State Rep. Kurt Bills is the Republican-endorsed candidate to challenge U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar in this fall's election. He announced this week that he is running on the "Platform to Revitalize America," a federal budget fix proposed by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. It is the kind of plan that should perk up your ears for several reasons.
First, it is not mild. It envisions balancing the budget in five years, largely by trimming government spending back to pre-2008 levels. That should not necessarily be too hard, right? It's only 2012. But the Obama administration's spending binge has put federal spending $1 trillion above where it was in 2008. The accompanying sea of debt is the resulting problem, but one that Democrats - including Klobuchar - say must be tackled with tax hikes as well as spending restraint. That unreasonable position has created the gridlock we see in Washington.
Second, the Platform to Revitalize America does not discriminate. It would cut foreign aid to one-tenth of its current level, from $50 billion annually to $5 billion. It would greatly reduce farm subsidies. It would just about eliminate federal funding for the "War on Drugs." The federal departments of commerce, housing, commerce and energy would go away. The Environmental Protection Agency would get half of its 2008 funding.
Third, the plan includes a flat tax, which would do away with a wide variety of tax breaks, which are simply ways for some citizens to benefit at the expense of others.
Yes, all of this is bold, audacious, courageous and politically risky. It, or something similar, is exactly what America needs. Bills is on to something. He may not win but the ideas he supports will have to, sooner or later.