In just a few days, we will be celebrating the 234th anniversary of our republic. To mark the occasion, I thought it would be fun to go back to one of the great acceptance speeches of the past 50 years – Ronald Reagan’s speech at the 1980 Republican convention – and pull out eight important themes for 2010.
We must have the clarity of vision to see the difference between what is essential and what is merely desirable; and then the courage to bring our Government back under control.
It is essential that we maintain both the forward momentum of economic growth and the strength of the safety net between those in our society who need help. We also believe it is essential that the integrity of all aspects of Social Security be preserved.
Beyond these essentials, I believe it is clear our Federal Government is overgrown and overweight. Indeed, it is time our Government should go on a diet. Therefore, my first act as chief executive will be to impose an immediate and thorough freeze on Federal hiring. Then, we are going to enlist the very best minds from business, labor and whatever quarter to conduct a detailed review of every department, bureau and agency that lives by Federal appropriation.
And we are also going to enlist the help and ideas of many dedicated and hard-working Government employees at all levels who want a more efficient Government just as much as the rest of us do. I know that many of them are demoralized by the confusion and waste they confront in their work as a result of failed and failing policies.
Our instructions to the groups we enlist will be simple and direct. We will remind them that Government programs exist at the sufferance of the American taxpayer and are paid for with money earned by working men and women and programs that represent a waste of their money – a theft from their pocketbooks must have that waste eliminated or that program must go. It must go by Executive Order where possible, by Congressional action where necessary.
Everything that can be run more effectively by state and local government we shall turn over to state and local government, along with the funding sources to pay for it. We are going to put an end to the money merry-go-round where our money becomes Washing ton’s money, to be spent by states and cities exactly the way the Federal bureaucrats tell us it has to be spent.
I will not accept the excuse that the Federal Government has grown so big and powerful that it is beyond the control of any President, any administration or Congress. We are going to put an end to the notion that the American taxpayer exists to fund the Federal Government. The Federal Government exists to serve the American people and to be accountable to the American people. On January 20, we are going to reestablish that truth.