In 2010 the Conservatives or Tories won the election in Britain and formed a coalition government with the silly Liberal-Democratic party. It is a silly party because its only principle is it is not the Tory party or the Labour Party. And of course it had to betray even that silly principle to become junior Tories.
The British system does not contain the “checks and balances” of the US form of government. There is no US Senate in Britain that can slow down the rapid implementation of a new government’s plans. It allows for a much more radical change in direction after an election, whether that means the nationalization of industry or actual cuts to government expenditures. Not cuts to growth in spending, but actual cuts.
The Tories came to power on a pledge to reign in spending and instituted a budget of real cuts to the military, to higher education, and other social services combined with top income tax rate cuts. Essentially with the exception of the military cuts, it is the Romney plan.
Promising that such cuts would lead to a surge in confidence that would restore the economy, the government set about its program. Since the first days of the Tories in office the economy has fallen behind the recovery in the US, Canada, and Northern Europe. Now those policies have resulted in Britain entering its second recession. We need look no further than across the Atlantic to see the failure of a policy that relies solely on budget cuts and tax cuts for the wealthy.
So what can Romney learn from Britain’s experience? That it is not enough to reign in spending, you have to press forward with pro-growth economic polices and you have to be bold and creative. If Romney merely converts Medicare and Medicaid to a voucher system, cuts the discretionary budget, cuts taxes for the wealthy, then waits for the magic “confidence fairy” the country will tilt right back into recession.
If Romney wants to use the debates for more than a transitory bounce in poll numbers, he could provide a much more detailed plan on how he is going to push for energy independence. It cannot just be the Republican party’s usual pro-pollution agenda of drilling off-shore and in Alaska in sensitive areas. He has to commit to reduce well head emissions, while greatly expanding energy production on BLM and other appropriate federal land. He has to leave the ideology behind.
A drive toward responsible energy independence is a key growth strategy and he has said it is center piece of his plans. But of course, he has provided little detail other than he intends to repeal regulations. In other words he intends to encourage pollution.
Assume for a moment that he pivots in the debate and promises to solve well head emissions through technology and promote a responsible energy independence policy. It would radically reverse our debtor status and balance of payments, while providing huge employment opportunities. He has to detail his plans, including specific statements on how he will protect the environment and drill.
Then to build credibility, he needs to be bold on cost cutting and start with corporate welfare not Democratic priorities. Close the Department of Commerce, end the ethanol subsidies, break up “to big to fail financial institutions”, and any other transfer of wealth from taxpayers to corporate America. Then with Reagan-like credibility, he can tackle entitlements, the federal education bureaucracy, and the bloat on the Democratic side of the government balance sheet.
Governor Romney won the first debate on style and leadership, but on substance it’s the same old:
- Tell people who they can sleep with, when they can have reproductive medical treatments, and do nothing on immigration;
- A foreign policy based on “toughness” = more wars;
- Cut every Democratic discretionary spending priority, while increasing corporate welfare and cutting taxes for the wealthy.
Essentially a failed Tory government with more discrimination, interference in citizens’ private lives, and wars. Come on Mitt – give us a real alternative based on growth! Or lose the election, because in case you have not noticed the polls have not moved appreciably in swing states and time is running out.