A Great Country Requires a Better Direction

A Great Country Requires a Better Direction

By Gov. Rick Perry - August 14, 2011

I’m happy to be in South Carolina where people elect folks like Nikki Haley. And also where they love the greatest fighting force on the face of the earth, the United States military.

I want to take a moment, I want to take a moment and ask you to just take a silence and think about those young Navy SEALs and the other special operators who gave it all in the service of their country. Just take a moment to say thank you Lord that we have those kind of selfless, sacrificial men and women. Their sacrifice was immeasurable. Their dedication profound. And we will never, ever forget them.

I stand before you as the governor of Texas but also stand before you the son of two tenant farmers. Ray Perry who came home after 35 bombing missions over Europe to work his little corner of land out there and Amelia who made sure that my sister Mil and me had everything that we needed, included hand sewing my clothes until I went off to college.

I’m a product of a place called Paint Creek. It doesn’t have a zip code. It’s too small to be called a town along the rolling plains of Texas. We grew dryland cotton and wheat. When I wasn’t farming or attending Paint Creek Rural School, I was generally over at Troop 48 working on my Eagle Scout Award.

Around the age of eight, I was blessed to meet my future wife, Anita Thigpen, at a piano recital. We had our first date eight years later and she finally agreed to marry me 16 years after that. Nobody says I’m not persistent. There is no greater way to live life than with someone you love. And my first love is with us today, my lovely wife, Anita. We’re also blessed to have two incredible children, Griffin and Sydney, and they’re also with us here today, and our wonderful daughter-in-law, Meredith.

You know what I learned growing up on the farm was a way of life. It was centered on hardwork and on faith and on thrift. Those values have stuck with me my whole life.

But it wasn’t until I graduated from Texas A&M University and joined the United States Air Force flying C-130s all around the globe that I truly appreciated the blessings of freedom. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, I realized the United States of America really is the last great hope of mankind.

What I saw was systems of government that elevated rulers at the expense of the people. Socialist systems that cloaked maybe in good intentions but were delivering misery and stagnation. And I learned that not everyone values life like we do in America and the rights that are endowed to every human being by a loving God. You see, as Americans, we’re not defined by class and we will never be told our place.

What makes our nation exceptional is that anyone, from any background, can climb to the highest of heights. As Americans, we don’t see the role of government as guaranteeing outcomes but allowing free men and women to flourish based on their own vision, their hard work and their personal responsibility. As Americans, we realize that there is no taxpayer money that wasn’t first earned through the sweat and toil of one of our citizens.

That’s why we reject this president’s unbridled fixation on taking more money out of wallets and pocketbooks of American families and employers and giving it to a central government. Spreading the wealth punishes success while setting America on course for a greater dependency on government.

Washington’s insatiable desire to spend our children’s inheritance on failed stimulus plans and other misguided economic theories have given record debt and left us with far too many unemployed.

But of course, now we’re told we’re in recovery but this sure doesn’t feel like a recovery to more than 9 percent of the Americans out there who are unemployed, or the 16 percent of the African-Americans, 11 percent of Hispanics in the same position, or the millions who can only find part-time work or those who have even stopped looking for a job.

One in six work-eligible Americans cannot find a full-time job. That is not a recovery. That is an economic disaster. For those Americans who do have full-time jobs, they’re not experiencing economic recovery with the rise of fuel costs and the food prices that are going up. Recovery is a meaningless word if the bank has foreclosed on your home, if you’re underwater on your mortgage or you’re up to the max on your credit card debt. Those Americans know that this president and his big spending, big government policies have prolonged our national misery, not alleviated it.

What do we say to our children? Do we say, y’all will figure it out, don’t worry? Washington, you know, they’ve created 17 debt and entitlement commissions in 30 years but the fact of the matter is that they didn’t have the courage to make the decisions to allow you to have the future that you actually deserve.

Washington wouldn’t even make modest entitlement reforms in this last debate and the president even refused to lay out a plan for fear of the next election. How can the wealthiest nation in the history of civilization fail so miserably to pay its bills. How does that happen?

Mr. President, let us tell you something, you cannot win the future by selling America off to foreign creditors. We cannot afford four more years of this rudderless leadership. Last week, that leadership failed and the tax and spend and borrow agenda of this president led to the first-ever downgrading of credit rating of the United States of America.

In reality, though, this is just the most recent downgrade. The fact is that for nearly three years, President Obama has been downgrading American jobs, he’s been downgrading our standing in the world, he’s been downgrading our financial stability, he’s been downgrading our confidence and downgrading the hope for a better future for our children. That is a fact.

His policies are not only a threat to this economy. So are his appointees a threat. You see, he stacked the National Labor Relations Board with anti-business cronies who want to dictate to a private company, Boeing, where they can build a plant. No president, no president should kill jobs in South Carolina or in any state for that matter simply because they choose to go to a right to work state.

You see, when the Obama Administration isn’t stifling the economic growth with over-regulation, they’re achieving the same through their reckless spending. Debt is not only a threat to the economy but also to our security.

America’s standing in the world is in peril, not only because of disastrous economic policies, but because of the incoherent muddle they call foreign policy. Our president has insulted our friends and he has encouraged our enemies, thumbing his nose at traditional allies like Israel. He seeks to dictate new borders for the Middle East and the oldest democracy there, Israel, while he is an abject failure in his constitutional duty to protect our borders in the United States.

His foreign policy seems to be based on alienating our traditional allies while basing our domestic agenda on importing those failed Western European social values. We don’t need a president who apologizes for America. We need a president who protects and projects those values, who is willing to stand with those who stand with us and will vigorously defend our interest. And those who threaten our interest, harm our citizens, we will simply not be scolding you, we will defeat you.

Our nation cannot and it must not endure four more years of aimless foreign policy. We cannot and must not endure four more years of rising unemployment, rising taxes, rising debt, rising energy dependence on nation’s that intend us harm. It’s time to get America working again. We get our citizens working in good jobs and getting the government working for people again. Page one of any economic plan to get America working is to give a pink slip to the current resident in the White House.

The key is to get back to the basic truths of economic success. As governor, I’ve had to deal with the consequences of this national recession and in 2003 and again this year my state faced billions of dollars in budget shortfalls. But we worked hard, we made tough decisions, we balanced our budget, not by raising taxes, but by setting priority and by cutting government spending. It can and it must be done in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Schwertner, we have led Texas based on some really pretty simple guiding principles. One is don’t spend all the money. Two is keeping the taxes low and under control. And three is you have your regulatory climate fair and predictable Four is reform the legal system for frivolous lawsuits don’t paralyze employers.

Over the years, we’ve followed this recipe to produce the strongest economy in the nation. Since June of 2009, Texas is responsible for more than 40 percent of all the new jobs created in America. Now think about that, we’re home to less than 10 percent of the population in America but 40 percent of all the new jobs were created in that state. I’ve cut taxes. I have delivered historic property tax reductions. I was the first governor since World War II to cut general revenue spending in our state budget. We passed lawsuit reform including just this last session loser pays.

I know I’ve talked a lot about Texas in this last little bit and I’m a Texan and I’m proud of it. But first and foremost, I am an incredibly proud American. I know something. America is not broken, Washington, D.C. is broken. We need balanced budgets, we need lower taxes, we need less regulation, we need civil justice reform. Our countries most urgent need is to revitalize our economy. Stop the generational theft that is going on with this record debt.

I came to South Carolina because I will not sit back and accept the path that America is on because a great country requires a better direction, because a renewed nation needs a new president. It is time to get America working again and that is why with the support of my family and unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I declare to you today as a candidate for president of the United States.

It’s time for America to believe again. It’s time to believe that the promise of our future is far greater than even our best days behind us. It’s time to believe again in the potential of private enterprise set free from the shackles of over-bearing federal government. And it’s time to truly restore our standing in the world, renew our faith in freedom, as the best hope for peace in this world that is beset with strife.

The change we seek will never emanate out of Washington, D.C. It will come from the windswept prairies of middle America, the farms and the factories across this great land, from the hearts and the minds of the good-hearted Americans who will accept not a future that is less than our past. Patriots, patriots who will not be consigned to a fate of less freedom in exchange for more government. We do not have to accept our current circumstances. We will change them. We are Americans. That’s what we do. We roll up our sleeves. We go to work. We fix things. We stand up and proudly proclaiom that Washington is not our caretaker and we reject a state, in Margaret Thatcher’s words, a state that takes too much from us to do too much for us. We will not stand for that any longer.

We're dismayed at the injustice that nearly half of all Americans don’t even pay any income tax and the liberals out there are saying that we need to pay more. We are indignant about leaders who do not listen and spend money faster than they can print it. In America, the people are not subjects of the government, the government is subject to the people.

It is up to us, to this present generation of Americans, to take a stand for freedom, to send a message to Washington that we’re taking our future back from the grips of these central planners who would control our health care, who would spend our treasure, who downgrade our future and micromanage our lives. It is time to limit and simplify the taxes in this country. We have quit spending money we don’t have. We need to get our fiscal house in order and restore our good credit. And we will repeal this president’s misguided, one-size-fits-all government health care plan.

We’ll get America working again. We’ll create jobs and we’ll build wealth and we will truly educate and innovate in science and technology and engineering and math. We’ll create the jobs and the progress that is going to be needed to get America working again. I’ll promise you this, I’ll work every day to try to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can.

We’ll be free in our families, and small businesses and states from the costly burdens of the federal government so that those groups can create and innovate and succeed. I believe in America. I believe in her purpose and her promise. I believe that her best days have not yet been lived. I believe that her greatest deeds are reserved for the generations to come. And with the help and the courage of the American people, we will get our country working again. God bless you. 

Rick Perry is the Governor of Texas.

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