Renowned syndicated columnist Cal Thomas says Washington lawmakers are caught in a vicious, repetitive cycle in which very little ever gets done.
"So much of Washington these days resembles the movie 'Groundhog Day' in which Bill Murray gets up every morning and repeats the same things over and over again from the music on his clock radio to the conversations he has," Thomas told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"You get the politicians in Washington saying the same things, the same sound bites and nothing that gets accomplished."
Thomas sums up the problem — and offers solutions — in his new book, "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America,"
published by Zondervan.
"What I'm appealing for is a stop to this mess and a reinstitution of Ronald Reagan's 'Grace Commission,' but this time with teeth," Thomas said.
"The Grace Commission did an audit of the federal government and looked at all the programs and policies and saw which ones worked and which ones didn't and recommended that the ones that didn't work be done away with.
"Unfortunately, the Grace Commission didn't have any authority to do that and Congress ignored it. What we need is something more like the Base Realignment and Closing Commission that actually shut down military bases and had the authority to do so when they weren't living up to their expectation."
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Thomas said while Washington has broken down, there is plenty of legislative action in invidual states.
"In states like Ohio and Indiana, especially in Kansas with Gov. [Sam] Brownback and Louisiana with Gov. [Bobby] Jindal, a lot of things are happening … budgets are getting balanced, people are getting … refunds from the government because the state government doesn't need any more money," he said.
"Imagine that happening in Washington. We have a $17 trillion debt. Reagan said that the only proof of eternal life in Washington is a government program. It's easier to kill a vampire than a government program and the analogy is apt because both suck the life blood out of their objective."
Thomas said lawmakers should look to the past to plan a successful future.
"We know what works from our past. Let's look to the past, update it as necessary for the president and move forward instead of this constant back and forth, wasting the taxpayer's money, passing more bills," Thomas said.
"People are not clamoring for more laws, they're clamoring for more freedom."
Thomas said the liberal mentality has turned the nation into one of handouts.
"The liberals understand human nature. They understand an awful lot of people would rather get a check than earn a check," he said.
"We have 47 million people on food stamps in this country. That's a disgrace, but it's like a drug. If you get hooked on a drug then the drug supplier's always going to have you unless you go into rehab.
"We need a national rehab in this country. We need to go back to the principles that established our country and the Constitution, which were limited government, maximum liberty, government living within its means, low taxes, and personal freedom."
Thomas said his book calls for the equivalent of what is called in some churches "testimony time."
"The inspiration part comes from people who came up in a difficult situation like Dr. Ben Carson," he said.
"He's featured in the book. Wrong side of the tracks in Detroit, no father in the home, lived in a bad neighborhood, but managed to study, hard work, and persistence to overcome his circumstances and wind up as the chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
"Those kinds of stories used to inspire Americans and now especially for poor minority people, we're telling them, you can't make it without government. If your skin is not white, if you were brought up in the wrong part of town, if you're a woman or whatever, you are doomed to failure without the help of government."
He said too many people get addicted to government and the Democratic Party gets addicted to their votes.
"We got to break that cycle and we do it by modeling success, not subsidizing failure," Thomas said.
He said if Republicans take the House and the Senate this fall they should have several plans of action ready.
"You have to block any new judges to the Supreme Court and the other federal courts who are liberals. This is the first priority. But right behind that, in fact, even superseding that, is a positive agenda," Thomas said.
"You recall that the Republicans won back the House in the 1994 election with a Contract with America. It wasn't about what the Republicans were against, it is what they were for and that's what conservatives and Republicans need to major on."
He said people already know what the problems with the country are.
"The late Jack Kemp, the congressman from New York, the vice presidential nominee at one point, said you don't beat a thesis with an antithesis. You beat it with a better thesis," Thomas said.
"So instead of spending all of our time criticizing [President Barack] Obama and opposing everything that he stands for, we need to show the American people that we who are conservatives have a better idea, a better thesis, inspiration, motivation, perspiration."
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