Chairman's Blog


September 07, 2017

U.S. Capitol Building

I don’t know about you, but I am fed-up with our Congress and their divisive, unproductive behavior. And, yes, I’m talking about all 435 members of the House and 100 members of the Senate … Republicans and Democrats!

Trump’s gradual phase-out of Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a prime example of how Democrats and Republicans — House, Senate and White House — could work together for the betterment of our nation.  

DACA was a policy ordered by President Obama which allows minors who were brought to the U.S. illegally to receive work permits. Those who qualify have been nick-named “dreamers.” 

Most constitutional scholars have long argued that DACA was well outside Obama’s authority to order. They argue that immigration law properly belongs to the U.S. Congress.

President Trump, who is committed to keeping his oath to defend and protect the Constitution, has been on a mission to reverse Obama’s illegal executive orders. With DACA, he ordered a 24 month phase-out in order to provide Congress the chance to act.

But so far, rather than meaningful proposals, all we’ve seen is left-wing hand wringing and gnashing of teeth. It’s a shame. Here’s an issue that could be resolved with a little compromise by both sides.

Now I am more than painfully aware the devil is always in the details, but try this out:

•   Any dreamer who has committed any violent crime (no exceptions) while in the USA has to go.

•   Any dreamer who takes government assistance has to go.

•   Any dreamer who won’t apply for citizenship in America; well, you have to go because obviously it’s not that important to you.

  • Any dreamer who has volunteered to serve in our military, you get a pass.

  • And finally, any dreamer who can’t pass a high school English test, sorry, you have to go.

So what we end up with are law-abiding individuals who desire to work, who are not a drain on taxpayers, who have taken the time and effort to learn our language, and who clearly want to be a part of the greatest nation in the world.

And who goes? It would be those who have broken our laws, or decided that government assistance is better than working, or refused to take even the first step to joining our common American culture by learning English. These are clearly people who aren’t interested in becoming proud, actively productive citizens of our nation.

Can we get agreement on the basics of this? It’s not terribly complicated!

Compromise is a dirty word with the hard right and the hard left, but you and I know it’s usually the only way to move the agenda forward and get things done. Now I’m not talking about compromising on fundamental principles. I’m talking about compromising on the details. Without that, how can the Members of Congress ever do their damn jobs?

Our leadership seems totally unable — or unwilling — to strike a deal on anything. Who pays the price? We do!

I don’t really know this, but I suspect that of the four party leaders in Congress, Mitch McConnell would be the most willing to sit down and work things out. His counterpart on the left, Chuck Schumer, has NO interest in compromise. Neither does Nancy Pelosi in the House. I have no idea where Paul Ryan is at, but it seems unlikely he (or anyone else) is as pig-headed as Pelosi (at least I hope not.)

When people get stuck in habitual behavior, it’s hard to get unstuck and move forward.  Congress is stuck. 

The left seems incapable of getting past their incredible disappointment over Hillary’s blowing the election and stopping cold the socialization and globalization Obama advanced. Now they can’t get beyond their own RESIST and IMPEACH rhetoric. But “resist and impeach” is not a solution, it’s not even a plan.

Republicans, on the other hand, are pressing forward with ideas, but the hard right won’t negotiate with the middle and visa versa.  

The result is finger-pointing, excuse-making, and deadlock. Longer term, it means more pain for the American middle class.

I know Congress complains they already have a lot of difficult issues on their plate. But here is a promise; if they don’t work it out among themselves and fix some of these problems, then they are breaking their pledge to the American people. They’ll have no-one else to blame for the growing frustration and alienation that has already caused such upheaval in our political process. 

Let’s consider tax reform (with the already admitted devil-in-the-details caveat).

First, due to a total lack of planning and discipline by Congress, we are NOT going to get tax reform; it is simply too big and too cumbersome for these people to deal with. It’s a shame because real tax reform would mean igniting our lackluster economy and creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs for America’s working families. Instead, Congress will be lucky if they can pass a few tax cuts that help stimulate modest economic growth at the margins. But even here there is sharp division.

Trump wants to reduce taxes on corporations to 15% (so do I.) Unfortunately, Congress says that’s a non-starter. OK, so now we have two choices. We can keep our corporate rate among the highest in the world and continue to ship thousands of jobs and trillions of dollars overseas, or we can compromise.

Try this for size. First, reduce the rate to 22.5%, then remove some of the corporate loopholes, and finally, charge a low 10% rate on the two trillion dollars plus that corporations are currently keeping off-shore in order to avoid our highest-in-the-world corporate tax. If we did just those three things, we would enjoy thousands of new jobs, and our economy would reach growth of at least 3%, maybe more.

That’s for starters.  Next:

Trump wants to reduce the tax rates for the middle class. He doesn’t seem too concerned with the tax rate for upper-income folks so let’s try this:

Let’s reduce rates for the middle class by 4-5 points. If you are a small business person and file a schedule C, let’s tax your first $300,000 of net income at the corporate rate (22.5% if you did the above first,) and then tax the balance at whatever your ordinary tax rate would be.

It’s not a perfect plan, but there’s enough for both sides to at least get the conversation started.

On every single issue, there are good compromises available to both sides if only these clowns would sit down together and negotiate honestly on behalf of the American people.

The overwhelming majority of American workers don’t want illegal immigrants to receive “tax refunds” if they haven’t paid taxes in the first place. Stop this foolishness. 

The American people want welfare brought under control. How about this … if you’ve been on welfare, but then get a job, you're excused from paying federal income tax for three years. What a great incentive to find a job! And states would be hard-pressed not to follow along.

Congress can fix our country when they drop their dogma, and find shared principles to work around. Principles like … fairness is right … work is good … better schools help assure a better future … empowering people means more freedom … personal-responsibility is key.

If the leaders of Congress would find common ground around the principles they claim to share, rather than continuing the kind of bickering that is tearing us apart, they could wipe the blackboard clean and work together to solve our problems.

It’s not complicated. All it takes is a strong desire to do what is right and good for the American people!

John Philip Sousa IV

John Philip Sousa IV is an entrepreneur, political activist, author and accomplished business person. John has worked in the financial services industry for over 40 years, built a highly successful marketing company, ran for congress at age 24, and in 2016 created and led the successful movement to draft Dr Ben Carson into his candidacy for President of the United States. John is author of John Philip Sousa, A Patriot’s Life in Words and Pictures and Ben Carson, RX for America.