6) Try to reach a bipartisan agreement on adjusting the “cost-of-living” formula for federal benefits: Many economists believe that the current formula to adjust pensions for inflation is overly generous. If so, then adjusting it would not be an absolute cut in benefits, but a reduction in the rate of increase. The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan estimated that this adjustment would save one trillion dollars over the next 30 years. If done on a bipartisan basis, this could be one of the better ways to save money.
7) Try to strengthen the American family: Speaking of Moynihan, he never tired of pointing out that single mothers are five times as likely to be poor as married couples, thus requiring billions of dollars in assistance. Therefore, stronger two-parent families are in the national interest. They are also in the Republican Party’s interest: the network exit polls showed single mothers provided President Obama’s margin of victory in 2012.
8) Make sure your members speak the language of the national interest: The 2012 CNN exit poll showed that Democrats were 38% of the voters, Republicans 32%, and independents 29%. So, any policy that comes across as appealing only to the Republican base isn’t likely to rally the nation as a whole. The good thing about “reform” themes is that they cross party lines, and especially appeal to independents.
9) National Guard/FEMA upgrade: The nation has repeatedly been hit by natural (hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.) and man-made (9/11) disasters over the last generation. More extensive training for the National Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency would seem to be a wise investment.
10) Consider a consumption tax as a last resort to raise revenue: Conservative parties in Europe have raised “value-added taxes” as a less-damaging alternative to higher business or income taxes for years. These sales taxes are largely voluntary, as a person only has to pay if they buy an expensive new product. If it was good enough for Margaret Thatcher …
11) Consider trading a carbon tax for a permanent reduction in business taxes: Increasing the gas tax would not only raise some revenue, it would also reduce energy consumption & pollution and relieve traffic. Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist has indicated that he would not oppose increased energy taxes if other levies were reduced by an equal amount, thus making the tax “revenue-neutral.”