Personal freedom is and always has been the highest and most important political goal of our great nation. To achieve it necessarily means that the power of government must be limited so it cannot excessively infringe on our freedom.
Limited government and individual freedom were the primary principles of our nation’s founding, and of the Republican Party’s founding amid the anti-slavery movement. These principles are worthy of our protection because they are so fundamental to our national identity, because they offer better solutions for the problems Americans face today, and because they are under attack today as never before.
It is this loss of freedom that I hear about on the campaign trail as I travel across Pennsylvania, from all types of folks. I hear about the concerns of patients who are worried about the freedom to make personal decisions about their own health care without the government interfering. I hear about the concerns of small business owners who want to be able to expand their businesses without Washington politicians imposing massive new tax increases and onerous regulations. And I hear about the concerns of responsible homeowners who work hard to pay for their mortgages and can’t afford to bail out other people’s mortgages.
Let’s take a minute to review what’s happened in just the last 18 months. First, there were the ill-advised taxpayer-funded bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Wall Street, and the car companies. Now, to be fair, the bailouts were begun under the previous administration; but the crew that’s in charge now took them to a whole new scale.
Next, we had the so-called stimulus bill — nearly a trillion dollars in new Washington spending, including some egregiously wasteful spending like $2 million to study exotic ants. We were told that this monster spending bill would create jobs and keep unemployment below eight percent. Well, since then we have lost nearly 3 million more jobs and the unemployment rate hit 10 percent, and in some states it’s still well above that. More than 14.5 million Americans remain out of work.
But even that was not enough for the one-party extremists in Washington. After that, they went ahead and rammed through a $2 trillion health care bill, which even the official budget scorekeepers say will actually increase the cost of health insurance for individuals and families. And that’s not to mention the very serious consequences for health care quality of imposing government in between doctors and patients.
Now where do all these bailouts, takeovers, and spending sprees leave us?
They leave us with a weak economy, without job growth, with a mountain of debt for our kids, and a significant decrease in our personal freedom.
I have every confidence that the 21st century can be another great American century. And I know we can have a booming economy. But to get there, we have to remember the source of our national strength. Our strength does not come from bailouts and government spending. It comes from a free enterprise system and the hard-working, honest citizens who make it run — the kind of industrious folks I see every day in Pennsylvania. It comes from protecting our most basic freedoms.