DENVER, October 3, 2012 – The first presidential debate tonight in my home state of Colorado is focused on domestic policy. On one side, challenger Mitt Romney stands for the vision of a free market economy and limited constitutional government. On the other, Barak Obama stands for a centrally-planned economy and an all-encompassing federal government.
It is a replay of the Fight of the Century between John Maynard Keynes and Frederick Hayek. In Europe, Keynes won and the long term result has been chronic unemployment, sluggish growth, unsustainable spending and now, slow but sure implosion.
In the United States we’ve narrowly avoided the same road to serfdom as we have alternated between both visions. When Reagan employed Hayek and Austrian economics, the result was the longest sustained growth in post-World War II America.
When Obama tried a massive dose of Keynesian economics, he not only prevented recovery from the 2007-9 recession, he also erased all the job gains since 1982.
Mitt Romney must show tonight that the only possible way out of this economic mess is a free people with free markets. He must show that the American dream remains one of economic opportunity and self-determination. This is the dream that has fueled America for more than two centuries and has attracted immigrants from around the world.
It is why Europe complained of a “brain drain” in the 1960s as their best and brightest escaped the big government policies there to come here. It is why people came from all over the world to study at American universities—even, perhaps, the Kenyan Barak Hussein Obama.
On the other side, Barack Hussein Obama II will plead for more time. He will say, as Michelle Obama said yesterday, that they need more than four years to fix this horrible economy. He will invoke class warfare and envy as he points out that some have been more successful than others.
Instead of celebrating achievement, he will tell us that we need to tear down the successful in order to level the playing field. And of course he will tell us that we need government experts to find the right balance and keep it there.
The fact is that Reagan was right: government is not the solution, government is the problem.
The fact is that every recession, unaided by government intervention, rights itself in less than two years.
The fact is that if government stays in its lane and out of the way of the creativity and passion and gumption of the American people, this economy will right itself.
Mitt Romney must show us, give us permission, almost, that we can dare to dream again, that our destiny is in our own hands.
Barack Obama must convince us that we are not smart enough or capable enough to manage our own lives, that we need wise minds like his to guide us.
Barak Obama will ask us to trust him for four more years and tell us that this time it will be different. Mitt Romney must tell us that we can trust ourselves and that God, not government, will watch over America.
If Mitt is successful in this debate he will be successful in the election and we will be set back on the historic path to greatness, the shining city on a hill that is a beacon of hope to all mankind.
If Barak is successful, four years from now we will be asking ourselves what his plans are for his third term.
It really is that simple.
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