Each of these concerns is a “moral” concern. They speak to our nation’s fundamental sense of fairness (those who assume that America is in “moral decline” should take note – our moral sensibilities have been awakened and alarmed in the era of Obama). Yet these issues are also fundamentally economic, as well. And the “ruling party” in Washington has so horribly mismanaged our money and violated our collective sense of fairness that, at this point, most of us have been left thirsting for “more freedom,” and less government entanglement.
Do Republican leaders get it? America needs leadership both in the spirit of Ronald Reagan, who elevated the private sector to unimaginable heights, but also in the spirit Margaret Thatcher, who as Prime Minister of England actually decreased the entanglement of government in private affairs. With state and local governments teetering on bankruptcy and federal deficits dangerously high, Americans have never in my lifetime been more ready for this kind of change. Let the “thatchering” begin.
Fortunately, Governor Bob McDonnell is keeping his campaign promise to close Virginia’s $4 billion budget gap. Similarly, Governor Chris Christie declared a “fiscal state of emergency” in New Jersey, and issued an “executive order” to slash $2.2 billion from his state’s budget. Even the Reuters news agency noted that Governor Christie is responding to “a public recognition that something radical is needed…”
In the west, Governor Butch Otter is responding to Idaho’s budget woes with the only rational approach – cutting state spending – and in response to weakening state funding projections, has proposed even deeper spending cuts than were originally included in his January “state of the state” address.
Yet some Idaho Republicans are moving in the opposite direction of Otter, seeking to expand government with an “employer sanctions law” that penalizes Idaho business owners caught employing illegal immigrants.
Such legislation may satiate voters’ desires to “get even” with “illegals” (Arizona and Tennessee passed similar laws last decade). But balancing the federal government’s failure to manage immigration on the backs of small business owners does not lead to prosperity, or fairness.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is pushing a statewide sales tax increase as a means of fiscal recovery. Yet after calling the legislature into “special session” six times in the past year, Arizona remains nearly $2 billion in the red with no “recovery plan” in sight. Meanwhile, the Republican legislature garners headlines for pushing legislation that will put the Ten Commandments on display in the capitol.
And Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, long rumored to be negotiating an “Obama bailout” for bankrupt California, recently signed the nation’s first law restricting the energy consumption levels of television sets.
America presently has no use for government that can’t manage our tax dollars, yet spends them promoting the Bible and saving the planet from big screen TV’s. This is as distasteful as bailouts, mandated healthcare, and privileges and exemptions for Obama’s cronies.
We can do better. But if Republicans won’t “get it” – who will?
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.