"Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem."
We should have a strong dollar, no financial crisis, no debt, and no income tax.
Inauguration Day 2001
As President elect George W. Bush raised his right hand to take the oath of office, conservatives all across America could not hide our excitement. For conservatives, January 2001 was a day 50 years in the making. Not since President Eisenhower took his oath forty eight years prior had the Republican Party gained control of the Presidency, the House of Representatives and the Senate at the same time. In the five decades between Ike and Bush, Conservatives were telling anyone who would listen what being a conservative meant and how a Republican conservative majority would govern.
While lost in the minority political wilderness, conservatives proclaimed that "government that governs least governs best." We said the government was too big. We said there was too much waste, too much fraud, and too many programs that simply did not work. We talked about how big government disrupts lives and weakens the moral fabric of our society; and in too many cases replaces duties that were better carried out by the private sector: family, friends, neighbors and even churches.
We boldly proclaimed that limited government and self-government was the path to Freedom, a Freedom which always leads to prosperity, especially for the 30 million plus Americans living in poverty. Our solutions were simple: less government and stick to the Constitution.
As President Bush began his inaugural address we knew it was time to implement the ideas we had been advocating so boldly for 50 years. This was our chance and we certainly were not going to waste it. After eight years of the Clinton Administration, every conservative believed that government had grown too large and too out of touch to serve the people. We were eager to prove to both moderates and liberals of good will that a limited Federal government was best for America.
Eight Years Later…
Eight years later: our Budget has doubled, our debt has more than doubled, and our unfunded liabilities went from $20.4 Trillion in 2001 to well above $55 Trillion in 2008. We passed No Child Left Behind Act increasing Washington's involvement in "educating" our children. We passed a $9 Trillion dollar prescription drug benefit that socializes medicine and pays for the prescription drugs of millionaires and billionaires. We do not have one cent to pay for it.
In the last eight years we have spent $1 Trillion dollars on Pork, Ag subsidies, and corporate welfare-all before the bailout. This year alone we have a $500 Billion dollar deficit-all before the bailout. Speaking of the bailout, we have committed at least $12 Trillion dollars bailing out Wall Street. The politicians have rewarded bad business behavior using our hard earned tax dollars. We have begun socializing the banking industry and the housing industry.
We have a weak dollar that diminishes everyone's purchasing power-and it all could have been avoided. Most of the increased spending has paid for special interests and bureaucracy.
How did this happen? Careerism. Congress is mostly to blame. They used your hard earned money to further their career. We must stop electing politicians and start electing statesman. Politicians always equal big government.
America Should Have Strong Economy
Where should we be? We should have a strong dollar, no financial crisis, no debt, and no income tax. I am a forward looking guy but I think it helps to study the mistakes of history so we do not repeat them. If we had simply stuck with our conservative principles then all Americans' standard of living would be much higher. Conservative governance would have improved your life.
In 2001, the federal budget was $1.864 Trillion dollars. What if we had simply froze that overall number? What would our lives look like today? What would our future look like?
If we had simply stayed at 2001 spending levels then we could have passed the Bush tax cuts and by fiscal year 2005 our revenue would have been nominally $2.154 Trillion, a surplus of $300 Billion dollars. This $300 Billion could have then been used to pay the off- the-books emergency spending incurred by the War on Terror.
Fiscal years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 (Oct 08-Oct 09) our revenue would have been $2.407 Trillion, $2.568 Trillion, $2.521 Trillion, and $2.725 Trillion for a surplus of $2.825 Trillion. We would then use the surplus to pay off our entire National Debt held by the public and the rest of the War on Terror. Fiscal year 2010 begins next October and under this scenario I predict our revenue would have been above $3 Trillion and our spending would have been still $1.864 Trillion. We could have then abolished the IRS and the income tax starting in October 2009. We would also have an additional $250+ Billion available from the budget that formerly paid interest on our debt.
Obviously, mandatory entitlement spending would have increased in those years so we would have had to cut other spending such as Fannie and Freddie, CPB, NEA, Legal Services Corporation, and other wasteful, unnecessary programs and redirect those funds to HHS entitlement and anti-poverty programs. According to GAO, Medicare and Medicaid overpay and waste anywhere from $30 to $55 Billion dollars a year.
If Congress was not so busy pushing pork then they could have identified the waste and used that money for benefits rather than bureaucracy. That $1.864 Trillion number includes about $65 billion a year in Ag subsidies, Pork and corporate welfare. We could have redirected those funds each year to national defense and infrastructure programs. We could have frozen the overall number yet increased funding where necessary.
Have you seen the prices at the stores lately? Of course you have. Inflation is a by product of big government. When Government spends money it does not have it weakens the value of our money. They print more while you have to spend more to get less. The dollar has devalued around a third since 2001, meaning overall you spend a third more filling your car and buying your groceries. After the bailout money circulates inflation will get even worse. Prices will soar. If we had a balanced budget this would not have happened.
Republican Governance Failed
If the last eight years the GOP had governed as conservatives then we would have ended deficit spending and eliminated our national debt. This also means we would have eliminated interest payments on that debt. We then would have a strong dollar. Your money would purchase more goods than you can now. Since we would have had a strong dollar, we would have had price stability. Price stability means NO FINANCIAL crisis. No financial crisis means no bailout. No bailout means no Wall Street crash. No Wall Street crash means no 401k crash.
Our tax cuts would have equaled production which would have equaled capitalization. This would have allowed us to not rely on a credit card economy run by the Federal Reserve that weakened our dollar and caused the credit and housing bubble. We would have been well on our way to abolishing the Income Tax and putting the IRS out of business for good.
The 37 million people living in poverty would have been helped first because the federal government would have been lean and efficient. The Fed would have been in a much better position to actually help those in poverty, which is what the government and politicians say they want to do, right?
Those living in poverty would have received no benefit cuts from 2001 levels. Second, they would have found numerous career opportunities because of the success of our economy. When people are able to keep their own money they use it to create wealth. Government destroys wealth. Today, we should have had a strong dollar, no financial crisis, no debt, and no income tax. Yet, Republican governance failed.
Return to Roots of Reagan
In 2001, we were dealt a winning hand yet failed to play it because we cared more about political careers and political power than in empowering people through self-government. Republicans failed because we failed to keep our word. The politicians could not stop spending your money. They will never change. We must send them home.
We must move forward, looking ahead but never forgetting. Everyday the cards we get dealt will be tougher to play, but the solution is always the same: the Constitution and Limited Government. We need to balance the budget and pass term limits.
Big Government is here and bigger government is coming. We need new conservative leadership who will stand up to politics as usual. Our party must reform. We must be the party of liberty and small government. If you send me to Congress I will fight for the GOP's return to our Reagan conservative roots. I will not let you down.