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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

An Alternate Economic Plan For America

It is my opinion that the one trillion dollar  “stimulus bill” and the Senate and House  Democrat Healthcare bills will escalate spending and ultimately take this country to a point beyond which most Americans will receive more in government benefits than they pay, an awful way of life.
However, the Republican Party in the House and Senate have devised what they call a “Road Map for America’s future,” which they first proposed in 2008.  The major authors of this proposal are Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.  The following are the major elements of the Road Map:

Health Care.  It would restructure the tax code to allow all Americans to obtain affordable health insurance that best fit their needs and would thus shift control and ownership of health coverage away from government and employers to individuals.  There would be a refundable tax credit $2,300 for individuals and $5,700 for families to purchase insurance available across state boundaries and keep their policy even if they move or change jobs. The Plan would also establish transparency in the price of health care and acquisition of  quality data.
State based high-risk pools would make affordable care available to those with preexisting conditions.  In addition to the tax credit, Medicaid would provide supplemental payments to low income recipients so they could obtain their health coverage of their choice and wouldn’t  be confined to Medicaid.

Medicare.  The plan would preserve the existing Medicare program for those 55 years or older.  For individuals under 55, as they became Medicare eligible, they’d obtain a Medicare payment averaging about $11,000 used to purchase a Medicare certified plan.  The payment would be adjusted to reflect medical inflation and the individual’s income, with low income individuals receiving greater support. The plan would also provide risk adjustment so those with greater medical needs would receive higher payments. The plan would fully fund medical savings accounts, and allow everyone to set up these tax-free accounts.

Social Security.  In the Road Map, the existing social security program for those 55 or older would remain unchanged.  For those under 55, the plan would offer an option of investing one-third or more of their current Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts, like the Thrift Savings Plan, which federal employees have.  These accounts could be passed on to their heirs.  The plan would make the program permanently solvent by combining a modest adjustment in the growth of initial Social Security’s benefits for higher income individuals with a gradual modest increase in the retirement age.

Tax Reform.  The Road Map would offer a simplified system that promoted a more fair and less complex tax code that would fit on a postcard.  It would have just two rates: 10% on income up to $100,000 for joint filers and $50,000 for single filers, and 25% on taxable income above these amounts with a generous standard deduction and personal exemption up to $39,000 for a family of four with no tax loopholes, deductions, credits or exclusions except the healthcare tax credit.  It would eliminate the alternative minimum tax.  It would eliminate taxes on interest, capital gains, and dividends, thus promoting savings.  It would eliminate the death tax and would replace the corporate income tax with a business consumption tax of 8.5%.

In my estimation, the road map would reduce the national debt, allow business to rebound and grow us out of the recession, stop the growth of the federal government, and restore individual initiative, entrepreneurship, and opportunity.

Is there a  chance the Republican Road Map for America’s Future will be accepted as a blueprint for America? Unlikely, but one can only hope

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