2011 State of the Union Address

 McCotter Reaction for Human Events

“The President and Democrats want to perpetuate the antiquated, ‘elite’ driven welfare state.  Republicans know we must transcend the anile welfare state and match our ‘consumer driven economy’ with a ‘citizen driven government.’” 

Spinning the Future: President Obama’s State of Union

By Rep. Thaddeus G. McCotter

In his State of the Union address, President Obama wasn’t winning the future.  He was spinning the future – one where under an alias big government still taxes, borrows, spends, and regulates too much in a vain effort to erect five new pillars of America’s economy.  But the President is mistaken:  our future isn’t big government; our future is self-government. 

And our future is now. 

The Age of Globalization – particularly its communications revolution – has empowered human beings to extents undreamt.  Such momentous change has brought challenges and travails.  Throughout America, families have necessarily made painful financial decisions with their personal finances and enterprises have become more flexible, accountable and competitive in the global “consumer driven economy.”  Only government has refused to make similarly necessary decisions.  Instead, a status quo committed big government went on a two year spending to further engorge itself at your expense.  Now, the consequences, including potential bankruptcies, are manifestly at hand for states and the federal government.

As the leader of the party wedded to wealth redistribution and culpable for this massive expansion of government’s power and price, the President insists on the oxymoronic goal of a “smarter” and “leaner” big government.  Beneath the cant, he still contends the solutions to globalization’s economic and social challenges are more government, including an increased collusion between big government and big business; and, implicitly, more big government control over our decisions and money. 

But a greater concentration of our money and decisions in Washington is the antithesis of what is occurring in our daily lives.  Able to communicate around the globe with family, friends, customers and sellers and, thereby, empowered with greater choices in and control over our decisions, why would we transfer this power – literally – from the palm of our hands into the hands of Washington politicians and bureaucrats?

We shouldn’t and we won’t. 

Thus the crux of the spending debate:  The President and Democrats want to perpetuate the antiquated, “elite” driven welfare state.  Republicans know we must transcend the anile welfare state and match our “consumer driven economy” with a “citizen driven government.”  Founded upon liberty, only the complementary and mutually reinforcing economic and governmental models of free people and free markets will sustain America as the world’s leading economy and its bastion of freedom.

True, transforming Washington’s centralized and suffocating bureaucracy will require reaffirming or reorienting root assumptions about the role of government in our lives.

The American consensus rightly holds that workers, innovators and entrepreneurs have made our economy the most prosperous and equitable in human history; and, further, holds that within our economy a social safety net is both necessary and just.   This is why, from the consent of the governed, Americans support government helping those who cannot help themselves; and that, wherever possible, such assistance must be temporary and must promote a citizen’s return from governmental dependence to self-reliance.

But the President and his party purport that the American economy is Washington’s to recreate on a whim; and, further, that our political consensus must change to an entitlement mentality that demands wealth redistribution and expands governmental reliance.  This bogus consensus is as non-sustainable and unjust in the Age of Globalization as it has proven in all others.  Bluntly, you can’t lift an economy by burying it beneath big government; and you can’t empower a people by making them dependent.

While Republicans realize Washington’s immense, intrusive bureaucracy is the bane of liberty, prosperity, community and ingenuity, Republicans must show that proposed spending reductions are not, like the President seeks, simply designed to turn bloated government into big government.  The GOP must articulate that spending reductions are strides toward transforming the non-sustainable welfare state into a truly 21st Century “citizen driven government,” one that spurs economic innovation and individual empowerment. 

Because the current budget battle is about today’s debts and tomorrow’s government, the GOP must not merely seek reforms of “the budget process”; the GOP must seek the fundamental reform of the government’s purpose – specifically, the replacement of big government with self-government, something that is happening all around us every waking moment of our days.

If, however, Republicans simply parley amidst the ruins of the welfare state, a rhetorically skilled President will conflate opposing his means with opposing shared goals; paint the GOP as heartless accountants; drag the costly, decrepit carcass of the welfare state one small step further into the 21st Century and America one giant leap toward ruin.

This, then, is the true state of our union:  a nation grappling with the present, grasping for the future; and, all the while, transforming today into tomorrow.  High time their servants in Congress did the same by burying the welfare state’s crumbling remnants; nurturing a 21st Century “citizen driven government”; and ensuring the last, best hope of earth’s future  remains in the safest hands of all – yours.



Thaddeus G. McCotter is the U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 11th Congressional District and the author of Seize Freedom, which is available from ISI Books.