Vol. 42, No. 1

A Note From the Chairman Emeritus

“Fired up! Ready to go!” For some Americans, those five words, a familiar refrain at Barack Obama rallies, have become synonymous with change this election season.

Taxes and the Reagan Revolution

The former Congressman, Cabinet Secretary, and candidate for Vice President discusses his role in making tax cuts the centerpiece of the Reagan economic platform in 1980, and the state if U.S. tax policy today.

Fanning the Flames Of Change

South Carolina’s Governor outlines his plan for changing the tax system in his state and explains why he believes real reform begins with giving people a choice.

In the Hands of the People

With Washington failing to act on reforming the tax code, a plan is put forth that will put the power for real change with the American taxpayer.

Reforming the Tax Code

It’s easy to talk about scrapping the current tax system. But how do you go about doing it? One of America’s leading experts on the issue tells us how.

Keys to Tax Reform: Beyond Simplification

Reducing paperwork is an important goal of tax reform. But minimizing the government’s impact on the economy is key.

Why Tax Cuts Still Matter

With the economy slowing, now is not the time to be raising taxes. Yet with the Bush tax cuts set to expire, that is exactly what some are proposing.

Incentive and Inventive

It’s a comment many of us heard in our early years on the job, delivered by a demanding boss or exasperated coworker: “Work smarter, not harder!”


I can attest from my years as a orthopedic surgeon that allowing government or an outside party to dictate medical decisions is not in the best interest of patients.

The Handwriting is on the Wall

Our health care system must utilize new technologies that will dramatically reduce costly and fatal errors and prove to be more convenient for both patients and physicians.

A Capital Idea

Where our country does have an under-investment problem is in our public infrastructure

The Boldness of T. Roosevelt

There is one potential Rooseveltian candidate in the 2008 presidential race, and that candidate is a Republican.

The Ripon Profile of Shelly Moore Capito

With a keen eye to the future, we must address the ballooning costs of our nation’s entitlement programs with out-of-the-box thinking and a Republican message that empowers individuals to make choices in their own lives.

A Note From the Chairman Emeritus

“Fired up! Ready to go!”

For some Americans, those five words, a familiar refrain at Barack Obama rallies, have become synonymous with change this election season.

Other Americans want more meat on their rhetorical bone. They’re looking for people who are not just talking about change. They want people who are actually working to get it done.

The Ripon Forum spotlights two individuals who are doing just that. One is the Governor from South Carolina; the other the Congressman from Wisconsin’s 1st District. What Mark Sanford and Paul Ryan have in common is a belief that the tax system is broken, and that the tax laws as written are weighing down families and businesses struggling to stay afloat.

Both are pushing plans that would dramatically change the status quo. We focus on their plans in this edition. We also look at the broader issue of tax reform with some of the best known authorities on the subject. Scott Hodge offers advice on how to avoid some of the landmines that stand in the way of reforming the tax code, while Ernie Christian and Gary Robbins discuss why the goal of any reform effort should be to minimize the impact of government itself. And Bill Beach provides us with a reminder as to why keeping taxes low still matters.

We kick things off, though, with an individual who perhaps did more to change the tax debate in the United States than anyone else. More than 25 years ago, Jack Kemp convinced Ronald Reagan to make tax cuts the centerpiece of his economic platform for President. In the process, he also convinced a generation of Americans that reducing taxes was good policy and good politics. We talk to Secretary Kemp about the revolution he helped create and how its impact is still being felt today.

This edition of the Forum also features articles on health care and the budget, and a splendid essay on one of the statesmen of our Nation and the Republican Party – Theodore Roosevelt.

We hope you enjoy this edition and encourage you to write us at editor@riponsociety.org with any comments or questions you may have.

Bill Frenzel
Chairman Emeritus
Ripon Society