I’m beginning this week by doing something I don’t usually do: thanking the New York Times.
Last week, this was the Times headline over a story about President Obama’s budget:
“A Bold Plan Sweeps Away Reagan Ideas”
And so I want to thank the New York Times for portraying the Obama budget for what it is: The most audacious attempt in generations to create a government-centered, bureaucratically controlled country.
“Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste”
We should have seen it coming.
Way back in November, when the Obama team was still flush with victory in the election, Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel laid out what he called “Rule One”:
“Never let a crisis go to waste.”
The Obama budget plan unveiled last week is proof that the goal of the administration is not economic recovery. The goal is an unprecedented shift of power to politicians and bureaucrats.
Which America Do We Want?
Ronald Reagan believed that at the center of American life was the individual. The entrepreneur. The worker. The doer. The family man and woman.
The Obama budget reveals a very different vision of the men and women at the center of American life.
They are the politicians. The bureaucrats. The interest groups that support an ever expanding government sector.
And so the American people are presented with a real choice: Which America do we want?
An America in which citizens and entrepreneurs are free and hold the power?
Or an American in which politicians and bureaucrats dominate and are in charge?
The New Religion of the Secular Left
The first month and a half of the Obama Administration has presented Americans with another choice to make.
The choice is captured best in the administration’s announcement last week that it intends to rescind the Bush Administration rule that allowed doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care workers to refuse to perform acts that violate their religious and moral beliefs.
I’ll have more to say about this in the future. But for now, let me just point out what it bodes for religious freedom in America.
The Obama Administration’s reversal of what has become known as the “conscience provision” to protect doctors and nurses who have a moral objection to participating in or performing abortions is a direct assault on religious liberty.
It marks the establishment of a state-sponsored religion of secular leftism. And it gives this new religion the right to eliminate the religious liberty of all others that it deems inappropriate.
It, too, presents the American people with a choice of two competing futures. A future of traditional American respect for religious freedom. Or a future in which the values of the secular left over-ride our religious liberty wherever they come into conflict.
The U.S. Has the Second Highest Business Taxes in the World
Concentrating more power in Washington politicians and bureaucrats means government dictating what it deems are the “right” choices to individuals and businesses, rather than giving them the freedom and incentive to make their own choices.
For example, in his address to the joint session of Congress last week, the President announced his intention to punish “corporations that ship our jobs overseas.”
The United States imposes the second highest business taxes of any industrialized nation in the world. While countries like Ireland tax corporations at 12.5%, and even our neighbor Canada is moving its national business tax rate to 15% (the lowest among the G-7 countries), the United States taxes businesses at a whopping 35%. And a number of states have corporate income taxes on top of that.
Inevitably, high taxes in the U.S. cause some businesses to locate some or all of their business in lower tax countries overseas.
Don’t Punish Businesses for Locating Overseas. Encourage Businesses to Come to America to Create American Jobs
But if President Obama were serious about wanting to create jobs, he wouldn’t be thinking up ways to punish companies for wanting to relocate overseas.
If President Obama were serious about creating and keeping American jobs he would be thinking of ways to make companies want to bring their jobs and capital to America — and keep them here.
Americans Solutions has created 12 American Solutions for Jobs and Prosperity. Our No. 3 recommendation for jobs and prosperity is for America to match Ireland’s 12.5% business tax.
That would do more than anything in the President’s budget to accomplish his often-repeated goal of “creating and saving” American jobs.
What Entrepreneur Wants Chris Dodd to Dictate How Much He Can Earn?
As it stands, what entrepreneur in his or her right mind would risk the time, effort and capital to start a business in America?
So Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) can act as income dictator and tell them how much they can earn?
So a hidden energy tax can dramatically increase the cost of manufacturing, not to mention heating the business and transporting employees?
So union bosses can deny American workers the right to a private ballot?
Who wants to create a job in America at a time when Washington, D.C., not New York or Silicon Valley, is fast becoming the controlling center of American business?
Who wants to create jobs in America if politics trumps economics when it comes to determining who succeeds and who fails?
Yes to Bureaucracies, No to Charities
It’s not just in the area of jobs that the Obama budget sends a message that he would shift power dramatically from the people to the politicians.
At a time when charitable donations are suffering because of the economic downturn, President Obama’s budget discourages charitable giving by those Americans with the most to give by limiting the charitable giving deduction.
And at a time when cratering housing prices are driving the recession, President Obama’s budget discourages home ownership by those Americans who could most positively impact housing prices by limiting the mortgage interest deduction.
President Obama’s Budget Message: Bureaucratic government is the solution, and we no longer have a choice about it.
Attorney General Holder: Come to Detroit. Let’s Talk About Cowardice
Another clue to how the Obama Administration views the intelligence and capability of the American people came when Attorney General Eric Holder recently called America “a nation of cowards” when it comes to race.
In my speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday I issued a challenge to Attorney General Holder that I repeat here:
Mr. Attorney General, the American people aren’t cowards. Quite the opposite. They have the courage to demand that their leaders tell them the truth.
So in the spirit of courageous truth telling, I invite you to come to Detroit to discuss politics and race. I invite you to discuss the failure of the policies and institutions that you support in a city which those policies and institutions have failed more than any other.
Let’s have the courage to debate the failure of the Detroit school system. Let’s have the courage to discuss the bad policies, bad ideas and bad bureaucracies that have taken Detroit from No. 1 in the nation in per capita income to No. 62.
This is a serious invitation to the Attorney General to have a dialogue with me about what the residents of cities like Detroit need most: More talk about race, or leadership that believes they have a God-given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness just like the rest of us.
Let’s Have a Debate, America
I’ve had some strong words for the Obama Administration today, but my real message is to the American people:
Now that President Obama has revealed the direction in which he wants to take the country, let’s have a debate. Let’s choose up teams.
If you believe the best way to create jobs is to give more money to bureaucrats in Washington and more power to politicians in Congress, you have a team.
If you think the best way to create jobs is to make life easier for people who want to work hard, take risks and create businesses and wealth, you have a team.
If you think America should be a place where politics trumps economics and religion, you have a team.
But if you think America is a place where freedom trumps it all, you have a team.
Let’s let the American people choose. Which America do you want?