct impact ON the coverage that is available to their employees.
Employees, in turn, would be required to purchase private health coverage with their higher wages. To ensure that it's affordable, the plan would fully subsidize the premiums for those who live below the poverty line. Those people between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line would also receive subsidies on a sliding scale to help pay their premiums. Individuals would choose from a variety of private plans offered in their state. State-based Health Help Agencies (HHAs) would guide individuals through the enrollment process. These agencies would also provide consumers with unbiased information about competing private health plans and determine premium reductions that will ensure every American can afford their health plan. HHAs would ultimately lower administrative costs by coordinating payments from employers, individuals and the government.
While the CBO has put the price tag on other plans at a trillion dollars and more, this plan has been scored as revenue neutral by the same CBO. On top of this, this plan has 14 BIPARTISAN co sponsors. Yet, it languishes in the Senate Finance Committee with no hope of passing mainly because its head, Max Baucas, refuses to move it forward.
Meanwhile, in the House, John Shadegg has introduced a bill of his own.
In the era of eBay and Amazon.com, there should be a better way to shop for health insurance. Today, Congressman John Shadegg (R, AZ-3) introduced an innovative bill that empowers consumers to use the Internet and other means to find affordable health insurance policies.
The Health Care Choice Act, which has forty co-sponsors, harnesses the power of the marketplace to allow Americans to compare insurance policies from across the country and pick one that best meets their needs. It would provide every American with more and better health insurance choices. The legislation would also reduce the number of Americans who have been unable to find affordable coverage.
“People should be able to get the health insurance that best suits their needs,” Shadegg said. “Offering people choices in a nation-wide market will reduce the cost of health insurance for Americans, including the roughly 47 million uninsured.”
According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, a 25-year-old male in good health could purchase a policy for $960 a year in Kentucky. A similar policy would cost about $5,880 in New Jersey
These bills focus on competition and choice and NOT the public option. That's why none of their ideas have been incorporated into any of the bills currently being debated. Much like the other pieces of legislation, both the president and the media have ignored their existence. Once again, that some pretend they don't exist doesn't actually mean that they don't.
Financial Regulation Reform:
On financial regulatory reform, again, the Republicans also produced their own plan. The plan includes the elimination of Fannie/Freddie, an end to bailouts, more scrutiny and transparency of the Fed, reforming consumer education, and a merging of financial regulators. Some of these I like, like more scrutiny of the Fed, eliminating bailouts, and ending Fannie/Freddie. Some is very vague like the merging of financial regulators and reforming consumer education. Still, there's no doubt they have developed their own financial regulatory reform plan. It's no different that none will be used and they will be ignored, but again, that doesn't mean they aren't there.
What both the president and the MSM are doing is a very cheap political tactic. It's much easier to compare your plans to nothing, and so they ignore that there are alternatives. Rather than stand up for the merits of his own plan and why it's better than the alternative, the president pretends as though there is no alternative. As such, he offers the public a my way or the highway scenario. There are options out there even if the president, and his allies in the media, choose to ignore them.