As I’ve said before, if we are going to fix this mess, we first need to look in the mirror, grow-up and take responsibility for our families, our neighborhoods and our communities; we need to fix our own problems and address our own mistakes. That means we need Republicans in Washington not only need to say “no” to additional requests for more grand schemes and programs, but they need to cut the present ones and return the responsibility for them back to state and local governments. It means our legislators in Austin need to do the same, and send as much responsibility back to individuals and local governments as possible. Then, our local elected officials on school boards, city councils and county governments need to seize this moment to work with us, and with private organizations in our communities, to responsibly address these issues in a cost-effective manner.
You see, neither the real question nor the real answer is about what Washington (or Austin) should do, but rather about how individuals, working through private organizations and local governments, can re-build America.
Let me see if I can put this into simpler terms.
This country’s past, present and future has been and will always be dependent on certain basic relationships functioning well every day. It is dependent on teachers, parents and children working together to mold productive citizens. It is dependent on patients and doctors trusting each other so that we stay healthy. It is dependent on police officers and firefighters being ready at a moments notice to keep us safe. It is dependent on water and sanitation districts, street and bridge builders, and gas and utility companies working to make sure we have access to the basic necessities for our homes and neighborhoods to function. It is dependent on entrepreneurs and professionals to start businesses, employ neighbors, sell products and services, pay taxes, serve on private boards, and support communities. It is dependent on a network of families, churches, homeowners associations, and other private organizations, addressing our daily needs, to build and sustain neighborhoods. It is the proper functioning of these relationships, over hundreds of years, which has made America exceptional.
Do any of the basic functions of these relationships exist because of anything that has been done in Washington or Austin? The answer is obvious: “no”. They function because of the hard work done, and the myriad of daily choices made, locally—where we live and work. The deeper that Austin or Washington get involved in these functions, the more they simply interfere with these functions by adding administrative costs and inefficiencies, and by adding decision-makers into the relationships who are not needed. We can no longer afford the luxury of this interference—its cost is bankrupting us without adding the value we’ve been promised.
Therefore, I am convinced that the biggest economic problems facing this nation are structural, and focusing more attention on Washington or Austin, or on the “competitiveness” of multi-national companies like GE, will not fix this structural problem. We simply don’t need Washington and Austin adding costs, inefficiencies, and middlemen to our basic daily functions and relationships, and we can no longer afford the debt we are incurring to pay for this mess. As for GE, it employs more people and manufactures more products overseas today, than it does in the U.S.—GE’s competitiveness will only benefit the U.S. in the future to the extent the economic infrastructures of our communities are rebuilt to offer GE productive employees and profitable communities. Finally, by ignoring the importance of local governments and focusing our attention on far-away capitols, we’ve allowed many of our local governments to be fiscally mismanaged right under our noses to the point that they are close to structural insolvency. We need to fix this mess.
The policies we actually need from Washington and Austin are those that make sure that there is a level legal playing field for all to prosper; that we are protected from our enemies; that there is a safe and modern infrastructure for the movement of people, goods and services across state lines; and that the daily local work of our relationships are protected and promoted so that we can get back to the hard work of rebuilding America.
I will be looking for a Presidential candidate who understands what I have just written, and who is committed to begin the hard work of persuading Americans to help him re-organize the government so that we can get back to the exceptional work of building strong and prosperous individuals, families and neighborhoods. And I am starting that search tomorrow night when I go to a meet and greet for Herman Cain at Mario’s on NASA Road 1 from 5-8 p.m.
Cain is one of the more intriguing men to announce that he is establishing an exploratory committee. He understands the importance of private enterprise and building a business, having been President and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, having served as Chairman of the National Restaurant Association, and currently serving on the Board of Directors for AGCO Corporation, Hallmark Cards, Inc. and Whirlpool Corporation. He understands finance and economics, having served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and on the Economic Growth and Tax Reform Commission with Jack Kemp. He understands politics, having served as an advisor to the Dole/Kemp campaign in 1996, and having run for the Senate in Georgia in 2004. Finally, as a syndicated radio talk show host in Atlanta, and as a frequent speaker at Tea Party events across the country, Cain understands the hopes and dreams of Americans who desperately want their country back.
Why, with this background of sanity and success, Herman Cain would ever want to run for President is beyond me, but I’m glad that he is joining the debate. If you’re intrigued and are not sure who you are going to support yet, why don’t you come tomorrow night and listen.
As for me, I hope to hear not only from Herman Cain, but from all the rest of the field over the next few months, to see if they understand the moment we face, and the opportunity for real change that is within our grasp, if only we’ll seize it.