The Political Argument Today | George Will


♪♪>>WHAT A THRILLING LIFE AWAITS YOU.>>THE ACQUISITION OF KNOWLEDGE IS A SACRED ACTIVITY.>>A TRULY EDUCATED MAN NEVER CEASES TO LEARN.>>THE FUTURE IS IN YOUR HANDS, THE OUTCOME IS UP TO YOU.>>THIS BYU FORUM ADDRESS WITH GEORGE WILL WAS GIVEN ON OCTOBER 22, 2013. ♪♪>>I AM PLEASED TO WELCOME YOU HERE THIS MORNING FOR TODAY’S FORUM ASSEMBLY. MY NAME IS BRENT WEBB, AND PRESIDENT SAMUELSON HAS ASKED ME TO CONDUCT THIS FORUM. TODAY WE ARE DELIGHTED TO HEAR FROM DOCTOR GEORGE WILL, WELL-KNOWN COLUMNIST, JOURNALIST, AND PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR. HIS TALK TODAY IS ENTITLED, “THE POLITICAL ARGUMENT TODAY.” GEORGE F. WILL WHOSE COLUMN IS SYNDICATED IN NEARLY 500 NEWSPAPERS HAS THE LARGEST READERSHIP OF ANY COLUMNIST TODAY, REACHING ALMOST ONE THIRD OF AMERICAN NEWSPAPER READERS. A WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE, HE WAS A NEWS WEEK CONTRIBUTING EDITOR FOR 35 YEARS. HE ADDRESSES DIVERSE TOPICS FROM POLITICS TO BASEBALL AND APPEARS REGULARLY ON FOX NEWS DAYTIME AND PRIME TIME PROGRAMMING. HIS 13 BOOKS INCLUDE TWO ABOUT HIS PASSION FOR BASEBALL. HIS RECENT WORK “MEN AT WORK,” THE ALL-TIME BEST SELLING BOOK ON BASEBALL HAS RECENTLY BE RE-RELEASED IN A 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION. HIS NEW BOOK, “A NICE LITTLE PLACE “ON THE NORTH SIDE, RIGLEY FIELD AT 100” WILL BE RELEASED NEXT MARCH. DR. WILL WAS A MEMBER OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL’S BLUE RIBBON PANEL EXAMINING BASEBALL ECONOMICS. DR. WILL IS A GRADUATE OF TRINITY COLLEGE IN HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT, OXFORD UNIVERSITY AND PRINCETON UNIVERSITY WHERE HE RECEIVED AN M.A. AND P.H.D. IN POLITICS. PRIOR TO ENTERING JOURNALISM, DR. WILL TAUGHT POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY AT MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY, THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO AND HARVARD UNIVERSITY. WOULD YOU PLEASE JOIN ME IN GIVING A WARM WELCOME TO DR. GEORGE F. WILL. [APPLAUSE].>>THANK YOU. AS YOU CAN TELL FROM THAT INTRODUCTION, I ONLY WRITE ABOUT POLITICS TO SUPPORT MY BASEBALL HABIT. I WANT TO TALK TO YOU TODAY AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE PRIVILEGE OF ADDRESSING A GREAT UNIVERSITY AND A UNIVERSITY WHOSE GREATNESS IS ROOTED IN THE SERIOUSNESS WITH WHICH IT TAKES THE VALUES THAT MAKES OUR REPUBLIC THRIVE. I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE DANGER TO THOSE VALUES THAT I THINK IS POSED BY THE CURRENT TRENDS IN THE ENTITLEMENT STATE, BOTH THE FINANCIAL PROBLEMS OF THE STATE AND THE MORAL PROBLEMS GENERATED BY THE ACTIVITIES OF THAT STATE. YOU’VE RECENTLY SEEN A LOT OF THE TURMOIL IN WASHINGTON AND PROBABLY UNDERSTAND WHAT BILL BUCKLEY MEANT WHEN HE RAN FOR MAYOR OF NEW YORK IN 1965 AND WAS ASKED, “MR. BUCKLEY, “WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU’LL DO IF YOU’RE ELECTED?” BILL SAID, “I’LL DEMAND A RECOUNT.” I WANT TO DRAW A PICTURE OF THE MANY FORCES AT WORK TODAY. BUT I THINK JUST TO GIVE YOU SOME IDEA OF THE FORCES THAT ARE COMING IN A TIDAL WAVE, PARTICULARLY FOR THE YOUNG STUDENTS HERE TODAY. THERE’S A CHARACTER IN HEMINGWAY’S NOVEL “THE SUN ALSO RISES” IS ASKED “HOW DID YOU GO BANKRUPT?” HE SAID, “I WENT BANKRUPT IN TWO WAYS, GRADUALLY AND THEN SUDDENLY.” THE COUNTRY IS ON A TRAJECTORY TO DO THAT. TO GIVE YOU JUST SOME IDEA, IN 1916 BEFORE THE FIRST WORLD WAR WHEN FEDERAL EXPENDING EXPLODED, THE RICHEST MAN IN AMERICA, JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER COULD HAVE WRITTEN A PERSONAL CHECK FOR HIS ENTIRE NET WORTH AND RETIRED THE NATIONAL DEBT. TODAY THE RICHEST MAN IN AMERICA BILL GATES COULD WRITE A PERSONAL CHECK FOR HIS NET WORTH AND NOT PAY TWO MONTHS INTEREST ON THE NATIONAL DEBT. FOR ALL THE TALK ABOUT THE DISCORD IN WASHINGTON, WHICH IS REAL ENOUGH FOR REASONS THAT I WILL GET INTO. THE DISCORD AND THE TEMPERATURES ARE HIGH BECAUSE THE STAKES ARE HIGH. BUT FOR ALL THE ARGUMENT THAT AMERICA’S BIGGEST PROBLEM TODAY IS A CONSENSUS AS BROAD AS THE REPUBLIC AND DEEP AS THE GRAND CANYON, THE CONSENSUS IS THAT WE SHOULD HAVE A LARGE, GENEROUS, OMNIPRESENT, OMNI PROVIDENT WELFARE STATE AND NOT PAY FOR IT. EVERYONE’S AGREED ON THIS, THAT THE COST SHOULD BE FOBBED OFF ON THE FUTURE GENERATION. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SUFFER FROM A SEVER CASE OF COGNITIVE DISSONANCE, WHICH IS A FANCY WAY OF SAYING THEY HOLD IN THEIR MIND WITH EQUAL FERVOR AND SINCERITY FLATLY INCOMPATIBLE IDEAS. THEY WANT A LARGE SERVICE STATE AND LOW TAXES. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE OFTEN ARE IDEOLOGICALLY CONSERVATION BUT OPERATIONALLY LIBERAL. THEY TALK LIKE JEFFERSONIANS BUT INSIST UPON BEING GOVERNED BY HAMILTONIANS. THE PROBLEM IS WE CAN’T GO ON DOING THIS FOR SO LONG BECAUSE WE ARE PRACTICING TODAY AS A KIND OF DECADENT DEMOCRACY. WE USED TO RUN DEFICITS TO BORROW FOR THE FUTURE. WE BORROWED TO WIN WARS FOR THE FUTURE, TO BUILD ROADS, HIGHWAYS, AND AIRPORTS FOR THE FUTURE GENERATIONS. TODAY WE BORROW FROM THE FUTURE TO FINANCE OUR OWN CURRENT CONSUMPTION. THIS IS A FUNDAMENTAL IMMORALITY IF YOU WILL. BURDENING THE UNCONSENTING AND UNPRESENT FUTURE GENERATIONS WITH THE COSTS OF OUR APPETITES. THE PROBLEM IS THAT WE ARE WEAVING A NETWORK OF DEPENDENCY, MAKING AMERICANS MORE AND MORE DEPENDENT IN MORE AND MORE WAYS ON A GOVERNMENT THAT WE ARE NOT REALLY PAYING FOR. WE ARE MAKING BIG GOVERNMENT CHEAP BY GIVING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE A DOLLAR’S WORTH OF GOVERNMENT AND CHARGING THEM 65 CENTS FOR IT, AND ALL THE WHILE WE BECOME MORE AND MORE DEPENDENT. JUST CONSIDER, THE TWO LARGEST DECISIONS THAT THE AVERAGE AMERICAN PARENT MAKES, HOUSEHOLD MAKES, IS TO GET A MORTGAGE AND TO GET A TUITION LOAN TO SEND CHILDREN TO COLLEGE. THESE ARE NOW TRANSACTIONS WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. EVEN BEFORE THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT WAS PASSED, 50 CENTS OF EVERY HEALTHCARE IN THIS COUNTRY WAS A GOVERNMENT 50 CENTS. THE ENERGY SECTOR IS PERMEATED WITH GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS AND POLITICS, KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE JUST BEING AN EXAMPLE. THIS MATTERS CONSIDERING THE LEVEL OF UNDERSTANDING OF SOME OF OUR POLITICAL LEADERS. NANCY PELOSI RECENTLY SAID, “AMERICANS SHOULD “USE MORE NATURAL GAS RATHER THAN FOSSIL FUELS.” 66 PERCENT OF WHAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOES IS TRANSFER PAYMENTS, JUST SHUFFLING MONEY BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN CLIENT GROUPS. THAT MEANS TRANSFER PAYMENTS ARE TWICE AS LARGE AS EVERYTHING ELSE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOES. 49 PERCENT OF AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS ARE RECEIVING A GOVERNMENT BENEFIT. 34 PERCENT OF AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS ARE RECEIVING A MEANS TESTED BENEFITS, FOOD STAMPS IS JUST AN EXAMPLE. 48 MILLION AMERICANS RECEIVING FOOD STAMPS. THAT’S MORE AMERICANS THAT LIVE IN WASHINGTON, OREGON AND CALIFORNIA ON OUR WEST COAST. THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS PUTTING IN FRONT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AN INCREASINGLY RICH MENU OF TEMPTATIONS. DESTIGMATIZING DEPENDENCE ON THE STATE IN AN ATTEMPT TO CHANGE FOR SOCIAL NORMS AND THEN OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER. THIS CANNOT GO ON FOREVER AND ALL THE WHILE WE SEEM TO BE DOING THINGS LESS AND LESS COMPETENTLY IN THIS COUNTRY. WE BUILT THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING IN 410 DAYS DURING THE DEPRESSION. WE BUILT THE PENTAGON IN 16 MONTHS DURING WAR. WE WERE RECENTLY TOLD THAT WHEN THE NEW SHIPS COME THROUGH THE WIDENED PANAMA CANAL AND CAN’T GET INTO THE PORT OF CHARLESTON FOR EXAMPLE UNTIL IT’S DREDGED TO 50 FEET, WE CAN DO THAT BY 2024. TEN YEARS TO DREDGE A HARBOR. THIS IS A WAY OF BEHAVING THAT WE CANNOT CONTINUE. WE’VE BEEN GETTING AWAY WITH IT FOR YEARS. SO FAR SO GOOD WE KEEP SAYING BECAUSE AMERICA HAS LOTS OF CUSHION OF WEALTH AND OPPORTUNITY. IT REMINDS ME, WELL EVERYTHING DOES IF YOU’LL FORGIVE ME, OF A BASEBALL STORY. TRUE STORY, 1951 WARREN SPAWN IS ON HIS WAY TO BECOME THE WINNINGEST LEFT-HANDED PITCHER IN THE HISTORY OF BASEBALL. HE PITCHING FOR THE THEN BOSTON BRAVES AGAINST THE THEN NEW YORK GIANTS ON THE THEN POLO GROUNDS. GIANTS SEND UP A KID WHOSE ROOKIE WAS 0 FOR 12, KID CALLED WILLIE MAZE. SPAWN STOOD ON A MOUNT 60 FEET, SIX INCHES FROM HOME PLATE, THREW THE BALL AND MAZE CRUSHED IT, FIRST HIT, FIRST HOME RUNS. AFTER THE GAME THE SPORTS WRITERS WENT TO THE CLUBHOUSE AND SAID, “SPAWN WHAT HAPPENED?” SPAWN SAID, “GENTLEMAN, “FOR THE FIRST 60 FEET THAT WAS A HECK OF A PITCH.” IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH IN BASEBALL, IT’S NOT GOOD IN GOVERNANCE EITHER. WE ARE REACHING IN THIS COUNTRY A TIPPING POINT AT WHICH A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS ARE RELATED TO THE GOVERNMENT EITHER AS THE GOVERNMENT’S EMPLOYEES OR THE GOVERNMENT’S CLIENTS. WE ARE SETTING OURSELVES UP FOR A DEATH SPIRAL OF THE WELFARE STATE AS THE WELFARE STATE’S WEIGHT BECOMES SO HEAVY THAT IT SUFFOCATES THE ENERGY OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR WHICH ALONE BY ITS PRODUCTIVITY CAN THROW OFF THE REVENUES TO PAY THE BILLS. THE RESPONSE OF THE POLITICAL CLASS IS TO INCREASE TAXES WHICH DEEPENS THE WEIGHT WHICH INCREASES THE SUFFOCATION OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR. WE ARE TODAY THEREFORE IN THE MOST PREDICTABLE CRISIS IN OUR NATION’S HISTORY. PREDICTABLE BECAUSE IT’S ENTIRELY DEMOGRAPHICALLY DRIVEN. WE HAVE AN AGING POPULATION ON A WELFARE STATE THAT EXISTS TO SUBSIDIZE THE ELDERLY IN THE FORM OF PENCHANTS AND MEDICAL CARE. CAN I SEE A SHOW OF HANDS, HOW MANY PEOPLE HERE DRIVE A 1935 CAR? I DIDN’T THINK SO. ANYBODY HERE WATCH A 1935 TELEVISION? THAT’S RIGHT, WE DIDN’T HAVE TELEVISION BACK THEN. WELL HOW MANY OF YOU USE A 1965 CELL PHONE OR PERSONAL COMPUTER? SAME ANSWER, WE DIDN’T HAVE THEM. YET THE WELFARE STATE IS BUILT AROUND SOCIAL SECURITY ENACTED AND ESSENTIALLY UNCHANGED SINCE 1935 AND MEDICARE ENACTED IN 1965, UNCHANGED SINCE THEN, ALTHOUGH THE WORLD HAS CHANGED STUPENDOUSLY. THE WELFARE STATE WE HAVE TODAY EXISTS TO SUBSIDIZE TWO THINGS THAT DID NOT EXIST IN 1935 WHEN WITH THE ENACTMENT OF SOCIAL SECURITY WE BEGAN TO BUILD A WELFARE STATE. THE TWO THINGS THAT DIDN’T EXIST ARE PROTRACTED RETIREMENT AND COMPETENT MEDICINE. TAKE RETIREMENT FIRST BECAUSE SOCIAL SECURITY IS THE SMALL AND SIMPLE PROBLEM. WE HAVE TO GO BACK AND LEARN THE LESSON OF IDUME FULLER OF LUDLOW, VERMONT. IDUME IN 1940, WHO BY THE WAY HAD BEEN A HIGH SCHOOL CLASSMATE OF CALVIN COOLIDGE, THE LAST PRESIDENT WITH WHOM I FULLY AGREED, IDUME IN 1940 BECOMES THE FIRST AMERICAN TO RECEIVE A REGULAR MONTHLY SOCIAL SECURITY CHECK. SHE’D PAID PRECISELY 22 DOLLARS IN SOCIAL SECURITY TAXES. THEN IN AN ACT OF VERY RECKLESS CITIZENSHIP, SHE TURNED ON HER COUNTRY AND LIVED TO BE 100. COLLECTING IN THE PROCESS 24,000 DOLLARS IN SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS. DIDN’T MATTER BECAUSE BACK THEN THERE WERE 42 WORKERS FOR EVERY RETIREE. TODAY THERE ARE THREE WORKERS FOR EVERY RETIREE. BY THE TIME THE BABY BOOMERS HAVE ALL RETIRED IN 2030, THERE WILL BE TWO WORKERS FOR EVERY RETIREE AND THERE WILL ONLY BE THAT MANY IF WE CONTINUE TO HAVE SOMETHING WE CAN NO LONGER ASSUME, A HIGH LEVEL OF IMMIGRATION TO REPLENISH THE WORK FORCE. NOW, BY 2030 WHEN ALL THE BABY BOOMERS HAVE RETIRED, THE AVERAGE AGE OF THE AMERICAN POPULATION COAST TO COAST WILL BE HIGHER THAN IT IS IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA. THE CENSUS BUREAU DOESN’T JUST KEEP TRACK OF THE ELDERLY, IT KEEPS TRACK OF A GROUP IT CALLS THE VERY OLD. THOSE ARE AMERICANS 85 YEARS OLD OR OLDER. IN PERCENTAGE TERMS, THAT IS THE FASTING GROWING AGE COHORT IN THE COUNTRY. BY THE YEAR 2050, THE LIVES OF OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN, THE VERY OLD WILL BE MORE NUMEROUS THAN THE COMBINED POPULATIONS OF NEW YORK, CHICAGO AND LOS ANGELES. THAT MATTERS BECAUSE THE AVERAGE HEALTH CARE COSTS FOR AN 85-YEAR OLD ARE FIVE TIMES HIGHER THAN THE COST FOR A 55-YEAR OLD. NOW FIXING SOCIAL SECURITY IS EASY. WE FACE UP TO THE FACT THAT IN THE 20TH CENTURY, THE AVERAGE LENGTH OF RETIREMENT EXPANDED FROM TWO YEARS TO 20 YEARS. 1935 RETIREMENT WAS A LUXURY UNKNOWN TO 99 PERCENT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THEY WORKED UNTIL THEY DROPPED. BUT IT’S SIMPLE, IF THEY HAD INDEXED THE RETIREMENT AGE TO LIFE EXPECTANCY IN 1935 THE RETIREMENT AGE IN AMERICA TODAY WOULD BE 74, WE’D HAVE NO SOCIAL SECURITY CRISIS. SIMPLE TO FIX SOCIAL SECURITY. THE PROBLEM IS NOT ONLY WAS PROTRACTED RETIREMENT UNKNOWN, BUT EVEN IN 1965 COMPETENT MEDICINE WAS A RELATIVELY NEW PHENOMENON. 1924, THE SAINTED COOLIDGE LIVING IN THE WHITE HOUSE WITH ACCESS TO THE BEST MEDICINE THE COUNTRY HAD TO OFFER, HIS 16-YEAR OLD SON PLAYED TENNIS WITHOUT SOCKS. HE GOT A BLISTER, IT GOT INFECTED AND HE DIED. THERE WAS VERY LITTLE MEDICINE COULD DO UNTIL ABOUT THE TIME I WAS BORN. I WAS BORN IN 1941 IN CHAMPAGNE, ILLINOIS A UNIVERSITY TOWN WITH FINE HOSPITALS. BUT I WAS BORN, I GUARANTEE YOU BECAUSE IT WAS TRUE OF ALMOST ALL HOSPITALS BACK THEN, IN A HOSPITAL IN WHICH THE PRINCIPLE EXPENSE WAS CLEAN LINEN. THIS WAS BEFORE MRI’S, CAT SCANS AND ELECTRON MICROSCOPES, LASER SURGERY AND ALL THE REST OF THE DIAGNOSTIC, THERAPEUTIC, PHARMACOLOGICAL, LIFE-EXTENDING, PAIN-REDUCING ARSENAL WE’RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE AND RELUCTANT TO PAY FOR. ABOUT THE TIME I WAS BORN, PENICILLIN CAME ALONG, THE SULFA DRUGS ANTIBIOTICS HAPPILY JUST IN TIME FOR THE SECOND WORLD WAR, BUT 50 YEARS AGO TODAY JACK KENNEDY IS PRESIDENT UNFORTUNATELY FOR ONLY 31 MORE DAYS. JACK KENNEDY IS PRESIDENT WE’RE SPENDING 6 PERCENT OF GDP ON HEALTHCARE. TODAY WE’RE SPENDING 18 PERCENT, AND IT’S RISING INEXORABLY AS THE COMPETENCE OF MEDICINE INCREASES. NOW I CAN TALK ALL DAY TO YOU ABOUT THE THOUSANDS AND MILLIONS AND BILLIONS. THE BIGGEST NUMBER YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND TO UNDERSTAND THE HEALTHCARE CRISIS IS 12 CENTS. 12 CENTS IS THE PORTION OF EVERY HEALTHCARE DOLLAR PAID BY THE PERSON RECEIVING THE HEALTHCARE. THE REST IS PAID EITHER BY THE GOVERNMENT OR EMPLOYER-PROVIDED HEALTH INSURANCE, SOMEONE ELSE. AMERICANS DON’T FEEL THEY HAVE VERY MUCH SKIN IN THE GAME. THE INTERESTING THING IS JOHN MCCAIN IN 2008 AND GOT IT RIGHT, AND I SAY THAT’S INTERESTING BECAUSE JOHN IS NOT INTERESTED IN DOMESTIC POLICY. IF IT DOESN’T FLY OR EXPLODE HE DOESN’T CARE. MCCAIN SAID LOOK, SEE MCCAIN UNDERSTANDS THE BASIC RULE OF LIFE WHICH IS NO ONE WASHES A RENTAL CAR. YOU TAKE CARE OF WHAT YOU OWN, THEREFORE TO GIVE PEOPLE OWNERSHIP OF THEIR HEALTHCARE DOLLARS. TAX ALL-EMPLOYER PROVIDED HEALTH INSURANCE, AS WHAT IT MANIFESTLY IS COMPENSATION, BUT GIVE PEOPLE LARGE TAX CREDITS TO GO INTO THE PRIVATE MARKET AND SHOP FOR HEALTHCARE. AND LET THEM SHOP ACROSS STATE LINES. YOU TURN YOUR TELEVISION SET ON ANY NIGHT YOU SEE AN AD FOR PROGRESSIVE AUTO INSURANCE COMPETING WITH GEICO COMPETING WITH STATE FARM COMPETING WITH ALL STATE. YOU DON’T SEE THAT FOR HEALTHCARE BECAUSE WE’RE NOT ALLOWED THE SHOPPER HEALTHCARE ACROSS STATE LINES WHICH IS SO DUMB EVEN A CAVE MAN CAN UNDERSTAND IT. DO YOU KNOW HOW WE GOT EMPLOYER-PROVIDED HEALTHCARE ON A LARGE SCALE? IT WAS THE SECOND WORLD WAR. AS WE’RE GEARING UP TO BE THE ARSENAL DEMOCRACY, THERE’S A HUGE LABOR SHORTAGE, SO CONGRESS PASSES WAGE CONTROLS SO BUSINESSES COULDN’T COMPETE FOR SCARCE LABOR BY RAISING WAGES. BUSINESSES SAID HA, WE’LL GET AROUND CONGRESS BY OFFERING HEALTHCARE AS UNTAXED COMPENSATION. 1943 THE IRS FINALLY WON’T TAX IT. FOUGHT EXPERIMENT. SUPPOSE BUSINESSES IN 1942 AND 1943 SAID WE’RE NOT GOING TO BUY OUR EMPLOYEES HEALTHCARE, WE’RE GOING TO BUY THEIR GROCERIES. WHAT DO YOU THINK A GROCERY STORE WOULD LOOK LIKE TODAY? I DON’T THINK THERE’D BE ANY PRICES. THE REASON I THINK THAT IS THIS. I WANT A SHOW OF HANDS HERE. PARTICULARLY THE NON-STUDENTS. WHEN YOU GO TO A DOCTOR, AND HE OR SHE SAID I’LL GIVE YOU THE FOLLOWING TEST, HOW MANY OF YOU ASK HOW MUCH IS THAT GOING TO COST? ABOUT THREE LIARS UP THERE. THERE’S NO POINT IN ASKING, THE DOCTOR DOESN’T KNOW. WE DON’T HAVE A PRICE SYSTEM THAT WORKS IN THIS. THESE ARE WHAT WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO COME TO TERMS WITH IF WE’RE GOING TO BEGIN TO REIGN IN THE COST OF HEALTHCARE. I’M NOT ATTACKING THE ELDERLY, I AM ELDERLY. SEVEN YEARS AGO I TURNED 65 AND THE GOVERNMENT SENT ME THIS LOVELY MEDICARE CARD. I SHOWED IT TO MY DOCTOR, HE SAID “THAT’S WONDERFUL GEORGE. “NOW WE’LL SEND YOUR BILLS TO YOUR CHILDREN.” WELL THAT’S THE LOGIC OF THE WELFARE STATE. THE QUESTION IS WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO TO BRING OUR APPETITES INTO LINE WITH OUR REVENUES SO THAT WE DON’T CONTINUE THE DECADENCE OF A DEMOCRACY THAT BORROWS NOT FOR THE FUTURE BUT FROM THE FUTURE. THE ANSWER IS WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A HUGE ARGUMENT EITHER ABOUT OUR APPETITES OR RESTRAINING OUR TAXES. WE CAN DODGE OUR RESPONSIBILITIES. WE CANNOT DODGE THE CONSEQUENCES OF DODGING OUR RESPONSIBILITIES. THAT IS WHY I THINK I HAVE A MODEST PROPOSAL. EVERY TIME AN AMERICAN IS HANDED A BALLOT, HE OR SHE SHOULD FIND STAPLED TO THAT BALLOT A GRAPH, AND THE GRAPH WOULD HAVE INTERSECTING LINES ON IT. THE RISING LINE WOULD SHOW MORE AND MORE AMERICANS DEPENDENT FOR MORE AND MORE THINGS ON THE GOVERNMENT. THE DECLINING LINE WOULD SHOW DECLINING PARTICIPATING IN THE INCOME TAX. YOU MAY KNOW THE BASIC NUMBERS. TOP ONE PERCENT OF AMERICAN EARNERS PAY 37 PERCENT OF THE INCOME TAX. TOP FIVE PERCENT PAY 60 PERCENT. THE TOP TEN PERCENT PAY 70 PERCENT OF THE INCOME TAX. THE BOTTOM 50 PERCENT OF AMERICAN EARNERS PAY THREE PERCENT OF THE INCOME TAX. 60 PERCENT OF AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS EITHER PAY NO INCOME TAX (THAT’S 47 PERCENT) OR LESS THAN FIVE PERCENT OF THEIR INCOME IN TAXES. THAT MEANS WE HAVE A LARGE AMERICAN MAJORITY TODAY FOR WHOM THERE IS NO INCENTIVE TO RESTRAIN THE GROWTH OF A GOVERNMENT THEY’RE NOT PAYING FOR. THIS IS WHAT ECONOMISTS CALL A SITUATIONAL MORAL HAZARD, A SITUATION IN WHICH THE INCENTIVES ARE FOR PERVERSE BEHAVIOR. NOW WE ARE UP AGAINST THE TRUTH THAT MARGARET THATCHER SAID ABOUT THE WELFARE STATE. “SOONER OR LATER YOU RUN OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY.” THIS IS WHY WE’RE ABOUT TO LEARN THE TRUTH OF WHAT RODGERS SAID WHEN HE SAID, “THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “DEATH AND TAXES IS THAT “DEATH DOESN’T GET WORSE EVERY TIME CONGRESS MEETS.” “IT WOULD BE LOVELY, ” SAID MITCH DANIELS, FORMER GOVERNOR OF INDIANA, “WOULDN’T IT BE NICE TO “HAVE A TAX CODE THAT “LOOKS AS THOUGH SOMEONE DESIGNED IT ON PURPOSE?” SINCE THE TAX SIMPLIFICATION REGAN GOT THROUGH IN 1986 THE TAX CODE HAS BEEN RECOMPLICATED MORE THAN 4500 TIMES. THAT’S MORE THAN ONCE A DAY, SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, YEAR AFTER YEAR. IT IS SO COMPLICATED NOW THAT AMERICANS SPEND SEVEN BILLION HOURS A YEAR ON COMPLIANCE WITH THIS MONSTROUSLY COMPLICATED CODE. IF ALL THE PEOPLE ENGAGED IN TAX COMPLIANCE WERE TREATED AS ONE INDUSTRY, THAT INDUSTRY WOULD EMPLOY MORE PEOPLE THAN OUR FIVE LARGEST PRIVATE SECTOR EMPLOYERS COMBINED. WALMART, CITY CORP, IBM, MCDONALDS AND UPS. THIS IS A SCANDALOUS WASTE OF AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE AND INGENUITY. NOW WE SEEM TO HAVE THE IDEA IN THIS COUNTRY THAT WE CAN TAX WITH INCREASING SEVERITY THE MOST PRODUCTIVE MINORITY OF AMERICANS AND STILL HAVE RAPID ECONOMIC GROWTH. I DON’T THINK SO. CLEARLY, IT IS TIME TO HAVE A SERIOUS ARGUMENT ABOUT TAXES. WHY, FOR EXAMPLE, THE PRESIDENT SAYS WE SHOULD LOWER THE CORPORATE TAX RATE, WHICH BY THE WAY IS 35 PERCENT, THE HIGHEST IN THE WORLD. YOU WONDER WHY AMERICAN CORPORATIONS WITH TWO TRILLION DOLLARS IN PROFITS OVERSEAS? BECAUSE THIS IS THE WORST PLACE IN THE WORLD TO MAKE A CORPORATE PROFIT. PRESIDENT SAYS “LOWER IT TO 25 PERCENT.” IT’S A GOOD IDEA, BUT THE PROPER RATE FOR CORPORATE TAXATION IS ZERO BECAUSE CORPORATIONS DO NOT PAY TAXES, THEY COLLECT TAXES, THEY PASS THEM ON AS A COST OF DOING BUSINESS. CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN TO ME WHY DEATH IS A TAXABLE EVENT IN THIS COUNTRY? I DON’T GET IT. IN 1980 THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES WON THE WORLD SERIES. AFTER GAME SEVEN, SPORTS WRITERS WENT INTO THE CLUBHOUSE TO INTERVIEW THE PHILLIES MADCAP RELIEF PICTURE TUG MCGRAW. THEY SAID “TUG, WHAT ARE YOU “GOING TO DO WITH YOUR WORLD SERIES WINNINGS?” HE SAYS, “I’M GOING TO GO TO LAS “VEGAS AND BLOW 80 “PERCENT OF IT THERE, “AND I’LL PROBABLY WASTE THE REST.” IT GETS YOU TO THINKING, YOU WORK HARD IN AMERICA, YOU READ 65, MAKE A LOT OF MONEY, WANT TO GO TO LAS VEGAS AND BLOW IT ALL. GO AHEAD, IT’S A FREE COUNTRY. TRY AND GIVE IT TO YOUR CHILDREN, THE GOVERNMENT STEPS IN. THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE. OUR TAX CODE INCREASINGLY LOOKS LIKE CODIFIED ENVY. AND ENVY IS STRICTLY SPEAKING UNAMERICAN. WE ARE NOT TRADITIONALLY AN ENVIOUS PEOPLE, WE’RE AN ASPIRATIONAL PEOPLE. THAT’S WHY WE’RE THE ONLY DEVELOPED INDUSTRIAL COUNTRY IN THE WORLD THAT HAS NEVER HAD A LARGE SUCCESSFUL REDISTRIBUTIONAL SOCIALIST PARTY. MARK TWAIN COULD BE A GREAT SCOURGE OF THE RICH, HE GAVE THE NAME TO THE GILDED AGE, IT WAS THE TITLE OF ONE OF HIS LESS SUCCESSFUL NOVELS. BUT ON OF HIS BEST FRIENDS WAS A HUGELY SUCCESSFUL EXECUTIVE WITH STANDARD OIL, THE GREAT SATAN OF ITS DAY. AND A JOURNALIST WENT UP TO TWAIN AND SAID, “MR. TWAIN, “DON’T YOU THINK YOUR FRIEND’S WEALTH IS TAINTED?” MARK TWAIN SAID, “YOU’RE DARN RIGHT, “IT’S DOUBLY TAINTED. “IT TAINT YOURS AND IT TAINT MINE.” A LOT OF THE ARGUMENT ABOUT TAXATION IS TANGLED UP IN THE ARGUMENT ABOUT INCREASING INCOME INEQUALITY IN OUR COUNTRY WHICH IS REAL. BUT LET’S LOOK AT THIS FOR A MINUTE. THERE’S A REASON, A GOOD REASON WHY INCOME INEQUALITY IS RISING. 200 YEARS AGO THE GREAT SOURCE OF WEALTH IN AMERICA WAS LAND. WE HAD SO MUCH OF IT WE PRACTICALLY GAVE IT AWAY. 100 YEARS AGO THE GREAT SOURCE OF WEALTH WAS FIXED CAPITAL, THINK OF ANDREW CARNEGIE’S “STEEL MILL” OR CORNELIUS VANDERBILT’S NEW YORK CENTRAL RAILROAD. TODAY THE GREAT SOURCE OF WEALTH IS WHAT YOU’RE GETTING HERE AT BYU. EDUCATION, MIND, INFORMATION, WHAT WE CALL HUMAN CAPITAL. AND THERE ARE LIMITS TO HOW MUCH EVEN UNIVERSAL, FREE PUBLIC EDUCATION CAN DO TO EQUALIZE THE ABILITY OF INDIVIDUALS TO ADD VALUE TO THE ECONOMY. WHAT THE WIDENING INEQUALITY OF INCOME IS THE MARKET RECORDING A RADICALLY INCREASED RETURN ON EDUCATION. THE MARKET IS SAYING AT THE TOP OF ITS LUNGS, STAY IN SCHOOL. FURTHERMORE, WHEN WE TALK ABOUT INCOME INEQUALITY, IT’S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND HOW THERE ARE ASPECTS OF MODERN LIFE THAT ARE PROFOUNDLY EGALITARIAN. EVERYONE IN THIS ROOM HAS JUST AS GOOD AS CELL PHONE AS WARREN BUFFET HAS. IN FACT, I RECENTLY SAW WARREN’S CELL PHONE AND YOURS IS BETTER. EVERYONE IN THIS AUDIENCE HAS THE SAME ACCESS THAT BILL GATES HAS TO ANTIBIOTICS AND THE INTERNET. GREAT BLESSINGS OF MODERN LIFE ARE EQUALLY SHARED. AND THERE’S ANOTHER PROBLEM WITH EDUCATION. THE FACT IS, WE KNOW WHAT THE PROBLEM IS BUT NO ONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT IT. 1983, RONALD REGAN CONVENES A CONFERENCE ON THE INADEQUACIES OF EDUCATION GRADES K-12 CALLED “A NATION AT RISK.” THE REPORT CONTAINED A VERY MEMORABLE SENTENCE. HE SAID, “IF A FOREIGN POWER TRIED “TO IMPOSE UPON US THE “EDUCATIONAL MEDIOCRITY WE’VE “IMPOSED UPON OURSELVES, “WE’D CONSIDER IT AN ACT OF WAR.” WELL NOTHING HAPPENED. SO IN 1996, CONGRESS PASSED THE GRANDLY NAMED “GOALS 2000.” CONGRESS DECREED TO THE FUTURE THAT BY 2000, THAT WOULD BE SIX YEARS, WE WOULD BE NUMBER ONE IN THE WORLD IN MATH AND SCIENCE, WE’D HAVE A HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATE OF 90 PERCENT. IT’S STILL ABOUT 78 PERCENT AND WE’RE NOWHERE CLOSE TO FIRST. SO IN 2001 THEY PASSED “NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND, ” SAYING BY 2014 FOR THOSE OF YOU KEEPING SCORE, THAT’S TWO AND A HALF MONTHS, BY 2014 WE WOULD HAVE 100 PERCENT PROFICIENCY, WE DIDN’T MESS AROUND WITH NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND, 100 PERCENT PROFICIENCY IN MATH AND READING. THE SCARY THING IS WE MIGHT BECAUSE THE STATE’S WILL SO DUMB DOWN THEIR STANDARDS OF PROFICIENCY BECAUSE THEY HAVE AN INCENTIVE TO DO SO TO GET FEDERAL FUNDING. WE KNOW WHAT THE REAL PROBLEM IS. ALMOST 50 YEARS AGO IN MARCH 1965 THE MAN WHO BECAME MY BEST FRIEND, PATENT HAMILTON A YOUNG SOCIAL SCIENTIST IN LINDON’S DEPARTMENT OF LABOR PUBLISHED A REPORT ON THE CRISIS OF THE NEGRO FAMILY. HE SAID, “THERE’S A CRISIS BECAUSE 23.6 “PERCENT OF AFRICAN AMERICANS ARE BORN OUT OF WEDLOCK.” TODAY, THE FIGURE FOR ALL AMERICANS, ALL RACES AND ETHNICITIES, 34 PERCENT. ONE IN THREE AMERICAN CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCK. 72 PERCENT OF AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILDREN, 54 PERCENT OF HISPANIC CHILDREN. WE KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS. THIS MEANS A CONSTANTLY RENEWED COHORT OF SOMEWHAT TENUOUSLY PARENTED ADOLESCENT MALES AMONG OTHER THINGS. AND WE KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS, DISORDERLY CITIES, SCHOOLS THAT CAN’T TEACH. NO ONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT THIS BECAUSE WE DON’T KNOW WHAT CAUSED IT AND WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO CURE IT. BUT THESE ARE SOME OF THE PROBLEMS THAT DRIVE INEQUALITY AND CAN’T BE CURED BY THE GOVERNMENT REDISTRIBUTING INCOME WILLY-NILLY. NOW THESE ARE ALL SOME OF THE PROBLEMS THAT ACCOUNT FOR THE INTENSITY OF OUR POLITICS TODAY IN WASHINGTON, BUT THAT’S NOT ALL. WE’RE HAVING AN ARGUMENT ABOUT BASIC POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY. HOW SHOULD THE CITIZEN BE RELATED TO THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT. WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT’S ACTUAL COMPETENCE. IS THE GOVERNMENT THE LOCUS OF CREATIVITY IN OUR SOCIETY OR IS IT THE SPONTANEOUS ORDER OF A MARKET SOCIETY. TED KENNEDY ONCE SAID ALL CHANGE IN AMERICA BEGINS AT THE BALLOT BOX, THE CLEAR STATEMENT OF THE PROGRESSIVE YOU THAT GOVERNMENT IS THE ORGANIZER AND CREATOR OF WEALTH AND OPPORTUNITY. THAT WHEN THE PRESIDENT SAID DURING THE 2012 CAMPAIGN, IF YOU HAVE A BUSINESS, YOU DIDN’T BUILD THAT. THAT’S WHAT HE MEANT. SOCIETY AND GOVERNMENT GET A SHARE OF THE CREDIT. JOE BIDEN, THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING, DIDN’T YOU LOVE IT IN SEPTEMBER 2008 WHEN LAMAN BROTHERS MELTED DOWN, JOE BIDEN SAID “WELL IN 1929 WHEN THE “STOCK MARKET COLLAPSED, “PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT WENT ON TELEVISION…” THAT’S JUST JOE BEING JOE. BUT ANYWAY, BIDEN RECENTLY SAID, “EVERY IMPORTANT IDEA OF “THE LAST TWO CENTURIES “HAS DEPENDED ON GOVERNMENT VISION AND INCENTIVE.” I THINK THAT VIEW AND TED KENNEDY’S VIEW BEGINS AT THE BALLOT BOXES AND IS REFUTED BY EVERY PAGE OF AMERICAN HISTORY. IN THE 1790S, A YOUNG YALE GRADUATE WENT SOUTH TO GEORGIA TO BE A TUTOR ON A PLANTATION. HE GOT INTERESTED IN LISTENING TO THE PLANTERS COMPLAINING ALL THE TIME ABOUT THE PROBLEM OF SEPARATING COTTONSEEDS FROM COTTON FIBER. SO THIS YOUNG MAN NAMED ELI WHITNEY INVENTED THE COTTON GIN, WHICH MADE THE PLANTATION SYSTEM PROSPER, LED TO THE SPREAD OF SLAVERY, BROUGHT ON THE CIVIL WAR AND THE MODERN WORLD, RATHER A LOT OF CHANGE. AND IT DIDN’T BEGIN AT THE BALLOT BOX, IT BEGAN AS A SPARK OF GENIUS IN ONE ENTREPRENEURIAL YOUNG MAN. IN THE 1830S IN CENTRAL ILLINOIS WHERE MEN ARE MEN AND I AM FROM, IN THE TOWN OF GRAND DETOUR, ILLINOIS, I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP, A YOUNG BLACKSMITH GOT INTERESTED IN DEVISING A SELF-SCOURING STEEL PLOW THAT COULD TURN THE HEAVY BLACK TOPSOIL OF THE MIDWEST. HE DID AND HIS NAME IS ON BIG GREEN MACHINES ALL OVER THE WORLD TODAY, HIS NAME WAS JOHN DEERE, DIDN’T BEGIN AT THE BALLOT BOX. WHEN ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL’S VOICE CAME DOWN THAT WIRE, SAYING “WATSON COME HERE, I WANT YOU.” WHEN RAY CROCK DROVE INTO THE MCDONALD’S BROTHERS RESTAURANT IN SAN BERNADINO, CALIFORNIA AND GOT AN IDEA THAT BECAME NOT JUST A GREAT COMPANY BUT A WHOLE INDUSTRY, DIDN’T BEGIN AT THE BALLOT BOX. THIS IS AN ARGUMENT WORTH HAVING, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. WHERE IS THE CREATIVE ENERGY OF OUR SOCIETY? HOW BIG SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT BE? LET ME TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE GOVERNMENT GETS IT WRONG. I WANT YOU TO COME BACK WITH ME TO A CRIME SCENE. THE CRIME OCCURRED IN APRIL 1934 AT 138 GRIFFITH STREET IN JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY. I RECENTLY VISITED THIS JUST OUT OF HISTORICAL CURIOSITY. THE NEIGHBORHOOD TODAY AS THEN IS A NEIGHBORHOOD OF IMMIGRANTS. TODAY THEY’RE FROM LATIN AMERICA AND ASIA. THEN THEY WERE FROM EASTERN EUROPE. 138 GRIFFITH STREET TODAY IS A BARBER SHOP. THEN IT WAS A MAN’S TAILORING AND PRESSING SHOP OWNED BY JOSEPH MAGGOD, 49-YEAR OLD IMMIGRANT FROM POLAND, A FATHER OF TWO DAUGHTERS. THE CRIME HE COMMITTED WAS HE PUT IN HIS SHOP WINDOW A SIGN THAT HE SAID WOULD PRESS A MAN’S SUIT FOR 35 CENTS. NOW HOW, YOU MAY WONDER, DID THIS BECOME A CRIME IN THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE? I’LL TELL YOU. THIS WAS THE SECOND YEAR OF THE NEW DEAL. THE NEW DEAL WAS TERRIBLY SMART, THEY KNEW EVERYTHING. WE ALWAYS DO IN WASHINGTON BUT THEY REALLY DID, THEY HAD A BRAIN’S TRUST, IF THEY DID SAY SO THEMSELVES, AND THEY DID SO OBNOXIOUSLY AND INCESSANTLY. THEY HAD A THEORY IN THE NEW DEAL WHICH WAS IN A DEPRESSION, PRICES GO DOWN, THEREFORE, HOWLING NON SECTOR, THEREFORE WE WILL HAVE A RECOVERY IF WE CAN FORCE PRICES TO RISE, THEREFORE COMPETITION IS A BAD THING. COMPETITION LEADS TO THE ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR OF PRICE-CUTTING. THIS WAS THE THEORY OF THE NEW DEAL. SO THEY PASSED THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL RECOVERY ACT, WHICH, FOR THE TWO YEARS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT MERCIFULLY STRUCK IT DOWN, PRODUCED THE NATIONAL RECOVERY ADMINISTRATION, THE NRA BEFORE THE NEW NRA. THE NATIONAL RECOVERY ADMINISTRATION WROTE CODES OF COMPETITION, ACTUALLY CODES OF NONCOMPETITION FOR ALL KINDS OF INDUSTRIES. THE NEW DEAL TURNED LABOR INTO A CARTEL, IT TURNED ALL KIND OF INDUSTRIES INTO CARTELS TO STOP COMPETITION. THE SYMBOL OF THE NRA WAS THE BLUE EAGLE. PEOPLE WERE ENCOURAGED TO FLY THE BLUE EAGLE FLAG OVER THEIR FACTORIES OR TO PUT BLUE EAGLE POSTERS IN THEIR SHOP WINDOWS. THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES FOOTBALL TEAM WAS FOUNDED AT THIS TIME AND NAMED IN HONOR OF THE NRA WHICH IS WHY ALL GOOD AMERICANS ROOT AGAINST THE EAGLES. THE NEW DEAL IN ITS GENIUS HAD DECIDED THAT THE CORRECT PRICE FOR PRESSING A MAN’S SUIT WAS 40 CENTS AND THEREFORE IT WAS A CRIME TO OFFER TO PRESS IT FOR 35 AND THEREFORE JOSEPH MAGGOD WAS ARRESTED. HE WAS FINED 100 DOLLARS, DIDN’T SOUND LIKE MUCH BUT THE MEDIAN FAMILY INCOME THAT YEAR WAS 1500 DOLLARS AND HE WAS SENTENCED TO 30 DAYS IN JAIL IN AMERICA FOR THE ECONOMIC CRIME OF A NICKEL. STUFF LIKE THIS HAPPENED ALL OVER AMERICA WHEN WE GOT IT WRONG ABOUT THE COMPETENCE OF GOVERNMENT. WELL THE JUDGE THOUGHT THIS WAS HIGHLY AMUSING AND A TEACHABLE MOMENT SO HE REMITTED THE FINE AND CANCELLED THE SENTENCE, AND HAULED POOR MAGGOD BACK INTO COURT WHERE, AND HERE I’M QUOTING FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES, “HE GAVE HIM, MAGGOD, “A LITTLE LECTURE ON THE “IMPORTANCE OF COOPERATION “AS OPPOSED TO INDIVIDUALISM. CAN’T HAVE THAT.” WELL, MAGGOD DULY CHASTENED WENT BACK TO HIS SHOP WITH THE NEW YORK TIMES IN TOW WHERE MAGGOD REMOVED THE CRIMINAL SIGN OFFERING TO PRESS A MAN’S SUIT FOR 35 CENTS AND REPLACED IT WITH A POSTER OF THE BLUE EAGLE AND THE NEW YORK TIMES THE NEXT MORNING REPORTED, “MAGGOD IF NOT QUITE SO RUGGEDLY INDIVIDUALISTIC AS FORMERLY WAS A FREE MAN ONCE MORE,” WELL IS A FREE MAN IF YOU DEFINE FREEDOM AS EMBRACING A PROPAGANDA SYMBOL ON THE THREAT OF FINE AND IMPRISONMENT, I DON’T. THIS HAPPENED HERE. THIS HAPPENED WHEN WASHINGTON THOUGHT IT KNEW MORE THAN IT COULD. WHEN THE GOVERNMENT GOT TOO BIG FOR ITS BRITCHES. NOW I COULD GO ON AND GIVE YOU TWO MILLION MORE WORDS ON THIS SUBJECT, BUT I’M GOING TO SHOW YOU WHAT HAPPENS. THIS IS THE SENATE IMMIGRATION BILL. 1,197 PAGES. IT HAS TO BE THAT BIG BECAUSE THE AUTHORS KNOW EVERYTHING. THEY KNOW, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT IN 2016, THE HOURLY WAGE OF AN IMMIGRANT ANIMAL SORTER SHOULD BE $9.84, UNLIKE THE HOURLY WAGE OF AN IMMIGRATE NURSERY WORKER, THAT SHOULD BE $9.64. IT’S ALL IN HERE. THEY KNOW EVERYTHING, THEY’RE SO SMART. THEY KNOW, BY THE WAY, ANYONE HERE FROM NEVADA? DID YOU KNOW THAT NEVADA IS A BORDER STATE? I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP. HARRY REID IS THE MAJORITY LEADER, THEREFORE IN ORDER TO GET NEVADA’S SHARE OF BORDER SECURITY, 20 BILLION EXTRA DOLLARS OF PORK, THEY DECLARED NEVADA A BORDER STATE. THE SOUTHERN TIP IS 164 MILES FROM THE BORDER, DOESN’T MATTER. CHICO MARKS IN THE MOVIE “DUCK SOUP” SAID, “WHO YOU GONNA BELIEVE, ME OR YOUR EYES?” THIS IS WASHINGTON TODAY. THIS, LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, THIS FLIMSY LITTLE TWO PAGES, THAT’S THE HOMESTEAD ACT, ONE OF THE FIVE OR SO MOST IMPORTANT BILLS EVER PASSED BY THE AMERICAN CONGRESS. SETTLE THE AMERICAN WEST, WONDERFUL. TWO AND A HALF PAGES. WELL THEY DIDN’T KNOW AS MUCH AS WE KNOW NOW. THIS IS WHAT WE’RE ARGUING ABOUT. WE’RE ARGUING ABOUT IMPORTANT THINGS LIKE, YOU’VE HEARD THE PHRASE, “I’M NO AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM.” SOME PEOPLE THING THAT’S A CRUDE FORM OF AMERICAN NATIONALISM. NO, THE IDEA TRACES BACK TO TOKEVILLE. WHO, THE AUTHOR OF THE GREATEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN IN ONE COUNTRY BY THE CITIZEN OF ANOTHER, A DEMOCRACY IN AMERICAN SAID, “AMERICANS ARE EXCEPTIONAL “BECAUSE UNLIKE EUROPEANS, “AMERICANS WERE BORN FREE. “FREE THAT IS FROM FUTILISM, “FREE THEREFORE FROM AN “ENTRENCHED ARISTOCRACY “AND AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH. “AMERICANS HAVE AN “EXCEPTIONAL REVOLUTION, “ONE THAT DID NOT TRY AND GIVE “THEM HAPPINESS BUT TO SET “THEM FREE TO PURSUE HAPPINESS “AS EACH INDIVIDUAL DEFINED IT. “AMERICANS HAVE AN “EXCEPTIONAL CONSTITUTION, “ONE THAT DOESN’T SAY WHAT “THE GOVERNMENT MUST DO FOR “THEM BUT WHAT THE GOVERNMENT MAY NOT DO TO THEM.” WE’RE EXCEPTIONAL BECAUSE OF ONE WORD IN THE DECLARATION, THE MOST IMPORTANT WORD IN THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE IS “SECURE.” ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL, ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS AND GOVERNMENTS ARE INSTITUTED AMONG MEN TO SECURE THOSE RIGHTS, NOT TO GIVE US OUR RIGHTS, THE RIGHTS PREEXIST GOVERNMENT. THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT A FOUNTAIN OF RIGHTS, IT EXISTS SOLELY TO DEFEND NATURAL RIGHTS. THESE ARE BIG ISSUES. YOU WONDER WHY PEOPLE ARE ANGRY IN WASHINGTON? WE’RE ARGUING ABOUT IMPORTANT THINGS. PEOPLE SAY YES, BUT DOESN’T THIS LEAD TO GRIDLOCK? GRIDLOCK IS NOT AN AMERICAN PROBLEM, IT’S AN AMERICAN ACHIEVEMENT. WHEN THE FOUNDING FATHERS WENT TO PHILADELPHIA IN THE SUMMER OF 1787, THEY DID NOT GO TO CREATE AN EFFICIENT GOVERNMENT, THE IDEA WOULD HAVE HORRIFIED THEM. THEY WANTED A SAFE GOVERNMENT, ONE STRONG ENOUGH TO PROTECT OUR RIGHTS AND NOT TOO STRONG TO THREATEN THEM. THEREFORE THEY CREATED A GOVERNMENT FULL OF BLOCKING MECHANISMS. THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT, TWO BRANCHES OF THE LEGISLATURE, BRANCH VETO, VETO OVERRIDES, JUDICIAL REVIEW, SUPER MAJORITIES, ALL KINDS OF WAYS TO SLOW THE BEAST DOWN. AND YET I CAN THINK OF NOTHING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE WANTED INTENSELY AND PROTRACTEDLY THEY HAVEN’T GOTTEN. PEOPLE LOOK AT WASHINGTON AND THEY SAY OH IT’S SO HARD, IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE HARD. THAT’S THE WAY JAMES MADISON DEFINED IT. IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE HARD, YOU HAVE TO HAVE CONCURRENT MAJORITIES. MAJORITY IN THE HOUSE WITH ITS OWN CONSTITUENCIES AND ELECTORAL RHYTHMS, ANOTHER MAJORITY IN THE SENATE, DIFFERENCE CONSTITUENCIES, DIFFERENT ELECTORAL RHYTHMS, A PRESIDENTIAL MAJORITY. A MAJORITY OF FIVE IN THE SUPREME COURT IN CASE THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF WHATEVER YOU HAVE PASSED IS CHALLENGED, BUT THEN 95 PERCENT OF WHAT GOVERNMENT DOES IS WRONG SO GOOD GOVERNANCE CONSISTS OF ABOUT 95 PERCENT OF STOPPING THINGS, AND WE’RE GOOD AT THAT. AND WE SHOULDN’T BE AFRAID TO SAY SO. NOW PEOPLE LOOK AT WHAT THEY CALL DYSFUNCTION IN WASHINGTON AND IT’S ACTUALLY THE SYSTEM WORKING AS MADISON WANTED IT AND THEY GET PESSIMISTIC, I UNDERSTAND THAT. A LOT OF PEOPLE LISTENING TO PEOPLE LIKE ME AND I’VE JUST GIVEN YOU A LOT OF OUR PROBLEMS, YOU PROBABLY FEEL LIKE EARL WEAVER WHEN HE WAS THE HALL OF FAME MANAGER OF THE BALTIMORE MEMORIALS, HE USED TO COME OUT OF THE DUGOUT, HE WAS THE SCOURGE OF AMERICAN UMPIRES AND HE’D STICK HIS CHIN INTO THE CHEST OF A MUCH LARGER UMPIRE AND AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS HE’D SHOUT, “ARE YOU GOING TO GET ANY BETTER, OR IS THIS IT?” THINGS ARE GOING TO GET BETTER. WE ARE NOT BANGLADESH. WE ARE A RICH EDUCATED, INDUSTRIOUS CONTINENTAL NATION. WE CAN GET BETTER BY CHOOSING TO GET BETTER, CHOOSING BETTER POLICIES AND THEREFORE BETTER POLICY MAKERS. WINSTON CHURCHILL WHO LOVED OUR COUNTRY AS MUCH AS HE LOVED HIS AMERICAN MOTHER SAID THE AMERICAN PEOPLE INVARIABLY DO THE RIGHT THING AFTER THEY HAVE EXHAUSTED ALL THE ALTERNATIVES. BUT I THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE STILL UNDERSTAND THAT A BENEVOLENT GOVERNMENT IS NOT ALWAYS A BENEFACTOR, THAT CAPITALISM DOESN’T JUST MAKE US BETTER OFF, IT MAKES US BETTER BY ENFORCING SOME OF THE STERN VIRTUES, THRIFT, INDUSTRIOUSNESS, DEFERRAL OF GRATIFICATION, THE INDIVIDUALISM THAT GOT POOR MAGGOD SENT TO JAIL. I THINK THEY UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN JACK KENNEDY SAID, “ASK NOT WHAT YOUR “COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU, “BUT WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY,” ONE THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY IS TO RESERVE A SPACIOUS PORTION OF YOUR LIFE FOR WHICH YOUR COUNTRY’S NOT RESPONSIBLE. I THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE STILL UNDERSTAND WHAT MILTON FREEDMAN MEANT WHEN HE SAID, “LOOK TAKE ANY THREE LETTERS “FROM THE ALPHABET DOESN’T “MATTER WHICH ONES, “PICK THEM AT RANDOM, “PUT THEM IN ANY ORDER YOU WANT, “DOESN’T MATTER, “YOU WILL HAVE AN ACRONYM “DESIGNATING A FEDERAL AGENCY WE CAN DO WITHOUT.” I THINK THEY UNDERSTAND WHAT ROBERT FROST MEANT WHEN HE SAID, “I DO NOT WANT TO LIVE IN “A HOMOGENIZED SOCIETY, I WANT THE CREAM TO RISE” AND I KNOW THEY UNDERSTAND WHAT RONALD REGAN MEANT WHEN HE SAID, “I DO NOT WANT TO “GO BACK TO THE PAST, “I WANT TO GO BACK TO THE PAST WAY OF FACING THE FUTURE.” MOST OF ALL I THINK THEY UNDERSTAND WHAT LINCOLN MEANT WHEN IN 1859 WITH WAR CLOUDS LOWERING OVER THE COUNTRY HE ADDRESSED THE WISCONSIN STATE FAIR AND HE TOLD THE STORY OF AN ORIENTAL DESPITE WHO SUMMONED HIS WISE MEN AND GAVE THEM AN ASSIGNMENT. HE SAYS, “I WANT YOU TO GO AWAY AND “DON’T COME BACK UNTIL YOU’VE “DEVISED A PROPOSITION TO BE “CARVED IN STONE TO BE FOREVER IN VIEW AND FOREVER TRUE.” SOME WEEKS LATER THE WISE MEN CAME BACK AND THE PROPOSITION THEY HAD CARVED IN STONE WAS “THIS TOO SHALL PASS AWAY.” HOW CAN SO LEAN IN TIME OF GRIEF, SAID LINCOLN, “HOW CHASTENING IN TIME OF PRIDE.” BUT HE SAID, “IT NEED NOT BE TRUE OF AMERICA IF WE AMERICANS CULTIVATE THE MORAL AND INTELLECTUAL WORLD WITHIN US ASSIDUOUSLY AND PRODIGIOUSLY AS WE CULTIVATE THE PHYSICAL WORLD AROUND US. WELL WE DID, AND WE SURVIVED THE 19TH AND WE SURVIVED THE 20TH AND WE’RE GOING TO SURVIVE THE 21ST IF WE RECUR TO THE KIND OF PRINCIPLES THAT MADISON AND THE REST ENSHRINED IN THE CONSTITUTION. IT’S ALWAYS NIP AND TUCK AND IT’S ALWAYS A QUESTION OF WHETHER WE’LL MAKE IT, BUT SO FAR SO GOOD. NOW I’VE PRESUMED ON YOUR TIME LONG ENOUGH, YOU’RE PROBABLY FEELING THE WAY JEFF TORBORG FELT WHEN HE WAS THE MANAGER OF THE WHITE SOCKS. HE WENT OUT ONE DAY TO TAKE PICTURE OF JIMMY KEARN OUT OF THE GAME, GOT TO THE MOUND AND KEARN SAID, “SKIPPER I’M NOT TIRED.” TORBERG SAID, “JIMMY WE KNOW “YOU’RE NOT TIRED, BUT OUR OUTFIELDERS ARE.” SO ON THAT NOTE I SHALL SUBSIDE, I THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING ME TO COME TO ONE OF AMERICA’S LEAD INSTITUTIONS, ONE CONCERNED ABOUT THE VALUES THAT WE’RE ALL CONCERNED ABOUT BUT RATHER MORE UNDERSTANDING OF THEM THAN MOST. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [APPLAUSE]. ♪♪>>THIS BYU FORUM ADDRESS WITH GEORGE WILL WAS GIVEN ON OCTOBER 22, 2013.

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