Congratulations Vice President-Elect Mike Pence

Donald Trump has been elected President. This  also means that Indiana Governor Mike Pence will now be the Vice President. In all likelihood, Vice President Pence will drive the domestic agenda, and will utilize his close friendship with people like Speaker Paul Ryan to really get great things done.

Mike Pence has called himself a Jack Kemp Republican, so you can see why we admire him.

When Jack Kemp died in 2009, Mike Pence was in Congress and he was able to deliver this brief address on the floor of the House of Representatives. Congressman Pence closed his memorial speech with this:

“I will always be proud to have known this good and great man. And I will always, first and foremost, refer to myself as a “Jack Kemp Republican.”

Paul Ryan: A New Direction in the War on Poverty

By Steve Parkhurst

It’s no secret, I’m a big fan and admirer of Paul Ryan. I’ve said for a while that his years of working with the late Jack Kemp, have helped mold him into a modern day Kemp. You don’t have to search our site long to find examples of this.

Congressman Ryan wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, outlining a few of his thoughts on the 50 years of the failed “war on poverty.” I wanted to take this time to highlight a few passages, though I’d encourage you to read the entire op-ed.

Yet for all its professed concern about families in need, Washington is more concerned with protecting the status quo than with pursuing what actually works.

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. For years, politicians have pointed to the money they’ve spent or the programs they’ve created. But despite trillions of dollars in spending, 47 million Americans still live in poverty today. And the reason is simple: Poverty isn’t just a form of deprivation; it’s a form of isolation. Crime, drugs and broken families are dragging down millions of Americans. On every measure from education levels to marriage rates, poor families are drifting further away from the middle class.

Touche!

Poverty isn’t a rare disease from which the rest of us are immune. It’s the worst strain of a widespread scourge: economic insecurity. That’s why concern for the poor isn’t a policy niche; it goes to the heart of the American experiment. What the poor really need is to be reintegrated into our communities. But Washington is walling them up in a massive quarantine.

Absolutely true.

On this less-than-golden anniversary, we should renew the fight. The federal government needs to take a comprehensive view of the problem. It needs to dump decades-old programs and give poor families more flexibility. It needs to let communities like Pulaski High develop their own solutions. And it needs to remember that the best anti-poverty program is economic growth.

Ryan closes:

Other areas ripe for reform include health care, criminal justice and federal regulations. After all, the cultural antibodies that heal communities are already present and hard at work. For policy makers, the question is, how do we spread their influence? What barriers do we remove? What incentives do we put in place? And to whom do we look for guidance—government bureaucrats or community leaders?

For 50 years, we’ve been going in the wrong direction, and liberals want to march on. Some in Washington insist that you’re concerned for the poor only if you’re committed to a path that has failed the poor. But the question isn’t whether we should do more or less of the same. It is which new direction will work best.

That one line, “the cultural antibodies that heal communities are already present and hard at work,” that’s really strong. Think about it. These ideas are things that can lead to that American Renaissance that lies ahead, that we need.

Paul Ryan’s Kemp-Inspired Crusade Against Poverty

By Steve Parkhurst

While I admit to being one of those people that thinks Washington D.C. is incapable of controlling and patrolling itself, and that something like The Liberty Amendments proposed by Mark Levin are in order for us to rein government back in, there is something to be said for the efforts of Congressman Paul Ryan.

This is an interesting story in the Washington Post, or as I prefer to call it, Pravda on the Potomac. Still, this article is pretty well done:

Paul Ryan is ready to move beyond last year’s failed presidential campaign and the budget committee chairmanship that has defined him to embark on an ambitious new project: Steering Republicans away from the angry, nativist inclinations of the tea party movement and toward the more inclusive vision of his mentor, the late Jack Kemp.

Since February, Ryan (R-Wis.) has been quietly visiting inner-city neighborhoods with another old Kemp ally, Bob Woodson, the 76-year-old civil rights activist and anti-poverty crusader, to talk to ex-convicts and recovering addicts about the means of their salvation.

Ryan’s staff, meanwhile, has been trolling center-right think tanks and intellectuals for ideas to replace the “bureaucratic, top-down anti-poverty programs” that Ryan blames for “wrecking families and communities” since Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty in 1964.

Next year, for the 50th anniversary of that crusade, Ryan hopes to roll out an anti-poverty plan to rival his budgetary Roadmap for America’s Future in scope and ambition. He is also writing a book about what’s next for the GOP, recalling the 1979 tome that detailed Kemp’s vision under the subtitle, “The Brilliant Young Congressman’s Plan for a Return to Prosperity.”

Of course, that “1979 tome” was Jack Kemp’s An American Renaissance. But I digress.

Ryan’s new emphasis on social ills doesn’t imply that he’s willing to compromise with Democrats on spending more government money. His idea of a war on poverty so far relies heavily on promoting volunteerism and encouraging work through existing federal programs, including the tax code. That’s a skewed version of Kempism, which recognizes that “millions of Americans look to government as a lifeline,” said Bruce Bartlett, a historian who worked for Kemp and has become an acerbic critic of the modern GOP.

“They want to care,” Bartlett said of Ryan and modern Republicans. “But they’re so imprisoned by their ideology that they can’t offer anything meaningful.” Ryan has explained the difference by noting that the national debt has grown enormously since Kemp ran for president in 1988, nearly doubling as a percentage of the economy.

Kempism. Stay tuned in future months for more on that.

In the mid-1990s, crime and poverty were hot national issues. Kemp was a font of innovative ideas for reviving inner-city commerce, rebuilding public housing and overhauling the welfare system. He was pro-immigration, pro-equal opportunity and, above all, pro-tax cuts, which he viewed as government’s primary tool for promoting growth.

Unlike other Republicans, Kemp also frequently visited black and Hispanic voters and asked them directly for their votes.

Two days after Ryan was introduced as Romney’s running mate, he pushed to do the same. Advisers recall Ryan in workout clothes in a Des Moines Marriott, telling campaign officials in Boston that he had two requests: First, to meet the staff in person. And second, to travel to urban areas and speak about poverty.

No one said no. But with Romney focused relentlessly on Obama’s failure to improve the economy for middle-class Americans, the idea always seemed off-message. “We struggled to find the right timing to dovetail it into our messaging schedule,” Romney strategist Ed Gillespie said via e-mail.

Ryan adviser Dan Senor said Ryan argued that “47 million people on food stamps is an economic failure.” But Ryan did not get clearance to deliver a speech on poverty, his sole policy address, until two weeks before the election.

Great point: “47 million people on food stamps is an economic failure.”

Ryan had sought Woodson’s help with his poverty speech. The two reconnected after the election and began traveling together in February — once a month, no reporters — to inner-city programs supported by Woodson’s Center for Neighborhood Enterprise. In Milwaukee, Indianapolis and Denver, Woodson said, Ryan asked questions about “the agents of transformation and how this differs from the professional approach” of government social workers.

Like Woodson, the programs share a disdain for handouts and a focus on helping people address their own problems. In Southeast Washington, Ryan met Bishop Shirley Holloway, who gave up a comfortable career in the U.S. Postal Service to minister to drug addicts, ex-offenders, the homeless — people for whom government benefits can serve only to hasten their downfall, Holloway said.

At City of Hope, they are given an apartment and taught life skills and encouraged to confront their psychological wounds. They can stay as long as they’re sober and working, often in a job Holloway has somehow created.

“Paul wants people to dream again,” Holloway said of Ryan. “You don’t dream when you’ve got food stamps.”

Trips to Newark and Texas are slated for later this month. Woodson said Ryan has also asked him to gather community leaders for an event next year, and to help him compare the results of their work with the 78 means-tested programs that have cost the federal government $15 trillion since 1964.

The takeaway for Ryan, a Catholic, has been explicitly religious. “You cure poverty eye to eye, soul to soul,” he said last week at the Heritage forum. “Spiritual redemption: That’s what saves people.”

How to translate spiritual redemption into public policy?

If you don’t have goosebumps at this point, what’s wrong with you?

“There’s definitely a feeling that conservatives need to get in this arena,” Winship said. Otherwise, “the voices on the left are going to have the entire conversation to themselves.”

A point Newt Gingrich has been making for many years now, and something we fight against here at GPH. To paraphrase Gingrich, you can’t get real solutions offered if you have two Leftists debating on stage, and Republicans standing off to the side yelling “no!” Conservatives and Republicans have to get into the less comfortable debates and have real discussions with people; start connecting with the community. As Jack Kemp used to say, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Also worth noting before closing, the swipe at the “angry, nativist inclinations of the tea party movement” is both senseless and pointless. It tells me that the Left is worried that Paul Ryan and those few like him may be on to something here. If they aren’t worried, then this was just another swipe at the tea party. You decide.

Mark Levin For President! (or, top speechwriter in 2016)

By Steve Parkhurst

As you know from this website, I have read The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic and I have been advocating the ideas presented within the book. While we must continue to work within the system that exists today, we must begin educating and running candidates that will understand, embrace and advocate for the idea that Levin has presented and even the idea put forth by THE Coolidge Project.

With that in mind, and realizing that 2016 will be here as scheduled, along with a Presidential campaign and election, these final words in The Liberty Amendments…these words should be the closing words for the nominee as he or she accepts the nomination at the Republican National Convention in 2016:

In the end, the people, upon reflection, will decide their own fate once their attention is drawn. As President Reagan stated, “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope for man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us that we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”

Let us do all that can be done. Let us be inspired by the example of our forefathers and their courage, strength, and wisdom. Let us be inspired by the genius of the Constitution and its preservation of the individual and the civil society. Let us unleash an American renaissance in which liberty is celebrated and self-government is cherished. Let us, together – we, the people – restore the splendor of the American Republic.

Time is of the essence. Let us get started today!                                                         – p. 208

Yes, I realize Levin does not want to run for President, or be President. But, the conclusion of his book is a tremendous clarion call for action worthy of each and every conservative Presidential candidate in 2016. At the very least, Mark Levin should be consulted by the person writing that nominees speech.

As a final note, Jack Kemp was a huge believer in what he hoped would be an “American renaissance” leading up to and following the Reagan Revolution. I like and appreciate Levin’s reference to “an American renaissance.” We got the Reagan Revolution, but we did not achieve the needed renaissance in the following years, one could even argue we went backward.

This needs to be the mission now. Let us get started today.

Proud Sponsor of Forum This Saturday

We are proud to be sponsoring the grassroots forum in Houston on Saturday being hosted by the Federation of Hispanic Republicans.

We are excited for people to hear the discussions and dialogue that is planned. The Republican party is making gains in connecting with the community locally, but this needs to be a widespread movement. As Jack Kemp used to say, ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’  The Federation of Hispanic Republicans is leading the way in bridging that gap. And this forum, with its great lineup, should be evidence of that.

If you are in Houston, stop in and enjoy some of the panels, the entire event is free and will include food and drinks.

FHR Grassroots Forum 2013 GPH Consulting

Be sure to also follow @FederationHR on twitter and the hashtag #FHRforum on Saturday for updates.

NRO: Paul Ryan to Write Book

We love to hear news like this. According to Robert Costa over at National Review Online, Congressman Paul Ryan is working on a book. And, the book appears to be hitting on the themes that we advocate here: renewal, renaissance, the “American idea,” and of course, Ryan’s time spent working with the great Jack Kemp:

So far, Ryan has been doing the writing by himself. The early theme of the draft is a broad discussion of American renewal, with an emphasis on the Republican future and the party’s need to articulate what he calls the “American idea.”

Behind the scenes, Ryan is worried that the GOP is losing its connection with working Americans, and he has been writing about how the party needs to speak more to those in poverty about empowerment and economic freedom. His recent speeches at the American Enterprise Institute’s Kristol dinner and at Benedictine College have touched on this issue, and Ryan is eager to broaden the argument into chapter form.

On a personal level, the book will highlight his childhood in Janesville, Wis., his time as an aide to Jack Kemp, and his rise through the congressional ranks. Kemp, especially, will have a special place in the book, and in many ways, Ryan’s effort will likely echo Kemp’s book, An American Renaissance: A Strategy for the 1980s.

All of a sudden, next year can not get here fast enough.

The Right Tax Reform Now

By Steve Parkhurst

Monday is Tax Day.

Tax Day awakens a lot of people (those who actually pay taxes) and it often gets a discussion started about reforms to the tax code. Jack Kemp advocated, and I personally still support, a Flat Tax system. While I have liked the Fair Tax, I would never trust the politicians (especially the Democrats) to fully implement a Fair Tax system, and I would not want the politicians to have the ability to easily or worse, quickly, change the percentage of the consumption tax collected.

Texas Congressman Michael Burgess, M.D., has filed a bill called simply, The Flat Tax Act, HR1040 (gotta love the 1040 number). Congressman Burgess recently released this video about the Flat Tax, and the transcript is posted just below the video.

Hello this is your Congressman Michael Burgess. You know every year, Americans spend over 6 billion hours preparing their tax forms. Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service has over 2,000 forms and instructions listed on their website. It’s past time to reform this system which actually turns 100 years old this year.

To help restore fairness to the tax code by treating everyone equally and incorporating the all-American principle of freedom,I have introduced HR 1040 – the Flat Tax Act. This legislation would provide taxpayers the option of having a flat tax applied to their annual income. Unlike previous versions of the flat tax, this act will allow individuals and business to choose when to opt into the system. In addition, it would have no loopholes, but would allow some personal exemptions like a standard deduction.

This legislation will also phase-in the flat tax over a three-year period – a 19-percent rate for the first two years and a 17-percent rate in subsequent years. The program would be optional. Individuals need a tax system that provides a clear understanding of how their financial decisions will affect them. The Flat Tax Act is pro-growth, and will make filing easier on everyone. This is based on common-sense economics.

When Ronald Reagan cut the tax code in half in 1986, the result of that reform worked. The economy grew, jobs were created, and revenues were increased. Now, more than ever, this reform is needed for our country, for our economy, and for our American citizens.

Thank you for taking the time to listen. For more information on legislative issues before the United States Congress, please visit my website, burgess.house.gov. May God bless you and your family – and as always, may God bless Texas.

Also, Congressman Dennis Ross of Florida has written an op-ed called A Simpler, Flatter, Fairer Tax, and while he does not specifically call for a Flat Tax, he does make some great general points about the current tax system and he has a few remedies of his own:

This year, I introduced HR 243, the BOLD Act, which would address these issues. It would implement aspects of the Bowles-Simpson Fiscal Commission’s recommendations for lowering America’s debt and simplifying our tax code. The Bowles-Simpson Commission was a bipartisan group created by President Obama in 2010 to determine ways to improve America’s economic situation. Unfortunately, the president has ignored all of its suggestions.

– – –

First, we must reduce individual and corporate rates. The BOLD Act narrows the income tax into just two brackets: 10 percent for annual incomes less than $100,000 and 20 percent for incomes more than $100,000. My bill would set a flat corporate tax rate of 20 percent. Instead of having multiple tax brackets that favor people and companies who know where to find the loopholes, my legislation proposes lower, more fair tax rates for all.

Second, we must eliminate or phase out unfair tax policy, as recommended by the Bowles-Simpson Commission. Perfect examples are tax credits or reductions that pit various energy sources unfairly against each other.

More and more tax credits and deductions are added every year. They favor those people and corporations who have the funds to find and utilize the loopholes. Hardworking taxpayers can’t afford to pay for these special interest tax credits and loopholes.

Lowering the tax bracket and simplifying the tax code would still provide more-than-adequate funding for the necessary functions of government, and would give the benefit of simplicity and fairness in our tax system, better than tax loopholes.

Happy Tax Day Everybody! /sarcasm

Navarrette: The Devil They Know

Latino Magazine - GPH Consulting

Ruben Navarrette Jr. has written an amazing column for Latino Magazine about Latinos and the Republican party. Our very own Artemio “Temo” Muniz is featured in the column, as you can read below:

But you need more than politicians to turn a party around. You also need an army of grassroots activists, operating outside of Washington, to re-make the Republican brand as Hispanic-friendly. And one way to do that is to change the hearts and minds of Hispanics, one good deed at a time. That’s the strategy being implemented by 31-year-old Artemio Muniz of Houston. As one of the founders of the Federation of Hispanic Republicans, and the U.S.-born son of a Mexican immigrant who came to the U.S. without documentation and was legalized by the amnesty provided for in the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act.

“I’m an anchor baby,” Muniz said. “Call me an anchor baby. Here I am.”

Although Mitt Romney might not be able to grasp the concept, no one came here to take anything from anybody and there were no silver spoons in the Muniz household. The father worked two jobs. Artemio remembers being lowered into a dumpster as a boy to collect bottles and cans for recycling. Today, the family owns and operates a manufacturing company. Muniz is a Republican because he believes in smaller government, lower taxes, personal liberty, and freedom. But he doesn’t believe in his party’s hard-line against immigrants—both legal and illegal. He also doesn’t think that Obama deserves even a tiny fraction of the Latino vote, given how harmful his policies are to that community.

His plan of attack is to deal directly with people at the grassroots level and address their needs. “People call it outreach,” Muniz told me. But it’s really just connecting with the community and dealing with their concerns.”

Like cleaning up their neighborhoods by picking up trash. That’s what Muniz and some of his fellow Republicans did recently. And when asked what they were doing, they responded in Spanish that they were just trying to help and identified themselves as Republicanos. Muniz is operating closer to the people and on a different track than most political operatives. But that road could be the right one.

“The world of politics is usually discussed in terms of consulting, policy, and polling,” he said. “I can do all that. But the real gold mine is the community, the grassroots, especially urban areas where neither party goes. Helping your neighbor raise a barn. That’s what conservatism is.”

Hmm. Republicans may be able to sell that message. This may not be a lost cause after all. With the right people leading the way, the Republican Party might have a decent shot at redemption with Latino voters. And that would help not just the party but also Latino voters, who—while it appears they have newfound political power given the major role they played in reelecting Obama—have, in reality, never been more powerless. If that is going to change, Latinos will have to once again split their votes between the parties. They have to be courted by both, and not taken for granted or written off by either. There should be suspense as to where those voters will come down, and the parties should have to compete hard for their support.

Without giving away the store here, Artemio touched on a few things in this interview that will be part of our Jack Kemp Project, which is underway and in development. You will want to make sure you are on the list as we complete the project and make it available.