NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Having won control of Congress, the GOP must now put forward a clear program to create jobs and govern reasonably, lest it give Democrats the upper hand for the 2016 presidential election.
In recent months, economic growth has accelerated, but most economists don't see the pace picking up enough to solve the nation's shortage of decent paying employment.
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Republicans' standard prescriptions -- tax cuts and repeal Obamacare -- are non-starters. Tax reductions are not realistic, because the situation in the Middle East and the Chinese and Russian military buildups will require more rather than less defense spending. And the Affordable Care Act, or anything that could reasonably replace it, will prove more costly than was expected when it passed in 2010.
The Internal Revenue Service is unpopular, and the GOP could gain a lot by championing tax simplification and making federal compliance agents a less ominous force in everyone's life.
Nixing business tax loopholes, which favor some businesses over others, to lower the 35% top corporate rate is doable. Republicans, however, want reform to lower tax revenue overall, whereas President Obama wants to raise more cash to spend on new projects.
Republicans would be smart to offer a revenue-neutral package, and challenge Democrats to help eliminate as many special provisions and lower rates as much as possible. Then it would be up to the president and his allies in Congress to sign up or look unreasonable.
Replacing the personal income tax with a simple value added tax would treat everyone more equitably and eliminate individual tax returns for virtually every American.
Making April 15 just another day on the calendar is something the GOP could run on in 2016 if the president balked.