Mr. President, I ask you to reflect on the history of America and trust in ‘We the People’ instead of ‘the government.’ We are Americans, and we have a rich and lasting history of doing what others do not. We tamed rivers, built railroads, industry, cities and farms because we had the most powerful force available: freedom. Our Constitution guarantees our freedoms and the opportunity we all seek: to be able to find our own way to whatever we define as success. As the Declaration puts it, to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’
We the people are greater than our government, because it was formed to serve us, not the other way around. Our economy is powered by the decisions of nearly 300 million individuals acting as family members, employees, employers, corporations, partnerships, public servants, non profit workers and volunteers. We are often acting as more than one of these parties simultaneously, and we are guided by our moral principles, self interest and stewardship of this great country to enable a future of prosperity and freedom. No amount of analysis, simulation or committee deliberations can hope to anticipate or understand the impact of these individual decisions or actions. Attempts to ‘manage’ this complex network of decisions and results will always lag reality and distort the result.
We have believed, and many continue to believe, that government serves us best when it enables our individual freedom of action. Many of us do not share your belief that government is the only means to solve our current situation. We have faced such trials before, and we have solved them best when government has ensured that the framework of laws that protect opportunity and enable individual action are used to empower individuals to take action that benefits themselves and others.
We do not need to be stimulated into action; we are Americans and are born to act. We don’t need to be centrally managed; our diverse geography, resources and people need to individually harness the local talents to achieve what is best for that particular area. We have shown this over and over again in the past, and it will be true of our future.
To restore our nation to its prosperity, we need the government to act wisely and minimally. We need the government to set the rules for commerce, and ensure that everyone has to operate with the same rule book: no sweetheart loans, preferential treatment, arbitrary quotas, bailouts or other distortions should be enacted unless it is the last resort. This last resort should be taken with deliberation and thorough debate and understanding–not rushed through with partisan blindness.
We need the government to set the rules and then stick with them: our banking system is in crisis now, at least in part, because there is uncertainty as to what tomorrow, next week or next month will bring. Government needs to set the course and steady the ship of state, not toss about on the waves without direction.
We need the government to understand that coercing some to surrender their wealth in order to give it to others, no matter how deserving they are, undermines the economy. Instead, the government should encourage the voluntary transfer of wealth to those in need and resort to government aid in only the rarest and most troubling of cases. We are a compassionate people and can act swiftly in times of crisis as we showed after 9/11, during Katrina and several of the earthquakes in California. Government can act as a logistics conduit for essential supplies and provide the basis for sustaining civil order, but transferring wealth from one group to another is always a source of waste and incompetence when done by the government over the long haul.
We need the government to be exercised by moral people that understand the difference between wants and needs, rights and benefits. A government intent on providing every need and want of its citizens, to paraphrase Jefferson, will be large enough to take everything away from them as well. Efforts to ‘tax the rich’ will end up in disaster, as there will never be enough to placate those that are in ‘need.’ From what I see of recent IRS statistics, it would take seizure of all of the adjusted gross income of every small business, limited partnership and individual who reported income of more than $1M in 2006 to pay for the ‘stimulus’ bill and its associated interest. After taking all of that wealth, what will we do for the next year when we are expected to need as much?
If you want to stimulate the economy, take actions that inspire Americans to act: give them their money to use for their best interests, and rely on their judgement and maturity to choose actions that provide stewardship of our country at the same time. If you believe as Senator Kerry does that individuals are not fit to make those decisions, then I urge you to reconsider. We are capable and can be trusted.
If you want the American people to assist with the banking crisis, give them incentives to keep their money in banks while you enforce the laws on the books to keep the conduct of the banks legal and ethical.
If you want the American people to have faith in the future, set the rules and the course toward freedom and opportunity and watch the people respond. Do not try to centrally manage our actions or interests. We have done well enough on our own in the past and “Yes, we can” do it in the future.