President Obama tanked in the last debate. Good.
Now maybe people will listen when Mitt Romney says things like, “The genius of America is the free enterprise system, and freedom, and the fact that people can go out there and start a business. ... The private market and individual responsibility always work best.”
But then Romney responded to Obama by essentially saying: I want big government, too!
We who hope for smaller government as a way to expand liberty and create prosperity are disturbed by what we heard last week. The GOP candidate painted himself as a big government man.
“Regulation is essential. ... Every free economy has good regulation.”
He added the obligatory, “Regulation can become excessive,” but showed no sign of understanding that free competition – unrestricted by government monopolistic privilege – is the best regulation. Nothing better protects consumers and workers than free choice in a competitive marketplace.
Romney also made it clear that he doesn’t want to reduce government revenues. He insisted that his 20 percent cut in tax rates would be revenue neutral.
“In order for us not to lose revenue – have the government run out of money – I also lower deductions and credits and exemptions so that we keep taking in the same money when you also account for growth.”
I’m all for slashing deductions and simplifying taxes, but the 1980s taught me to be wary. The top rate went back up – from 28 to 39.6 percent at one point – but the deductions repealed are likely gone forever.
Then Romney said, “I’m not looking to ... reduce the revenues going to the government.”
Why not? The less revenue in government hands, the more private individuals can do wonderful things with it.
Romney emphasizes revenue neutrality because he doesn’t want to be accused of proposing to increase the budget deficit, which he repeatedly pounded Obama over. He could avoid that charge by calling for spending cuts. Our deficit is a spending, not a tax revenue, problem. The federal government already collects $2.6 trillion! That’s more than enough.
Romney says, “I will eliminate all programs by this test: Is the program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? And if not, I’ll get rid of it.”
Great. But I don’t believe it. He did say he’d take away Big Bird’s and Jim Lehrer’s appropriation. Fine. Big Bird doesn’t need the money. PBS-like programming will thrive without taxpayer handouts, and America shouldn’t have “government TV” anyway. But the cut would be only $445 million out of a nearly $4 trillion budget. Big deal.
He also said he’d “make government more efficient.”
Gee, haven’t other politicians thought of that? The claim is meaningless. That promise is made and broken year after year. Efficiency requires a market test, but since government gets its money by force, there is no market test.
He said he’d “combine some agencies and departments” and cut back the number of employees.” But he quickly added: “through attrition.” Attrition! That isn’t leadership. It isn’t even management. “Attrition” means good people leave and the deadwood stays. I suppose Romney fears losing votes from government workers. Much of the time, Romney endorsed government spending. “I do not believe in cutting our military.”
Never mind that we now spend at Cold War levels and that our military tab is as big as the rest of the world’s combined.
He criticized the federal government’s many worthless job training programs, but did he call for repeal? No: “We got to get those dollars back to the states.”
On America’s useless Education Department: “I’m not going to cut education funding. I don’t have any plan to cut education funding and grants that go to people going to college. I’m planning on continuing to grow.”
Geez. Grow? What good would that do?
The feds already suck $100 billion from state taxpayers only to return it later with strings. It hasn’t improved test results. The department has been a complete waste of money. If the Republican candidate won’t even eliminate that intrusive bureaucracy, there’s little hope.
Maybe Paul Ryan will do better at the vice presidential debate.
John Stossel is host of “Stossel” on the Fox Business Network. He’s the author of “No They Can’t: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed.” To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at www.johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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President Obama tanked in the last debate. Good.
Starting over at Head Start
All I ever wanted to be was a journalist. Having worked on my high school and college newspapers, I knew it was the career for me.
I love talking to people, listening to their stories, being creative every day and experiencing new things. But as you know, news happens outside the hours of 9 to 5, and my job here at the Register rarely stayed within that time frame.
They don’t make strawberries as they did back in the old days
I’m not inclined to go through my archives at the moment, but it almost feels like the column I’m about to write has almost become an annual thing over the years.
At least I know for sure that that this is not the first time that memories of picking strawberries there on Blair Branch on hot days in June has triggered this keyboard about this time of year.
I grew up on a little subsistence, hillside farm deep in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, among the coalfields near the Virginia line.
Baby boomers have let technology rob their grandchildren of the joys of youth
When I was growing up, it was not uncommon to see fathers and sons along creek banks fishing together or in the woods hunting squirrels or pitching horse shoes or even shooting marbles late in the afternoon in the cool hours before dark.
Dads were teaching kids to play the games they grew up with. Little girls, learned from mothers,how to skip rope, play with jacks or play hopscotch.
No Lincoln or Douglas in this debate
Remember the famous slap-down in the 1988 vice presidential debate when Republican Dan Quayle compared his youth and limited government experience to those of John Kennedy’s when Kennedy ran for president?
His Democratic opponent, Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, acidly replied: “I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”
Senate campaign already in full bloom
Any hope for a respite in the U.S. Senate campaign following Tuesday’s primary disappeared immediately.
Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes came out swinging in victory speeches which sounded like campaign kickoffs.
McConnell commended Matt Bevin on “a tough (primary) race” and appealed to Bevin supporters to unite behind his re-election bid. That will be hard for Bevin and those who backed him.
‘Taxpayer-eaters’ meet ‘self-serving politician-eaters’
What some candidates could gain in this year’s election – beyond just winning office – is a stark reminder of how wrong political leaders were when declaring last year they had adequately addressed Kentucky’s public-pension crisis.
Instead, legislators with serious courage deficiencies failed to agree on reforms beyond what they believe are “politically feasible.”
Step Out, Step up for Diabetes Association
Six weeks ago when I wrote here announcing the 2014 Edition of Team TKO’s American Diabetes Association, Step Out Walk Team, several dozen of you readers sent generous donations to sponsor grandson Tyler Kane Ochs (TKO) and me in the walk that takes place, rain or shine, in the mud or not, at Keeneland on the morning of May 31.
Another several dozen of you either called, emailed or dropped a card in regular mail and asked that I remind you again “after the holidays” (Easter and Mother’s Day).
Hitting the campaign trail
The most watched race in the country ? the battle for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Mitch McConnell ? has so far produced a bevy of charges and not much substance.
We haven’t seen that much of McConnell or his likely Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes out on the campaign trail.
McConnell’s primary opponent Matt Bevin has been much more active and visible, but his performance hasn’t enhanced his chances.
The case of the scary black cat
If Margie didn’t believe that black cats were the harbinger of bad luck, she certainly believed it when a black cat brushed against her leg while she was leaning over a large trash can burning garbage one late afternoon.
Startled by the sudden appearance of the feline, Margie opened her mouth wide and let out a blood-curdling scream that could have awakened Count Dracula himself.
Basking in the spring sunshine
If you had asked me, as recently as two weeks ago, to make a list of things I expected to see on the first Monday in May of 2014, two of the things that I actually did see would not have been on the list, even if you’d required that it contain at least 500 items.
I’d have been a bit skeptical about Ralph’s purple asparagus and his gorgeous snowball bush, both of which came through most admirably. And I would have had my doubts about the poppies that have been in our back yard for several generations and the bearded German Iris that Jeanette Todd gave us more than two decades ago. It faithfully stuns us there at the corner of the front porch every spring, but there they were, basking in absolute glory as the sun set Monday afternoon.
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