A HOT tax, light bulbs and an end to the edifice complex 

The incoming Republican House of Representatives, and their reformist GOP brethren in the Democratic Senate, will be embroiled in 2011 with complex, major legislation. Feeding or starving Obamacare, accelerating or braking federal spending, and possibly even keeping or replacing the U.S. Tax Code will be among the huge questions that will get the 111th Congress working day and night.

Beyond these momentous matters, however, pro-market Republicans also should promote smaller initiatives that break with the Big Government Bush-Obama years. Reaganite Republicans should invite Democrats to join them in these common-sense efforts. Democrats then can demonstrate whether or not they learned anything last Election Day.

  • Republicans should enact the Higher-Rate Optional Tax, which would satisfy liberals who don’t like their taxes cut.

“I am in the highest tax bracket,” an unidentified woman said in a Nov. 30 MoveOn.org commercial that attacks the Obama-GOP tax-cut compromise. “We don’t need the money. The country does.”

No American should be forced to accept an unwanted tax cut. So, the HOT Tax would require new language on IRS tax returns: “If you believe your tax bracket is too low, please indicate the higher rate at which you prefer to be taxed. Multiply that rate by your Adjusted Gross Income. Send in that higher amount.”

  • Republicans should introduce a measure to require that federally funded projects and structures be christened according to the U.S. Postal Service’s rules regarding personalities on stamps. If one must be dead for 10 years before gracing a stamp (save for deceased U.S. presidents, whose memorial stamps appear upon their first posthumous birthdays), one likewise should be lifeless for a decade before getting one’s name slapped on a federally financed highway, bridge, or warship.

Public facilities that honor living, even sitting politicians belong in North Korea, not America. This is a bipartisan embarrassment, especially when politicians have seen their names pried off of public works after they disgraced themselves.

  • Republicans should re-legalize Thomas Edison’s light bulb. In one of his most shameful acts, Republican socialist G.W. Bush signed the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. Among other things, this 822-page doorstop established new lighting regulations. According to the Federal Trade Commission: “These standards, which begin in 2012, will eliminate low efficiency incandescent light bulbs from the market.”

Compact Florescent Lamps conserve energy. However, they brighten slowly, emit light that some find stark, confound dimmer switches and release toxic mercury when they break.

  • Republicans should make CFLs and Edison incandescent light bulbs equally legal. Let Americans, not Uncle Sam, decide how best to illuminate their homes and businesses.

These three modest proposals should satisfy an electorate thirsty for more individual freedom, personal choice and a government that leaves their wallets in peace. If Americans see Republicans promote such small policies — and advance bigger ones as best they can while Democrats control the Senate and the White House — they will take note. And, come 2012, let them vote accordingly.

Deroy Murdock is a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

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