Robert Knight

Despite ample evidence that America's deficit spending has not resulted in a healthy, growing economy, an election-wary Congress is still very likely to increase spending and debt this year.

Ronald Reagan, who was born 103 years ago on Feb. 6, had better ideas about how to increase prosperity – unleashing the power of the private sector by restraining government and cutting taxes.

In celebration of the Gipper's birthday, Townhall is featuring a series of concise examples of Mr. Reagan's wisdom, mostly in his own words, drawn from The Reagan Resolve, a monograph compiled by the Carleson Center for Welfare Reform.

“A Fundamentally Different Course”

The economic, fiscal, and constitutional crisis confronting our country today is eerily similar to the one America faced when Reagan campaigned against President Jimmy Carter in 1980. As Reagan summed it up after his Presidency in his autobiography:

“It was a rebellion of ordinary people. A generation of middle-class Americans who had worked hard to make something of their lives was growing mistrustful of a government that took an average of thirty-seven cents of every dollar they earned and still plunged deeper into debt every day.

“There was a growing sense of helplessness and frustration across the country over a government that was becoming a separate force of its own, a master of the people, not the other way around.

“People were growing resentful of bureaucrats whose first mission in life seemed to be protecting their own jobs by keeping expensive programs alive long after the usefulness had expired. They were losing respect for politicians who kept voting for open-ended welfare programs riddled with fraud and inefficiency that kept generation after generation of families dependent on the dole. And they were growing mistrustful of the self-appointed intellectual elite back in Washington who claimed to know better than the people of America and their communities.”

[“An American Life” by Ronald Reagan, p. 232]

Ronald Reagan’s fiscal and governmental prescription for American renewal and recovery worked in the 1980s and launched more than 25 years of economic prosperity. The same prescription can work magic again in 2012, because it is based on the timeless wisdom of our Founding Fathers.

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.