Share This Page

The way ahead

| Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, 8:59 p.m.

For the first time since the early days of our republic, we'll have three straight two-term presidents.

One of the advantages — and challenges — of winning a second term is that there's no transition period. So in the spirit of bipartisanship, here are three areas policymakers should tackle before the end of the year.

1) Prevent Taxmageddon.

A massive tax increase is set to hit at the end of this year. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke calls it a “massive fiscal cliff,” and the Congressional Budget Office forecasts that it would trigger another recession. The effects would be felt by Americans across the board. In 2013 alone:

• Families with an average income of $70,662 would see a tax increase of $4,138.

• Low-income workers with an average income of $24,757 would see a tax increase of $1,207.

• Retirees with an average income of $42,553 would see a tax increase of $857.

ObamaCare alone is set to increase taxes by more than $22 billion. All of these tax hikes can and must be avoided. The president should work with lawmakers in the House to craft a solution before the end of the year.

2) Get the economy growing.

During the 2012 campaign, we heard plenty of rhetoric about “women's issues.” But the most pressing issue for women — and all Americans — is a good economy. Long-term prosperity comes not only from income but also from the ability and willingness to save and invest in the future, to help finance one's human capital and, for many, to build productive enterprises. An important way to build prosperity is to encourage marriage.

The married poverty rate is 75 percent lower than the rate for single mothers. Yet the number of out-of-wedlock births has skyrocketed, from 10 percent as recently as 1970 to more than 40 percent today. Welfare, tax and social policy should help, not hurt, families.

Meanwhile, continued massive government spending and the surging public debt will gradually destroy the foundations of our economy and put the American Dream beyond the reach of our children and grandchildren.

3) Sink the Law of the Sea treaty (LOST).

According to its advocates, we need the U.S. Convention on the Law of the Sea for a variety of reasons. One of them concerns the oil and gas resources located in the outer limits of our continental shelf. LOST's proponents say we can obtain legal title to them only by signing on to the treaty. But under international law and long-standing U.S. policy, we already have access to these areas.

Environmental activists are high on the treaty. That's because they anticipate suing the U.S. if it joins LOST — to force America to adopt the climate-change agenda they've been unsuccessful at imposing. Groups such as Greenpeace would love a chance to make the U.S. pay in international court. And that's just what we'd do under LOST.

This treaty amounts to little more than a power grab by America's detractors worldwide. President Reagan was right to reject it 30 years ago. The Senate should do the same thing today.

An election is a time to choose our leaders, and Americans have done so. Now we need to hold those leaders responsible, as we try to solve the big problems our country faces.

Ed Feulner is president of The Heritage Foundation (heritage.org).

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.