Upon leaving the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked what sort of government the delegates had created. His reply to the crowd: "A republic, if you can keep it." Now America's most respected governor explains just how close we've come to losing the republic, and how we can restore it to greatness. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has been called "the most presidential man in America." He has brought more change to his state in a few years than most see in decades. During his tenure, Daniels turned a $700 million deficit into a billion dollar surplus, balanced Indiana's budget even during the recession, converted its once unattractive business climate into one of the strongest for private sector job growth.
The Hoosier state is now a model of good and efficient governance. Its public sector payroll is now the smallest per capita in the nation. And yet services have improved across the board. Even its Bureau of Motor Vehicles -- the ultimate symbol of dysfunctional bureaucracy - has been rated the best in the country. Daniels has done this by focusing on government's core responsibilities, cutting taxes, empowering citizens, and performing what he calls an "old tribal ritual" - spending less money than his state takes in, while distinguishing between skepticism towards big government and hostility towards all government. Unfortunately few politicians have the discipline or courage to follow his lead. And worse, many assume that Americans are too intimidated, gullible or dim-witted to make wise decisions about their health care, mortgages, the education of their kids, and other important issues. The result has been a steady decline in freedom, as elite government experts -- "our benevolent betters", in Daniels' phrase -- try to regulate every aspect of our lives. Daniels bluntly calls our exploding national debt "a survival-level threat to the America we have known.
©2011 Mitch Daniels (P)2011 Penguin