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article imageOp-Ed: Five things wrong with Sen. Ted Cruz' Ten-Point Plan for Congress

By Calvin Wolf     Oct 20, 2014 in Politics
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has announced his GOP plan for Congress starting in 2015, outlining what should be done if Republicans regain the Senate. Unfortunately, he's half wrong.
It is no surprise that the party not in power in Washington likes to gripe about problems but fail to offer any solutions. During the tenure of the Barack Obama presidency, which began in January 2009, the Republican Party has been criticized as the "Party of No" for engaging in anti-Democratic trench warfare while offering no alternative plans or solutions. Liberals and moderates have long complained about GOP stubbornness over issues ranging from government spending to economic reforms to foreign policy.
But, finally, a Republican power player has put his money where his mouth is! Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), a widely-known GOP firebrand, has published an op-ed in USA Today detailing his 10-point plan for a hypothetical Republican-controlled Congress beginning in 2015. While other Republicans have discussed things like improving the economy, bolstering national security, and safeguarding constitutional freedoms in vague and generalized terms, Cruz deserves credit for discussing specifics.
Unfortunately, Cruz is at least half wrong in his 10-point plan.
Ted Cruz - Legislative Record | FindTheBest
First, Cruz talks about dismantling Obamacare. This is fine and dandy — many moderates and liberals also do not like the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, Cruz wants to keep health care privatized, talking about "expanding health savings accounts." This does not solve health care profiteering, and may actually increase it by signaling that the federal government has "given up" on attempting to regulate health care costs. While Obamacare may need to go, it needs to be replaced by universal health care, allowing all citizens to receive comprehensive care that is cost- and quality-controlled. We did this with education...why not health care?
Secondly, Cruz is wrong about ensuring the separation of church and state being "judicial activism." Violations of civil rights and equal protection under the law should not be left up to the discretion of the states. As the son of Cuban immigrants and a racial minority, I would think that Cruz would be more empathetic to those who wanted equal rights. Suppose Texas voters decided that only Caucasians whose parents were native-born U.S. citizens could run for public office...would Cruz have supported "states' rights" under those circumstances? Cruz is on the wrong side of history when it comes to same-sex marriage.
Third, a flat tax is a horrible idea. Taxing all citizens the same percentage would unfairly burden the poor while minimizing the tax burden of the wealthy. While most of us can sympathize with Cruz' complaint of the U.S. tax code being far too complicated and time-consuming, most of us would not benefit from a flat tax. The rich already benefit from the 15 percent tax rate on investment profits and numerous business and personal tax deductions and loopholes — do we really need to make things better for them? If Cruz was truly dedicated to fixing the U.S. economy and minimizing the wealth and income gaps, he would increase taxes on the wealthy and decrease taxes on the middle class. Our progressive federal income tax may be complex and time-consuming, but it is far more fair than a flat tax, which would hit the middle and lower classes like a sledgehammer.
Fourth, Cruz further illustrates his lack of economic knowledge by arguing for a balanced-budget amendment. While our federal government is prone to overspending, primarily on defense and higher education, we need flexible federal spending to boost the economy during times of recession. A balanced-budget amendment would actually reduce federal spending during a recession since there would be less tax revenue, worsening the economic malaise. We need a cyclically-balanced federal budget, not an annually balanced budget.
Finally, Cruz wants to reduce federal spending...while striving to "rebuild our military." He does not acknowledge that America's massive defense spending helped us achieve our tremendous national debt. While many of us would agree with Cruz that Iran and ISIS are dangerous foes, we should not bankrupt ourselves to combat them. Our existing military might should be more than sufficient to handle both of these opponents, yet defense hawks continually call for more funding. Enemies with aging, surplus Russian armaments should not be justifying bloated defense projects like the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. With our economy still struggling to find its footing after the Great Recession, we cannot justify a return to neocon military policy.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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