How Mitch Daniels Is Pushing the GOP to Rein in Spending

Gov. Mitch Daniels offers solid ideas for emergency measures for the GOP to jump start the economy.

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Republican Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels wrote a great oped in the Wall Street Journal this week, with solid ideas for emergency measures for the GOP to propose in order to jump start the economy.

[Read more about the economy.]

He advocates a one-year payroll tax holiday, which most agree is a good idea, but even better, he says we could “offset the revenue loss twice over”--who doesn’t want that?--with a combination of policies. Those policies are: rescinding unspent TARP funds and unspent stimulus funds; a federal hiring freeze while cutting federal pay by 10 percent, then freeze it after that to bring it more in line with private sector salaries; a suspension of new federal regulations, for a time; allowing businesses to claim full expenses for new investment, in order to free up capital that is “cowering on the sidelines”; and best of all, giving the president impoundment power. Here’s what he means by that last one:

Presidents once had the authority to spend less than Congress made available through appropriation. On reflection, nothing else makes sense. Plowing ahead with spending  when revenues plummet is something only government would do. In Indiana, we are still solvent, with no new taxes, money in reserve, and a AAA credit rating only because our legislature gave me the power to adjust spending to new realities. I promise you that a president who wanted to could put the kibosh on enormous amounts of spending that a Congress might never vote to eliminate, but the average citizen would never miss.

Republicans should not only say no to bad Democratic ideas, but put forth a few good ideas of their own. It’s one thing to give voters an opportunity to vote against bad policies; it’s another thing to give them some common-sense proposals to support. Voters are hungry for an alternative to Obama’s big taxing, big spending agenda. While we’re waiting for the GOP to give them that alternative, take a look at Mitch Daniels’s campaign Web site, MyManMitch.com. (Is that him riding the Harley?)

[See an Opinion slide show of 5 bad Democratic policy ideas.]

President Obama likes to go to Elkhart, Ind., to show his concern for the victims of the Great Recession--he has visited the town three times and first unveiled the administration’s stimulus package there--and MSNBC decided to create “The Elkhart Project” to document the everyday impact of the recession on citizens. But there’s a flip side to the story, which is what Daniels has been quietly doing to turn Indiana around and move from bankruptcy to the state’s first-ever AAA credit rating. Take a look at this video on YouTube, which is from his landslide re-election campaign, and you’ll see why so many of us think the best answers for what’s wrong in Washington are going to come from states like Indiana.