The Ripon Forum

Volume 44, No. 4

Fall 2010 Issue

“What Do We Do Now?”

By on October 21, 2014

“Extending tax cuts isn’t a political slogan – it’s an economic necessity to our country.”


The new majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and the addition of significant new conservative voices to the United States Senate offers our nation cause for great hope and for a true collaboration between the major parties to change Washington, and in the process, restore the greatness of America.

The results of the November 2nd election ought to be a referendum on the change that Americans want, not the policies that politicians want to pursue.

As we enter the next few days with a Lame Duck Congress in front of us and Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, and President Obama who still don’t seem to grasp that Americans rejected their policies – it’s important to not let up on the New American Revolution that began on Election Day.

Congress should begin to repeal and reform ObamaCare and find common ground for a bipartisan solution to health care in America. It should have been done. It can be done.

To be sure, we need to zero in on restoring fiscal sanity by passing a constitutional amendment to balance our budget. We need to stop the out of control spending. And, we need to live within our means.

But we also need to remember that nearly 10% of the American workforce is without a job – many of them without jobs for an inexcusable length of time. The American people are voting for fiscal sanity, but they are doing so in the belief that fiscal sanity will help lay the foundation for an explosion of job creation in America.

It’s fundamental to the belief system of conservatives that restoring fiscal sanity to our governmental budgets will help to restore confidence to investors that we’re serious about restoring our economic competitiveness. And, that, in turn, will inspire expansion of economic growth and, therefore, job creation.

But, we must also give investors the tools and incentives to make investments in America again. This doesn’t mean foregoing accountability and discipline. But, it does mean that extending tax cuts isn’t a political slogan – it’s an economic necessity for our country.

Extending tax cuts to ALL Americans, not the kind of cherry picking that we’ve heard for the past several months, is tantamount to capital flowing back in to our communities and our economy. The fact is, government doesn’t create jobs. However, government can, and should be, a catalyst to create an environment in which the private sector will create jobs. This will only happen if our agenda for change in America is limited in scope, but ambitious in its execution.

The fact is, government doesn’t create jobs. However, government can, and should be, a catalyst to create an environment in which the private sector will create jobs.

Let’s reflect on the “Hope + Confidence = Investment Agenda” that I believe must be the key take-away of this election:

Jobs. Republicans must push for smaller government, permitting the private sector entrepreneurs to create jobs. Key steps will be keeping taxes and regulations low, and reducing spending to control debt.

Budget. The budgetary outlook must frame every policy decision. But we cannot tax or grow our way out of the debt threat; we must and will cut spending. Republicans are the best positioned to do what the research shows is the best way to fix a budget mess: keep taxes low and cut spending. This approach is being pursued in the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well.

Accountability. The voters demand accountability. Republicans who ran, and won, on platforms that promised smaller government and better performance must follow through. Republicans will have the opportunity to use oversight hearings constructively and without rancor and partisan payback to demonstrate their commitment to government that works for the people.

Elections have consequences. This election can mean that Republicans are given a second chance to reclaim the mantle of fiscal responsibility and job creation and economic growth. It can offer Democrats a chance to accept that they went too far with the policies they pursued on behalf of their leadership and the President.

And, it can offer the American people a chance to believe that Hope plus Confidence will equal the investment in America that we need get our economy moving again. What drove people to the polls may have been anger, frustration, anxiety or outright exasperation.

But I also think it was hope.

Hope that our best days are yet ahead and that divided government need not be gridlocked government.

To the cynics who will continue to complain about the end result of the decision by the American people to restore balance to American government, I only offer this reminder, and a paraphrase of President George W. Bush:

The American people are the deciders. They decided. And, now, Democrats, Republicans and Independents must get back to work again.

Together, they must work to change Washington not America. And, together, they must put America back to work again.

Norm Coleman served as U.S. Senator from the State of Minnesota from 2003-2009. He currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of the American Action Network and the American Action Forum.

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