Last night I had the privilege to meet Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling at a gathering of Republicans in Falls Church, VA. The purpose of the occasion was to support the candidacy of Patrick Murray for congress. These people were all gathered at a wonderful home on a pleasant, if a little muggy, evening for a "no pork" luau.
Mr. Bolling provided a few brief comments and proudly announced that the state of Virginia had gone from a fiscal deficit to about 400 million dollar surplus in the year since Governor McDonnell had been elected. The conversation for the evening by this very nice crowd was passionate and generally drifted to the common themes we hear from Republicans, less taxes, smaller government, fiscal discipline and so on. With all of the hoopla associated with Mr. Murray's campaign to "RetireJimMoran", I was thinking....
I was pondering this dilemma. I suspect that most people couldn't care less about lower taxes or "fiscal discipline" or "smaller government". If I was them, I would be thinking...
What's in it for me?
It is a legitimate question, especially if you are part of the reported 60% of Americans who pay little or no taxes. I mean, why should I care if lower taxes is not affecting MY wallet?
Ah my friend, but it does. What is at stake here is Freedom! Last night I was asked, "What do you mean, "Freedom"? I loved the question. It was the right question.
We live in a world of imperfect men and women. Our founding fathers knew this. In their wisdom, they created a system of government that created an environment of many competing centers of power. From the federal to the state to local governments, each center of power "competes" with the other to be both a check against power abuse and as a laboratory of new ideas. The ideas here in Virginia, some of which directly challenge the federal government, provides a powerful crucible in which ideas become better. When proven, these ideas become models for others.
Further, private initiative with the risk and ultimate reward for the best ideas provides a platform for innovation in which new and different ways to solve problems can flourish. Can you imagine what Facebook would look like if it was "invented" by a subcommittee of the FCC?
Every time we empower a federal agency AND take money from the private sector, we take away the funds that fuel innovation and lead to economic activity. Every time we create a government agency with rules and regulations, we make things more difficult for innovative ideas to flourish because they are stifled with rules known and unknown that choke off the idea before it has had a true chance to prove itself in the marketplace.
When we keep money in the pockets of people, prosperity flourishes and leads to an accumulation of dollars that individuals and enterprises are free to invest into creative solutions. This investment of both time and treasure, is ultimately followed with new and better approaches to the issues we face every day. Often it is messy and there are failures, but this crucible keeps bubbling up new ideas that address real problems and tackle problems unimagined. If it is done well, it is rewarded with people willing to pay for those solutions... and that, my friend, leads to the creation of jobs and meaningful work.
So, what's in it for you? Jobs that pay fair wages. Creative solutions to our problems. Freedom to pursue our own hopes and dreams. ...and in that "pursuit" where we are building a future both individually and together, we more often than not discover.... "happiness".
Let Freedom Ring.