There is no doubt that our government must become smaller, less expensive and more efficient. But there is another thing government must become that does not get near enough attention: fairer.
We must fight to keep government from treating citizens unfairly. Government should be on the side of the people, not a hindrance to their advancement. I wanted to highlight some of the ways in which we must end the unfairness of government and work across party lines to create a leaner, smarter, government that is focused on fairness, equality and liberty, rather than opposing these most basic ideals.
Promises Made Should be Kept
One of the clearest instances of the rules being changed on the American people is in the promise of Medicare and Social Security. For years, Washington has taken dollar after dollar from the trust funds — money paid in by hardworking Americans—and spent it elsewhere, while warning us the programs are in danger of running out of funds. They’ve spent the money for years and are now telling folks we must change or dramatically alter the program for those at or near retirement who paid in — in good faith. I won’t stand for it.
I believe that if you entered the workforce and have paid into these programs, we absolutely must not change the rules on you. Until government gets their greedy hands out of the pot, we should not be penalizing the people who did nothing more than work hard and put away for their retirement to be able to leave the workforce and spend their later days healthy and financially secure. We can’t continue to use our seniors, or our soon-to-be seniors, as bargaining chips in whatever political game is being played. If government is to regain the respect of the people, keeping its promises is the first place to start.
It’s about Main Street, not Wall Street
When our nation was at the brink of economic crisis, bureaucrats bailed out not Main Street, but many of the same individuals responsible for putting us in economic peril. The working folks who made the right decisions and paid their bills on time and didn’t ask for a hand out were left behind to foot the bill. I don’t support any part of Wall Street relief, and especially not while Main Street suffers.
We need a federal government that plays by the same rules that our families and small businesses do. I do not believe that the ideas of a balanced budget should be as impossible as so many in Washington would have you believe. You spend what you need, and you save the rest. You invest safely and soundly in order to leave something behind for your children and grandchildren. I believe that this is one of the most vital aspects of the American Dream, and I believe our nation should do the same.
The Squeeze on Working People
Our area was hard hit long before the current recession began. Bad trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA rolled through Washington and the broken promises of politicians past took with them so many of our jobs and industry that called our area home. Today, we’ve seen some jobs return, but the unfair trade policies in Washington have continued. We’ve been able to push back some on China and other nations that break the rules and cheat in order to beat us, but we must push even stronger and keep the pressure on all who work to skirt our laws and hurt our economy.
While we see industries moving overseas, we also face the growing loss of jobs here in America due to illegal immigration. People are breaking laws right here at home in order to take a job that could be going to a law abiding American citizen. This two-sided threat leaves workers right in the middle of this squeeze, faced with the threat of lost wages or employment opportunities dwindling as the number of people crossing our borders and cutting in line rise. We need to address the unfair trade imbalance that continues to grow and we need to secure our borders before any further discussions of immigration reform are to take place. We don’t need to change the rules on our workers now — we need to enforce the rules we have and give them their fair shot.
“Oh, good grief”
When I see the ways the rules are constantly changed on the American people — our seniors, our working families and our small businesses — I can’t help but be reminded of Charlie Brown trying to kick the football. Prepare as he may, the ball is always snatched away from him in the closing moments, leaving him flat on his back. That is what government’s refusal to secure our borders, rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas and giving away entire industries through bad trade deals has done to American workers.
The American people have worked too hard and fought too hard to let this continue. I’ve worked to find ways to make government work for our people, not against them, but there’s still much work to be done. We must continue to rein in out of control Washington ways — from spending to regulating — to ensure that each and every person has access to the same American Dream that all who came before us had. Then and only then can we continue to keep our nation great. The fight to make government smaller and more responsive and fairer is a tough one. But it is a fight we can win by standing together in the struggle to expand commerce, liberty and justice and reduce waste, partisanship and political games.