Senator Bennett, I agree with much of what you have to say; however, there is
one main point on which I have to disagree with you. The proper purpose, role
and bounds of our government are already defined and outlined in the
Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Federalist Papers. There is no
need to debate the proper role of government, we already know. The problem is
that those who are in power have decided in their "wisdom" that they
know better than our founding fathers and choose to ignore the law of the land
whenever they can get away with it. And unfortunately, the states, congress,
and the people have not been vigilant in ensuring that those bounds and roles
remain unaltered. Our country's prosperity is dependent on our commitment
to living by correct principles. And now our government and society are
abandoning those principles. How do you think that's going to end? OWS and
the Tea Party are not equal. The OWS movement wants to move farther away from
those values, whereas the Tea Party wants to return to the values that made our
country great in the first place. The choice is clear.
Senator Bennett and others are to be congratulated for the time and effort they
have spent in explaining the disfunction of "ideological purity", which
in the end is rooted in the marginalization and disdain of others. However,
there will always be some who for whatever reason just do not get it.
Fortunately they are a minority. But for the tail to have wagged the dog for so
long in Utah life and politics is unfortunate.
@ Baron Scarpia 6:44 a.m. March 20, 2012"I’m afraid that
extremists on the right refuse to see that these great national achievements
were derived from government-business partnerships, where federal investments
facilitated America’s industry to do what the free market could never
achieve on its own. This is the model that built our great
nation."You mean the military-industrial complex Eisenhower
warned about? I think certain elements of the GOP don't mind the
partnership so long as its benefits them i.e. Cheney & Haliburton.
per hmataele 5:30 p.m. March 19, 2012"Its too bad that
Libertarians/ John Birch Society members manipulated the caucuses."Whoa. Whoa. Whoa! Pump those breaks. The aforementioned groups are nothing
alike. Its hard core members of the party that participate in the caucuses.per Twin Lights 10:51 p.m. March 19, 2012"So your
alternative is to look to the East India Company model?"Yeah.
Did you not pay attention during the 2nd & 3rd installments of the Pirates
of the Caribbean franchise?
And what to do when facing trillions of dollars in debt? I like Senator
Bennett's tone and open mindedness; however, there is a practical reality
to our country's finances. Specifically, we are on an unsustainable
course. We really owe trillions of dollars and repayment will slow our economy
down. It seems to me that the Senator's points are fine when
there is space to continue to borrow money to pay for both services and
incentivize business growth. But in a state of pre-austerity, these views are
far too sanguine. We need political leaders who can make hard
choices. I'm not ideologically pure, but I do see the consequences of
years of Senator Bennett's thinking and I do not like them.
First, government does nothing except tax us. WE provide the funds and the
manpower to do everything. The government is only a "facilitator". Secondly, private enterprise provides ALL revenues to the government.
The government does not tax itself. It taxes those of us who do not work for
the government. No government worker could be employed without the dollars that
non-government workers provide.Thirdly, roads inside my city are not
paid for by the federal government, nor are the roads that connect city to city,
nor are the roads that connect county to county. Only when we get to the
interstate level, does the federal government build roads. Oh sure, they have
been sticking their nose into our road building for decades, but they "give
back" less than the gasoline taxes that they take.Finally, only
those who despise the Constitution would allow the government to do anything
outside the enumerated duties that we have delegated to the federal level of
government. We, as a people, are perfectly capable of handling all other things
without the taxation and the "aid" of a huge federal government.
RagnarL4,What do you do about local roads? Tolls work for highways
but would be highly inefficient for local roads. Is there an advanced economy
that has private ownership and operation of local roads?On public
education, Jefferson said:"Now let us see what the present
primary schools cost us, on the supposition that all the children of 10, 11,
& 12 years old are, as they ought to be, at school: and, if they are not, so
much the worse is the system; for they will be untaught, and their ignorance
& vices will, in future life cost us much dearer in their consequences, than
it would have done, in their correction, by a good education."Adams said:". . . the preservation of their rights and
liberties . . . depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of
education in various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the
people, it shall be the duty of legislators and magistrates in all future
periods of this commonwealth to cherish the interests of literature and the
sciences, and all seminaries of them, especially the university at Cambridge,
public schools, and grammar schools in the towns . . . "Public
education is a building block for our economy and our republic.
It's ironic that purists on the right routinely invoke the Founding Fathers
and Ronald Reagan. Our Constitution was the result of hard-fought battles and
compromise. Reagan understood the need to compromise and work with political
opponents as well.For those who don't see a difference in the
parties, if nothing else please understand what kind of Supreme Court justices
we will get if Obama is re-elected.
RagnarL4 - I get where you are trying to go here, but again, nothing is as
simple as it sounds. "Duke" Francis Egerton inharited most of his
wealth at the time of his older brothers death. He was a visionary in looking
for economical was of getting coal off of his families estate (gift of the
crown) to southern users. The fact is that it took nearly all of his wealth to
build it, and he spent many of his years deeply in debt because of it, only to
recoup and make money off much later in his life. It was a huge
risk, and one that did eventually pay off for Egerton. But lets not forget that
this was funded and supported by one of the most oppresive industries ever. The
english coal industry at the time relied heavily of child labor. Children as
young as 10 and 12 worked in extremely dangerous conditions providing
"affordable" coal to the cities. It is a model I don't see us ever
moving back toward. The canal did provide a lot of value to cities
like Manchester, but the "costs" were hugely at the expense of the
lowest in society.
@Twin Lights,I'm not sure how you took my comments decrying
government economic interference as an endorsement upon government-backed
monopolies.The East India company is NOT an example of British
Industrialists I was thinking of. In 200 words I could not provide specifics.
But here is one: Francis Egerton, coal industrialist. He built a canal WITHOUT
government loot: the Bridgewater Canal 1761. This became an unspeakable
benefit to tens of thousands who could now afford extra comforts thanks to
cheaper coal.@UtahBlueDevilMr. Hill's Great
Northern Railroad may have benefited from some land grants, but this was not his
motive for building and he was never an advocate of such programs. Of course we
can't say for sure, but my money is on that he would have succeeded in it
regardless.Most of us have been convinced that without government
roads and schools, we'd have no transportation and couldn't read
leaving only the rich to travel or enjoy a book. This is pure rubbish. Mr.
Bennett appealed to this normal perception among us to imply "of course we
have to have taxation". Again I say, Rubbish.
What is missing in American politics? Perfectly balanced government;
Constitutional obedience; something that got Mr. Bennett into trouble and
ultimately got him removed from office. Mr. Hatch is teetering on that same
political tightrope today. You see, most people are fooled into
believing that Republicanism vs. Democracy is the same as right vs. left and
conservatism vs. liberalism. It's not. Imagine the Constitution (good law)
as a perfectly balanced scale. Now, alter that balance by allowing self serving
Republican and Democratic Constitutional law breaking to tip the scale up or
down, (left or right). No balance equals bad law. Bad law equals political
lawlessness and corruption.With no ill will toward Mr. Bennett and
Hatch, we let them get away with breaking the law because of our ignorance of
the law and lack of vigilance. We allow those we vote for to be more influenced
by anti Constitutional Washington and Wall Street power brokers. Misunderstanding of the law or refusal to learn our responsibility and police
our elected officials may be the thing that is most blatantly missing.
Fortunately I think we are becoming more informed and politically agitated. Mr.
Hatch has reason to be concerned about his electability.
The federal government has a good history of picking winners for public
investment – from Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase from France that
expanded the nation two-fold and procured the Mississippi River for commerce; to
the construction of the transcontinental railroads for transporting people and
goods across our great nation; to the G.I. Bill that resulted in massive
low-cost education to create the richest middle-class on Earth; to
Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway system that gave Americans freedom to
travel and explore our nation; to the federal government’s development of
the Internet that has resulted in Facebook and Google (… yes, it’s
true that Al Gore sponsored legislation in Congress to allow businesses to
conduct business on the government’s Internet in 1992).I’m afraid that extremists on the right refuse to see that these great
national achievements were derived from government-business partnerships, where
federal investments facilitated America’s industry to do what the free
market could never achieve on its own. This is the model that built
our great nation.
RangerL4 - you have obviously given this some deep thought, but unfortunately
nothing is a simple as it seems. For example, yes, the Great Northern Railway
was a fantastically well run operation for a very long time, but to say it
didn't benefit from public land grants is a stretch of the story. The
Minneapolis and St. John Cloud Railway, the earliest iteration of the company in
fact did have vast land grant assets which were leveraged to build the northern
trans-continental railway. It was the old accounting shell game of having a
holding company who actually didn't product much of anything fund a second
business to keep the second business' books clean. But in essence the
Great Northern did far more than most without requiring government seed
money.The idea though that you highlighted imperial england as a
model of what can be done without government intervention though is a bit
puzzling. Perhaps government as we know it didn't play a big part, but the
Crown absolutely had its hands all over these businesses you use as examples.
There are examples of some good privately driven projects, but they
are far and few between.
It's disengenuous to say the Democrats represent the party of Big
Government, while the Republicans are the party of Small Government. Whether you
spend tax payer money on aiding the 99% through social safety nets like food
stamps, Income Tax Credits or tuition assistance, or spend nearly one trillion
dollars a year on building up and maintaining the military to be able to invade
other countries at the drop of a hat, and/or dictate the morality of society
through more, intrustive goverment control over invasive procedures that, for
example, server to control a woman's right to manage her personal health
care, it's essentially the same. It's simply how tax payer money is
spent that's different. Bottom line: Big Goverment is Big Government.
@atl134 "So... I guess the gov't is pretty good at providing healthcare
for seniors."Without reform, Medicare goes belly up in about
twelve years. Yes, government solutions are that good.
RagnarL4,"Indeed early British industrialists built their own
roads and dug their own canals without a dime of government loot and to the
great benefit of many other producers."So your alternative is to
look to the East India Company model? Where imperial monopolies were granted in
exchange for the monarchs having a stake in the ventures? The history is
replete with private armies, colonization, the subjugation of local populations,
and payola to their govt. benefactors.Wouldn't that be the
worst type of crony capitalism?I simply cannot understand how such a
system would be an improvement.
3. "As a Republican, I am confident enough in the productive power of free
markets overall that I am not afraid to consider the possibility that a
government solution might work in a particular case."This makes
no sense. True and principled confidence in free markets closes the door on
seeking government solutions to market problems. To use a religious metaphor,
this would be like saying that your confidence in God overall is so great that
you don't mind dabbling in the demonic in a particular case.4.
"We should start to look at our challenges in a more practical way, and let
the ideological chips fall where they may."Since when is the
ideal impractical? Is your sense of the ideal or the moral so uncertain that
you do not also consider it practical? If the moral does not seem practical,
reexamine your moral. You may find it's not so moral.Unfortunately, democratic and republican policy does differ only in degree,
not in moral premise. And what is that moral premise, "that we are our
brother's keeper". These parties ensure we do our fair share of
keeping. The democrats a little more, the republicans a little less.
I wish to expose some flimsy points in this seemingly erudite but diaphanous
editorial. Mr. Bennett expects us to accept carte blanche several points which
he fails to support and which indeed are unsupportable.1.
"...but it couldn't have been achieved without government. The roads
over which products are shipped, the schools in which employees are
educated..." "Yes, a sound governmental structure is essential to the
process of wealth creation, so taxes must be paid to support that
structure..."No, Senator, government is NOT needed to provide
roads or education and these are not justification for pillage of the populace
(ie taxation). Indeed early British industrialists built their own roads and
dug their own canals without a dime of government loot and to the great benefit
of many other producers. Likewise, the Great Northern Railroad of the US was
built without public plunder.2. "When there is too little
government, necessary services go unprovided, mobs rule and people
flee..."No, this was not a result of too little government, but
of unprincipled government. Today our unprincipled government is bigger than
ever yet drug lords threaten our borders and Iran, the great international
mobster, threatens us with impunity. (To Be Continued)
Wouldn't it be interesting if we ran a blind ballot where party was not
referenced, and people voted on the people rather then the little letter next to
their name. It would be a fun experiment - vote for people, not party.
Its too bad that Libertarians/ John Birch Society members manipulated the
caucuses. I think if Bennett would have won as an independent he would have won.
He loved is Party more than his people. Utahns have a distaste for extremism and
negative advertisments. This was evident in the caucuses that just occured and
whenever they go negative against Matheson, he wins. Hatch will win the
nomination again, thanks to people who are tired of the negative FreedomWorks
campaign and the distaste for such politicians as Sen. Mike Lee. Its too bad we
vote along such stringent party lines. Scott Howell, who is running
for Senate on the Democratic Party ticket actually has more private sector
experience and held leadership positions in the Utah Senate. He is an honorable
man and would make an amazing Senator, but because he is not a Republican, will
@ShaunMcC"The Federal government has never been good at providing
services outside of those mandated such as defending our country militarily,
negotiating with foreign countries and regulating interstate commerce."I could've sworn tea partiers shouted out things like "get your
gov't hands off my medicare". So... I guess the gov't is pretty
good at providing healthcare for seniors.
People don't want to be confused by facts. From evolution to climate change
to healthcare, the far right simply denies the facts. GOP politicians sign the
Norquist pledge to never raise taxes for any reason. GOP candidates run on a
religious platform. Santorum apparently hews to the old-line Catholic dogma that
sex is only for reproduction and sex for pleasure is sinful, even in marriage.
The GOP campaign is about birth control, abortion, gays in military, gay
marriage. Romney mouths support for these themes. Romney disavows the very
health care plan that he proposed in 2008. None admit that we are paying the
lowest tax rates since the Truman administration.Meanwhile the major
issues are being ignored. We have huge deficits brought on first by Bush's
wars of choice, then by Obama's efforts to avert the next Great Depression.
While math is apparently not in any politician's portfolio, the math is
simple: no amount of tax cutting can overcome the deficit. We need revenue. The
simple truth is: both parties contributed to the mess. There is no simple
solution. It is time to throw out ideologies and start solving problems.
A sensible, mature, thoughtful column by a great American. Thank you so much,
Senator Bennett, for your past and continuing service to our country.
I think people have it all wrong about America's strength. It isn't
ideological purity, its a genius for compromise. The Tea Party crowd
doesn't seem to understand that. They want to have candidates for office
who are completely inflexible. How do you plan on appealing to Independent
voters who are the ones who decide elections? The only thing the Tea Party is
going to assure with their "no compromising" purity is to assure Obama
Senator Bennett,I asked you a couple of years ago in an email if you
had ever read "Economics in One Lesson" by Henry Hazlitt.At that
time you hadn't ... have you had a chance to read it since?Rothbard
Polls going back decades show that when asked if the government is too big,
Americans say yes. When asked if the government spends too much money, Americans
say yes. When given a list of everything the government does they are asked what
programs they want to cut, by large margins they want no cuts, except to foreign
aid, which is less than 1% of the budget.That is why Republicans
always run on vague promises of smaller government and lower spending. Not one
of the GOP presidential candidates have proposed much in the way of specific
cuts, because all of those cuts would be extremely unpopular.Since
Americans support everything the government does, the real question we should be
asking is how are we going to pay for it?
This is all Cheerios except for one minor inconvenience, the Constitution.
Someone please show me where in the Constitution (which is explicitly an
enumerated document) any of this gobbledygook is authorized. Dept of Education?
Dept of Energy? Wall Street Bailouts? Is this what passes for good governance
these days? The Patriot Act ignores the 4th Amendment, NDAA ignores the 5th
Amendment, just about every law passed ignores the 9th and 10th Amendments.
Fighting for purity in maintaining our freedom doesn't mean we're
afraid to put the principles undergirding it up for examination, this is a straw
man argument. Our history is a witness against pragmatism and experimentation
in governing. One need only see the progression and where it has led us to
today; where the Constitution is esteemed as "just a worthless piece of
paper".It seems to me that what former Senator Bennett is
advocating is a de facto gradual erosion of our republic in favor of a
democracy, of states' rights in favor of federal overreach, of principles
in favor of pragmatism, of the free market in favor of central planning. So
glad this guy no longer represents me.
I kept looking for the final two paragraphs, where Sen. Bennett would provide a
solid example of a current problem that government and business cooperation
would have a better chance of solving, or has solved, than either entity on its
own. I look forward to a follow up column where he gives a detailed
concrete example for us to chew on.
While I agree with a couple of Mr. Bennett's philosophical concepts, I have to
disagree with his conclusion. The Federal government has never been good at
providing services outside of those mandated such as defending our country
militarily, negotiating with foreign countries and regulating interstate
commerce. As the Tenth Amendment states, "The powers not delegated to the
United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are
reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." There is a reason
for that. Local responsibility for services is more responsive and usually less
cumbersome.The reason that many people are getting fed up with both
major parties is twofold. While Republicans give lip service to limited
government and personal freedom, their votes indicate they are still interested
in bigger government, more interference in our personal lives and more
protection of corporations than individuals. Secondly, both parties seem more
intent on gaining or retaining power than in actually solving the problems we
face and they do it by trying to destroy each other instead of putting forth
solutions. That is why I and many others can no longer support either major
This is the type of mature, rational, and American-spirited perspective that got
Mr. Bennett into trouble two years ago, when Tea Party activists cast him aside.
It was actually surprising, not to mention heartening, that this time around Mr.
Hatch was not subjected to the same treatment.
Senator Bennett,I could not agree more. Your last two paragraphs
are worth repeating."That means we are prejudging how to solve a
problem before we have enough understanding with respect to what it is. That
should stop. As a Republican, I am confident enough in the productive power of
free markets overall that I am not afraid to consider the possibility that a
government solution might work in a particular case. Refusal to review any
options other than your own is not a sign of the strength of your conviction,
it's an indication of fear that your position cannot stand up to scrutiny. The
sooner both parties learn this truth, the better.""Our
politics has become an exercise where candidates seek to secure support in their
respective parties by being "ideologically pure" in their approach to
all challenges. We should start to look at our challenges in a more practical
way, and let the ideological chips fall where they may."Though I
believe that ideology can (and perhaps should) inform our politics, it cannot be
allowed to take it over.