Give Liberty a Chance!

God has given to men all that is necessary for them to accomplish their destinies…

And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgement of faith in God and His works.

- Frederic Bastiat, The Law, 1850

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Announcement

The most significant news from Jefferson City this week is unquestionably the announcement of Governor Matt Blunt stating that he will not be seeking a second term. This announcement eclipsed all other happenings at our state capitol and commanded major headlines all across the state. It stunned political insiders and the public alike.

As one could imagine everyone is asking why and few are accepting the Governor’s stated reason that he had achieved what he set out to do and has lost that sense of mission for the office. Regardless of one’s political leanings, agreement can be made that a governor must have a sense of mission. The Governor also stated his desires to spend more time with his wife, Melanie, and son, Branch.

Upon reflection, Inaugural Day in January 2005 was damp and cold sparking the then new Governor Blunt to keep his remarks short. Under the watchful gaze of Thomas Jefferson below the majestic columns on the south steps of the state Capitol before a large crowd he declared:

Over the next four years, we will be bold. We will be willing to experiment. We
will not fear failure. We will bear setbacks with resolve and press forward with
determined innovation. We will attack problems with the deliberation that
accompanies this great responsibility and with the energy necessary to build a
better Missouri.

Those words could not have been any more true.

Since that time, Missouri has made incredible improvements with the creation of thousands of new jobs, better roads, an improved education funding model, increased state revenues, three years of budget surpluses, and claims the sixth lowest cost of living in the entire nation. Despite the hue and cry of left this progress has been made with no new taxes, something the critics said was impossible. Apparently, Governor Blunt and the General Assembly achieved the impossible.

In comparison to other states, Missouri’s success is highlighted even more. Illinois is facing a multi-billion dollar budget deficit (again) and their legislature is fighting over a proposed massive tax increase. California is suffering a $14 billion budget deficit (by comparison our total state budget is $21 billion). In contrast, our state revenues continue to be positive and our government has delivered on promises to fund health care, schools, and roads without raising taxes.

The critics have often attacked the Governor and the General Assembly for the path taken to right this ship of state, but leadership and reform require tough decisions and do not at times come without a difference of opinion. We would do well to remember Thomas Jefferson’s words that, “Every difference of opinion is not a difference in principle.”

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