Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Here comes Fred!

You would have to be hiding under a rock today to not realize that
former Senator Fred Thompson is running for president.

What can we expect from Fred? A conservative in the Reagan mold, without the Newt Gingrich baggage.

Here are some snippets from
a speech Fred gave on May 4th:
Some want us, to the extent possible, to withdraw from the world that presents us with so many problems, in the hope they will go away. Some would push us towards protectionist trade policies. Others see a solution in raising taxes and redistributing the income among our citizens.

Wrong on all counts. These are defensive, defeatist policies that have consistently been proven wrong. They are not what America is all about.

Let's talk about the issues here at home, first. A lot of folks in Washington suffer from a big misconception about our economy. They confuse the well-being of our government with the wealth of our nation. Adam Smith pointed out the same problem in his day, when many governments mixed up how much money the king had with how well-off the country was.

Taxes are necessary. But they don't make the country any better off. At best they simply move money from the private sector to the government. But taxes are also a burden on production, because they discourage people from working, saving, investing, and taking risks.

That is the key thing liberals always miss when discussing taxes (which is why I put it in bold). People take financial risks for one reason: they have nothing to lose, whether they have been backed into a financial corner, or they have more money than they will ever need. Either way, taxes take away the ability of either of these people to take risks. If not for the risk takers, you wouldn't be reading this right now. Government funding didn't put personal computers in everyone's home. While government funding may have started the Internet, it was private funding that made it take off.

That's why the economy booms when taxes are cut. When the Kennedy tax cuts were passed in the 1960s, the economy boomed. When Reagan cut taxes in 1981, we went from economic malaise to a new morning in America. And when George Bush cut taxes in 2001, he took a declining economy he inherited to an economic expansion -- despite 9-11, the NASDAQ bubble and corporate scandals.

The Democrats, of course, want to raise taxes. They only want to target the rich, they say. A word of advice to anyone in the middle class -- don't stand anywhere near that target.

I see Fred knows his history. That was how the 16th Amendment got passed.

But for those of you who see taxation as a necessary evil which is needed for the government to solve whatever ails society, Fred has this to say:

The growth of government is not solving these problems; it's causing a lot of them. Every level of new bureaucracy that is created develops a level of bureaucracy beneath it, which creates another one. Pretty soon there is no accountability in the system. A new head of a department or agency comes in from out of town and, after a protracted confirmation fight, wants to spend his or her few years in Washington making great policy and solving national problems, not fighting with their own bureaucrats. So they just let well enough alone. Then you start seeing the results. Departments that can't pass an audit, computer systems that don't work, intelligence breakdowns, people in over their heads.

Yet people in both parties continue to try to federalize and regulate at the national level more and more aspects of American society -- things that have traditionally been handled at the state and local level. We must remember that we have states to serve as policy laboratories for innovation and competition. That's how we got welfare reform. Our system also allows for the diversity of our large country. Our attitude should be, let the federal government do what it is supposed to be doing -- competently. Then maybe we will give it something else to do.

On illegal immigration:

The government could start by securing our nation's borders. A sovereign nation that can't do that is not a sovereign nation. This is secondarily an immigration issue. It's primarily a national security issue. We were told twenty years ago if we produced a comprehensive solution, we'd solve the illegal immigration problem. Twelve million illegals later, we're being told that same thing again. I don't believe most Americans are as concerned about the 12 million that are here as they are about the next 12 million and the next 12 million after that. I think they're thinking: "Prove you can secure the border and then people of good will can sit down and work out the rest of it, while protecting those folks who play by the rules."

On term limits and Social Security/Medicare:

Sometimes I think that I'm the last guy around who still thinks term limits is a good idea. The professionalization of politics saps people's courage. Their desire to keep their job and not upset anybody overrides all else -- even if it hurts the country.

So the [Social Security/Medicare funding] problem gets kicked a little further down the road. This action is based on the premise that our generation is too greedy to help the next generation. I believe just the opposite is true. If grandmom and granddad think that a little sacrifice will help their grandchildren when they get married, try to buy a home or have children, they will respond to a credible call to make that sacrifice -- if they don't think that the sacrifice is going down some government black hole.

I am going to quote my friend, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. I don't think he'll mind, even though it was a private conversation. He said, "People talk a lot about moral issues, but the greatest moral issue facing our generation is the fact that we are bankrupting the next generation. People talk about wanting to make a difference. Here we could make a difference for generations to come."

Of course, anyone who quotes Tom Coburn is ok by me.


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