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Archive for the ‘Government Spending’ Category

Wonder what you would find if you frisked President Obama’s campaign speech on July 3, 2008? 

Answer: Apparently, it is irresponsible and “unpatriotic” to add $4 trillion to our national debt.

Interesting… Especially when this headline showed up on CBS News a couple days ago:

National debt has increased $4 trillion under Obama

The latest posting by the Treasury Department shows the national debt has now increased $4 trillion on President Obama’s watch.

The debt was $10.626 trillion on the day Mr. Obama took office. The latest calculation from Treasury shows the debt has now hit $14.639 trillion.

It’s the most rapid increase in the debt under any U.S. president.

The national debt increased $4.9 trillion during the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush. The debt now is rising at a pace to surpass that amount during Mr. Obama’s [first] term.

According to Obama, his own failed policies must have an “unpatriotic” element to them. After all, it was Obama and his Democratic Congress who managed to add another $4 trillion to our national debt in a quick two and a half years.

Democrats are trying to push back against Republicans who are using this story as ammo against President Obama’s campaign. They are attempting to use the dismal approval ratings of Congress to shutdown Republicans. The problem with this strategy is that the Democratic Party held the majorities in both the House of Representatives and Senate, but I guess they’re hoping the American people will be hit with amnesia. Also, if it is Congress’s fault for the extreme increase in our national debt, then wouldn’t it be then-Senator Obama’s fault for the trillions of dollars added on to our national debt under President Bush? Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways Democrats.

As for the Republicans, this video/audio clip is political gold for the 2012 presidential campaign and will soon be featured in dozens of political advertisements. Just wait and see.

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Above is a video clip from the hit television series The West Wing where Josh Lyman, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the president, thinks he can easily handle the White House press pool. Notice how he gets stumped at the end of the clip about an “inflation plan”. Instead of admitting that the president doesn’t have a plan to tackle the possibility of inflation, Josh decides to call the press pool stupid and tells that he does have a plan. Entertaining, right?

Now let’s comeback to reality.

Here’s a video clip of President Obama’s White House Press Secretary Jay Carney from earlier today:

Haha… Priceless! It’s crazy how The West Wing can mirror real life at times.

On a serious note, where’s the [real] president’s plan at???

Guy Benson – from Townhall.com – made an interesting point:

Since his unmitigated failure of a budget was unanimously defeated in the Senate, this president has refused to offer a specific plan of his own on virtually anything at all.  Instead, he talks about “visions” and “contours” and “frameworks” — and tries to blame his opponents when his poor leadership is exposed.  Over the last five days, the president has (a) undermined a bargain with John Boehner by introducing an unacceptable eleventh-hour condition, (b) rejected “out of hand” a bipartisan compromise that he found to be politically unpalatable, and (c) delivered a speech that painted his opponents as the intractable extremists.  In light of this behavior, it’s entirely reasonable for Americans to wonder what, precisely, Barack Obama’s proposed solution might be.  Today, the White House dismissively waived off that question as a GOP talking point and condescendingly inquired if the journalist who dared to ask it was capable of taking notes.

Well said.

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Wonder what you would find if you frisked the Democrat-controlled Senate today?

Answer: They voted down the FY12 Republican House budget.

Hot Air reports:

In a procedural vote that represented some pretty fine political grandstanding, the Senate this evening voted down the controversial House-passed budget, 57 to 40. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scheduled the vote to force conservative senators to go on the record in support of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan — a plan opponents say will deprive seniors of adequate health care.

The vote roughly broke down along party lines, but Republican Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan Collins (Maine), Rand Paul (SC), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) all broke ranks and voted against consideration of the budget.

It’ll be all too easy for Democrats to criticize Republicans who voted for the Ryan plan — but, before they do, they might want to consider this advice, offered in the preamble to the president’s own fiscal commission report:

In the weeks and months to come, countless advocacy groups and special interests will try mightily through expensive, dramatic and heart-wrenching media assaults to exempt themselves from shared sacrifice and common purpose. The national interest, not special interests, must prevail. We urge leaders and citizens with principled concerns about any of our recommendations to follow what we call the Becerra Rule: Don’t shoot down an idea without offering a better idea in its place.

So, what better idea have the Democrats offered? Still none. It’s been 756 days now and that number just continues to climb. The only budget to come from the left has come from the president — and that budget doesn’t exactly address what fiscal commission co-chair Erskine Bowles has called “the most predictable economic crisis in history.” The Congressional Budget Office found that the president’s FY 2012 budget would double the nation’s debt and would never achieve an annual deficit of less than $748 billion.

Leadership! Well… Maybe one of these days.

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Great video from U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) explaining what is currently wrong with Medicare and how his Path to Prosperity plan will fix it.

Power Line reports:

Medicare is heading for collapse, as all well-informed citizens know. The question is what to do about it. Democrats welcome the collapse, and have incorporated it as part of their strategy to force socialized medicine on unwilling Americans. Republicans, for better or worse, are trying to save the Medicare program in something like its present form.

[…]

[T]he best thing about the House Republicans’ approach is that it goes a long way toward restoring patient choice and market competition to our health care system. That won’t just benefit senior citizens, it will benefit everyone.

Bravo Rep. Ryan and keep up the good work.

As for the left’s response, here it is:

Demagoguery.

Reminder: Americans 55 years old or older will not be affected by Rep. Ryan’s plan anyway. Misleading? I think you know the answer.

*UPDATE* – May 25, 2011 – 10:45 pm

Rep. Ryan went on Fox & Friends this morning to defend his plan:

*UPDATE* – May 25, 2011 – 11:05 pm

Former President Bill Clinton told Rep. Ryan that he believes the Democrats need to do something about Medicare. ABC News reports:

“So anyway, I told them before you got here, I said I’m glad we won this race in New York,” Clinton told Ryan, when the two met backstage at a forum on the national debt held by the Pete Peterson Foundation. But he added, “I hope Democrats don’t use this as an excuse to do nothing.”

Ryan told Clinton he fears that now nothing will get done in Washington.

“My guess is it’s going to sink into paralysis is what’s going to happen. And you know the math. It’s just, I mean, we knew we were putting ourselves out there. You gotta start this. You gotta get out there. You gotta get this thing moving,” Ryan said.

Clinton told Ryan that if he ever wanted to talk about it, he should “give me a call.” Ryan said he would.

Oh, and it gets better. The New York Times reports:

Former President Bill Clinton, still widely considered one of his party’s foremost politicians, said on Wednesday that Democrats should cut a “reasonable” deal with Republicans on Medicare savings rather than conclude from Tuesday’s upset in a special Congressional election that bashing Republicans on the issue is the key to a party comeback in 2012.

[…]

Mr. Clinton, with some passion, returned to the topic at the end of an hour-long interview. “I think the Democrats are going to have to be willing to give up, maybe, some short-term political gain by whipping up fears on some of these things — if it’s a reasonable Social Security proposal, a reasonable Medicare proposal. We’ve got to deal with these things. You cannot have health care devour the economy.”

Great soundbite.

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Wonder what you would find if you frisked the Democrats’ claim that they can solve the country’s fiscal problems by raising taxes on the so-called “rich”?

Answer: There’s not enough of those “rich people” to raise taxes on. 

Props to the Wall Street Journal and Power Line for reporting this story:

This chart from the Wall Street Journal tells you pretty much all you need to know about the credibility of the Democrats’ claim that they can solve the country’s fiscal problems by raising taxes on “the rich.” The chart, based on 2008 IRS data, shows how much total income was reported by Americans in each income range.

Click to enlarge.

Notice where all the money comes from.

The problem with rich people (or, more properly high income earners) is that there aren’t enough of them. Upper-income taxpayers are already paying around double their fair (pro rata) share of federal income taxes on the average, and there simply aren’t enough dollars at the high end to pay for the Democrats’ spending spree, even if the Dems try to steal them all. The only way to balance the budget through tax increases is by going where most of the money is–the $50,000 to $500,000 adjusted gross income range.

In the end, if President Obama wants to solve our fiscal problems by increasing taxes, he would have to go after the middle-class. Good luck proposing that plan to the American people.

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Wonder what you would find if you frisked Vice President Joe Biden during President Obama’s failed budget speech?

Answer: He appeared to be a little tired.

Oops!

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Vice President Joe Biden was given another big job by President Obama on Wednesday and the burden may have driven Obama’s go-to guy into a moment of sleep or, at least, contemplation.

Biden, who has more than a nodding acquaintance with deficits, debts and federal budget woes, was caught apparently deep in thought or catching a few winks while Obama outlined his plan for dealing with the deficit.

Don’t worry, because Joe Biden did not miss much. President Obama simply resorted to a bunch of recycled rhetoric he has used in the past. His plan to fix our deficit: Spend more taxpayer money, borrow more, tax the so-called “wealthy”, and cut defense. In other words, it was all expected. President Obama is a liberal who adores big government and tiptoes around our enormous entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) which are pushing us closer to the edge of a real crisis.

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It’s official folks! US Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his budget plan that cuts $6.2 trillion in spending over the next ten years. Also, he released an awesome Path to Prosperity video to go along with it.

His plan eliminates hundreds of duplicative programs, reflects the ban on earmarks, curbs corporate welfare, brings government spending to below 20 percent of the economy, and much more!

US Rep. Ryan (R-WI) and the House Committee on the Budget reports:

The current path – which the President’s irresponsible budget commits us to – will result in a debt-fueled economic crisis, the shredding of the safety net, and a diminished future. Americans deserve better than empty promises from a government going broke. The budget advanced by the House Budget Committee ensures real security through real reform. The House Budget Committee’s FY2012 Budget Resolution helps spur job creation today, stops spending money the government doesn’t have, and lifts the crushing burden of debt. This plan puts the budget on the path to balance and the economy on the path to prosperity.

When it comes to addressing the crushing burden of debt, Rep. Ryan’s budget plan tackles it:

By continuing Washington’s spending spree, the President’s budget adds $13 trillion dollars to the debt over the next decade. Under his budget, debt held by the public would double by 2016 compared with the President’s first year in office, and triple by the end of the budget window.

By failing to address the unsustainable growth of autopilot spending programs, the President’s budget commits this nation to a crushing burden of debt. The CBO estimates that under the President’s budget, debt held by the public will near 90 percent of the entire economy by the end of the decade. The explosive growth of debt will continue in the years ahead. The CBO projects debt as a share of the economy to grow to 146 percent in 2030, 233 percent in 2040, and an unfathomable 344 percent in 2050.

If policymakers continue down the present course, the consequences will be dire.  American families are still reeling from the hardships of the recent economic downturn, and millions of individuals remain out of work. Yet Washington continues to erect to new barriers to growth, to raise the hurdles to sustained private-sector job creation, and – most distressingly – to accelerate the nation ever-faster toward a debt-fueled economic crisis.

[…]

The Path to Prosperity lifts the crushing burden of debt, making it possible for the economy to grow and for Americans to prosper. This budget would cut trillions of dollars from the debt relative to the President’s budget in every year of their long-term analysis. In 2022, the debt would be over 25 percent lower than would be the case under the status quo; 56 percent less in 2030; 79 percent in 2040. By 2050, this budget would cut the debt in half relative to where it stands today, lifting nearly $120 trillion of debt relative to the President’s path.

Click here to view full report!

Although I have only scratched the surface here, I am extremely excited about Rep. Ryan’s Path to Prosperity. There are some mighty big numbers in there and naturally it has quickly come under attack from the Democrats. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has already decided to share her baffling two-cents.

WARNING: Statements about grandma being forced to eat dog food because of heartless Republicans and their insane crusade for solvency will be a staple of Democratic talking points, especially with the White House desperate to win back seniors alienated by ObamaCare.

Oops… It has already started. Go figure.

*UPDATE* – May 25, 2011 – 9:55 pm

Reminder: Americans 55 years old or older will not be affected by Rep. Ryan’s plan, but does that fact stop the opposing political party from creating misleading ads like this?:

Nope.

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Wonder what you would find if you frisked the Democratic Party two years ago?

Answer: They passed the failed $787+ billion Stimulus Package.

Props the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) for the advertisement.

The Speaker of the House Blog reports:

Two years ago today, President Obama signed the trillion-dollar “stimulus” amid promises it would keep unemployment below eight percent and create jobs “almost immediately.”  Today, the Obama Administration has little to show for its trillion-dollar, taxpayer-funded “investment” except for more red ink and more out of work Americans.  Here’s a by-the-numbers look at the budget-busting, job-destroying failure that is the President’s “stimulus”:

  • U.S. Debt on February 17, 2009: $6.48 trillion
  • U.S. Debt today: $9.5 trillion
  • Number of jobs the “stimulus” was supposed to create: 3.5 million
  • Private sector jobs lost since the “stimulus” was signed: 1.8 million
  • Obama Administration’s projected unemployment rate at the two-year mark of the “stimulus”: 7 percent
  • Actual unemployment rate: 9 percent

Do you remember this chart the Obama administration presented to the American public before the failed Stimulus Package was passed into law?:

I realize the chart above is a little outdated, but the unemployment rate is still above 9 percent. Also, just two years ago, our national debt was $10.79 trillion and now it has topped $14 trillion. That’s equivalent to adding an additional $39,660 per household.

Just like the political advertisement said above, “two years of liberal economics have failed America.”

It’s time ignore the spin and wake up to reality: The Stimulus Package has FAILED.

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We face an enemy, lethal to liberty, and even more implacable than those America has defeated before. […] I refer, of course, to the debts our nation has amassed for itself over decades of indulgence. It is the new Red Menace, this time consisting of ink. – Gov. Mitch Daniels

As some of you might know, Gov. Daniels is one of my top choices to run for president in 2012. To watch the entire speech, click here.

Here is the transcript to his great CPAC speech:

David Keene, George Will, good friends, thank you for the enormous privilege of this podium. Even a casual observer of American public life knows how many great ideas have been born here, how many important debates joined here, how many giants of our democracy appeared on this platform. When David broached the invitation, my first reaction was one I often have: “Who cancelled?” But first choice or fifteenth, the honor, and the responsibility to do the occasion justice, is the same. I am seized with the sentiment best expressed by Hizzoner, the original Mayor Richard Daley, who once proclaimed a similar honor the “pinochle of success.”

We are all grateful to our co-sponsors, the Reagan Foundation and the Reagan Ranch. How fitting that we convene under their auspices, as we close this first week of the centennial. Those of us who served President Reagan were taught to show constant respect for the presidency and whoever occupies it. But, among us alums, the term “the President” tends to connote just one of those forty-four men, that great man with whom God blessed America one hundred years ago this week.

The prefix in “cosponsor” is meaningful tonight. It is no state secret that the two foundations have not always been co-operative, or co-llaborative, or co-llegial. So it is a tribute to the stature and diplomacy of David Keene that they have come together to produce so warm a moment as this. I am now converted to the view that yes, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be solved. Well done, David; Nobel Peace Prizes have been awarded for far less.

I bring greetings from a place called Indiana. The coastal types present may think of it as a “flyover” state, or one of those “I” states. Perhaps a quick anthropological summary would help.

We Hoosiers hold to some quaint notions. Some might say we “cling” to them, though not out of fear or ignorance. We believe in paying our bills. We have kept our state in the black throughout the recent unpleasantness, while cutting rather than raising taxes, by practicing an old tribal ritual – we spend less money than we take in.

We believe it wrong ever to take a dollar from a free citizen without a very necessary public purpose, because each such taking diminishes the freedom to spend that dollar as its owner would prefer. When we do find it necessary, we feel a profound duty to use that dollar as carefully and effectively as possible, else we should never have taken it at all.

Before our General Assembly now is my proposal for an automatic refund of tax dollars beyond a specified level of state reserves. We say that anytime budgets are balanced and an ample savings account has been set aside, government should just stop collecting taxes. Better to leave that money in the pockets of those who earned it, than to let it burn a hole, as it always does, in the pockets of government.

We believe that government works for the benefit of private life, and not the other way around. We see government’s mission as fostering and enabling the important realms – our businesses, service clubs, Little Leagues, churches – to flourish. Our first thought is always for those on life’s first rung, and how we might increase their chances of climbing.

Every day, we work to lower the costs and barriers to free men and women creating wealth for each other. We build roads, and bridges, and new sources of homegrown energy at record rates, in order to have the strongest possible backbone to which people of enterprise can attach their investments and build their dreams. When business leaders ask me what they can do for Indiana, I always reply: “Make money. Go make money. That’s the first act of ‘corporate citizenship.’ If you do that, you’ll have to hire someone else, and you’ll have enough profit to help one of those non-profits we’re so proud of.”

We place our trust in average people. We are confident in their ability to decide wisely for themselves, on the important matters of their lives. So when we cut property taxes, to the lowest level in America, we left flexibility for localities to raise them, but only by securing the permission of their taxpayers, voting in referendum. We designed both our state employee health plans and the one we created for low-income Hoosiers as Health Savings Accounts, and now in the tens of thousands these citizens are proving that they are fully capable of making smart, consumerist choices about their own health care.

We have broadened the right of parents to select the best place for their children’s education to include every public school, traditional or charter, regardless of geography, tuition-free. And before our current legislature adjourns, we intend to become the first state of full and true choice by saying to every low and middle-income Hoosier family, if you think a non-government school is the right one for your child, you’re as entitled to that option as any wealthy family; here’s a voucher, go sign up.

Lastly, speaking now for my administration colleagues, we believe in government that is limited but active. Within that narrow sphere of legitimate collective action, we choose to be the initiators of new ideas or, as we have labeled ourselves, the Party of Purpose. In President Reagan’s phrase, “We are the change.” On election nights, we remind each other that victory is not a vindication, it is an instruction, not an endorsement, but an assignment.

The national elections of 2010 carried an instruction. In our nation, in our time, the friends of freedom have an assignment, as great as those of the 1860s, or the 1940s, or the long twilight of the Cold War. As in those days, the American project is menaced by a survival-level threat. We face an enemy, lethal to liberty, and even more implacable than those America has defeated before. We cannot deter it; there is no countervailing danger we can pose. We cannot negotiate with it, any more than with an iceberg or a Great White.

I refer, of course, to the debts our nation has amassed for itself over decades of indulgence. It is the new Red Menace, this time consisting of ink. We can debate its origins endlessly and search for villains on ideological grounds, but the reality is pure arithmetic. No enterprise, small or large, public or private, can remain self-governing, let alone successful, so deeply in hock to others as we are about to be.

Need I illustrate? Surely the consequences, to prosperity, world influence, and personal freedom itself are as clear to this audience as to any one could appear before.

Do I exaggerate? I’d love to be shown that I do. Any who think so please see me in the hallway afterward, and bring your third grade math books.

If a foreign power advanced an army to the border of our land, everyone in this room would drop everything and look for a way to help. We would set aside all other agendas and disputes as secondary, and go to the ramparts until the threat was repelled. That is what those of us here, and every possible ally we can persuade to join us, are now called to do. It is our generational assignment. It is the mission of our era. Forgive the pun when I call it our “raison debt.”

Every conflict has its draft dodgers. There are those who will not enlist with us. Some who can accept, or even welcome, the ballooning of the state, regardless of the cost in dollars, opportunity, or liberty, and the slippage of the United States into a gray parity with the other nations of this earth. Some who sincerely believe that history has devised a leftward ratchet, moving in fits and starts but always in the direction of a more powerful state. The people who coined the smug and infuriating term – have you heard it? – “the Reagan Interruption.”

The task of such people is now a simple one. They need only play good defense. The federal spending commitments now in place will bring about the leviathan state they have always sought. The health care travesty now on the books will engulf private markets and produce a single-payer system or its equivalent, and it won’t take long to happen. Our fiscal ruin and resulting loss of world leadership will, in their eyes, be not a tragic event but a desirable one, delivering the multilateral world of which they’ve dreamed so long.

Fortunately, these folks remain few. They are vastly outnumbered by Americans who sense the presence of the enemy, but are awaiting the call for volunteers, and a credible battle plan for saving our Republic. That call must come from this room, and rooms like it.

But we, too, are relatively few in number, in a nation of 300 million. If freedom’s best friends cannot unify around a realistic, actionable program of fundamental change, one that attracts and persuades a broad majority of our fellow citizens, big change will not come. Or rather, big change will come, of the kind that the skeptics of all centuries have predicted for those naïve societies that believed that government of and by the people could long endure.

We know what the basic elements must be. An affectionate thank you to the major social welfare programs of the last century, but their sunsetting when those currently or soon to be enrolled have passed off the scene. The creation of new Social Security and Medicare compacts with the young people who will pay for their elders and who deserve to have a backstop available to them in their own retirement.

These programs should reserve their funds for those most in need of them. They should be updated to catch up to Americans’ increasing longevity and good health. They should protect benefits against inflation but not overprotect them. Medicare 2.0 should restore to the next generation the dignity of making their own decisions, by delivering its dollars directly to the individual, based on financial and medical need, entrusting and empowering citizens to choose their own insurance and, inevitably, pay for more of their routine care like the discerning, autonomous consumers we know them to be.

Our morbidly obese federal government needs not just behavior modification but bariatric surgery. The perverse presumption that places the burden of proof on the challenger of spending must be inverted, back to the rule that applies elsewhere in life: “Prove to me why we should.”

Lost to history is the fact that, in my OMB assignment, I was the first loud critic of Congressional earmarks. I was also the first to get absolutely nowhere in reducing them: first to rail and first to fail. They are a pernicious practice and should be stopped. But, in the cause of national solvency, they are a trifle. Talking much more about them, or “waste, fraud, and abuse,” trivializes what needs to be done, and misleads our fellow citizens to believe that easy answers are available to us. In this room, we all know how hard the answers are, how much change is required.

And that means nothing, not even the first and most important mission of government, our national defense, can get a free pass. I served in two administrations that practiced and validated the policy of peace through strength. It has served America and the world with irrefutable success. But if our nation goes over a financial Niagara, we won’t have much strength and, eventually, we won’t have peace. We are currently borrowing the entire defense budget from foreign investors. Within a few years, we will be spending more on interest payments than on national security. That is not, as our military friends say, a “robust strategy.”

I personally favor restoring impoundment power to the presidency, at least on an emergency basis. Having had this authority the last six years, and used it shall we say with vigor, I can testify to its effectiveness, and to this finding: You’d be amazed how much government you’ll never miss.

The nation must be summoned to General Quarters in the cause of economic growth. The friends of freedom always favor a growing economy as the wellspring of individual opportunity and a bulwark against a domineering state. But here, doctrinal debates are unnecessary; the arithmetic tells it all. We don’t have a prayer of defeating the Red Threat of our generation without a long boom of almost unprecedented duration. Every other goal, however worthy, must be tested against and often subordinated to actions that spur the faster expansion of the private sector on which all else depends.

A friend of mine attended a recent meeting of the NBA leadership, at which a small-market owner, whom I won’t name but will mention is also a member of the U.S. Senate, made an impassioned plea for more sharing of revenue by the more successful teams. At a coffee break, Mr. Prokhorov, the new Russian owner of the New Jersey Nets, murmured to my friend, “We tried that, you know. It doesn’t work.”

Americans have seen these last two years what doesn’t work. The failure of national economic policy is costing us more than jobs; it has begun to weaken that uniquely American spirit of risk-taking, large ambition, and optimism about the future. We must rally them now to bold departures that rebuild our national morale as well as our material prosperity.

Here, too, the room abounds with experts and good ideas, and the nation will need every one. Just to name three: it’s time we had, in Bill Simon’s words “a tax system that looks like someone designed it on purpose.” And the purpose should be private growth. So lower and flatter, and completely flat is best. Tax compensation but not the savings and investment without which the economy cannot boom.

Second, untie Gulliver. The regulatory rainforest through which our enterprises must hack their way is blighting the future of millions of Americans. Today’s EPA should be renamed the “Employment Prevention Agency.” After a two-year orgy of new regulation, President Obama’s recent executive order was a wonderment, as though the number one producer of rap music had suddenly expressed alarm about obscenity.

In Indiana, where our privatization of a toll road generated billions for reinvestment in infrastructure, we can build in half the time at two-thirds the cost when we use our own money only and are free from the federal rulebook. A moratorium on new regulation is a minimal suggestion; better yet, move at least temporarily to a self-certification regime that lets America build, and expand, and explore now and settle up later in those few instances where someone colors outside the lines.

Finally, treat domestic energy production as the economic necessity it is and the job creator it can be. Drill, and frack, and lease, and license, unleash in every way the jobs potential in the enormous energy resources we have been denying ourselves. And help our fellow citizens to understand that a poorer country will not be a greener country, but its opposite. It is freedom and its fruits that enable the steady progress we have made in preserving and protecting God’s kingdom.

If this strikes you as a project of unusual ambition, given the state of modern politics, you are right. If it strikes you as too bold for our fellow Americans to embrace, I believe you are wrong. Seven years as a practitioner in elective politics tells me that history’s skeptics are wrong. That Americans, in a vast majority, are still a people born for self-governance. They are ready to summon the discipline to pay down our collective debts as they are now paying down their own; to put the future before the present, their children’s interest before their own.

Our proposals will be labeled radical, but this is easy to rebut. Starting a new retirement plan for those below a certain age is something tens of millions of Americans have already been through at work.

Opponents will expect us to be defensive, but they have it backwards. When they call the slightest spending reductions “painful”, we will say “If government spending prevents pain, why are we suffering so much of it?” And “If you want to experience real pain, just stay on the track we are on.” When they attack us for our social welfare reforms, we will say that the true enemies of Social Security and Medicare are those who defend an imploding status quo, and the arithmetic backs us up.

They will attack our program as the way of despair, but we will say no, America’s way forward is brilliant with hope, as soon as we have dealt decisively with the manageable problems before us.

2010 showed that the spirit of liberty and independence is stirring anew, that a growing number of Americans still hear Lincoln’s mystic chords of memory. But their number will have to grow, and do so swiftly. Change of the dimension we need requires a coalition of a dimension no one has recently assembled. And, unless you disbelieve what the arithmetic of disaster is telling us, time is very short.

Here I wish to be very plainspoken: It is up to us to show, specifically, the best way back to greatness, and to argue for it with all the passion of our patriotism. But, should the best way be blocked, while the enemy draws nearer, then someone will need to find the second best way. Or the third, because the nation’s survival requires it.

Purity in martyrdom is for suicide bombers. King Pyrrhus is remembered, but his nation disappeared. Winston Churchill set aside his lifetime loathing of Communism in order to fight World War II. Challenged as a hypocrite, he said that when the safety of Britain was at stake, his “conscience became a good girl.” We are at such a moment. I for one have no interest in standing in the wreckage of our Republic saying “I told you so” or “You should’ve done it my way.”

We must be the vanguard of recovery, but we cannot do it alone. We have learned in Indiana, big change requires big majorities. We will need people who never tune in to Rush or Glenn or Laura or Sean. Who surf past C-SPAN to get to SportsCenter. Who, if they’d ever heard of CPAC, would assume it was a cruise ship accessory.

The second worst outcome I can imagine for next year would be to lose to the current president and subject the nation to what might be a fatal last dose of statism. The worst would be to win the election and then prove ourselves incapable of turning the ship of state before it went on the rocks, with us at the helm.

So we must unify America, or enough of it, to demand and sustain the Big Change we propose. Here are a few suggestions:

We must display a heart for every American, and a special passion for those still on the first rung of life’s ladder. Upward mobility from the bottom is the crux of the American promise, and the stagnation of the middle class is in fact becoming a problem, on any fair reading of the facts. Our main task is not to see that people of great wealth add to it, but that those without much money have a greater chance to earn some.

We should address ourselves to young America at every opportunity. It is their futures that today’s policies endanger, and in their direct interest that we propose a new direction.

We should distinguish carefully skepticism about Big Government from contempt for all government. After all, it is a new government we hope to form, a government we will ask our fellow citizens to trust to make huge changes.

I urge a similar thoughtfulness about the rhetoric we deploy in the great debate ahead. I suspect everyone here regrets and laments the sad, crude coarsening of our popular culture. It has a counterpart in the venomous, petty, often ad hominem political discourse of the day.

When one of us – I confess sometimes it was yours truly – got a little hotheaded, President Reagan would admonish us, “Remember, we have no enemies, only opponents.” Good advice, then and now.

And besides, our opponents are better at nastiness than we will ever be. It comes naturally. Power to them is everything, so there’s nothing they won’t say to get it. The public is increasingly disgusted with a steady diet of defamation, and prepared to reward those who refrain from it. Am I alone in observing that one of conservatism’s best moments this past year was a massive rally that came and went from Washington without leaving any trash, physical or rhetorical, behind?

A more affirmative, “better angels” approach to voters is really less an aesthetic than a practical one: with apologies for the banality, I submit that, as we ask Americans to join us on such a boldly different course, it would help if they liked us, just a bit.

Lastly, critically, I urge great care not to drift into a loss of faith in the American people. In speech after speech, article upon article, we remind each other how many are dependent on government, or how few pay taxes, or how much essential virtues like family formation or civic education have withered. All true. All worrisome. But we must never yield to the self-fulfilling despair that these problems are immutable, or insurmountable.

All great enterprises have a pearl of faith at their core, and this must be ours: that Americans are still a people born to liberty. That they retain the capacity for self-government. That, addressed as free-born, autonomous men and women of God-given dignity, they will rise yet again to drive back a mortal enemy.

History’s assignment to this generation of freedom fighters is in one way even more profound than the tests of our proud past. We are tasked to rebuild not just a damaged economy, and a debt-ridden balance sheet, but to do so by drawing forth the best that is in our fellow citizens. If we would summon the best from Americans, we must assume the best about them. If we don’t believe in Americans, who will?

I do believe. I’ve seen it in the people of our very typical corner of the nation. I’ve seen it in the hundred Indiana homes in which I have stayed overnight. I’ve seen it in Hoosiers’ resolute support of limited government, their willingness, even insistence, that government keep within the boundaries our constitutional surveyors mapped out for it.

I’ve always loved John Adams’ diary entry, written en route to Philadelphia, there to put his life, liberty, and sacred honor all at risk. He wrote that it was all well worth it because, he said, “Great things are wanted to be done.”

When he and his colleagues arrived, and over the years ahead, they practiced the art of the possible. They made compacts and concessions and, yes, compromises. They made deep sectional and other differences secondary in pursuit of the grand prize of freedom. They each argued passionately for the best answers as they saw them, but they never permitted the perfect to be the enemy of the historic good they did for us, and all mankind. They gave us a Republic, citizen Franklin said, if we can keep it.

Keeping the Republic is the great thing that is wanted to be done, now, in our time, by us. In this room are convened freedom’s best friends but, to keep our Republic, freedom needs every friend it can get. Let’s go find them, and befriend them, and welcome them to the great thing that is wanted to be done in our day.

God bless this meeting and the liberty which makes it possible.

Although he did not touch on social and national defense issues, this was a great speech that will help get his name out there.

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House Speaker John Boehner and the House Republicans to the rescue!

Reuters reports:

The House of Representatives will vote to block funding for President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare overhaul when it takes up a budget plan it will consider next week, House Republican Leader Eric Cantor said on Tuesday.

“I expect to see one way or other the product coming out of the House to speak to that and to preclude any funding to be used for that,” Cantor said at a news conference, referring to an effort to block implementation of the health-care law.

So far, the Republican majority in the US House of Representatives have been doing a wonderful job. Unfortunately, it will probably not pass the US Senate. Either way, let’s hope they will keep up the great work!

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