Yesterday I received via email the highlights of a speech by Rince Priebus, the Chairman of the Republican Party, that outlines 11 governing principles needed to cope with the challenges facing the nation (they can be viewed here). Attached to the email was a link to a page that has a survey of sorts to vote for individual principles with which I agree. On the survey page, the response choices were agree and disagree, black or white, no choices to mostly agree or mostly disagree. On those principles that I find somewhat objectionable, either vague or more like a pig with lipstick, I chose to disagree. On the results page I found that I am quite the minority out of just a little over 500 respondents, who together agree at least 98% with all of them.

And here they are:

1. Our Constitution should be preserved, valued and honored.


2. We need to start growing America’s economy instead of Washington’s economy so that working Americans see better wages and more opportunity.

Agreed – but how? The devil is always in the details

3. We need to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, make government more efficient, and leave the next generation with opportunity, not debt.

Disagree – See principle #1 – The formula for smaller, less expensive government is to stick with Article I, Section 8 that outlines the powers of Congress and the 10th Amendment that reserves all of the other powers not listed to the states or to the people. A Balanced Budget Amendment would only incentivize more off-the-books endeavors like Fannie Mae, and possibly other unintended consequences because of exceptions for wartime. If one desires to live in a nation at peace, the Balanced Budget Amendment is not what we need. The exception to this would be for the amendment to include a prohibition of conscription.

4. We need to start over with real healthcare reform that puts patients and their doctors in charge, not unelected bureaucrats in Washington.

Agreed in part. I don’t believe that the healthcare system is immune to crony capitalism that serves only the interests of the industry and politicians; and so without knowing the details I’ll have to keep this matter under consideration.

5. Our veterans have earned our respect and gratitude, and no veteran should have to wait in line for months or years just to see a doctor.

Agreed, but the problem articulated here is what comes with socialized medicine. Dump it and put veterans on the same thing everyone else ends up with.

6. Keeping America safe and strong requires a strong military, growing the economy, energy independence, and secure borders.

Agree in part – I am not positive what “secure borders” actually means. If it means a militarized southern border, I would have to take that under consideration. It would be easier to have more relaxed rules about who and how many can migrate with entry points spaced across the southern border to provide order. Plus, ending the war on drugs would go a long way to improving economic conditions for our southern neighbors, reducing the amount of illicit immigration traffic streaming across the borders.

7. Every child should have an equal opportunity to get a great education; no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing school.

Agree in part. No one should be forced to send their child to a failing school. But I think the entire structure of public schools is archaic and we need innovation in education that is appropriate for the information age, and to provide more opportunities for intern and apprenticeships so our kids can graduate with real life experience and entrepreneurial know-how to make their own jobs if the needs arises.

8. The best anti-poverty program is a strong family and a good job, so our focus should be on getting people out of poverty by lifting up all people and helping them find work.

Agree in part. I am not sure what strong families have to do with anything. Remember the Hatfields and McCoys? Some of the strongest families I am aware of from history were the impoverished subsistence farmers from the Dust Bowl; very cohesive even in the face of extreme hardship.

9. Our country should value the traditions of family, life, religious liberty, and hard work.

Agree in part. It isn’t government’s place to dictate values, and the country is the sum of its individuals. The comma between “family” and “life” is interesting. Is that valuing the traditions of life or valuing life itself? I am assuming that most people overlook the comma and take it as valuing the traditions of family life – but that is not what it says. The addition of religious liberty is a bit of a contradiction after telling folks what they should value. What kind of world would this be if a woman with small children leaves her lush of a husband and is scorned as somehow socially inferior? This entire thing is hardly the kind of bridge-building to inclusiveness and political cohesion Republicans need.

10. We should make America energy independent by encouraging investment in domestic energy, lowering prices, and creating jobs at home.

Agreed – and again, but how?

11. We need an immigration system that secures our borders, upholds the law, and boosts our economy.

Disagree. I have no interest in upholding bad laws and bad governance that makes the part about economics a contradiction. The contradiction is particularly obvious looking at the population graphs I posted with my rebuttal on demographic causes for economic sluggishness (here).

And as always, I find it particularly interesting to think about what this says by considering what’s missing. The overtone is purely economic. We need spending under control. We need cheap energy. We need healthcare reform that is truly affordable and works. One should not expect to sit on their hindquarters and not be impoverished, etc…

What’s missing are reforms of all kinds that lack thereof contributes to poor economic performance: tax reform, regulatory reform, patent and copyright reform, reform in the way we police political corruption; and reforms of UI, social pensions, labor laws, etc… and last but not least, reform of the Federal Reserve System, particularly pertaining to the conduct of monetary policy.

Instead of including principles that would produce a meaningful difference in the supply side of the economy (helping to keep a lid on dreaded inflation), taking only what is here under consideration, it appears we’re being told that solving perceived problems of what people value, fixing individuals instead of government and keeping illegals out of the country will result in economic utopia. Government isn’t broken, the people are. Why not just press the “easy button.”

This list of principles is nothing more than ineffective elitist BS on stilts.