Mike Needham

Pawlenty articulated an aspirational goal of 5% annual economic growth – likely unachievable over a sustained period but the type of optimism our nation needs after the spirit of malaise emanating from a White House that doesn't think "the unemployment rate will be coming down significantly anytime in the near future."

In fact, a new McKinsey Global Institute report suggests that only in the most rosy scenario will America reach “full employment” by 2020. Not surprisingly, the report states “uncertainty over the direction of regulation…has made some companies hesitant to invest.”

Of course, one of the beauties of the American system (for now) is that states can experiment with different policies. Prior to Obamacare, Utah was doing incredible stuff on health care. Wisconsin is home to the longest-running and largest school choice program in the nation. And Texas has embraced a host of pro-growth conservative policies from tort reform and low taxes to right-to-work laws.

It is within this context that Texas Governor Rick Perry is now entertaining a presidential run. Much like Pawlenty, Perry will use his gubernatorial experience to his advantage. One of the most mind-blowing stats Perry will throw out is that his state, Texas, has created 37% of the new jobs in the country since the end of the recession.

Americans, and their elected representatives, must be asking who (or what) is better suited to tackle our nation's most pressing problems. Will federal bureaucrats solve our health care crisis, or will doctors and patients? Will federal bureaucrats educate our children, or will parents and caring teachers? Will federal bureaucrats identify the next source of job creation, or will entrepreneurial individuals?

For the first time in a generation, our nation is at a crossroad and we're presented with two very different paths. One emphasizes bureaucrats, the other individuals. President Obama's policies place the American Dream in the hands of unelected bureaucrats. Conservatives want to empower individuals and enable them to achieve the American Dream.

It really comes down to this: Whom do you trust with your future?

Mike Needham

Mike Needham is the Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Action for America, a grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to advancing legislation that promotes freedom, opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.