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Missoulian - Politics: Big Government Cost Us Dearly

Op-Ed

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President Ronald Reagan delivered the speech at the Republican convention in 1964 on behalf of Barry Goldwater. Reagan described the two paths before the electorate. Many voters worried about government spending, rising taxes and going to war. President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society and Vietnam War, President Richard Nixon's Stagflation and President Jimmy Carter's Malaise caused the country great harm. By the end of Reagan's two terms, over 17 million people found work, most in the private sector. Americans then enjoyed the good life and economic prosperity ensued.

The welfare-to-work program passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton should be hailed as the best anti-poverty program of the Clinton years. Unfortunately, the government sought to guarantee everyone home ownership and pressured banks to loan money to low-income citizens. Some bankers took advantage of the situation and others refused to get involved. With higher risks, banks developed the subprime mortgage while Congress mostly ignored trouble brewing in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Government moved quickly to bail out the banks after the housing bubble collapsed and government spent trillions of dollars over the past four years, putting us $5 trillion deeper in debt.

Now we owe over $15 trillion, we still have over 8 percent unemployment, and our economy is sluggish, at best. Our pattern since the 1930s should be clear. Big government spending and big government programs cost us dearly. Over the past 12 years, politicians promised to make things all better, if only we give up more freedom.

We find ourselves in a similar situation as the electorate in 1964. Big government and big programs won then; we cannot afford to repeat the same mistake. I encourage everyone to listen to Reagan's speech before the general election.


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