I would like to thank Ken Schuster for inviting me to write a column here. It should be fun; I hope it will be interesting and informative. Let me start with the obligatory biography – which will be mercifully short.
The first time I came to Sunapee was as a kid in 1962. My father had many great friends here and we came almost every year. It was always one of my favorite places to visit. Later in life I continued to visit until I finally saved enough to buy a house in the area (Grantham). Later I bought property in Sunapee and then, in 2006 I built my house here. Today, I own and operate Georges Mills Cottages.
I have been a Navy veteran, a software guy, a small businessman, and am now an innkeeper of sorts. A few years ago I volunteered for the Budget Advisory Committee and currently serve as State Representative. I am a conservative, libertarian, Republican. My voting record has earned high marks from the House Republican Alliance and many conservative and liberty-minded organizations.
I vote for Liberty because it is the right and moral thing to do, and also because liberty and prosperity go hand in hand. Look around the world or among the 50 states: More freedom produces greater prosperity, less freedom leads to poverty.
Every year think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, Canada’s Fraser Institute, and dozens around the world publish ratings of economic freedom. Year after year, high freedom correlates to economic prosperity, improved life expectancy, less crime, a cleaner environment, and more human rights.
Do you remember when there was a West Germany and an East Germany? One was free and prosperous; the other suffered tyranny and poverty. Today, we can look at the very prosperous South Korea, which is “moderately free” and the literally starving North Korea, which is “repressed”. Some may think of China as being a great country but it is ranked “mostly unfree”. Its per capita income is only one-quarter of Taiwan, ranked “mostly free”.
One of our great statesmen noted that we “prospered as no other people on Earth” and explained that it was because “we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on Earth.” (Homework assignment: Who said that?)
Among our 50 states just as among the countries of the world, greater economic freedom leads to greater prosperity. A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reported that “states with greater economic freedom—defined as the protection of private property and private markets operating with minimal government interference—experienced greater rates of employment growth.”
In recent years, the United States has moved steadily downward in the rankings, dropping from “free” to “mostly free”. One of the reasons is a continual growth of regulations by most levels of government.
It was not regulations that made us the greatest country on earth. It was freedom – the freedom for ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers, and Steve Jobs created entire industries that provided good jobs for tens of millions of people.
Today, we have so many rules and regulations that a new business might not even get off the ground. A co-founder of Home Depot wrote that “Home Depot would never have succeeded if we’d tried to start it today. Every day you see [more] rules and regulations.” That one business employs 300,000 people. How many more hundreds of thousands of jobs are we killing by making it hard for a new business to succeed?
Free enterprise encourages creativity and productivity, and those are what cause prosperity. Less spending, lower taxes and fees, limited government, more freedom, fewer regulations. That is how to encourage businesses to create more good jobs in New Hampshire. If you want proof, just compare California and Texas. Businesses and individuals are fleeing California to escape high taxes and burdensome regulations. Texas has low taxes, and has reduced its regulatory burden. People and businesses are moving to Texas and creating more jobs than any other state in the nation.
There are two theories about how government can help the economy. One has worked every time it has been tried. That way is to reduce spending, lower taxes, lessen the regulatory burden – in short to increase freedom. The other way has never worked. That way is to increase spending, borrow money to “stimulate” the economy, increase regulations – to give more power to government, leaving less freedom for individuals. That failed in Asia, failed in Europe, failed all around the world.
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis show that states with higher spending have less growth, states with lower spending have higher growth – on average 30% higher. And as a bonus “small-government countries achieve significantly better results in reading, math and science than those in big-government countries. Life expectancy is also slightly higher in small-government countries (at 81.3 years) than in big-government countries (79.9 years).”
The Obama administration is ruining our economy with big spending, gigantic borrowing, and onerous regulations. This has never worked. They have made the problem worse. We must get the big spenders out of Washington and we must keep them out of Concord.
(Sunacom.com – http://sunacom.com/columnists/bowers/bowers-09-16-12.html)