By Senator John Barrasso
In the 2012 election, "a fair shot" is the new "hope and change."
President Barack Obama regularly promises in campaign speeches that his policies will give every American a "fair shot." As with his previous campaign promises, the president knows people interpret "fair" to match their own meaning.
The choice Americans face in this important election, however, does not rest on what they think "fair" means. They must know what the President means when he uses the term.
For more than three and a half years, the president has governed by his politically motivated idea of fairness. His record demonstrates that "fair" for him doesn't mean equal opportunity for all Americans -- it means equal outcome regardless of efforts.
We now know that the president thinks it's fair to redefine the work requirements for the welfare program to include bed rest and helping neighbors run errands.
He thinks it's fair to tell defense contractors they cannot warn employees about future layoffs before the election -- because he doesn't want workers to know that he supports looming defense cuts.
He thinks it's fair to take more than $700 billion from seniors on Medicare to spend on a whole new program for someone else, "Obamacare."
He thinks it's fair to tell American seniors that he has strengthened Medicare, though he has no workable plan to prevent it from going bankrupt.
He thinks it's fair that his health care law will force many college students to lose access to low-cost health plans they were previously able to get through their schools.
On policy after policy, Obama's partisan definition of fairness does not match the American people's.
A rising tide lifts all boats, as the maxim says. The president, however, seems to think it's better to put holes in all the boats -- as long as they're equal in the end. He admires only the success that can be redistributed from Washington. He thinks we can achieve fairness only when Washington calls the shots.
Instead of equal opportunity for everyone, we are left under this president with more debt, fewer jobs and less innovation. His bad policies have not helped Americans succeed and improve their quality of life.
This economic recovery has been the worst in U.S. history. Government bureaucracy has grown, while confidence among our citizens has declined. It's time to change direction.
One person getting more does not mean someone else has to get less. All of us can do better -- not at our neighbors' expense, but by our own effort. Our system of free enterprise does not just allow us to prosper, it encourages and rewards us for our efforts.
The American dream is about freedom, ambition, innovation and overcoming obstacles. Americans speak with pride about having worked their way through college washing dishes, flipping hamburgers or pouring concrete. Whatever it took to reach their goal.
We must restore real fairness in America. We can start by paying off the crushing debt that's been piled on the backs of all Americans. We can begin to dismantle the mountain of bureaucracy that stifles American opportunity.
It's time to reject the Obama administration's philosophy and policies before they cause even greater economic stagnation and misery.
What is fair is to finally get serious about encouraging economic growth. What is fair is reducing taxes for everybody -- so families keep more of the money they earn and businesses have more money to expand and hire.
What is fair is to confront seriously the future of Medicare. We can keep the promises of Medicare for today's seniors, while strengthening the program for future generations.
Republicans believe that real fairness means no more favoritism. Fairness means the playing field is level -- without Washington picking who wins and who loses.
Give the American people a fair shot for real, and we will win on our own.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.