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Less government, more personal responsibility needed

Whenever government has one of those supposedly non-partisan panels look into an issue, they invariably decide we need more government. The solution is never that politicians have made a mess of things and we should dismantle the bureaucracy.

Government does nothing well. We have lousy schools, roads filled with potholes, a military engaged in unwinnable wars, a bankrupt Social Security system and a horrifying health care system.

I wouldn't trust the United States government to make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. After that simple request I'd likely end up with Congressional hearings, a special prosecutor, three years of delays, a $3 billion bill and no sandwich.

This makes it all the more shocking that the public continually turns to slight variants of this broken system. The Republicans won't be any better than the Democrats, a fact proven by history, reinforced by our willingness to repeat history.

Fixing our economy, schools, roads and everything else requires a radically different approach. We need to stop moving three degrees to the right then two degrees to the left. Instead, we need serious, uncomfortable change that blows up the existing system.

I'll boil it down to two key platform points that will bring everything else into line.

First, we need to eliminate our absurdly complicated punitive tax code and replace it with a flat tax. Let's call the first $20,000 an individual makes or the first $45,000 a family with kids makes tax free.

If you're a family making less than $45,000 a year, the last thing you need is Uncle Sam taking a piece of the pie and you'll only need him to give you some of it back in entitlement programs. If you actually had the money you earn there would be less need for those programs and we're well on our way to making government smaller.

Any income above those amounts will be taxed at a flat rate. Every person, rich or middle class, will pay the same percentage, dollar for dollar. There will be no deductions and we won't be taxed twice. That means we stop taxing inheritances and corporate profits.

Any money in an estate was already taxed and corporate profits should go to shareholders, business owners and business leaders as taxable income. The government still gets its cut, but they should not get to take a slice off the top and then another when the cash actually makes it into your pocket.

The second piece of my platform will be decidedly unpopular, but it cuts to the core of our economic problems. It should be considered child abuse to knowingly have a child you cannot provide basic food, shelter and clothing for.

I'm not talking about the person who has a kid, then loses his job or falls upon hard times. These are the people we need to help get back on their feet, because circumstances kicked them in the teeth - they did not knowingly create a life they could not provide for.

I'm instead referring to the unemployed teenagers and the people who barely have a roof over their own heads who somehow decide that having a bunch of kids makes total sense. Having a child is a responsibility, not a right. If you can't reasonably be expected to meet that responsibility you are committing a crime against that child and society in general.

If you bring home a puppy that you can't afford to feed, you will get arrested for animal cruelty. Do the same repeatedly with children and you get some of my money. It's an absurd double standard built out of the notion that everyone has the "right" to have children and we're racists/class snobs if we declare otherwise.

Cut the number of kids that the public has to pay for because their birth parents can't support them and we pretty much solve all of our problems. The schools become less crowded, our health care system becomes less taxed, crime goes down and "Maury" gets cancelled.

Our society should have a safety net for bad luck and unforeseen circumstances. We should not, however, be paying for other people's willful, repeated decisions to do things they can't actually pay for.

What we're doing doesn't work. It's time for something different. No more commissions, no more bipartisan panels and, please, no more studies. We need fair, logical solutions built on personal responsibility.

- Daniel B. Kline's work appear

in more than 100 papers weekly. He can be reached at dan@notastep.com.

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