GOP: Party of Hope, Growth, and Opportunity

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This morning, while on my walk— I call it “14 days to flatten the bulge” — I spoke to a good friend who has been going through a serious health crisis with his wife. We started talking about her cancer treatment, and we both marveled at how Western society values human life so much that there is no shortage of time, effort, or resources spent in service to healing and curing people. 

My friend has three young kids, so there’s certainly justification for the time, effort, and resources expended on his family’s behalf. But as I explained to him, the same amount of time, effort, and resources were spent a year ago in service to curing my 90-year-old father of his cancer. That effort failed to save his life ultimately, but to say we appreciated the valiant effort by his doctors would be an understatement. Imagine the inherent decency and morality of a society that does this to extend the life of a 90-year-old.

The conversation with my pal, as is often the case, inspired the following observations. 

A question to Ron DeSantis in Miami Wednesday night from the new moderator of “Meet the Press” tells the story well. As many of you who follow politics know well, Donald Trump has been hitting Ron DeSantis for what Trump suggests is his position to obliterate Social Security. For what it’s worth, I believe Social Security isn’t worth saving for anyone not already depending on it.

But I’m not running for president, so I have the, well, the freedom to say that. However, in response to the question on Social security, DeSantis reminded us of something pretty important — so important that it is worthy of its own two-hour debate, in my view. And that is, in America, life expectancy is on the decline

Some people are saying this is due to COVID. Others suggest it has been happening since before COVID, while others claim it is due to the catastrophic reaction many people have had to the COVID shot. This is a matter of much debate. I’m not a doctor, and I don’t play one on TV, nor do I pretend to be one in my columns. So, I don’t know the answer. Doesn’t change the fact it is happening.

Indeed, I very much believe the decline in life expectancy has something to do with the fact that COVID, specifically the government’s hyper-over-reaction to it, made America and the rest of the world poorer. In other words, 14 days to flatten the curve, which turned into a year or more, I believe, made America less prosperous, and that has made America also less vibrant. 

After all, closing “non-essential” businesses in an effort to force Americans to distance themselves socially and economically resulted in hundreds of thousands of small businesses closing and millions of people losing everything. And while the federal and state stimulus checks were an honest attempt to mitigate the negative financial impact, ultimately, they failed at doing so. 

Locking down the American economy, and by extension, the global economy, severed global supply chains and interrupted the international division of labor that plays such a central role in keeping consumer and producer prices low and stable. If you’re looking for a reason for higher prices, look no further than the COVID lockdowns.

But back to the debate. What is really remarkable to me is that after DeSantis pointed out the decline in life expectancy, none of the other candidates on stage addressed it! How can that be? What could be more important than declining life expectancy? Besides what kind of heels Nicki Haley wears and the style and construct of Ron DeSantis’ cowboy boots, that is. Are we even a serious political party anymore?  

Memo to the GOP: At the very heart of America’s free-enterprise system is, in a word, freedom. The freedom to work, the freedom to save and invest, the freedom to produce, and even the freedom not to produce. In other words, freedom works. Freedom matters. Freedom saves lives. Freedom is the essential ingredient to economic prosperity. And prosperity is the essential ingredient to better health outcomes, longer lives, and a better quality of life. Call it the morality of prosperity!

The Republican Party must be the party of prosperity, and that means being the party of freedom. It sounds simple enough, but we don’t hear nearly enough about it. Nor do we hear enough about how it defines us as a society or, dare I say, a political movement. 

It seems to me that to make America great again, we must make America grow again. Economic growth was rarely even mentioned last night. It was mentioned by Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy, but nobody else. How did this happen? How did the Republican Party cease to be the party of hope, growth, and opportunity?  

Freedom and prosperity are universally recognized virtues. Without freedom and prosperity, you get Gaza, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and even Russia and China. America is that city on a hill, which Tim Scott talked about last night, and Ronald Reagan made such an important part of his presidency. The candidate running for president this time around who talks the most about freedom and prosperity will, in my opinion, set themselves apart from the rest of the pack and will become worthy of leading this great nation.

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