Allen on Agriculture, Budget, Competitiveness, and Education  

Sunday, June 04, 2006

From surfing about George Allen's Senate website, I've found the following policy positions:

Fighting for Virginia's Agriculture Community

Virginia has a rich agricultural history and our farming families make an outstanding contribution to both our Commonwealth and our nation. In the Senate, I've been a strong proponent of a market-based national farm policy that provides adequate income support, allows Virginia producers to compete in domestic and world markets, and provides flexibility in production decisions. (my emphasis)
Most of this is fine, such as the "market-based policy", but when you get into a "national" policy that "provides income support" for something not provided for in the Constitution, you are working outside the boundaries set for you by that same Constitution. This is, of course, better than other socialist ideas, since they would remove the "market-based" portion of this and replace it with something more of a socialist nature, but this policy violates the Constitution, so I would not support it.

Restoring Fiscal Accountability
Having served as Governor of Virginia, I know that it is possible to both fund priorities (national defense, homeland security, education, energy, transportation and research) and balance the budget.
Three of the six "priorities" Mr. Allen lists (education, energy, and research) are completely outside the boundaries set forth in the Constitution. It would be easier still to balance the budget if these "priorities" were also eliminated.
I believe that it is vitally important that the President and Congress get control of frivolous spending and work to continue reducing our nation's deficits.
The best way to do this is to follow the instructions (the Constitution). The reason we have these problems in the first place is the failure to do so by our elected officials.
To increase fiscal accountability, I've revived one of Ronald Reagan's ideas by introducing a Constitutional amendment which will give the President line-item veto authority which is an important tool to cut wasteful government spending.
Good luck ... and what good would it do anyway? The only president to have the line-item veto never used it, and the current president refused to veto even the most blatantly unconstitutional bills to come across his desk. Which president would even use the line-item veto? You only used it 17 times as Governor of Virginia. It would probably be needed that many times every day in your tenure as President. Are you prepared to use it that often?
I've also introduced a balanced budget requirement which is similar to 49 State requirements.
Good. Don't expect it to pass - especially in the Senate, where Democrats are Democrats, and Republicans are Democrats.
And I've introduced a "paycheck penalty" which will withhold the salaries of members of Congress if appropriations bills are not passed by October 1st. I hope this will avoid having appropriations bills being passed in the dead of night, two or three months late, with un-scrutinized spending add-ons.
This sounds really good, except that what you will get is simply appropriations bills with unscrutinized add-ons passed before October 1st. The real solution is to put legislators' feet to the fire and insist that the Constitution be obeyed.
Taken together, I believe that my 3-point plan for a line-item veto, a balanced budget amendment, and a paycheck penalty will restore fiscal accountability and common sense to Washington.
Nice plan. In practice, though, unless the Constituton is reinstated as the law of the land, none of it will be relevant anyway.

Keeping America the World Capital of Innovation
To get us moving forward, I've created a Competitiveness Caucus in the Senate. In addition, I've co-sponsored The National Innovation Act, which provides tangible action items to increase America's science and technology talent through grants, scholarships, and training. By implementing the recommendations made by the National Innovation Initiative Report, this bill will go a long way toward meeting America's long-term need for highly-skilled workers, and preserving our global economic leadership.
How about this for a recommendation, Mr. Allen? Get the government out of it altogether. It worked before all this socialism was brought into our country, and will work again. Why does the solution always seem to have to come from Washington, especially now that it's been proven that Washington causes more problems than it solves?

Accountability in Our Schools
I want all students to have an equal opportunity to gain the education, knowledge and skills to compete and succeed in leading a fulfilling life. When I was Governor of Virginia, we launched one of the nation's most innovative academic standards-based reforms. Ten years later, Virginia's SOL program is clearly successful as students' academic knowledge in English, math, science, history and economics is stronger and their scores on both State and national tests are improving. In fact, I believe Virginia has one of the very best educational systems in America.

Yet aspects of the federal No Child Left Behind law are confusing parents and undermining the progress of our high academic standards and accountability in Virginia. I've introduced the "Flexibility for Champion Schools Act" to ensure that unnecessary federal intrusion does not cause States, such as Virginia, with successful accountability programs in education to have to dumb down their higher academic standards to comply with the one-size-fits-all standards of federal bureaucrats. Successful States should be accorded flexibility in the way that they choose to educate their students without being tied down by federal bureaucrats.
I laughed out loud when I saw that Virginia's education program was called "SOL". Around here, SOL means "Shit Outa Luck", and nothing could be more fitting to describe the situation with regard to America's education system.

OF COURSE Virginia's education program was successful. It was done at the STATE LEVEL, where it's supposed to be done. The reason NCLB is not succeeding as it was intended isn't that it's underfunded or confusing. It's because it's a mistake in the first place. It's not the federal government's place to meddle in state affairs such as education. Instead of introducing your FCSA, repeal NCLB. Successful states should not be forced to dumb down their standards to comply with unconstitutional federal mandates, and unsuccessful states need to find their own way in succeeding, preferrably by modeling the programs of successful states. We do not need an act of Congress to follow the Constituton.

Will conservatives be able to support this man as President? We may have no better choice. The Democrat nominee will undoubtedly be many times worse, and there aren't any better Republicans available that I know of. Third parties will be out of the question unless the Donks complete their demise by the 2008 election, which is doubtful given the Republicans' lack of backbone on key issues such as border security. I'd run myself, save for my lack of funds and some crazy things in my past that the RepubliCrats and the media would destroy me over. Still, at some point, we will have to take back the country in the name of the Constitution, or lose it entirely.

I'll cover the other items on Allen's platform in future posts. It's time to do some work around the house.