Many of the steps needed to strengthen the economy, create jobs and attract global capital are clear.
Cut wasteful federal spending. With $3.8 trillion to choose from, the starting point should be such favorite pets as earmarks and the $6 billion annual ethanol subsidy, Iowa's litmus test for presidential aspirants. Cuts like this would likely pay America 10-to-1 through capital inflows as the U.S. improves its scorecard.
Extend current tax rates. This would encourage profit and new-business innovation, adding investment and jobs.
Corporate tax reform. The U.S. has the second-highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. A lower rate on a broader base would significantly improve our scorecard.
Small-business credit. Washington has erected massive regulatory systems to channel capital from banks to Washington instead of to small businesses. Savers lose through the low interest rates paid by Treasury, banks lose in terms of lending skills and profit, and the nation loses when small businesses don't hire.
Sound dollar. A hallmark of structural reform is a government's resolve to provide sound money. Foreign currency markets--now $4 trillion per day--trade on instability. But American workers need real money in order to save and invest with confidence. When citizens can't trust their currency, chaos ensues.
Pension reform. The federal government has substantial influence on state and local pension systems through accounting rules, taxpayer subsidies and open-ended guarantees. State and local governments should be pushed to shift toward a federal-style 401(k) pension system (but without grandfathering politicians into lifetime pensions as Congress did for itself).