Can Mitt Romney Lead the Rebirth of the American Revolution? — Charles Kadlec, Forbes.com
“The government does not create prosperity; free markets and free people do.”
Starting with that declaration, Mitt Romney last week delivered what could be the breakthrough speech of his candidacy for President of the United States. Speaking first at the University of Chicago, and then in his victory speech after winning the Illinois primary, Romney embraced “economic freedom” as the political philosophy that gives purpose to his run for the Oval Office.
The embrace of economic freedom has the potential to broaden Romney’s base among Republicans, Tea Party activists and independent voters while increasing the intensity of his supporters. As his distant second place finish in Louisiana shows, Romney’s proven competence alone is insufficient to energize the Republican base and may not be enough to win a fall match-up against President Barack Obama.
However, a clear and unapologetic advocacy of economic freedom would align the Romney campaign with the powerful political tide the Republican party rode to its landslide victory in the 2010 election, and that is fueling a rebirth of the American Revolution.
Romney used his speech to position economic freedom as the defining issue of the 2012 campaign:
“For three years, President Obama has expanded government instead of empowering the American people. He’s put us deeper in debt. He’s slowed the recovery and harmed our economy. And he has attacked the cornerstone of American prosperity: our economic freedom…
“This November, we face a defining decision. Our choice will not be one of party or personality.
“This election will be about principle. Our economic freedom will be on the ballot. And I intend to offer the American people a clear choice.” Keep reading »
Geithner and the ‘Privilege’ of Being American — Lawrence Lindsay, Wall Street Journal
“Last week Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said that the “most fortunate Americans” should pay more in taxes for the “privilege of being an American.” One can debate different ways of balancing the budget. But Mr. Geithner’s argument highlights an unfortunate and very destructive instinct that seems to permeate the Obama administration about the respective roles of citizens and their government. His position has three problems: one philosophical, one empirical, and one logical.” Read More
A focus on President Barack Obama’s “Proposed Budget” and comparing all projects to 2011 actual data led to four observations.
1) The President’s budget calls for increasing federal spending by a total of $11 trillion over the next 11 years.
2) The future has arrived. Entitlements and interest expense on the debt are putting the squeeze on all other functions of government.
3) The Obama Administration’s failed economic policies are at the heart of today’s fiscal imbalance.
4) The alternative to austerity, self-defeating tax increases and cuts to Social Security and Medicare programs is a bold program for economic growth.
The key elements of such a program would be monetary reform, tax reform, regulatory reform and free trade.
More than any other single document, the Obama Budget reveals that nothing short of such a bold growth platform designed to generate substantial additional revenue by freeing the private sector to rapidly create jobs and increase incomes will be capable of restoring balance to the federal government’s financial affairs.
The only catch: more than a handful of individuals may get rich in the process.
Pessimists argue that the United States has reached the tipping point, because a majority no longer pays Federal income taxes, and so happily vote for those who would raise taxes on the minority who do pay taxes. Their concern is well grounded. As Amity Shlaes points out, there’s something un-civic and creepy about this status.
However, the pessimists assume that those who do not pay taxes are too short-sighted to see that many of them are bearing the true cost of higher tax rates on “the rich” through unemployment and fewer opportunities for high paying jobs. And, in the 1920s, policy makers were faced with the reality that the high tax rates on the rich were not producing much in the way of revenue. The rest, as Amity reports, is the history of the “Roaring Twenties.”
President Obama has frequently justified his policies—and judged their outcomes—in terms of equity, justice and fairness. That raises an obvious question: How does our existing system—and his own policy record—stack up according to those criteria?
President Obama routinely blames the Bush tax cuts for our current economic woes, which he implies have starved the Federal government of the revenue it needs to create jobs and an “economy that is built to last.” Among his proposals is to impose a new, 30% minimum tax on “millionaires.”
But, as Lawrence Hunter points out : ”If every taxpayer earning more than $1 million was put under Obama’s 30-percent minimum tax rule, it would generate a maximum of only about $39 billion new revenues a year on a purely static basis, which requires assuming unrealistically that they all take no action to mitigate their increased tax liability. This is chump change for the federal government (3 percent of the annual deficit) and a clear indication that Mr. Obama’s proposal to increase the progressivity of the already highly progressive federal income tax (See Chart 2) is motivated more by animus toward those at the top of the economic ladder than by the deficit, concern for the economy, or compassion for those at the bottom trying to get a leg up the ladder.”
The call for higher tax rates on those with financial resources is also about increasing the power of the Federal Government over the private sector by starving it of risk capital and money for philanthropic activities.
In his State of the Union Speech, President Obama articulated his vision of the path forward for America. We are to imagine ourselves as members of a military organization selflessly following the orders of our superior officers no matter the personal cost up through the chain of command to the President as Commander in Chief. This is the metaphor President Obama chose to explain the relationship between government and the American people.
The President’s conclusion, that “This nation is great because we built it together. This nation is great because we worked as a (emphasis added) team,” is exactly wrong. This country was not built by “a” team or “The A Team.” The American people built our country by taking care of their families, their customers, and their communities through millions of voluntary organizations and the generous giving of their time and money. The President’s grandiose claim to the contrary is an affront to our history and a threat to our liberty.