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Republican Party: For a better future, look to the past

June 12, 2010

In 1854, patriots founded the Republican Party to advance freedom and end the ability of one person to own another, or lay claim to his labor. They believed that we are free to work hard, profit from our efforts and rise as high as our talent takes us. Each of us is unique, has value and is born free. These ideas are timeless. They are enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, codified in our Constitution and validated by the broad sweep of history. Abraham Lincoln believed this and lived it. He was born poor and was illiterate. He taught himself to read and write, became a successful lawyer and our greatest president. But these ideas are now under assault. In the 19th century, freedom’s challenge was slavery; in the 21st century, it is servitude. Will the Republican Party be true to the heritage of Lincoln and Reagan? Will it rise to meet freedom’s challenge?

The Democrat Party, as in the mid-19th century, is a ruling elite, leeching the work of others. The most frequent visitor to the Obama White House is Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Public sector union members now make up 51% of all union membership. As the ranks of bureaucrats swell, Democrats reap cash and votes from grateful union members. It is not in their interest to meet freedom’s challenge. Congress has spent freely for years. Now, Democrats are spending wildly, and beyond what would have been only imagination. Their spending will crush us, reducing our standard of living and that of our children. Here are the trends.

As of 2004, the average federal employee earned $100,178 compared to the average private sector employee, who earned $51,876. Between 1990 and 2004, federal employee compensation exploded 115%, versus private sector compensation’s growth of 69%, and now in the last couple years under the new congress and the Obama administration, this has exploded even futher. At the state and local level, government employees grew from 13.9 million to 15.7 million as of 2004, and again has grown even worse today. We are now in servitude to the government that is supposed to serve us. Sadly, many Republicans were a part of the problem throughout much of that time. They betrayed the principles of their party, lost the confidence of the people and were thrashed in two elections.

We’ve been here before, and always for the same reasons. In the 1930’s President Hoover tried to tinker and spend his way out of the Great Depression. This handed us FDR who made it even worse in so far as he was able to institutionalize several bad policies for years to come. President Bush spent freely, added entitlements and extended federal control of education. This handed us Obama who is taking the all the bad policies of FDR and LBJ, rolling them all up into one big package, expanding them even futher, and is trying to institutionalize them forever. Each time, as we have seen, in ensuing elections Democrats seized control. This time they have been poised to scrap freedom, control our lives and shackle us in permanent servitude.

There is reason to hope. An answer to freedom’s challenge and a road map to victory exists, and it works. In Ronald Reagan’s speech entitled “Let them go their way,” he said, “I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principle. It is, at the same time, the very basis of conservativism. It is time to reassert that principle and raise it to full view.” Let the raising begin. Here are some proposals to reverse the free-fall to servitude.

ONE. Local activism is critical. Stay informed. Use the internet. Write letters to the editor and columns for the newspaper. Run for local office – city council, school board, etc.

TWO. Congress disregards the Constitution with willful contempt. We must pass the Enumerated Powers Act, which requires legislators to cite the Constitutional authority to enact what they propose. This will force Congress to reconnect with the document that gives them the authority to govern. It will only pass if Congress is hearing from the American people – call and write your legislators.

THREE. We must support charter schools, school choice and home schooling. Parents pay for public education. They should be treated like customers. Their money should follow their children to the schools of their choice.

FOUR. Support a flat tax or a national sales tax. The current tax code punishes hard work. It is a magnet for special interest abuse and social engineering. It’s incomprehensible, sapping billions of dollars from the economy in compliance costs.

FIVE. Free market principles should be applied to health care reform. It should be consumer-centered. Expanding Health Savings Accounts is one way to accomplish this.

Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction… it must be fought for, protected and handed on to the next generation to do the same.” If the Republican Party returns to its roots, it will restore itself and save the country.

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