As conservatives, we rarely look to the government for solutions. We understand that the government has nothing of its own; it has only what we give it or what it takes from us. The government cannot be benevolent to all; it can only give to some from what it has taken from others. These words are critically important to reflect upon as we talk about the government's place in restoring our economy.
Consider this: the government cannot create jobs; only the private sector can. The government can destroy jobs, however, and it does so regularly.
As we look to the future and work for solutions to our economic slump, I propose this as the role of government: quit doing and start undoing. America has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, and this tax chases jobs out of America. We can quit throwing money at every sector we can find in an effort to grow jobs, and instead we can eliminate America's job-killing corporate income tax. The economic solution for the greatest capitalist nation on the planet does not lie in what we do, but rather in what we undo.
This is a very hard message for politicians to internalize. Politicians want to "do." Their constituents come to them with problems, and their "caretaker instinct" is to solve those problems with a new program or new dollars. But in solving one set of problems, a new set is always created. In giving to one group, something is always taken from another. This is not the proper role of government in a free society, and we must make this message heard.
In an editorial in the Wall Street Journal last week, U.S. News & World Report chairman and editor in chief, Mortimer Zuckerman, made this point quite well. (Click here to read his words.) He was talking about a topic that we all talk about: America's housing market. He was making the point that government intervention caused the bubble, and government intervention is preventing the market from finding its natural equilibrium. He makes the point that we as consumers are smart, and we continue to sit on the sidelines as the marketplace continues to be manipulated. We're waiting waiting until the market finds equilibrium, and only then will we reenter with enthusiasm. The more that government interferes, the further away equilibrium becomes.
We must preach this message to all who will listen. From the pages of theWall Street Journal to the pages of U.S. News & World Report to the pages of our local papers, we must share the message. I can tell you that one of the very rewarding parts of this campaign for me has been visiting with local mayors, and they have shared a unified message: stop helping and get out of the way.
My job is to protect your liberties and freedoms from a federal government tilted toward consuming them. Beyond that, the message to our federal leaders is clear: stop helping and get out of way.