3 New Year's Resolutions the Government Should Adopt

Congress and President Trump should use 2020 to craft more sane policies on trade, immigration, and the budget.


Mark Twain once wrote "New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion." I love this quote, which is unfortunately all too accurate. Yet, I can't help but hope that as this new year begins, some in Congress and in the administration might find it worthwhile to follow a few resolutions that I offer below.

Resolution No. 1: Don't apply new tariffs

Last year's trade policy was chaotic. This was largely a result of President Donald Trump's random announcements, often on Twitter, that he'd apply tariffs on goods coming into the country. In some cases, the tariffs were meant to negotiate radically different trade deals than the ones we already had, a goal never achieved so far. In other cases, tariff threats were a way to get foreign governments to do things that have nothing to do with trade, such as reducing the number of immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border or forcing Brazil and Argentina to somehow keep economic turmoil from causing the value of their currencies to fall. In yet other instances, the president's announcements seemed to be triggered by some weird need to show that he's still in control and untamed.

No matter the reasons, this behavior needs to stop in 2020. Tariffs are import taxes mostly shouldered by American consumers. They make it harder for many U.S.-based factories to hire and maintain a workforce as production costs go up. And the continued uncertainty driven by the randomness of tariff announcements undoes the most important aspect of the 2017 tax reform. Capital expenditures are falling, and with them goes the hope of further increases in worker productivity and wages. That means that tariffs will make it easier to argue that the tax cuts did not work.

Resolution No. 2: Don't let DACA expire

President Barack Obama implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2012 to allow individuals with no record of felonies and serious misdemeanors, but who arrived in this country illegally as children with their parents, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation. Under DACA, these people—the "Dreamers"—would also be eligible for U.S. work permits.

As we may find out in June 2020 when the Supreme Court renders its opinion on the issue, this provision could be unconstitutional. That means that Congress must act so that the roughly 800,000 people affected by DACA don't become eligible for deportation.

These individuals arrived in America as children. They were raised and lived in this country for their entire lives. For most of them, the United States is the only country they know. They celebrate Thanksgiving in November and Independence Day in July, just like the kids who were born here. It would be terrible, indeed inhumane, to send them back to countries they don't know, don't feel as though they belong and whose language they might not even speak. It's time for Congress to finally stop procrastinating and not let DACA expire.

Resolution No. 3: Stop growing future generations' tax burden

According to the Heritage Foundation, as of today, the debt per capita—that is, for each and every man, woman and child in this country—is $69,200. That's the per-person amount that it would take to repay all the money the federal government has borrowed so far to fund its excessive spending. Unfortunately, this sum, as gargantuan as it is, pales in comparison to what's coming our way. If we include all the money the government doesn't have but has promised to spend (primarily on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid), the figure grows to $240,000.

Congress needs to prevent this fiscal disaster from hitting future generations. It goes without saying, but Congress should start by halting growth in unfunded spending. There's no good excuse, for example, for Congress to enact irresponsible bills like Medicare for All. Congress should also undertake serious entitlement reform so as to reduce the amount of unfunded liabilities we face.

"Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual," Twain writes. Here's to hoping that Congress will agree to be more responsible in the New Year.

NEXT: FDA Ban on Flavored E-Cigarettes Is Expected to Exempt Open-System E-Liquids

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  1. #1 America first. China and the EU are on the ropes as evidenced by Q4 2019 returns. Once Clayton Bigsby wins the Democrat nomination, China will give up hope and cave to Trump. The new licensing will flood American businesses with fresh cash.
    #2 deport every last illegal you can find. Trump will win increasing numbers of Black American and Hispanic America voters than 2016.
    #3 democrats are not for lowering taxes nor legalizing marijuana. Voting for democrats is guaranteed to increase you suffering.

    1. Who is advocating voting for Democrats?

      1. Almost all of the Reason staff votes for Democrats.

        1. +100

  2. Resolution No. 1: Stop initiating force.
    That’s it.

  3. Resolution No. 1: Don’t apply new tariffs – It’s evil to tax Emperor Xi slave produced geegaws, but not your neighbor’s wages.
    Resolution No. 2: Don’t let DACA expire – Invasion USA mandated by a lawless executive taking a dump on the rule of law is what Libertarianism means to me.
    Resolution No. 3: Stop growing future generations’ tax burden – but don’t you dare tax the wealth of the plutocrats!

    Reason letting us know that the New Year will only bring more shilling for the Globalist ruling class.

    1. The problem with #3 is that all the democrats’ proposed new taxes would go toward funding NEW spending, and even then only partially funding it. For every extra dollar they’d take from the “plutocrats” they’d spend another 2 dollars, and grow the debt even faster

    2. Hi Marie and many thanks for your great interview of Rick Hanson regarding inner strength. Will certainly be watching the interview again. You did a wonderful job I
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      1. The link spam is out of control. Disable the comments, monitor them, or engage a robust captcha system. Otherwise the feature is garbage.

    3. Resolution No. 3: Stop growing future generations’ tax burden – but don’t you dare tax the wealth of the plutocrats!

      Taxation isn’t going to fix the debt problem; we need to reduce entitlement and military spending: it’s the only thing that is going to work.

      1. If you look up the actual numbers you will find that the entitlement programs are much larger, and therefore have a greater impact on government spending/obligations that all military spending combined.
        The entire Defense Budget is $623 BN
        Social Security alone is $982 BN
        Medicare is another $582 BN
        Medicaid is another $389 BN
        Total expenditures above: $2576 BN
        Interest on National Debt: #325 BN
        As you can see from the above, Defense Spending is less than twice the amount of Interest being paid, interest for which we receive no current benefit.
        It should be noted that a significant amount of the Defense Budget goes for the acquisition of things such as new aircraft, tanks, and ships for the Navy. Most of the rest goes for Payroll. All of that represents jobs which stimulate the economy and in turn tax revenue from payroll and other taxes.
        Expenditures for Soc Sec, Medicare, Medicaid, and other social service programs don’t provide the same degree of economic leverage.
        And yes, taxation won’t get us out of the current debt trap. No country has ever racked up this level of debt, as a percentage of GDP and successfully paid it off. The end of the road is any one of or a combination of forms of default, with associated economic dislocations for the citizenry.

        1. Interest on the debt is going to be much higher than 325 billion. Even at 2 percent, 23 trillion dollars requires 460 billion a year. If rates go back to 5 percent, it’ll be over ONE TRILLION DOLLARS, as Dr. Evil would say, every year.

        2. Government (defense) jobs spur the economy? Multiplier effect!
          Cut the payroll and stop buying so much worthless stuff.

        3. I know the actual numbers. As I was saying, we should cut entitlement and military spending substantially. (Note that defense spending is actually much higher than the defense budget.)

  4. It was nice reading blog on such required topic. Every government should make resolutions:
    Resolution No. 1: Don’t apply new tariffs
    Resolution No. 2: Don’t let DACA expire
    Resolution No. 3: Stop growing future generations’ tax burden

  5. As an American, I think the heat is too much we should calm down a little.

  6. Huh. Lots of spam late nite Reason. Also, you know who else was an erratic leader?

    1. Anthony Eden?

  7. business ideas nice information sir good job very helpful this information

  8. You want public support for DACA? Secure the border. People have been saying for 30 years that they’ll support these Amnesty type programs ONLY after the border is secured but no one in Washington seems to want to listen.

    1. I’m sure most are sympathetic to DACA kids, who had no control when their parents brought them here.

      So sure, give DACA kids some sort of amnesty. But arrest and deport their parents, who certainly did know what they were doing when they entered the US illegally.

      Once they’re safely back in their home countries, they can apply for entrance to visit their DACA relatives.

      1. I’m sure most are sympathetic to DACA kids, who had no control when their parents brought them here.

        This is true also for the kids of foreign workers and foreign students; they don’t get “deferred action” or “amnesty”; when their visas run out, they must leave.

        It was the same thing with the last “amnesty”, when only illegals were fast-tracked to permanent residency and citizenship while people who wanted to immigrate legally took years longer.

  9. 1. Maybe. It will really depend on whether we can get what we want from negotiations. Tariffs are a foreign policy, not economic tool.
    2. Ummmmm….NFW. Illegal aliens need to go. All of them. I would permit an exception for illegals who voluntarily serve in our military for 4 years.
    3. Yes. At the very least, kill the budget deficit and get us on the installment plan to pay down our 23T (and growing) national debt.

    1. The problem with No. 3 is that no one wants to give up their promised spending. So taxes would no doubt go up.

  10. 3 resolutions Reason should adopt.

    1) read the actual primary documents you use in the articles instead if linking to daily beast, box, or wapo “explainers.” You want to come across as neutral? Use the least biased sources possible. Read the entire document or collection unlike what you did for weeks reporting only the opening statements of impeachment witnesses.

    2) get the fuck out of d.c. and New York. You live in the 2 biggest hive mind bubbles in america. No matter what your “morals” are, you’ve been corrupted by groupthink.

    3) This one is for Boehm. Admit your thesis is sometimes wrong and stop repeating the same markets exploding mantra despite all evidence. You’re just a step below Krugman in embarrassment. Economics is a complex study due to the chaotic nature of human social interactions. There are literally no 100% truisms in economics because people behave irrationally. Along with this realize the markets already include bad actors and simply being good on one side of a trade agreement does not purify the entirety of the agreement if the other side is a bad actor. This is just being naive. Tit for tat game theory in economics has been a valid theory for decades.

  11. 1. Tariffs suck. Most government interference with commerce sucks. Restricting trade to favor a specific group makes life more expensive for everyone, and sometimes has worse effects.
    2. Turn DACA into a path to residency, not citizenship. End geographic birth citizenship. Hell, end automatic citizenship of any kind, and make people qualify.
    3. Federal deficits took off in the late 60s. Federal spending on social welfare and health care took off in the late 60s. Federal spending on defense has declined since the late 60s, and spending on other stuff has remained relatively constant. There will never be any reduction in deficits until the feds spend less on health and welfare.

    1. 1. Tariffs suck. Most government interference with commerce sucks. Restricting trade to favor a specific group makes life more expensive for everyone, and sometimes has worse effects.

      If you eliminate tariffs while keeping high individual income taxes and non-labor costs, you are forcing Americans to compete in a race with their legs hobbled; it simply doesn’t work.

      Worse yet, the trade deficits with China and Europe get funneled by those governments into buying real estate and corporate ownership, and with that political influence, in the US.

      Yes, tariffs should be eliminated: once the US federal government has been shrunk to less than 5% of GDP, we have a small flat income tax, and most restrictions on labor have been eliminated.

      1. So, protecting people from themselves?

        And then why not introduce tariffs for inter-state commerce? Why should the people of Arizona compete with industry in California?

        1. Your under the naive assumption that other actors arent already acting in bad faith. The estimated losses due to espionage and theft of corporations in higher than the tariffs attempting to fix those issues. You would have no problem outlawing the sale of stolen mob goods sold on the market, yet oddly the purists here have issues with any retaliatory actions for the same theft if it is from another country.

        2. And then why not introduce tariffs for inter-state commerce? Why should the people of Arizona compete with industry in California?

          There is free mobility of labor and capital between Arizona and California. There no free mobility of labor and capital between the US and China.

          So, protecting people from themselves?

          No, not at all. If you have high income taxes, high minimum wage, and high non-labor costs, you at least need some sort of tariffs against countries that don’t have those costs. You cannot realistically sustain a policy in which you impose all those costs on your domestic manufacturers but not on foreign manufacturers.

  12. You may have noticed this is a presidential election year? None of these problems will be “resolved” because all the candidates will do is posture, pontificate, and fail to advance one sensible way out of these messes.

    1. Gary Johnson was pretty sensible on all 3 last time. he got 3% of the vote.

  13. Sane policies:

    (1) free trade with any nation with similar tax and welfare systems under condition that it is symmetric

    (2) immigrant visas for anybody who pays more than the average per capita government expenditure in taxes for 10 years; elimination of all other immigrant visa categories (with some long-term non-immigrant visas for retirees and family)

    (3) elimination of jus soli

    (4) closure of all foreign military bases; cutting the military budget by 90%

    (5) elimination of both DOEs, the EPA, the FDA, the NIH, other federal agencies; replacement with private sector institutions as necessary

    (6) elimination of most of the federal criminal code

    (7) elimination of federal funding for education

    (8) stop accepting people into entitlement programs; allow people to buy out of Social Security and Medicare at a discount; adjust benefits in a way that is financially neutral and doesn’t add to the national debt

    (9) create a private, secure national ID for every citizen and permanent resident; require the ID for any transaction that involves local, state, and federal government (voting, driver’s licenses, banking, taxes, employment, benefits, etc.); deny benefits and services to anyone without an ID

    1. 1 — just drop the tariffs. Let other countries tax their people if they want.
      2 — free and open immigration to anyone, no welfare help
      3 — birthright citizenship is fine
      4 — a 90 percent cut might be steep all at once, but most foreign bases could certainly be closed with no loss in American security
      5 — I’d probably keep the EPA until we can be sure we don’t need it
      6 — piracy, counterfeiting and treason used to be the only federal crimes. I’d probably drop counterfeiting too.
      7 — education should be private and/or charitable
      8 — good, phase out all the entitlement programs, start by letting people opt out
      9 — No National ID card! If you copy the Nazis, you’re doing something wrong.

  14. “Resolution No. 1: Don’t apply new tariffs”

    One small issue: The promised panacaea advocated by free trade activists…well, it NEVER happened. Some did well, plenty of others did terribly. And the world was not more peaceful either. If a policy doesn’t show signs of efficacy, why continue engaging in it?

    “It would be terrible, indeed inhumane, to send them back to countries they don’t know, don’t feel as though they belong and whose language they might not even speak. It’s time for Congress to finally stop procrastinating and not let DACA expire.”

    What you label “procrastination” I label as a policy decision. I feel no special empathy or enmity towards these people. But rules are rules and we, like it or not, have the right to determine who is and who is not allowed here. Your pipe dream of “a world without borders” is just a pipe dream.

  15. thought of guiding Rick from stepping stone to stepping stone through some of his writing. You two created a truly helpful program together. And I totally agree with you in your obviously heartfelt expression of gratitude to Rick for his work. I too always look forward to what he has to teach us. Thanks again. With very best wishes, Ruth
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  16. This is why our spirit guides and guarding angels and archangels from the Spirit Realm want us to contact them to get the truth about our world. As an intuitive,clarivoyant and Spiritual Teacher I am proud to say people can do what they love.!
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  17. Here is another Reason 2020 resolution, endorsed by Michael Bloomberg. Seize local zoning control and place public housing and subsidized utilities for unskilled migrants into wealthy, mostly white, racist neighborhoods (Simarah-Democrat, in Northern Va quote). Raise local property taxes or income taxes on the top 30% to pay for public housing and education. Ratepayers pay for subsidized utilities.

    Why didn’t Britschgi mention (on the Northern Va Zoning post) the fact that Simarah in Northern VA goal is public housing expansion:
    “Includes public housing: where are we going to put the units? Under current zoning, new low-income housing is relegated to underinvested neighborhoods, concentrating poverty. Ending exclusionary zoning has to be part of broader housing reform” Another fact is that apartments are really cheap and nice in Northern VA-no lack of affordable rentals?

    Public housing for migrants, transfer payments from the local taxes. Utilities and infrastructure for public housing from ratepayers.

    When will Reason endorse Bloomberg 2020?

  18. These are three good resolutions. It would be great to see all areas of government work for a least these.

  19. It would be terrible, indeed inhumane, to send them back to countries they don’t know, don’t feel as though they belong and whose language they might not even speak.

    If DACA were about that, it would extend to the children of people legally in the country who are in the same situation and have to return home. But that’s not what it is about. Just like the last amnesty only applied to illegals while people going through the process legally often had to wait years longer than illegals.

    DACA is a handout to special interests and an attempt to stack the deck in favor of Democrats by importing low income, low skill individuals as voters, nothing more, and to do so by executive action, overriding the will of the people.

  20. Maybe changes government change but I believe in this will so much time. well let’s see


  21. yeah, heard about that
    Brandnic blog was also talking about these

  22. Hey Such a good article I will definitely make resolutions this year and will try to complete them Please check out
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