Asset forfeiture — that is, the seizing of assets from totally innocent citizens, without being convicted of anything — by federal, state and local law enforcement officials, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), is an issue that rightly appalls most Americans. I have been writing about it for 15 years, but only recently, owing to the continuing and gross abuses by government agencies, has it become a hot issue. The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Times have editorialized about it many times, and last week even The Washington Post ran a three‐part series about the abuses. Asset forfeiture has become a poster child for out‐of‐control government. Judge John Yoder and Brad Cates, the first and second directors of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Office in the Department of Justice, have come out for its abolition. Candidates demanding an end to the practice of asset forfeiture, including the use of it by the IRS, will be on the winning side. It also has the virtue of delivering a real punishment to the IRS for its continued misdeeds.
Excessive regulation is a concern of most people, because it is a clear drag on economic growth and job creation, and thus, is a good campaign issue if properly addressed. If the Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress, they can cut the budgets of the regulatory agencies and demand real cost‐benefit analysis for all regulations. They could also make it much easier for individuals and companies to challenge regulations that do not meet a reasonable cost‐benefit standard, including the reimbursement for legal and associated costs if they win in court. Congress could also require a sunset provision on all new regulations (as the South Koreans have done) and a cap on the total cost of regulations.
Many companies, such as banks, find it impossible to comply with contradictory regulations, such as those that require both information‐sharing and financial privacy. This has enabled government agencies to extract huge and unjustified fines from banks and other companies, undermining the rule of law. Candidates who propose ending this hypocrisy and double jeopardy will be on the winning side.
The above are only a few examples of specific policy suggestions that, if properly stated, would be win‐win for any candidate. Rep. Paul Ryan has presented a long list of specific spending‐reduction and tax‐reform proposals that all Republican candidates should review, because many of them could be win‐win, depending on the district.
Running a safe campaign when a candidate thinks he is ahead (which always has the danger of not being true) does not mean running a bland, non‐issue campaign. The safest course for any candidate is to run a positive, issue‐oriented campaign where the majority of the voters will agree if the issues are properly presented. It takes more work, but hard work usually results in greater success.