My experience in both the business world and the nonprofit sector has taught me an important lesson: Successful models that achieve desirable results are quickly replicated and failing models are abandoned. Our federal government, however, seems to ignore the data, perpetually funds failing programs and refuses to learn what really works. The big heart, small government approach of Utah is thriving and achieving the best outcomes in America. It is time to raise a powerful voice from our state to apply the same principles in our nation’s capitol and communities.
Responsible, small, functioning government
Like other fiscally conservative states, Utah's constitution requires a balanced budget. Spending that exceeds income will eventually lead to financial ruin, always and forever. While other states and D.C. build up unsustainable amounts of long-term debt or pension obligations, Utah refuses to risk its financial future. And, a low, broad-based tax policy brings in enough revenue to meet our needs. The federal government can and should apply all of these principles to ensure this great nation’s future will be brighter than its past.
An economy with opportunity for everyone
Utah's economy is flourishing, and it was recently named the top state for business by CNBC. This ranking partially explains why companies such as eBay, Amazon, Adobe, IBM, Netflix, American Express and Goldman Sachs have chosen to locate offices in Utah. Homegrown success stories such as Qualtrics, Vivint, Domo, Inside Sales and Pluralsight are garnering national attention, raising billions in capital, creating thousands of jobs and helping create a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem along the Silicon Slopes.
Most importantly, while conservative, small-government policies are often criticized as heartless and serving only those at the top, Utah is demonstrating just the opposite. Our state was recently ranked as the most upwardly mobile in the country, meaning that we do the best job of lifting individuals from poverty and dependency into middle-class work and self-reliance. I have already begun a conversation with House Speaker Paul Ryan about conservative policies that will lift not just those in Utah, but everyone in this country on a path toward work and prosperity as well.
Values hold us together
Limited government principles deserve only partial credit for Utah’s success. Our founders knew that this experiment in democracy was fragile, hinging more upon on the virtue of its people than the power of the government. John Adams expressed his anxiety from the beginning: “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Traditional values remain strong in Utah’s moral fabric. We lead in church attendance, volunteerism and charitable donations. We also produce the most two-parent households and low levels of teenage pregnancy, both which are correlated to reduced poverty. Religious values can also enlighten the nature of our politics. Utah voters, overall, were less influenced by the divisive rhetoric of the last election and its elected officials have stepped up to welcome refugee populations and pass anti-discrimination legislation. It seems the values of tolerance and kindness can, at least, reduce the volume of the racial, religious and partisan contempt of our national politics.
My priority as I run for Congress is letting Utah’s voice be heard. Our big heart, small government approach is not only working — it is achieving the best outcomes in the nation. It is time we send someone who believes in, lives by and will apply our Utah values in Washington, D.C.
Tanner Ainge is a businessman with experience in law, healthcare and non-profit leadership. He is running for Congress in Utah’s 3rd District.