BY JIM PILGRIM
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." — President Ronald Reagan, first inaugural address
If only a few Georgians were without jobs and the economy was booming, then this campaign could focus mostly on policies made here in Georgia. But when 10 percent of Georgians are out of work and Washington's job-killing policies continue to stifle any recovery, we cannot justifiably limit our debate to state policy.
Washington's tax-and-spend and power-grab policies aggravate our problems. They dim the prospects for new jobs and the prosperity that funds essential public services. These policies infringe on our liberties as individuals and as a state; in the latter case, they will eventually limit citizens' right to decide how much to spend money on education and other areas they prefer instead of where flawed federal policies dictate.
The Democratic Doctrine — tax and spend — has plunged our nation into a $13 trillion debt. It is a major component in the job-killing machine at work here in Georgia and all over the country. So the Obama administration's disastrous policies, including the several failed stimulus plans, are rightly a big part of our debate about who to elect in November to lead Georgia.
Jobs are the top priority, No. 1. Republicans, unlike our opposition, never considered jobs and the economy as secondary. Nor did voters.
But when jobs were the top concern for "we the people," the Obama administration stubbornly insisted on addressing health care, cap-and-trade and other matters.
Democrats believe in tax and spend; we believe in allowing people and businesses keep more of the money they earn. This itself is a great incentive to work and invest, a great enticement for businesses to innovate and to hire people to keep up with the demands of a growing economy.
Lower taxes continue to be the cornerstone of the Republican Party and the means to create jobs and prosperity. In a crisis like ours today, raising taxes stalls growth. Cutting taxes creates jobs, encourages investment and innovation. Lower taxes unleash the creative powers and energy of individuals and businesses.
The possibility that Democrats will raise the tax bills of many families and small businesses along with the costs of heavy-handed regulation will discourage businesses from hiring employees.
Our Republican candidate for governor, Nathan Deal, plans to lower income taxes on Georgia families and reduce corporate income taxes by one-third. Here in Georgia and elsewhere the Republican Party is the party of small business and strong families. Deal, a firm believer in conservative Republican values, advocates that Georgians can achieve success by hard work, personal responsibility and seizing opportunities.
Deal is committed to improving math and science education. In today's economy, math and science are the path to innovation for businesses and to better, higher paying jobs for Georgians. He will support a loan forgiveness program for college students earning teaching certificates in math, science and technology. Deal believes in and will support our teachers, and is strong advocate of the HOPE Scholarship.
Liberals have incorrectly criticized President Reagan's notions about the role of government. When liberals quote Reagan's line about government being the problem, they drop this qualifying phrase: "In the present crisis ..."
President Reagan took office in a horrible economic crisis. He cut taxes and regulation, which turned the economy around, the beginning of what came to be known as "the long boom," the longest economic expansion America had ever known.
Like President Reagan, today's Republicans believe in limited government - government doing those things we cannot do as individuals at the appropriate local, state or federal level. Reagan knew that government was necessary to provide certain services and to address certain problems. But he also knew that government, left unchecked, would inevitably overreach; he knew that when those in power come to believe that government is the solution to every manner of problem, big or small, then it is the problem.
In "our current crisis," the government in Washington is the problem.
Georgians need to elect Deal and other Republicans who believe in limited government and lower taxes; those who believe liberty remains the essence of America's success.
Jim Pilgrim is chairman of the Hall County Republican Party.