The Obama experiment in uber-progressivism has constricted labor participation, doubled our national debt, postponed our entitlement crisis, degraded sovereignty, damaged race relations and emboldened our enemies.

For the GOP, the primary season witnessed all stripes of conservatives offering up varying (mostly) conservative strategies for what ails us. Yet, the people chose the anti-PC, anti-establishment billionaire who spoke to the country’s struggling, angry working class.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton has doubled down on identity politics, higher taxes, greater regulation, sanctuary cities, climate protocols, an ever-increasing minimum wage and further disengagement from world hot spots.

Now, alas, Labor Day has come and gone — and the final campaign push has begun. All of which calls for a sober list of items that move the country away from collectivism and toward a post-progressive future.

The Democrats’ domestic agenda (minimum wage, living wage, gender-pay equity, protectionism, CEO pay cap, etc…) is directly from the Occupy playbook. We know two things about such economic populism: (1) It sounds real good when you say it real fast; and (2) It contains lousy prescriptions for economic growth. A reminder: Progressives believe market economics to be a “zero sum” game. That is, some become poor because others become rich, and vice versa.

In response, the GOP must return to its Reagan-Kemp “opportunity society” roots that stresses lifting all boats — not simply the ones government-sponsored crony capitalists choose to rescue. Real growth cures many ills — especially the specter of 26-year-olds living in their parents’ basements.

Our brief 1990s infatuation with the flat tax should remind us that comprehensive reform will be a hazardous duty. That love affair ended unceremoniously when middle America figured out its favorite preferences were on the chopping block. Home mortgage deduction? But my wife is a realtor. Charitable deduction? But we have so many wonderful non-profits in our state! Accelerated depreciation? But how do we rebuild American manufacturing? It took a true believing, two-term, popular president and plenty of bipartisan support to pass comprehensive reform in 1986 — but only after almost a decade of policy debate.

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Nevertheless, longterm prosperity will be boosted by fewer brackets, fewer preferences, a capital gains rate that rewards capital formation — and the drastic lowering of the world’s highest corporate income tax.

“W” tried (and failed) to use his post-9/11 credibility to pass private Social Security accounts. A few years later, Paul Ryan offered a bipartisan Medicare reform that became the focus of Democratic attack ads around the country. Today, the mere mention of entitlement reform sends progressives into fits of class warfare frenzy.

Nevertheless, the numbers are staggering. A soon to be $20 trillion federal debt. Mandatory spending that eats up 70 percent of federal outlays. And out-of-control Medicaid spending that drives unsustainable state budget deficits.

Can a responsible reform package be non-suicidal? Answer: Maybe, especially if this “Trumpian” era means voters are willing to listen to uncomfortable facts and substantive fixes. A start would be a new, phased-in retirement age of 70. Means testing of Medicare and Social Security benefits would attract bi-partisan support. And so would allowing beneficiaries who work beyond retirement age to keep more after-tax income as long as they do not claim benefits.

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We now know why President Bush 41 allowed Saddam Hussein to survive at the end of Desert Storm. In the Middle East, it seems the removal of even murderous thugs can lead to unforeseen, violent results.

But it is not America’s ill-fated exercise in Iraqi regime change that alone has further destabilized a persistently unstable region. A failed “Arab Spring”, unrelenting Shia-Sunni conflicts, and the emergence of a brutal Islamic “caliphate” guarantees continued instability.

Aligned against this dangerous environment has been an Obama administration intent on (1) inaction; or (2) negligible action. Here, an anti-war president’s favorite narrative is never far removed from the national debate: “America either retreats — disengages — leaves — signs weak agreements THERE WILL BE WAR.” Vladimir Putin, Bashar Assad and Sayyed Ali Khamene are happy to leverage this Obama doctrine.

The GOP must stress the importance of negotiating from positions of strength rather than consistently rewarding those who seek to humiliate us. Recall Churchill’s admonition from an earlier, equally dangerous era: “An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile hoping it will eat him last.”

What to do? We must establish a Syrian no-fly zone, offer arms and intel support to Syrian moderates, relentlessly bomb the Islamic State (there has been some recent progress) and re-energize our alliance with our Sunni allies. Two further planks: No more public commitments wherein the U.S. military telegraphs its intent to leave the battleground on a specific timetable. And no more embarrassing attempts at moral equivalency; America is not perfect, but our little experiment in pluralism and freedom is really exceptional (Barack Obama’s protestations to the contrary notwithstanding).

Fortunately, a number of the statute’s most problematic provisions will be easy to fix, including repeal of the hated medical device tax, the employer mandate and the individual mandate, as well as a new and not so improved conscience clause (the well- established policy that religious institutions are not required to provide health services that violate their religious convictions that the Supreme Court has now ordered modified). Also beyond repair are Obamacare’s co-opts, a majority of which are bankrupt. Similarly, the high deductible, pricey, one-size-fits-all exchange options are proving to be unattractive and will surely follow the same failed path — more quickly if Congress continues to cut off taxpayer subsidies.

A rewritten statute will increase competition and consumer choice. A market oriented approach would bless interstate underwriting and the growth of individually owned medical savings accounts.

Regarding Medicaid, those states that have expanded their rolls in order to gain access to additional federal matching dollars should be allowed the option to “devolve” — a paradigm that would empower more efficient state health departments to call the shots for a program originally targeted to poor women with children.

Open borders, driver’s license privileges, voting privileges, in-state college tuition, welfare benefits and sanctuary cities have generated divisive debate over the last two decades.

Conservatives demand sovereignty, assimilation and the rule of law. Progressives, not so much. Indeed, progressive politicians at all levels continue to defend a dangerous ad hoc respect for the law — and a seeming disregard for border security.

A majority of Americans want border enforcement and a legal process that welcomes all who desire to assimilate, learn English, follow the law, respect pluralism and religious freedom and love their new country.

A bill that incorporates these features will close an ugly chapter in an otherwise wonderful story of a wildly successful immigrant nation.

A bipartisan drive toward affordable housing goals was the fundamental driver of the mortgage-induced recession — a fact of life wholly irrelevant to the community organizer in the White House. It was equally irrelevant to the drafters of Dodd-Frank. Their focus was corporate greed and “Too Big To Fail” Wall Street investment banks (the same ones the federal government begged for help during the crisis) that sold toxic mortgage packages to the world, consequences be damned.

Today, a variety of economic repercussions are apparent: Higher bank fees, less liquidity, tighter credit and a blizzard of paperwork. Fewer small banks and increased federal control over the lending marketplace is not a prescription for economic recovery, or growth.

The administration’s recent attempts to revisit weaker underwriting standards while maintaining taxpayer guarantees against losses should be repealed on the new president’s first day. “All good intentions” does not a housing policy make; it is not “compassionate” to give people mortgages they cannot afford.

The “Great Society” underclass is now 50 years, 80 federal agencies, and 23 trillion dollars down the road — without much to brag about. The unemployment rate for the bottom 20 percent is over 20 percent, and labor participation is at its lowest point since the Carter administration. Seems it is indeed impossible to fight a successful “war” from the corner of 17th and K Street, N.W.

From the jump, the Democrats have championed big, centralized government agencies — and have stuck to the program despite decades of demonstrable dysfunction. Alas, big government proponents never seem to grasp that more regulation means more dependence.

Everyone has their own ideas, but surely program consolidation (Paul Ryan has done good work here) and the devolving of authority (read: Money) back to the states is a common sense starting point. Governors and local officials know best what works in their local communities.

Other worthy elements are increasing the “Earned Income Tax Credit,” radical school choice (yes, I mean vouchers where schools are serial failures), and radical property tax reform (the first step towards attracting private employers back to the city). More involved fathers (see below) is a mandatory addition.

The recently concluded world climate change talks in Paris saw the president volunteer an American CO2 emissions target (26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels) and a compliance year (2025) to the “historic agreement” before declaring victory and jetting off in his fossil fuel guzzling super jet.

Media reports of the agreement tended to either minimize or ignore the randomness of the (reduction) targets, the myriad admission sources covered by the goals and the issue of how any president (lacking legal authority) could force said sources into compliance.

A Republican alternative would include wind, solar, and bio-fuels — where generated economically and rationally (i.e., without crony capitalism-inspired taxpayer money) AND a continuing push for a natural gas revolution that has done much to push America toward real energy independence.

It’s 50 years since Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned that the African American family was in rapid decline. Alas, Moynihan’s analysis was the last five decades have witnessed a similar decline in the white and brown family structure. And both of these unsettling developments come with an unsurprising common denominator: More children raised without fathers than ever before.

The results are irrefutable. Children in father-absent homes are:

Four times more likely to be poor;

At dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse;

More than twice as likely to commit suicide; and

Show higher levels of aggressive behavior than children born to married mothers.

A half century of analysis reveals what most of us would otherwise suspect: Federal welfare programs contribute to the rise of single parent homes. But this problem is not merely the result of failed policy measures. It is cultural as well.

All of us know of single parents who have worked hard and achieved remarkable results in raising their children. America appropriately applauds such efforts. Yet it is not disrespectful to remind America that more often than not such family structures constitute a direct ticket to poverty — and broken children. The best way out of poverty is a two income household.

Barack Hussein Obama’s judicial appointments daily inflict damage in ways seldom noticeable or understood by the average citizen. Accordingly, they infuse leftist construction on the most divisive issues of the day: Voter photo identification — affirmative action — immigration enforcement — religious freedom — gun rights — mandatory union fees — and school choice to name a few.

This daily carnage pales in comparison to what a new Democratic president could do with a likely three new Supreme Court appointments. For context, check out the voting records of Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Then get to work organizing your precinct. The stakes have never been higher.

Gov. Robert Ehrlich is a Washington Examiner columnist, partner at King & Spalding and author of three books, including the recently released Turning Point. He was governor of Maryland from 2003 – 2007.

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