Over the past several weeks, the Democrats and Republicans held their national conventions. With the energy of the coming elections spreading all across the country, this was a critical time for leaders in each party to present themselves to the American people by telling us who they are and what they plan to do. So what exactly did we learn from them?
First, the conventions showed that Americans have a choice this election between freedom and dependency. It's a choice of "get the government off my back so that I can fulfill my God-given potential," or "let's get together and let the government solve our problems."
Republicans understand that success is the responsibility of the individual. America has always championed freedom, not compulsion, and the result is the most powerful, innovative, and productive economy in the world. Leaders like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan understand that no principle has done more for human flourishing than the idea of freedom--where the people pursue life, liberty, and happiness and make their living through good old-fashioned hard work.
Democrats steer us toward an America where we depend on the government to meet many of our needs. They would tax more from those who earn more and redistribute it in an attempt to achieve some sort of impossible "equality." They would empower the federal government in the name of fairness and the common good while moving away from the ideals our country was founded on. As President Obama said himself, if you own a business, "you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen."
Second, the party conventions presented America with a choice between futures.
At the Democrat convention, we discovered that President Obama really has no large-scale, long-term plans to deal with our greatest problems. In his speech, he trumpeted minor accomplishments that, admittedly, have their place, but they are dwarfed by big questions like the trillion-dollar-plus deficits during Obama's tenure, a national debt which surpasses our nation's GDP, and huge entitlement programs barreling toward bankruptcy.
The president made no mention of how our national debt has grown by 50% during his term--faster than under any other US president. He ignored his own promises back in 2008 that if the economy was not well on its way to recovery within four years we'd have a "one term proposition." In short, the President and his party are running on nothing more than the hope that maybe things will get better during the next four years.
The Republicans, on the other hand, made it clear at their convention that they are serious about facing the hard truths of our economic situation. They're ready to confront the fact that our federal government is on an unsustainable course of spending. The Romney-Ryan ticket has championed big, innovative ideas to reform programs like Medicare and simplify the tax code. They would also slow the rate at which government spending grows so that it gradually becomes a smaller percentage of our overall economy.
At the Republican convention, I saw the national deficit clock rise by billions of dollars each day. As our world grows more and more uncertain, Americans are looking for stability and commitment in their leadership. We can see such leadership across the country, where Republican governors have found ways to keep unemployment lower and drastically reduce, if not eliminate, their states' budget deficits--largely without raising taxes. I have no doubt that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would give us that same leadership at the federal level.
The past four years have been hard, with record unemployment and weak economic growth. That's not the America I grew up with, and it's not the America I intend to pass on to my children and grandchildren. Will you stand with me this fall and join America's Comeback Team so that we can get our country back on track?