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.

Mike Lee’s Anti-Poverty, Civil Society Speech

Senator Mike Lee

By Steve Parkhurst

United States Senator Mike Lee of Utah, yesterday delivered a very interesting speech at an anti-poverty forum hosted by the Heritage Foundation. The entire speech text can be found here, and it’s worth reading. Here are a few interesting takeaways for me.

We know that participation in civil society, volunteering, and religion are deteriorating in poor neighborhoods – compounding economic hardship with social isolation. And we know these trends cut across boundaries of race, ethnicity, and geography.

All of this might lead some to the depressing conclusion that – 50 years after Johnson’s speech – America’s war on poverty has failed. But the evidence proves nothing of the sort.  On the contrary, I believe the American people are poised to launch a new, bold, and heroic offensive in the war on poverty… if a renewed conservative movement has the courage to lead it.

Later:

Properly considered, then, the war on poverty is not so much about lifting people up. It’s about bringing people in. And so the challenge to conservatives today is to rethink the war on poverty along these lines, to bring into our economy and society the individuals, families, and communities that have for five decades been unfairly locked out.

Nineteen-sixty-four wasn’t the year Americans started fighting poverty; it was the year we started losing that fight. To start winning again, conservatives are going to have to lead the way – not simply by offering criticism, but alternatives. Our job is to identify the obstructions that impede Americans’ access to our market economy and civil society and clear them. And if we’re looking for impediments to mobility and opportunity, we’ve certainly come to the right place!

Finally:

Today, millions more of our neighbors are still out on the plains. They are not some government’s brothers and sisters – they are ours.

And the time has come to do something about it. As conservatives, as Americans, and as human beings, we have it in our power – individually, together, and where necessary through government… to bring them in:

  • to bring them into our free enterprise economy to earn a good living,
  • to bring them into our voluntary civil society to build a good life,
  • and to welcome them and their children home to an America that leaves no one behind.

Paul Ryan Talks With Bill Bennett

By Steve Parkhurst

Congressman Paul Ryan talked with Bill Bennett on Wednesday morning. I think this interview was actually pretty thorough and Paul Ryan was definitely on top of his game. Listen to them discuss the Senate immigration bill, energy policy and upcoming budget issues.

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.

Big Data, Republican Campaigns and 2016

By Steve Parkhurst

I have just written a special report called Big Data, Republican Campaigns and 2016.

The report goes into detail about Big Data and its application in the political process, both past and present. As 2016 starts to unfold, it will be worth watching the various moves of Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and a few others who have a shot at the 2016 nomination. Will you be able to see what these candidates are really up to? You will have a much better grasp after you read the special report.

Please download your free copy of the special report on Big Data today, and let us know what you think about it.

 

Special Report: Big Data, Republican Campaigns and 2016 by Steve Parkhurst

Why We Can’t Give Up

By Joe Gruters

Yes. November was disheartening for Republicans, conservatives, traditionalists and all those who want to see a free and prosperous country for generations to come.

But disheartening can’t mean giving up.

We can’t continue in the current direction. Republicans know that.

We don’t need to.

In the fifth year of the Obama presidency, we have a barely sputtering economic recovery nationally, always on the brink of slipping back into a recession. We have a record number of people on food stamps and other welfare programs. Democrats will continue to say things would be worse without their interventions. But that embarrassingly weak defense can be defeated, and must be.

We’ve printed, borrowed and spent trillions more than we collected, all in the name of compassion and stimulating the economy. The economy stinks and we have record numbers of people not working, slogging along at the bottom of the economy with declining hope. The March employments numbers were dismal, well below even modest expectations. That is failure, but not just politics. It’s awful for the future of the country.

By the end of Obama’s second term, if Congress remains status quo, Democrats will have added $10 trillion to the national debt, on top of George W. Bush’s $4 trillion, which was bad enough. We don’t just need Republicans, we need actual, honest-go-gosh, principled conservative Republicans.

They must overturn the worst elements of Obamacare. Once it is fully implemented next year, it will be revealed for the bait-and-switch con we all suspected it was but were never sure because nobody actually knew what was in the bill. The opposite of what was promised will come to be in several areas: health-care premiums will go up, not down; health care will begin to be rationed, not expanded; doctors will be harder to find, not more plentiful; and jobs will be axed in the industry. We may never overturn Obamacare by name, but we can gut it, cutting out much of the government-takeover elements that will ruin our health care system.

Social Security and Medicare are headed for the shoals. The demographics against them are too strong without changes in the programs. Romney made the case, but he faced too many other problems. It’s a steep climb, but it must be done. People like Paul Ryan, who lives in a Democrat district in Wisconsin, has taken it on repeatedly. That’s what we need more of.

The reality is that these things can be done because we are right. But it will take a lot of work and devotion on our part. We’ve already had victories when the raw facts became overwhelming. For instance, most conservatives were skeptical of the man-made climate-warming hysteria and political control agenda behind it.

Carbon emissions have been continuing to increase since 2000, but the planet has not heated up since then. Some politicized scientists, many in the media and hysterical fringes like Al Gore may still keep yelling that the sky is falling. But they are already being marginalized by the plain facts. There is no real movement anymore to make the ridiculous changes that Kyoto and other insanities once proposed. Green energy won’t go away, but as long as it’s subsidies are kept under control or, dare we hope, eliminated, it’s a net positive. If the market will sustain it, great. Otherwise, chuck it.

The good news is that Republicans continue winning at the state level and conservative ideas are rising triumphant whenever tried. Florida is a perfect example, as our economy, which was worse when Gov. Scott took office, has roared past the national recovery — such as that is. If it were not for Republican-run states such as Florida, Texas, South Carolina, North Dakota and so, the nation would probably be in a recession.

Conservative economic policies work — when they are tried.

We must make sure they are tried again. Too much rests on it.

The direction has been to institutionalize massive government programs and intervention in the economy while steadily sapping the American people of the very qualities that made the country great: love of freedom, risk-taking, hard work, personal responsibility, faith.

We must change this direction. We fight for change, from top to bottom. Because Greece, Spain, Cyprus are our future if we don’t.

It starts next year, to maintain and expand our control of the House in Congress and try to pick up seats in the Senate — with conservative Republicans.

Thanks for being informed and engaged.

Poll Finds America Is Conservative

By Joe Gruters

A recent poll by The Hill has given us some extraordinarily revealing insights into the electorate that Republicans keep losing nationally.

There is a strong conservative majority in America. They just don’t know it, because of labeling and branding problems.

On four questions, voters were asked which solution they preferred to handle a known problem, without party affiliation identifying the solution. On the question dealing with the budget and deficit, they overwhelming went conservative — choosing the equivalent of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget over Sen. Patty Murray’s budget nearly 2-1. Even regarding Obamacare, they were clearly conservative — an 8 percentage point difference favoring full repeal over full enactment.

I know you are thinking that this must be a Republican tilted poll. But here is the real kicker and revelation. When the pollsters asked respondents which party they trusted more on budgetary issues — the issues just covered in the poll’s preceding question — respondents flipped: Democrats won 35% to 30% over Republicans with 34% saying they trust neither party. The poll itself even has a five percentage-point sampling advantage for registered Democrats.

It’s a good poll. And that means that there are a lot of conservative-minded voters out there who are automatically pulling the lever for Democrats. Sure, the disconnect is media-induced to a degree. That is a big hurdle to get over. But it is also just the facts. Can’t fight gravity. Can’t fight media bias. Have to deal with the realities.

The most obvious reality is that Republicans are not losing because Americans do not like their policies. We are losing despite the fact that Americans do like our policies. It would be a grave mistake to change policies, compromising on principles, as some in the media and the Republican D.C. establishment recommend.

The Hill Poll did not ask about social issues, but other polls have uniformly shown that on the seminal cultural divide, abortion, the country has been trending dramatically more pro-life for 25 years. Facts will do that for some people, and the facts about the humanity of an early-term fetus are now undeniable.  People are informed, and now they are rejecting the pro-choice stance. That can happen on other issues with the right message — which is definitively not “moderating.”

Moderating — becoming more liberal on issues — would be a political disaster. It would depress the base, give impetus to third parties for frustrated conservatives, and still not win any votes because Americans agree with Republicans on the issues!

The Hill Poll

Do you prefer budget Plan 1 with $1 Trillion in Tax Hikes and 100 billion in cuts that does not balance budget, or Plan 2 that does not raise taxes, cuts $5 trillion and balances budget?

Plan 1  28%

Plan 2  55%

Neither  17%

 

Should U.S. budget deficits be reduced mostly by cutting spending or raising taxes?

Cutting spending  65%

Raising taxes  24%

Don’t know  11%

 

Should the healthcare reform law known as Obamacare be fully implemented, fully repealed or neither?

Fully implemented  37%

Fully repealed  45%

Neither  14%

 

Budget constraints were recently cited as the reason for cancelling tours of the White House. Should those tours be resumed?

Yes  54%

No  28%

Not sure  18%

 

Which party do you trust more on budgetary issues?

Democrats  35%

Republicans  30%

Neither  34%

Source: www.thehill.com

 

Thanks for being informed and engaged.

Paul Ryan: A Balanced Budget By 2023

The Path to Prosperity, Paul Ryan, GPH Consulting

Congressman Paul Ryan has taken to the pages of the Wall Street Journal today to explain the new Republican balanced budget proposal. There are many great things to like in this balanced budget, and you can view the entire budget here, view many useful charts and tools here, but today’s op-ed below is a good place to start.

 

Wall Street Journal GPH-Consulting.com

By Paul Ryan

America’s national debt is over $16 trillion. Yet Washington can’t figure out how to cut $85 billion—or just 2% of the federal budget—without resorting to arbitrary, across-the-board cuts. Clearly, the budget process is broken. In four of the past five years, the president has missed his budget deadline. Senate Democrats haven’t passed a budget in over 1,400 days. By refusing to tackle the drivers of the nation’s debt—or simply to write a budget—Washington lurches from crisis to crisis.

House Republicans have a plan to change course. On Tuesday, we’re introducing a budget that balances in 10 years—without raising taxes. How do we do it? We stop spending money the government doesn’t have. Historically, Americans have paid a little less than one-fifth of their income in taxes to the federal government each year. But the government has spent more.

So our budget matches spending with income. Under our proposal, the government spends no more than it collects in revenue—or 19.1% of gross domestic product each year. As a result, we’ll spend $4.6 trillion less over the next decade.

Our opponents will shout austerity, but let’s put this in perspective. On the current path, we’ll spend $46 trillion over the next 10 years. Under our proposal, we’ll spend $41 trillion. On the current path, spending will increase by 5% each year. Under our proposal, it will increase by 3.4%. Because the U.S. economy will grow faster than spending, the budget will balance by 2023, and debt held by the public will drop to just over half the size of the economy.

Yet the most important question isn’t how we balance the budget. It’s why. A budget is a means to an end, and the end isn’t a neat and tidy spreadsheet. It’s the well-being of all Americans. By giving families stability and protecting them from tax hikes, our budget will promote a healthier economy and help create jobs. Most important, our budget will reignite the American Dream, the idea that anyone can make it in this country.

The truth is, the nation’s debt is a sign of overreach. Government is trying to do too much, and when government does too much, it doesn’t do anything well. So a balanced budget is a reasonable goal, because it returns government to its proper limits and focus. By curbing government’s overreach, our budget will give families the space they need to thrive.

The other side will warn of a relapse into recession—just as they predicted economic disaster when the budget sequester hit. But a balanced budget will help the economy. Smaller deficits will keep interest rates low, which will help small businesses to expand and hire. It’s no surprise, then, that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office believes that legislation reducing the deficit as much as our budget does would boost gross national product by 1.7% in 2023.

We must take action now. Our budget will expand opportunity in major areas like energy. It will protect and strengthen key priorities like Medicare. It will encourage social mobility by retooling welfare. It will fix the broken tax code to create jobs and increase wages.

First, energy. America has the world’s largest natural-gas, oil and coal reserves—enough natural gas to meet the country’s needs for 90 years. Yet the administration is buying up land to prevent further development. Our budget opens these lands to development, so families will have affordable energy. It approves the Keystone XL pipeline, which will create 20,000 direct jobs—and 118,000 indirect jobs. Our budget puts the country on the path to North American energy independence.

Second, health care. Our budget repeals the president’s health-care law and replaces it with patient-centered reforms. It also protects and strengthens Medicare. I want Medicare to be there for my kids—just as it’s there for my mom today. But Medicare is going broke. Under our proposal, those in or near retirement will see no changes, and future beneficiaries will inherit a program they can count on. Starting in 2024, we’ll offer eligible seniors a range of insurance plans from which they can choose—including traditional Medicare—and help them pay the premiums.

The other side will demagogue this issue. But remember: Anyone who attacks our Medicare proposal without offering a credible alternative is complicit in the program’s demise.

Third, welfare reform. After the welfare reforms of 1996, child poverty fell by double digits. This budget extends those reforms to other federal aid programs. It gives states flexibility so they can tailor programs like Medicaid and food stamps to their people’s needs. It encourages states to get people off the welfare rolls and onto payrolls. We shouldn’t measure success by how much we spend. We should measure it by how many people we help. Those who protect the status quo must answer to the 46 million Americans living in poverty.

Fourth, tax reform. The current tax code is a Rubik’s cube that Americans spend six billion hours—and $160 billion—each year trying to solve. The U.S. corporate tax is the highest in the industrialized world. So our budget paves the way for comprehensive tax reform. It calls for Congress to simplify the code by closing loopholes and consolidating tax rates. Our goal is to have just two brackets: 10% and 25%. House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp has committed to pass a specific bill this year.

If we take these steps, the United States will once again become a haven of opportunity. The economy will grow, and the country will regain its strength. All we need is leadership. Washington owes the American people a balanced budget. It isn’t fair to take more from families so government can spend more.

A balanced budget isn’t unprecedented. President Bill Clinton worked with a Republican Congress to get it done. House Republicans’ last two budgets balanced, too—albeit at a later date. But a balanced budget is still a noteworthy achievement, considering the competition.

The recent debt-ceiling agreement forced Senate Democrats to write a budget this year, and we expect to see it this week. I hate to break the suspense, but their budget won’t balance—ever. Instead, it will raise taxes to pay for more spending. The president, meanwhile, is standing on the sidelines. He is expected to submit his budget in April—two months past his deadline.

We House Republicans have done our part. We’re offering a credible plan for all the country to see. We’re outlining how to solve the greatest problems facing America today. Now we invite the president and Senate Democrats to join in the effort.

— Mr. Ryan, a Republican, represents Wisconsin’s first congressional district and is chairman of the House Budget Committee.

– –

A version of this article appeared March 12, 2013, on page A17 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: The GOP Plan to Balance the Budget by 2023.