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Charleston Mercury: Kingly riches of royal nuggets for policy debate

By Charles W. Waring III


By Kevin J. High

Softback 243 pp.


(Cytation L.L.C., Charleston, S.C., 2012)

This is the “put up or shut up” book; indeed, Kevin J. High hit the keyboard in response to his son calling his bluff when dear old dad was ranting about public policy issues. In responding as he did, High set a worthy example for other fathers and mothers, as leadership requires sincerity and High has this in kingly sums. The volume has a friendly and direct tone and is not overly complex, but is detailed to face the reality of objections and nuances.

Of course, it is absurd, as High wishes, to be king for four years to solve our nation’s policy issues, but his policy ideas and amendments to the United States Constitution are generally logical and backed up by statistics, history, charts and an index. Nonetheless, the fantasy royal approach allows readers to see how much power is required to make big changes. Moreover, he also names those high-profile persons who would run various departments.

As a former financial executive from the Northeast, High understands the ups and downs of business and the impact of a devastated financial system and the “too-big-to-fail” monopolies. He has lived in Charleston since 2004 and began working on the book in 2010.

On the libertine side, High proposes to decriminalize drugs and prostitution and would look to the states to regulate and tax those “sins”; in arguing for the decriminalization, he does not address how society would turn out with a service industry and public transportation systems riddled with a percentage of perpetually stoned workers.

Daily drug testing would be one answer, but he does not address this. Another point that will rub capitalists the wrong way is that he seeks to limit executive compensation; that plan is an answer to the screams from the Occupy Wall Street crowd and fails to realize that the radical left will never be satisfied until they overturn all elements of our capitalist system.

However, on balance, High puts forth some credible solutions that the next president and Congress should consider carefully. His tax plan suggests getting rid of all federal taxes except one:  a 12 percent consumption tax on “non-essential goods.” Unprepared food would not be taxed; restaurant meals would be. He states, “Americans spent over $60 trillion on consumer products in 2011.” If we taxed half of that spending, we would have $2 trillion in tax returns. He goes after the deep underground economy in this plan, and that is the largest untaxed portion of our economy. High scores royally in presenting this plan.

Other key concepts include becoming energy independent by 2016, at the direction of T. Boone Pickens, and phasing out Social Security in a manner that causes the least pain for those who need financial help, transitioning retirement to a concern of the private sector.

Other plans will appeal to business owners, such as “loser-pays” tort reform; streamlining defense contracting and ending the practice of subcontracting; privatizing the U.S. Postal Service; and ending affirmative action. High also takes an optimistic view of American “excep-tionalism.” He thinks that we should have a “global responsibility to show and model good practices. … Therefore we will strive to make it so that the highest standards will be those of America.”

In the wake of a long election cycle, readers would do well to pick up this tome and consider the heavy lifting required to fix the multitude of public policy issues that challenge us despite the promises from our elected officials. Credit Kevin High for providing a provocative and logical contribution to reaching conclusions about the issues that matter most to Americans from all walks of life.

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