Addressing tax, health care, and monetary policy is key to ensuring America’s economic future, says Steve Forbes, chairman of Forbes Media.
Forbes, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and Board of Trustees member at The Heritage Foundation, laid out his “reforms that we need to get this country moving again” during a speaking engagement at The Heritage Foundation on Wednesday.
- Health Care
Forbes said that in health care, unlike any other industry, increased demand is seen as a challenge rather than an opportunity because the current system is more affected by bureaucratic demands than those of a free marketplace.
Claiming that the current structure of the health care system means “hospitals and clinics have to satisfy the third-party payer, not you, the individual,” Forbes advocated increased consumer choice and transparent medical service pricing.
“The crummiest motel in America wouldn’t dare put you in a room with another guest with a curtain in between, as they routinely do in hospitals … they wouldn’t do it if they thought the patient was really in charge, the patient was really the payer, that they had to satisfy the patient.”
- Federal Tax Code
Forbes also discussed his concerns with the current federal tax code, arguing that it is “beyond redemption” as compliance takes billions of dollars and countless hours away from innovations that could improve human lives.
“Why waste both massive resources and our best brains on such a stupid, dead-weight, unnecessary activity?” Forbes asked rhetorically, to applause from the crowd.
“Take this beast—I was going to say bury it, but you probably have to get an EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] permit to do it—and just throw the whole thing out.”
Instead, Forbes advocated a “straight and simple” federal flat tax plan, which he claimed would reduce everyone’s rate.
“You can literally [file your taxes with] a single piece of paper, a few keystrokes on your computer,” Forbes said.
- Monetary Policy
Forbes also talked about a return to the gold standard, in which every dollar’s value would be backed by gold reserves, saying it would ensure economic stability by protecting money’s value.
“When you have an unstable currency, since it is the basis of all our interactions, it undermines social trust,” Forbes said.
Arguing that money works by measuring value as a clock measures time, Forbes parodied current monetary policy by stating that a proposal for the Federal Reserve to similarly “float” the value of hours and minutes of the day would make life “chaotic.”
Forbes said uncertainty about the value of the return on investments makes it less likely that people will take risks, “so people buy what’s already there, like metals or buildings, rather than things that are unseen today.” He also said: “And so what we see out there today with all of this instability, we get less investment.”
The Federal Reserve’s suppressing of interest rates acts as a price control, which has “deformed the credit market,” Forbes said.
He added that “easy money” favors government and corporation growth, citing evidence that small and new businesses have less access to credit in the “supposed recovery” of the economy.
“When you have lending [and] all this regulation on banks deforming the credit markets, so you don’t know what the real price of money is, you get a disaster. That’s what we have today.
“The bottom line on all this: A lot of things have to be done, but you gotta do the big three,” Forbes said.
Forbes also promoted his newly released book, “Reviving America: How Repealing Obamacare, Replacing the Tax Code and Reforming the Fed Will Restore Hope and Prosperity.”
Forbes said his book is meant to “inform citizens in a very straightforward, understandable way so that they can become advocates and educators, because oftentimes candidates learn from the questions they get from citizens.”