Monday, February 22, 2010

Important Principles for Citizen Statesmen

Last weekend I was privileged to give a presentation to a group of individuals who have become engaged in following political activities due to the recent occurrences in national politics.

It is my belief that these developments will give rise to a large number of citizens who become involved in the political scene, stay engaged and work to make a difference for years to come. There is no doubt that a number will run for office and I believe they will effect progress in returning government to a more limited role such as that envisioned by our founding fathers.

I wanted to share with them some of my observations and talk about principles which differentiate between true citizen statesmen who provide a service to their fellow citizens and professional politicians who have wreaked so much havoc. I feel it is important for people to take a stand on these issues before seeking office. They need to know what they believe and use a checklist to ensure they are not deviating and becoming a part of the status quo - and thus they can continue to be a part of the solution and not the problem.

Citizen statesmen must engage in universal opposition to tax and fee increases. Money is the fuel which creates big government. In today's world there are already hundreds of different fees and taxes which are forced on the citizens. We must draw the line here. There is a calling for citizen leaders at all levels of government to oppose any efforts to increase the size of government by opposing fee and tax increases and to work for tax reduction.

Forward thinking leaders will oppose attempts to issue debt. Issuing debt is a way for politicians to provide temporary solutions to current problems and in so doing make it very difficult for future generations to reduce the size of government. This is one of the most abusive practices and is practiced by politicians of both parties.

Ethical legislators will insist on a separation of form and function in the budget making process. Legislatures who earmark money are bypassing a system of checks and balances and are greatly enhancing the opportunity for corruption.

Elected officials must energetically assist the effort to increase transparency. Technology is already in place to allow citizens to hold government accountable as never before. Policy leaders must have the courage to allow this to happen and the energy to enforce its application as soon as possible.

Perhaps the hardest but one of the most necessary roles policy makers must be successful at is cutting government spending. Unlike a private business, the government will never go away and thus does not have an instinctive need to streamline and reduce waste. It is their responsibility to follow the rapidly developing high-tech industry and aggressively apply technology advancements to streamline spending as soon as possible.

Finally, a citizen statesman should seek office not because of personal ambition or to become a career politician, but from dedication to making a difference and being a part of solution. If a policy leader finds that their desire for political advancement influences the way they govern, then they have likely become part of the problem.

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