Keep Promises To 'We the People'
By George Allen
Richmond Times-Dispatch Op-Ed
November 5, 2010
Election Day 2010 saw the culmination of years of aggravation and resentment toward a federal government that became disconnected and disdainful of the values and priorities of Americans. People are rightfully riled by bailouts of failed automobile manufacturers, health care dictates, energy restrictions, and the unprecedented expansion of government spending and dangerous debt -- nearly $6 trillion more than when President Obama was sworn into office.
America, the land and idea we love, has been built and has prospered based upon the foundational principles of freedom, opportunity for all, and personal responsibility in a free marketplace. However, during the past three years, the federal government has fostered initiative-sapping dependence on a fast-growing, power-hungry government that redistributes success and arrogantly imposes dictates and limits on free people.
The new Congress must keep the promises made to "We the People." It must turn our country toward an ascending trajectory, where all Americans have an opportunity to pursue their American Dream.
Consistent with what I've heard from caring, resolved men and women of all ages at hundreds of rallies, forums, and events, here are the most pressing priorities for immediate action for jobs and restraining the bloated, grabbing federal government:
First, prevent looming tax increases. Americans and Virginians want jobs, but government doesn't create jobs. Small, medium, and large private businesses that take risks do. In 2001 and 2003, we provided tax relief to job-creating businesses -- as well as to American families and individuals -- by cutting income, capital gains, dividends, and other taxes. This tax policy is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2010, which would result in a $3.8 billion tax increase.
Congress should extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts in the lame duck session this year. If not, the very first act of the new Congress must be extending all of the tax cuts without compromise. Tax increases are job killers and must be stopped. These pending tax increases -- along with record deficits and debt, burdensome regulations, and the ever-encroaching federal government -- have left employers uncertain about the future and hesitant to hire new employees.
The best social program is a job! But it is tough for many people to find work these days. Our oldest daughter recently graduated from James Madison University. As parents, Susan and I see that she and many of her friends, if they can find work, are taking jobs out of their chosen field just to earn an income. Many must move back home with their parents to shoulder the financial burden of student loans and costs of living.
Second, the new Congress must repeal the massive government takeover of our American health care system -- whether through outright repeal or by defunding it -- and replace it with affordable, personal health savings accounts.
When Obamacare was passed, the president and Congress promised Americans that it would reduce the costs of health care and we could keep our current health plans. Instead, we have seen companies across our nation -- from Boeing to Caterpillar to 3M -- announce increases in their health care costs and reductions in employee benefits. Recently, the administration granted waivers to 30 companies and organizations -- including McDonald's and the United Federation of Teachers -- representing 1 million employees who faced higher premiums or lost coverage without an exemption from Obamacare.
Third, the new Congress must repeal and cut off any additional money borrowed and set aside for Obama, Reid, and Pelosi's $1.2 trillion "stimulus" spending bill. On Tuesday, the American people showed they know that a decade's worth of pent-up, pet-project, reckless spending and record debt don't stimulate the economy or create jobs.
Fourth, unleash our own natural resources. America has more energy resources that any country in the world and we need not continue to be vulnerable to hostile dictators, oligarchs, and cartels. Our energy and climate policy should be made by the people's representatives rather than unelected bureaucrats and activist judges who are appointed for life. Congress must withdraw authority from EPA bureaucrats who are attempting to regulate odorless, colorless CO2.
To impose skyrocketing electricity, fuel, and food costs on American families and enterprises will diminish our quality of life, cause thousands of jobs to move overseas, and constitute economic unilateral disarmament because no other country in the world will impose these burdens on its citizens.
Positive action on these four priorities will demonstrate that our elected leaders have got the message from "We the People." There are many other steps we need to take over the next few years to start our American comeback. Accomplishing these first steps will immediately improve job opportunities, begin to rein in spending, and restore proper foundational principles to make America once again an ascending land of opportunity for all to achieve their dreams.