Newt Gingrich photo

Remarks to the Five Points Rotary Club in Columbia, South Carolina

May 27, 2011

Thank you for allowing me to join you today to share some thoughts about the future of our country.

We have reached a moment of crisis in America. More Americans are without jobs, and for longer periods of time, than at any time since the Great Depression.

In 2010, more people depended on assistance from government programs than at any other time in America's history.

Solving this crisis of unemployment and a growing and destructive dependence on government will require the commitment, perseverance, and hard work -- not of any one man or woman -- but of Americans from every walk of life who are united by a belief in freedom and self-government.

In every arena in which Washington has overstepped its constitutional boundaries or grown too large and ineffective, we must reassert the principle that WE THE PEOPLE are the source of authority, power, wealth, and freedom in American society.

To restore that relationship between the government and the governed, we must move power out of Washington and return it to the American people.

The 10th amendment is the Constitution's reset mechanism and in the course of this campaign I will prove that a return of power to the states and to the people based on the 10th Amendment is urgently needed today.

This means rejecting a government of We the Bureaucrats and replacing it with a government of, by, and for the American people.

We must begin this effort in two important ways.

First, by reviving the American economy and setting the conditions for explosive economic growth and job creation by cutting taxes, deregulating, creating an American energy policy, and cutting spending.

And second, by reasserting the Constitution and the rule of law, which means repealing Obamacare, and reasserting the power of the people over corrupt and arbitrary decision making of government officials and unaccountable federal bureaucracies.

Restoring economic growth and putting Americans back to work is actually the easier of these two tasks.

It starts with a simple organizing principle: Job killing policies kill jobs.

We must identify job-killing policies, and then end them or replace them with job creating policies.

America has faced recessions before and recovered quickly. Since World War II, recessions have lasted an average of 10 months. The longest was 16 months. But today, forty months after the recession began, unemployment is actually going back up – to 9% last month. Worse, if you count those who have stopped looking for a job or are working part time when they would prefer to work full time, the real unemployment rate is at a staggering 16%.

The normal resiliency of the American economy is being held back by the destructive impact of big government.

Instead of trying to create jobs with wasteful stimulus spending, we need a government that gets out of the way and allows the American people to create jobs and prosperity again.

That starts with cutting taxes, deregulation, an American energy policy, and cutting spending.

We should continue what has worked by making the current tax rates permanent and stopping the 2013 tax increases.

Next we must make America once again the most desirable country in the world for job creating investment. To do this we need a bold series of four tax cuts.

We should eliminate the capital gains tax, turn the rate to zero, as some of our international competitors have done, to make American entrepreneurs more competitive and to attract billions of new investments.

We should reduce America's corporate tax rate, now the highest in the industrialized world, to 12.5%.

We should allow for 100% expensing of investment in new equipment, allowing farmers, factories, doctors, hospitals and all businesses to write off all new equipment in one year. This will ensure that American workers can once again employ the most technologically advanced tools in the most advanced factories and be the most productive in the world.

We should permanently end the death tax and its double taxation on the lifetime savings of Americans.

We also need several pro-growth regulatory reforms that remove obstacles to job creation.

We should repeal the costly, ineffective, and job killing Sarbanes Oxley Act.

We should repeal the Dodd-Franks bill which has crippled community banks and lending to small business.

We should replace the job killing EPA with an Environmental Solutions Agency.

Finally, we need an American energy policy that favors inexpensive gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and electricity.

Inexpensive American energy will lead to more jobs, greater economic growth, and wealthier Americans.

This would seem to be an all too obvious goal for America, the Obama administration pursues explicit policies that lead to expensive gasoline, expensive diesel, expensive natural gas, and skyrocketing electricity costs. These anti-American energy policies are killing jobs and making us all poorer.

We need an all-out effort to increase domestic oil and drilling, including the development of oil shale resources in the American West, where we have an estimated three times as much oil as Saudi Arabia.

We have natural gas off South Carolina which will create jobs in South Carolina and an export product for America. New jobs will grow in the Port of Charleston around natural gas just as new jobs will grow in an off shore industry-high paying, high value jobs.

We don't have to wait years for gas prices to come down. An aggressive commitment now to develop more of our abundant oil and natural gas resources will put downward pressure on prices at the pump long before any new reserves actually come online.

That's not wishful thinking. That's called the law of supply and demand, which takes into account today what's going to happen in the future.

The combination of pro-growth tax reforms, controlled spending, a return to sound money and an American energy plan will move us toward a very dramatic job growth with low inflation, which is the best way to move towards a balanced budget—by getting people off of unemployment, off of Medicaid, off of food stamps, get them back into earning a living and paying taxes.

North Dakota has sliced income and corporate tax rates and has 3% unemployment. Texas in two of the last four years created more jobs than the other 49 states combined. There is a lesson here.

Low taxes, deregulation, an American energy policy, and being in favor of people who are entrepreneurs, who run small businesses, who go to work and create jobs will end the recession and create a boom in jobs.

Now as I said, creating jobs and growing the economy again is not the hard part. What I have shared with you is straight from the Reagan playbook and we know it works.

But what Reagan didn't have to confront, but we have to confront today – and more so the citizens of South Carolina -- is the systematic assault on the rule of law by this Administration.

There is to begin the blatantly unconstitutional and unprecedented expansion of federal power by Obamacare –with its so-called "individual mandate".

If the federal government can coerce individuals—by threat of fines—to buy health insurance, then there is no stopping the federal government from forcing Americans to buy any good or service. It would mean the end of limited government as envisioned by our founders.

That's why I have publicly supported the efforts of Attorney General Cuccinelli of Virginia in his lawsuit and the 26 attorneys-general throughout the country who have challenged the constitutionality of Obamacare, -- and why I will fight for the repeal of Obamacare until it is repealed in its entirety.

It is the unprecedented grant of over one thousand nine hundred discretionary powers to unelected bureaucrats in the Obamacare legislation that guarantees the rise in arbitrary and corrupted decision-making by the federal government.

Most of these discretionary powers are granted to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and her bureaucracy. The Obamacare law also creates 159 new boards, agencies and other government entities to administer health decisions that should be instead up to the individual in consultation with their doctor.

James Madison, in the Federalist Papers, underscored the importance of the rule of law, which he defined as government exercising its power in predictable and evenhanded ways, as a defense against tyranny.

It's worth recalling the grievances contained in The Declaration of Independence – the very grievances that fired the fury of American patriots and justified the American Revolution. The fact that the bulk of them -- -twenty-one out of twenty-seven -- concern violations of the rule of law shows that the Founders believe the rule of law to be indispensable to a just society.

The founding fathers would have immediately recognized the danger of so much arbitrary power invested in unelected bureaucrats, like we find in Obamacare.

Indeed, we are already seeing how the American belief in the rule of law is betrayed in the implementation of the president's new health care regime.

To date, the Obama Administration has issued over one thousand waivers to exempt companies and organizations from complying with the law's expensive mandates, including Big Labor and other powerful supporters of the Democratic Party.

Last week, a report showed nearly 20% of the latest round of waivers are in former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's congressional district.

This process provides glaring proof of the corrupting nature of big government and why our Founders distrusted centralized power.

Here in South Carolina you are witnessing first hand and up close another glaring proof of the corrupting nature of big government and it ability to destroy jobs.

I'm speaking, of course, about the effort by the Obama administration's National Labor Relations Board to stop Boeing's Dreamliner plant from opening up in Charleston.

The facts are well known by everybody in South Carolina and are beginning to be known across America.

South Carolina is one of the twenty-two right-to-work states in America, where workers cannot be forced to join a union.

Washington state, where Boeing's main production plant is located, is a compulsory union state.

The NLRB's complaint, which was made on behalf of the machinists' union in Boeing's Washington production plant, comes a full seventeen months after the company announced their choice of Charleston.

Boeing has already begun construction of the new facility and has already created over 1000 jobs for South Carolina. In total, the plant is expected to create 8000 new jobs.

This illegal NLRB action puts all those jobs at risk.

Even Bill Gould, who was Chairman of NLRB under President Clinton, has denounced the attack on Boeing as "unprecedented."

If the Obama administration's hand-picked NLRB is successful in blocking the opening of the Boeing plant in South Carolina, it won't just be South Carolina that suffers.

Such a ruling would put tens of millions of future jobs in all 22 right-to-work states in jeopardy. It would make it effectively impossible for U.S. companies to choose to open new facilities in right-to-work states if they are currently located in a state that allows forced unionization.

In fact, a ruling against Boeing would put jobs at risk in all fifty states by increasing the flight of capital out of our country. Many companies, if they are prevented from investing in right to work states, will simply look overseas. It wouldn't save union jobs. It would simply prevent new jobs from being created here in America.

Faced with our current slow economic growth, we should be making it easier for companies and entrepreneurs to create jobs in the United States, not harder.

This complaint is all the more disturbing when you learn that it is being led by the NLRB's acting General Counsel, who has not yet received confirmation from the Senate, and is only on the Board because of a recess appointment from President Obama.

The President also recently used a recess appointment to get Craig Becker on the Board. Becker is so radically anti-business he could not even get approved by a Democratic Senate. Becker has previously written that the federal government should be able to control where companies choose to direct their capital and resources to give unions an advantage in labor negotiations.

Obviously this bears directly on this case with Boeing. It is clear that President Obama is stacking the deck against South Carolina and other right to work states at the behest of his union allies.

Your Senator, Lindsey Graham, was exactly right when he characterized the NLRB's complaint as "one of the worst examples of unelected bureaucrats doing the bidding of special interest groups that I've ever seen."

This complaint is an explicit and devastating example of the Obama administration's reckless and dangerous use of the power of big government to reward its political backers.

It is a textbook case of the corrupting power of big government that the founding fathers warned against that erodes the rule of law.

But in a larger sense, the Obama administration's action against Boeing is even more audacious than the corrupting of our political institutions by big government.

We know from the 2010 census that the South led the nation for the first time in terms of population growth, adding 14.3 million people.

People are voting with their feet for better economic opportunities. And a large part of the reason for the better economic opportunities in the South is the right for workers not to be forced into a union if you don't want to be. It is the right to work.

And one of the most underreported stories of the large migration to the South has been the large number of African-American moving to the South in search of economic opportunity and a better quality of life.

The South is winning the future. The right to work states are winning the future. They have pursued the right policies and they are leading to the right results. There is no greater proof that these states are winning the future for their citizens than the willingness of millions of Americans to move to these states in search of a better future for themselves and their children.

Boeing's move to set up operations in South Carolina follows the same logic of moving to more promising opportunities.

And what the Obama administration is saying in response is that they are going to block economic progress and say no, while millions of Americans and thousands of companies are saying yes to a better life.

There is no clearer example of this administration's willful disdain for the consent of the governed.

The Republican House should cut off all funding for the NLRB until President Obama withdraws the nominations of Lafe Soloman and Craig Becker, and appoints replacements who pledge to uphold the rule of law instead of the rule of big labor.

The return to prosperity and the reestablishment of the proper constitutional balance between government and the governed will not be an easy task. But protecting our freedoms has never been easy.

The election of 2012 is the most important election of our lifetime.

Down the left hand road lies a Washington bureaucracy running our lives in a corrupt system defined by politicians.

Down our road lies the rebirth of freedom, the reassertion of the Constitution and the renewal of the American economy.

I am running for President to change Washington decisively, reinforce obedience to the Constitution and reestablish the core principles of the Declaration of Independence.

This campaign will require a team effort, with every American who believes as I do that the future of American liberty requires a recommitment to the timeless principles of our country's founding:

That every man, woman, and child is endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.

That among these rights are the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

And that government derives its only just authority from the consent of the governed: from We the People.

And since we truly believe that every American is endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights –– then we must be determined to go into our country's poorest communities, whether it is in the valley, the inner city, or poor, rural areas.

We must change the culture; we must change the bureaucracy; we must change the tax code; we must change the law, we must do whatever it takes to ensure that every American is truly capable of pursuing happiness, as they have been endowed by their Creator with that right.

And when we show that we are truly serious about all American citizens having the right to pursue happiness, we will create such an overwhelming majority, we will be able to offer our children and grandchildren a vastly better future than the bureaucratic welfare state of dependency, coercion, and ineffectiveness we face today.

Thank you.

Newt Gingrich, Remarks to the Five Points Rotary Club in Columbia, South Carolina Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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