• Monday, December 31, 2012

In 1776 America declared its independence from England. The Declaration of Independence was, and stands today as an extraordinarily unique document. It was based on several philosophical points:

n All men are endowed by their Creator with certain rights.
n Those birth rights are God-given and cannot be taken away.
n They are specifically: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
n Governments only exist based on the consent and agreement by the people.
n Government must be limited.
n Free markets and capitalism, as defined by Adam Smith provide the greatest opportunity for all humans to reach their destiny.

All of the Founders who signed this document and those who followed on in the crafting of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights agreed with these basic points.

It is not hard to imagine if these men came back, they would be appalled at the situation in which our Nation finds itself. The centralization of power in Washington and the debt and spending in the Federal government is not even close to what they had in mind.

Even if one agrees with the goals set forth by various programs and government spending at the Federal level, the whole system, if not broken, is totally out of control. The facts have been repeated over and over again. The key points are:

n Our national debt is over $16 trillion and projected to reach over $21 trillion in the next four years.
n The U.S. Senate has not passed a budget in four years and we are spending approximately $1 trillion more than we take in.
n We borrow almost 50% of what we spend!
n Our unemployment rate is really in the neighborhood of 13 to 14%; and even higher in our urban centers.
n The job participation rate, meaning those working as a percent of those available to work is at the lowest level since World War II.
n Economic growth is projected to not exceed 2% when, by all measurers one of the surest cures to our national financial crisis is economic growth in the neighborhood of 4-5% annually.
n In spite of massive spending on primary and secondary education, the results are gravely disappointing. For example, only 5% of the city of Detroit's eighth graders can read at the eighth grade level and only 7% can perform math skills at the eighth grade level … hardly a prescription for a successful future for these children or our nation.
n The cost of implementing ObamaCare is about to hit and even Senator Chuck Schumer and twelve other Democrat U.S. Senators want one of the major funding components of the mechanism removed.

We have faced many serious problems in the history our country. We have survived many a crisis and continued to move forward as an example for the rest of the world, that Jefferson's premise is a model to be followed by not only Americans but by all who believe in freedom and liberty.

Excuses abound as to why we are on the verge of economic collapse due to our federal and state governments’ spending habits, but historically we have seen leadership prevail in solving equally complicated and complex problems. In recent history, we have seen Ronald Reagan work with Democrat Speaker Tip O'Neil; we have seen President Clinton work with Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich. We have seen George W. Bush work with Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy in passing landmark legislation. These are models of Presidential leadership in extraordinary times solving difficult problems.

Unfortunately, our current President has not seen fit to follow these models. He won the election, but did not win control of the entire government apparatus. He does not need to campaign anymore. Whether he likes it or not, the House passed a bill in August which drew upon the President's Simpson-Bowles Commission, cutting spending by $3-4 and increasing revenue by $1. This was accomplished based on the findings of Simpson-Bowles that $1.1 trillion could be found without raising rates but by closing loop holes and the entire tax structure of the Federal tax code needed to be revisited and broadened.

It is unconscionable in a democracy when 50% of the citizens contribute no federal taxes to the benefits they receive. The reality is, by quality of life and economic standards: Americans described statistically as in poverty are in better economic shape than the average European. Capitalism should be expanded and applauded, not attacked. It is interesting to note, China is booming in large measure as a direct result of their embracing of capitalism.

This past weekend, the President finally recognized the reality that there sits in the Senate a budget bill which could be amended and sent back to the House to, at a minimum avoid having our nation go over the fiscal cliff.

I applaud the President on his victory, but it has been a long time since November 6. The opportunity presented to him to build a legacy in the tradition of John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton lies before him. It is time to govern. The nation needs a leader. We have real problems to solve!

Mr. President … please get off the campaign rhetoric. It is time to admit you are not interested in raising taxes on millionaires. You want to raise taxes on joint filers making $250,000 or more. Please tell the teacher or the firefighter in New York City who gross more than $250,000 per year they are not paying enough in taxes and they are rich!

We need honesty. We need leadership.

Lynn Mueller is a veteran Republican campaign consultant who has joined Swatzel Strategies. His bi-monthly column in the Georgetown Times focuses on economics and politics.

Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.

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