“WE HAVE TO GROW THIS ECONOMY.” McCarthy Discusses Challenges Facing Nation in Speech to The Ripon Society

Compares 2012 to 1980 and predicts next year “is going to be a fight for the heart and soul of what we want government in America to be”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (CA-22) spoke to a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society yesterday morning, delivering a speech in which he not only put the many challenges facing America into historical perspective, but stated those challenges do nothing to diminish his fundamental optimism about America’s future and its role as the leading superpower – and symbol of freedom – among other nations around the world.

“We will not get out of this problem just by cutting,” McCarthy stated, referring to one of the greatest challenges facing America – the challenge of reducing the national debt. “We have to grow this economy. If you look at this Presidential campaign, the thing that this country is so hungry for is two things — a leader that leads and a tax policy that unshackles what holds us back. We are in 1980 — more so than I have ever seen historically. Go back to 1980 and look at the factors. We had a big conflict with Iran, and we still have a big challenge with Iran. We have an energy crisis. We have oil in a high place. We have resources that we could actually capture here in America, and we are fighting but not allowed to be able to get it.”

McCarthy was elected to Congress in 2006. Selected by his colleagues to be Majority Whip at the beginning of the current Congress, he pointed to other similarities between 1980 and today, as well. “You had a question of whether the best days were behind us or in front of us. You had a challenge as to whether our foreign policy was strong or not. You had unemployment. I still remember as a young kid when you could get gasoline depended on whether your license plate ended in an odd or even number that day. You had television shows with the fear that Japan was going to pass us in our economy. Those were big challenges, were they not? One thing we had in 1980 that we don’t have now is inflation. We were also fighting communists in the Soviet Union. Today, we fight them occupying our parks.

“But what I think has transpired from 1980 to today is a battle hinging on the 2012 election. If you look back in history, you will find that we are in the third wave election. In ’08, the country did say they wanted change and they did say they wanted the government to do more. They just didn’t say how much more. In 2010, they said government has done too much and they made another change. 2012 is going to be a fight for the heart and soul of what we want government in America to be. Now, I am one who wants that fight. I think we are poised for it, and I think we have to have it.

“Maybe we don’t have a Reagan sitting out there, but I think this freshman class is pretty much Reaganesque. I also think one of these candidates needs to rise to the occasion. I think there are only two types of presidential leaders. You are either a thermometer or a thermostat. The President is a thermometer. What does a thermometer do for you? It does one thing — it tells you the temperature. Everyone in the room already knows what the temperature is, but he gets to be the leader because he’s the one who says it. He can’t change the temperature. He doesn’t have any other skill set than anyone sitting in the room, and that is all you get. He leads from behind. A thermostat is a Reagan, a Winston Churchill. It will tell you it is 100 degrees in this room, and know you are uncomfortable, but will get you to 72.”

Despite the many challenges America faces, McCarthy added that he remained inherently optimistic about the Nation’s future and its role as the leading superpower – and symbol of freedom – among other nations of the world.

“We know what our threats are,” he stated, “but have you ever stopped to look at what position we are in to accomplish and overachieve? We are the largest economy in the world. We have the greatest form of government in our Constitution, because the power rests with the people and they can change it without one shot being fired. We have the strongest military of any time. You don’t quite realize the greatness of a country until you travel to another. This summer, I took a group of around 30 freshmen to Israel, and we were meeting with Shimon Peres. He speaks very softly, but he says unbelievable things. He said, ‘You know, you come from a great nation, unlike any other in society, because you are willing to risk the ultimate sacrifice for someone else to have freedom and liberty. But what makes America great is not what it takes but what it gives.’

“You know how strong that is to hear another leader say that about your country and how they look at it? Sometimes you forget that. We do not create refugees we still accept them. We can become energy independent — we have the resources to do it. It is just whether we want to tap them. If you are wealthy and live in another country, you still want to send your children here for an education, and you still want to come here for your health care. That is a very good starting point.”

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.