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Public Statements

Richmond Times-Dispatch - We Must Restore The American Dream

Op-Ed

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By Representative Robert Hurt

Dating back to the founding of our nation, Virginians and Americans have set forth the principle that this country was founded of the people, by the people, for the people. And as history shows, we have long been a nation dependent on its people and not its federal government for our success. But lately those we have elected to represent us in Washington have been taking us in a different direction.

Instead of trusting people with their own health care decisions, Washington tells us that we must now trust our federal government; instead of encouraging people to get back to work so they can provide for themselves and for their families, Washington tells us that the government will support us; instead of allowing our free market system to allocate resources in a free society, Washington tells us that the government will pick winners and losers by investing our taxpayer dollars in failed projects such as Solyndra; and instead of being guided by the people of this country who build their small businesses from the ground up, Washington tells us: No -- you didn't build that, the government did.

While these examples of the "government knows best" mentality affect all Americans, as I have traveled Virginia's 5th District I have heard story after story detailing ways in which the federal government, with its vast overreach, has threatened our free enterprise system and uniquely impacted those I represent.

Recent polling data tells us that small businesses are not hiring because of failed, big-government policies coming from Washington. But polls cannot demonstrate just how real these impacts are on our local communities. During a district work week this year, a small business owner told me that because of the uncertainty coming from Washington, the cost of complying with government regulations, the cost of energy and the cost of health care, he had to lay off more than half of his employees in the past four years. He went on to hold up a stack of payroll checks that he and his wife had not cashed for themselves for months. This was once a thriving business that has now been threatened by years of policies that place more trust in the government to take care of the business owners' customers and employees than in the business itself.

Other public opinion polls indicate that the government takeover of health care is harming job creation. A 5th District convenience store owner told me that he owns five stores and employs 47 people. He has the capital and the desire to build two more convenience stores and hire 15 more employees but will not because he would hit the 50-employee threshold and would be ensnared by the president's health care law. This is something he could not afford to do. These are jobs that could have been created but haven't been because of the president's health care law, which has inserted the government between doctors and patients and between employers and their employees.

While this president, like all presidents, surely has had the best interests of this country at heart, the American people know that when we lose faith in our people, we will be lost as a nation. The policy of placing more trust in the federal government than in the American people is contrary to the foundations that we stand upon. This next election is critical to restoring our founding principles, which provide for a limited government and unlimited opportunity.

We are at a pivotal time in our nation's history, and in a matter of weeks Americans across this country will have a clear choice to make as they head to the polls. Their choice will be between continuing this course of unlimited government that spends too much and threatens the spirit of free enterprise or changing the course and reapplying our founding principles that encourage free enterprise and promote individual liberty.

As I have worked in Congress over the past year and a half, I have done so with the belief that we must restore the American Dream that was given to us by our Founders. We cannot continue down the path of placing the government before its citizens. We are at a crossroads in our country's history, and for the sake of our children and grandchildren, it is critically important that we send leaders to Washington who will restore the spirit of government of the people, by the people, for the people, and advance policies that hold the promise of a brighter future for Americans now and for generations to come.


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