Boehner’s Plan

It’s rare to hear any praise of Speaker John Boehner. Most of us would like to shake him and get him to play offense instead of defense. Sometimes it seems he plays the hand he has weakly.

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker, had some interesting remarks to make about Boehner.

Here’s what he wrote:

Speaker of the House John Boehner gave an important speech at the American Enterprise Institute yesterday.

He offered the American people in simple language the five things we need to do to reset our country’s economic foundation. It was exactly the kind of realistic, positive vision for governing in the 21st century that Americans have been waiting to hear from either party.

Speaker Boehner began with what the House Republicans have accomplished in the last four years, despite Democrats controlling both the Senate and the presidency. Some of their record may surprise you. Republicans cut total federal spending for two straight years–the first time that’s happened in half a century. They guaranteed that 98 percent of Americans would not see permanent income tax hikes. And they pushed through free trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama.

These are historic accomplishments. They have real meaning for the lives of millions of Americans. And they create room for future economic growth.

Speaker Boehner argued that the real growth in the last few years, however, has come not from government but from an opportunity in American energy–the revolution in energy production that is transforming towns across the country and creating good jobs in places where there have been too few. Thanks to almost unbelieveable advances in engineering and technology, the United States is now the world’s leading producer of both oil and natural gas.

That energy boom, he said, means the U.S. should be one of the best places in the world to make just about anything, with more growth, more jobs, and lower prices. It is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to reset our economy from the bottom up.”

Taking advantage of this opportunity will require leadership with the wisdom to do five crucial things, the Speaker said.

First, we have to fix the tortuous tax code that punishes companies for doing business here and carves out dozens of special loopholes for the wealthiest Americans while the middle class struggles to get by. Everyone would be better off with a simpler, fairer, and flatter tax code.

Second, we have to fix the spending problem and move toward a balanced budget. This means cutting waste and strengthening Medicare and Social Security for current retirees and the next generation as well.

Third, we have to fix the legal system that makes it impossible for doctors, hospitals, and other businesspeople to do their daily work without fear of getting sued. The cost of litigation here is far higher than in other countries, and we’re all paying the price.

Fourth, we have to tame the sprawling, bureaucratic regulatory state that makes it painful and expensive to do business in the U.S. The bureaucracy has gotten completely out of control.

And finally, Speaker Boehner argued that we have to fix our education system, which has been failing to teach our children for two generations and denying opportunity to millions of students who are trapped in schools where they don’t have a chance. We can go a long way toward resetting the system if we give parents and students a choice about which schools are best for them.

If we do these five things, Speaker Boehner argued yesterday, “we can reset the foundation of our economy for the next two or three generations.”

This was a sincere, heartfelt speech from a leader of the Republican party who has an optimistic vision for the future.

Sounds good. Now Boehner and other Republicans need to hit the road with this, condense it to five talking points and start campaigning.

There’s too much at stake this election to let the Democrats win yet again.

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