Making the case for limited government from Austin

Rick Perry:

Austin, Texas, and Washington are a little more than 1,500 miles apart, but the differences in governing philosophy could be measured in light years.

Both towns feature well-intentioned public servants and impressive capitol domes, but they seem to represent the polar opposites in the ongoing debate over the benefits of limited government.

In Texas, we have long based our approach on individual liberty and initiative, believing that families, entrepreneurs and individual citizens deserve the opportunity to strive and succeed -- with minimal government interference. After regular, 140-day legislative sessions every two years, Texas lawmakers go home to live under the laws they pass.

Limited time at the Capitol not only requires state leaders to focus on the essentials, it also reduces the mischief unrestrained government can do. Limiting state government in Texas has led to balanced budgets, low taxes, a predictable regulatory climate and a fair legal system.

For example, our just-concluded legislative session yielded a balanced state budget, tax relief for 40,000 small businesses, and it left $9 billion unspent for future state needs.

States that have overspent, overtaxed and overregulated have seen greater deficits, job losses and even population loss. Texas proves that fiscal discipline, lawsuit reforms and prioritizing accountable public education can create huge dividends for citizens, taxpayers, employers and government.

Washington clearly marches to a different drummer, with Congress meeting in seemingly endless session. It seems the majority view inside the Beltway is that a benevolent, all-knowing government can expand, decide and encroach without limit because individual Americans simply cannot be trusted to make right choices. I believe this mind-set is driving the explosive growth of the federal government's size, spending and intrusiveness.


Washington's current fiscal excesses and unprecedented expansion have placed the protections and powers embodied in the 10th Amendment at risk. As the federal government expands before our very eyes, those of us who value freedom are simply sounding the alarm with every means available. We cannot remain silent while the powers-that-be in Washington methodically dismantle the system that has allowed Americans to determine their own destiny, compete on their own merits and enjoy the fruits of their labors.

I sincerely hope that our nation's durable principles prevail and keep our states and local communities from becoming mere functionaries of a bloated federal government. Together, citizens across the nation - regardless of political party - can remind this administration and Congress that the Framers of the Constitution deliberately limited the powers of the federal government.

When Washington's power to tax, regulate, mandate and meddle is restrained, American families are free to enjoy the liberty upon which our nation was founded. Limited government works.

Gov. Perry has been one of the leading spokesmen for the 10th Amendment of late. It fits with his statements before the Tea Party groups, and evidently has significant appeal. I think conservatives still have to make the case on the merits against the control freak government being pushed by the Democrats and liberals.

I do think that Texas makes that case with it success, using a formula that the liberals have rejected. In fact, it is by rejecting the evils of liberalism that Texas has prospered while California and New York have gone into decline.


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