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March 7, 2016

Five Bold Policy Reforms 2016 Candidates Should Embrace

  Institute for Policy Innovation

DALLAS –  House Speaker Paul Ryan says Republican candidates are looking for bold policy reforms. The Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) has responded with proposals that reduce the size and scope of government, empower people and states to make their own decisions, and keep more money in the private sector rather than the public sector.

In a new IPI publication, “Bold Policy Reforms for the 2016 Election,” resident scholar Dr. Merrill Matthews presents five reforms to achieve these goals:

  • Privatize the Veterans Administration (VA) health care system;
  • Pass Education Savings Accounts;
  • Allow state opt-out of federal grants;
  • End  federal government unions; and
  • Balance the federal budget.

“Veterans should have easy access to the best care available,” said Matthews. Instead of subjecting veterans to the long waits, rationing, deceit, and fraud that exists in parts of the VA system, they should have access to subsidized private health insurance (such as the federal employees’ health insurance program or Medicare Advantage) allowing them to choose their provider.

People should also be able to make their own choices for education. “Nevada’s Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) are the most pro-school choice option in the country,” said Matthews. “The state contributes $5,100 to every student’s ESA. Parents can apply that money to whichever school they choose, while money not spent grows and can fund college expenses.”

States should likewise be allowed to refuse federal grants without their citizens forfeiting much of the money they paid in federal taxes. “It makes no sense to send $1 trillion in federal income taxes every year to Washington only to have the federal government return most of it, with multiple restrictions and less an onerous handling fee,” said Matthews.  Allowing states to opt-out would not only free them from Washington’s often-attached mandates, but should also allow citizens to keep that portion of their federal income tax.

It’s also time to bring more accountability to Washington by ending federal unions, writes Matthews, which have not only made it almost impossible to punish or fire a federal employee for wrongdoing or incompetence, but have driven up the cost of government at taxpayers’ expense.

“And while it’s good that Republican candidates are talking about tax cuts, we also need to balance the federal budget,” said Matthews. “Balancing the budget has become a mantra among conservative candidates, but few have proposed a way to do it.” Matthews points to Mercatus Center economist Jason Fichtner’s “1 percent solution,” in which federal spending is cut by 1 percent, resulting in a balanced budget in a decade.



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