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 The top rate went back up – from 28 to 39.6 percent at one point – but the deductions repealed are likely gone forever.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.
© 2012 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS, INC.
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President Obama tanked in the last debate. Good.
Coal has kept Kentuckians warm this winter
This winter, temperatures across the country dipped to historic lows. Here in our home state of Kentucky, the near-arctic climate caused increased power demand which resulted in an incredible strain on the electric grid and rising energy costs.
Protecting citizens’ data is a no-brainer
Target Corp. is learning the hard way: The price is steep for retailers who don’t protect customers’ sensitive financial information.
Target’s profits fell a whopping 50 percent during its fourth quarter of 2013 as the result of a massive security breach involving as many as 110 million of its customers’ credit- and debit-card accounts, which began the day before Thanksgiving and extended throughout much of the holiday shopping season.
Making plans for spring planting
My brother Keith (Keeter) probably planted peas on one of those warm days last week, and I would not be at all surprised to find out that brother Steve did likewise to try to be the first two fellows in Letcher County to actually be digging the soil in their 2014 gardens.
Keeter’s father-in-law, the late Dock Mitchell, used to get my brother to drive him a 50-mile round trip to get pea seeds and potting soil for early February planting. Dock raised mammoth melting sugar snow peas and sugar snaps around every fence on the place.
Cynicism, optimism both on display in Frankfort
Those who spend little time in Kentucky’s Capitol and who read columns by cynics who cover it should be forgiven their disillusionment about how the people’s business is conducted.
Even Scrooge would enjoy library mystery
Saturday afternoons and evenings are usually down time for Loretta and me.
We simply don’t get out much after we’ve used up the movie gift certificates the kids gave us for Christmas. That means we mostly go to the movies to avoid guilt trips because our kids do work hard for their money.
Funding education is critical for Kentucky and its communities
Kentucky’s latest budget outline makes it clear that our leaders in Frankfort plan to go to great lengths to find more money for education. For communities throughout the commonwealth, this effort to restore funds for our schools is very welcomed news.
Who benefits from ‛AT&T Bill’
Senate Bill 99, the “AT&T Bill,” is a great deal for the telecommunications giants AT&T, Windstream and Cincinnati Bell.
It would allow them to abandon their least profitable customers and service areas as well as public protection obligations. But it is a risky and potentially dangerous bet for Kentuckians. Kentucky House members should turn it down.
End of the Line for the Welfare State?
The Congressional Budget Office did not exactly say Obamacare would cost the nation 2.5 million jobs.
But what it did say is vindication of what conservatives have preached since Barry Goldwater stood in the pulpit 50 years ago:
The more liberal the welfare state, the greater the disincentive to work and the more ruinous the impact upon a nation’s work ethic.
Beshear’s timid proposal versus Tar Heels’ tax-cutting tenacity
Raising the specter of hiking cigarette taxes is – for cash-starved politicians, big-government health nannies and their opinion-page enablers – the policy equivalent of ringing Pavlov’s bell.
Seeing “cash trays” rather than ashtrays, these big spenders experience racing heartbeats and sweaty palms while dreaming of raking in millions more into government coffers for pet projects.
Governor’s plan doesn’t go far enough
Gov. Steve Beshear deserves recognition for bringing forward this week a specific tax reform proposal for consideration. His plan contains some good ideas, especially in that it would raise new revenue and includes modest assistance to families struggling to get by on low wages through the creation of a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
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- Coal has kept Kentuckians warm this winter