WaPo | It is time, Jim DeMint told his fellow conservatives, to come up with a program beyond opposing everything President Obama does.
“It’s not sufficient for conservatives to run against agendas; they must advance ideas,” the head of the Heritage Foundation advised an audience at his think tank Monday morning. “A mandate to lead without a plan, without a proposal, without original legislation, is no mandate at all.”
And so Heritage Action, the group’s political wing, convened a Conservative Policy Summit to “show Americans what a bold, forward-looking, winning conservative reform agenda looks like.”
But conference organizers must have misread “bold” as “old,” because the proposals they assembled have been collecting dust for years:
They would cut hundreds of billions of dollars from means-tested programs, including Pell grants, school lunches, Medicaid and food stamps.
They would impose a work requirement on food-stamp recipients and perhaps a drug-test requirement on all who receive any form of welfare.
They would open up the outer continental shelf, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and more federal lands to oil drilling, and they would curtail medical-malpractice lawsuits.
They would expand private-school vouchers and introduce Medicaid vouchers, while giving bigger tax breaks for health-care spending — as long as insurance plans don’t cover abortion.
They would abolish Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and cut the federal gas tax by 80 percent, leaving it to the states to fund roads and infrastructure.
They would repeal an 83-year-old law that requires the federal government to pay prevailing wages and they would look into cutting the minimum wage to $5 an hour in some places.
Oh, and they’re backing two more bills that would repeal Obamacare.
DeMint acknowledged the obvious: “Some of the ideas have been introduced before.” But Heritage chose this slate of issues — and not, say, entitlement reform — because “the ideas we’re talking about unite people.”