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A welcome debate

Ben Moeller | Thursday, September 6, 2012

In his latest column (“Romney’s big mistake,” Sept. 3), my friend and Washington Program colleague, Adam Newman, claims Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick of Paul Ryan is a failure because it shifts the focus of the election from the economy to the size and role of government, an issue on which he believes the Democrats have the upper hand. I disagree.
Generally, the basic difference between the two parties (especially after the Tea Party craze in 2010) is that Democrats favor bigger government solutions while Republicans advocate for leaner, less intrusive governance. So to some extent, all elections deal with the size and role of government. And whether it was Coolidge, Reagan or even Bill Clinton, who exclaimed in 1996 that “the era of big government is over,” small government has often carried a popular appeal.
Philosophy on the size and role of government manifests itself in the policy ideas of each party. Mr. Newman argues the American people’s belief that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are foundations of our society combined with our affinity for the ideals of these programs reveal an endorsement of big government.
Unfortunately for Mr. Newman, myself and the American people, these programs are destined for failure. Luckily, Romney and Ryan realize this and have developed plans to stabilize these programs. Today’s senior citizens, who deserve the entitlements they paid into, yet want to save these programs for future generations, overwhelmingly support Mitt Romney for President. Early September Gallup numbers show those 65 and older support Romney over Obama by a margin of 52-41.
The positions of the two parties on a myriad of other issues reflect their core beliefs on the size and role of government. At the end of the day, even if the election is focused on the size and role of government, voters will still likely associate Barack Obama and his four years of championing big government solutions with the struggling economy. Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and their fellow Republicans running for office this fall offer a new approach. So, my Democrat friends, let the debate begin.
Ben Moeller
Fisher Hall
Sept. 4