A Summer of Rightful Discontent
By George Allen
The Richmond Times-Dispatch
September 13, 2009
America is at its best when it is a land of equal opportunity for all. The United States of America should be a level playing field for everyone to achieve to the best of his or her talent, hard work, and creativity, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or gender — a meritocracy.
Common sense — and indeed history — shows that people and countries prosper with the promotion of initiative, personal empowerment, and individual and family responsibility, rather than sapping dependence on a nanny government. Clearly, the best social program is a job.
America must be the world capital of innovation: the best place to live, learn, invest, work, and raise a family. We thrive and progress with a free marketplace of ideas and goods where the people decide who has the best service or products — rather than redistribution and fearful protectionism or bailouts for irresponsible enterprises.
My modern political hero, Ronald Reagan, once observed that “government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few, short phrases. If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it.” Now, government has an expanded view of the economy: If it’s big and failing, invest in it. If it’s a government program, expand it.
No one likes to see a financial institution, auto manufacturer, or any business fail. It is heartbreaking to see people lose good-paying jobs in Virginia, Michigan, Missouri, or South Carolina.
However, if the people don’t want to buy certain makes of automobiles and if no one wants to buy stock in failing companies or take the high risk of lending them money, then why should the taxes of hardworking Americans — wondering at their kitchen table how to pay their bills — be given or loaned to businesses that are failing due to their own decisions? Our government was not created to be the lender or stock-purchaser of last resort.
Seeing billions of dollars given to failing companies that squandered money on lavish events and unearned bonuses, Americans are dismayed and are losing confidence in the potential of their children to achieve the American Dream. And today — in the face of a dire economic climate, a truly crucial moment in our history — Washington is creating a nightmare scenario with unprecedented deficits that will cause steep inflation and potential sharp tax increases to pay the burgeoning debt when Treasury interest rates go up to attract American and foreign purchasers of government bonds.
Rather than rush stimulation by spending on failing businesses and more government programs, Congress and the president should adopt ideas that will enhance the ability of people to work in the private sector, improve the confidence of business owners to hire new workers, and keep Americans in control of their own destiny with jobs providing services or products that consumers want to purchase.
The American Dream should promote the ability of people to compete and succeed. Americans need freedom, not dependency. We want responsible, disciplined, honest, and smarter government rather than new ways to spend our money. Rather than job-killing cap-and-trade energy taxes, we want affordable, American energy. Rather than government-controlled and rationed health care, we want our health decisions to remain between us and our doctors.
In this summer of rightful discontent, the American people — worried about jobs and the economy, the price of electricity and gasoline, rocketing wasteful spending, mountains of debt, and their health care — are rising up at town hall meetings and tea parties against their elected officials who are seemingly clueless about real concerns and solutions to challenges facing families and businesses. Members of Congress and others are stunned by this restless uprising and many officeholders have avoided open town hall meetings because of the riled people of all ages.
With very few empowering ideas, solutions, or initiatives emanating from Washington these days, the most coherent health care plan was proposed by John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods. He promotes affordable health insurance and personal medical decisions, empowering people and families to make decisions, rather than remote government bureaucrats.
Notwithstanding bashing from the central government controllers, Mr. Mackey’s proposal is a real example of what can be achieved by removing legal obstacles to the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans, health savings accounts, and equalized tax laws for individually owned, portable, and less-expensive, less-bureaucratic health insurance.
The central planners in the White House and Congress also are proposing a devastating, counter-productive “cap and trade” tax scheme that would result in skyrocketing electricity, food, and fuel prices for families and businesses and lead to enormous American job losses. This energy tax would be economic unilateral disarmament because China, India, Brazil, and other competitors want to improve the living standard of their citizens and will not submit their economies to such restrictions. Absurdly, all this damage would be imposed on Americans to supposedly lower global temperatures by less than 1 degree 40 years from now.
Then, the administration in Washington uses Americans’ tax money to guarantee a $10 billion loan to Brazil’s state-owned oil company to extract oil and gas off Brazil’s coast while it prevents Virginia from allowing private, American oil companies to responsibly explore off our coast and obtain royalties for our road needs.
Three coal-fired power plants come on-line in China every month for affordable electricity. Meanwhile, the congressional majority attacks our most plentiful resource by impeding clean-coal technology plants here in Virginia and America to meet our growing need for electricity.
Informed Americans are sick and tired of continuing to be controlled by sanctimonious social engineers who restrict our access to affordable, reliable American energy and make us vulnerable to hostile dictators, oligarchs, and cartels.
Not to be trod upon or limited by their government, Americans have risen in support of the foundational ideals and principles of our free and sovereign country. Indeed, this has been a healthy summer for people standing strong for Freedom.
George Allen is Virginia’s former governor and U.S. senator. He his currently the chairman of the American Energy Freedom Center.
Reprinted with permission.