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Telling the truth

"Telling the truth" Continued...

Issue: "Save the unions," Oct. 24, 2009

Q: Why did the "Republican Revolution" of the 1990s fizzle? Humans are always going to be susceptible to power, and this system in Washington is bigger than any individual. Republicans took over with reform ideas. They made some welfare reforms and did some things to create a balanced budget. Republicans just could not resist giving favors, taking money back home . . . it's like saying, "just a couple of drinks won't hurt. Well, maybe three or four drinks won't hurt." It got out of control. By the time I got there in '98 a core was still trying to do the reforms, but they were outmaneuvered by more senior members who thought they were there to get money for their districts and their states.

Q: Is the solution to throw the bums out and hope the next group won't be new bums, or should structural changes be made? I have always been a proponent of term limits-the longer you stay the more you reflect the system and the less you reflect the people you represent. The system just beats you down. We need a balanced budget requirement, because if we had to balance our budget we would have to set priorities. Right now we don't. We can't eliminate anything, but we can keep adding. We're punished for cutting because every program has a constituent, and there's always some reward for adding a new program.

Q: A lot of Republicans run on family values, but just this year we've seen publicized adultery involving Mark Sanford, John Ensign, and-allegedly-Chip Pickering. The American public sees us as hypocrites when we do that. Some of these people are some of my best friends, but they allowed themselves to get isolated.

Q: You've been highly involved in the healthcare debate. What's your prognosis? This is a classic war of worldviews: central planning vs. the people who want choices. Barack Obama voted against giving people a tax deduction when they buy their own health insurance. He voted against interstate competition. He voted against things that most people know would help this system work better.

Q: As far as controlling education, do you think No Child Left Behind was a mistake? It's a good idea to try to measure what you do, but it's more of the centralized planning idea from Washington. School choice is the most important issue we face today, because if freedom is based on the character, skills, and capability of the individual, then education becomes first and foremost. If that education does not include any spiritual component, then that key ingredient of character and integrity is missing. Our political and economic system does not work unless you have people who do the right thing when no one is looking, and you can't get that from a government system. If we're intent on having our government handle education, we will not be a free country in the future.

Q: In your book you write, "Government redistribution of wealth actually destroys the positive impulses and outcomes of voluntary charity." Can you explain a little more about that? It's ironic, but once you try to protect people from their own actions, to eliminate consequences and risk in their lives, you give them a security that ends up not being security at all. You take away the motivation to work and sacrifice and fail and get up, all those things that develop the muscle for success.

Q: Presidential sweepstakes in 2012: Do you see a clear candidate? What we need now more than anything are candidates willing to tell Americans the truth.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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