Open Letter To Paul Ryan: Something Needs To Change

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Autry Pruitt Author, 'Planes, Steak and Water'
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Dear Speaker Ryan,

Congressional leadership has proven itself incapable of the big-picture, free-market, limited-government, and entrepreneurial thinking needed for 21st century America. No matter the topic—whether nationalized healthcare, over-criminalization, immigration, or foreign policy—most of the leaders display zero commitment to our country’s founding principles as outlined in the Declaration of Independence. The leader of the House of Representatives must have an iron-clad understanding of those first principles, otherwise the legislative horizon will be riddled with failure.  This is why, absent a severe course correction (or the conservative base just giving up), like Boehner before you, you are destined for a high-paying lobbying gig. You have no grassroots defenders left.

There is more public debate about the legitimacy of Bill O’Reilly’s sexual assault allegations than about your commitment to first principles. When radical publications set out to destroy Mr. O’Reilly, conservative commentators pushed back, but when ThinkProgress deemed you the “most overrated intellect in Washington” or Jason Linkins of the Huffington Post declared that your “shtick is getting old,” barely any conservative stepped up to defend you. Both Salon and New Republic wrongly labeled you as a “con-artist” and “dysfunctional,” but so far I have not heard one grassroots radio host stand up and call those alt-left publications liars.

You are losing Americans’ confidence. However, if you were to focus on the substance of first principles, you would be the greatest Speaker in a generation. Wrongly or rightly, Nancy Pelosi has that title. She passed a healthcare bill that 65% of Americans did not want. How did she accomplish such a feat? Pelosi avoided the process and stayed committed to her Marxists principles: because life is not fair, government should control the entire healthcare market. Left-wing policies often fail, because they get the principle wrong. With your next venture—tax reform—you have a chance to get the principal right.

The income tax will fail in the long-term not because of bad mathematical formulas, but because it lies in antithesis to the very concept of America. The legislative body you now lead was founded, in part, as a rebuff to King George’s attempt at direct taxation (i.e., the Stamp Act). That is why all revenue bills must start in the House.

No doubt you are thinking about the 16th Amendment’s making direct taxation constitutional? However, I did not mention the constitution. I am talking about America’s document of first principles: The Declaration of Independence. How quickly we forget that unprincipled constitutional clauses and/or amendments too can be an utter failure.

The glaring example is slavery. This barbaric and sinful custom was built into the constitution. Yet, it was destined for failure; and the founding framers, personal hypocrisy notwithstanding, understood this to be so: How can a nation condone slavery if one of its founding principle is that all men are created equal?

Less complicated was the 18th Amendment. Though this amendment achieved success—a decline in alcohol use and abuse by the citizenry—it was repealed 14 years later after Mafia violence ran rampant through our streets. Prohibiting Americans from using their money how they see fit, even if it was to their own detriment, has its limits.  Liberty is so vital to our make-up we are willing to risk jail or a terrorist bomb to preserve it.

According to Dr. Richard J Cebula—an economist respected on both sides of the political aisle—under current tax law, a little over 16% of Americans are currently not paying any federal income tax, this number will reach 33% in less than a decade.  This means America is staring at a budget busting $10 trillion deficit. With these kinds of numbers there is only one step to take—eliminate the income tax in favor of a national consumption tax. Do this and you will get the principles right: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

I Believe in You.