Dear Brother Romney,
I sit on the fence as to whether I should vote for you or for a third party candidate. Up to this point, your strategy has been to show how your plan is better than Obama’s. I could show you that smoking tobacco is healthier than smoking crack—but that wouldn’t convince you to support smoking tobacco, because smoking tobacco is still bad. In order to win my vote, you’ll have to do more than simply show me you are not as bad as Obama: you’ll have to show me that you’re a good option.
I don’t question your integrity or that you are a good person—I’ve heard from reliable sources that you’re a great person. However, if you’re a great person but misunderstand certain government principles, you would make a bad president. What I question is how well you understand certain government principles that you claim to stand for.
When discussing your strengths, your supporters frequently bring up two things: they claim you will reduce the federal government and that you believe in free enterprise. However, upon looking into this, it’s unclear to me whether these are actually your strengths, or whether you moving the wrong direction with these but at a slower pace than Obama.
1. Will you actually Reduce the Federal Government?
Even though you say you will reduce spending, I am skeptical. Often politicians are deceptive in how they talk about this. They present a plan and say it will reduce spending a certain amount. However, instead of referring to reducing the amount government budgeted for this year, they are referring to how much is budgeted for next year. For example, if the government has a budget of $1 trillion this year and $1.2 trillion next year, and the politician’s plan is to spend $1.1 trillion next year, they simply say that they will reduce government spending by $0.1 trillion. The general public is lead to believe that government will spend less next year, when in fact the government will still spend $0.1 trillion more, just not as much as what other politicians’ plan on spending.
So, when you say you will reduce spending, will you actually reduce federal spending, or will you simply not increase spending as much as Obama?
On your website, you point out that you would like to target federal spending to be 20% of the gross domestic product (GDP). This specific value is a very ironic target to set, because the Book of Mormon states that King Noah ”laid a tax of one fifth part of all they possessed, a fifth part of their gold and of their silver , and a fifth part of their ziff, and of their copper, and of their brass and their iron; and a fifth part of their fatlings; and also a fifth part of all their grain [Mosiah 11:3]. Those under his rule described it as “we are in bondage to the Lamanites, and are taxed with a tax which is grievous to be borne” [Mosiah 7:15]. I would like to point out that your 20% plan doesn’t even take into account additional local and state taxes, and inflation “tax” (we’ll discuss how inflation is a tax in a moment).
Now, I’m not going to be ridiculous and say your taxation plan is as bad as Noah’s, because he used his tax “to support himself, and his wives and his concubines; and also his priests, and their wives and their concubines” [Mosiah 11:4]. While a portion of your tax will support bureaucrats, lobbyists, and special interest groups, a portion of it will also be redistributed back to the population. Compulsory redistribution may not be as bad as supporting a king and his concubines, it is still wrong. Don’t misunderstand—I believe very strongly in redistribution of wealth, but this should be done voluntarily through free market exchanges, private investments, and charitable giving rather than through compulsory government-mandated programs which are generally less effective.
On your website where you set your 20% federal goal, you point out that current federal spending is currently at 24.3% of GDP. A 4% decrease in federal spending would certainly get government moving the right direction and would probably win my vote. To the untrained eye, one might assume that your plan means a 4% reduction in federal spending; but such isn’t necessarily the case—due to inflation. If our money inflates 1% each year you are in office, you can make your goal without ever reducing federal spending. If money inflates 2% per year, you can actually increase federal spending 4% while you are in office and still make your goal.
President Ezra Taft Benson said: “The blame for inflation must be laid directly at the door of the federal government itself! Inflation is an increase in the nation’s money supply—an increase, to be more exact, in the supply of money and credit. Inflation is not caused by rising prices and wages. To the contrary, rising prices and wages, as any solid economist knows, are the direct result of inflation. It stands to reason that when the money supply is increased, all money automatically becomes less valuable. This includes, of course, our savings. So when our dollars shrink in value, businessmen naturally raise their price tags, and then their employees demand higher wages. You can see how it all becomes a vicious circle. In a free society such as ours, only the federal government can cause inflation. And the reason it puts more money into circulation is to finance its disastrous policies of deficit spending.”
Due to your education in economics, I’m sure you understand that inflation is one of the dirtiest ways the government can tax us, because many Americans don’t’ realize government caused it. On your website you talk about reducing taxes, but are you planning on doing this without causing inflation, or will these tax cuts simply be redistributed and paid for by others in the form of inflation?
You talk about reducing government spending by cutting Obamacare. However, you also state that you will increase spending for national defense and that you will preserve and strengthen both social security and medicare. Do you realize that national defense, social security, and medicare, each ALONE costs more than Obamacare, and combined may be 5 to 10 times more than Obamacare? So increases in each of these could easily outweigh any savings by cutting Obamacare and the other cuts you propose?
Hopefully I have explained my skepticism, and this is why I need a straight and honest answer from you: will you actually reduce federal spending, or is your plan to simply increase government at a slower pace than Obama?
2. Do you Believe in Free Enterprise?
During the republican debates, I often heard you say you support “free enterprise”. However, some of your recent stances contradict this. For example, you say that you support federal minimum wage increases. Also, you support subsidizing certain industries, such as the auto industry. Do you realize that wage requirements and subsidies oppose a free market system?
Many of your fellow republicans have proposed to get the federal government out of the house-loan business. When the government backs housing loans, banks are willing to give loans to high risk parties. This increases demand for housing, and therefore a housing bubble is created, where houses are selling for higher than their true value. Later on, when many of these high-risk loans start defaulting, this causes the bubble to burst. The government must subsidize these, thereby passing the tab onto the population in general. In essence, we are forced to pay for this vicious cycle, one of the primary contributors to the recent recession. Surely you see how subsidizing loans opposes free enterprise. I have not yet heard you say you want government out, which leads me to think you support them.
Many of your fellow republicans have proposed to audit the federal reserve, and some of them want to phase it out, helping us move back to the gold standard. Under our current monetary system, government works with the federal reserve to expand the money supply, which leads to inflation. Government controls where the increased money supply initially goes, effectively redistributing wealth which must be paid for through inflation. Moving back to a monetary system which is backed by an actual commodity (such as precious metals) would safe-guard against this compulsory redistribution of wealth. Brother Tremain Peterson has recently explained this concept well. Note that the Nephites used a monetary system based on precious metals [Alma 11:5–19], and our Founding Fathers also supported such. I have not heard you support a federal reserve audit or a move back to the gold standard, which leads me to think you support the fed, thereby supporting wealth redistribution.
Once again, Brother Romney, I need a straight answer. Do you support free enterprise? Do you oppose subsidies (including house loans) and a federal reserve system which lead to compulsory redistribution of wealth.
3. Do you agree with the Constitution?
Your website states: “Mitt Romney’s view of the Constitution is straightforward: its words have meaning. The founding generation adopted a written constitution for a reason. They intended to limit the powers of government according to enduring principles”.
Elder Oaks said: “In the pantheon of ideas in our divinely-inspired constitution, the idea that the government is limited to the powers expressly and impliedly conferred by the Constitution is second only to the principle that the people are sovereign”. The federal government is limited to the powers stated in the Constitution, that the people delegated to it.
Unfortunately your website shows support for federal powers and programs not mentioned in the Constitution, such as social security, medicare, and education. The only part of the Constitution that specifically addresses these programs is in the 10th amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
You speak of block-grants for some of these programs. While block grants are a step in the right direction with our current out-of-control government, they still require taxation at the federal level. Money is still sent to the federal government, upon which it is redistributed it back to the states. Hopefully you realize that ultimately block grants must be phased out to be aligned with the constitution.
So, do you agree with the Constitution? Do you believe that any power not delegated to the federal government, including social security, healthcare, and education, should ultimately transition back to the state and individual level?
Conclusion and Strategy to Win the Election
As I mentioned, I sit on the fence about voting for you. However, in light of the above evidence of your alleged strengths, I am starting to lean towards that third party. Are you a good choice or simply not as bad as Obama?
If you continue to speak vaguely and not address the above issues, you may gain the votes of some moderates, but this will come at the expense of votes from those who love liberty, free enterprise, and the Constitution.
From a strategic perspective to win the election, you may point out that losing my vote to a third party doesn’t hurt you as much as losing a moderate’s vote to Obama. However, I have a solution for you to gain both: pick a vice-president candidate who has a public record of voting and speaking out for actual decreases in federal spending, full support of free enterprise, and an understanding of the Constitution. You can speak vaguely to gain the support of the moderates, while your running mate can gain the support of liberty lovers.
If you pick another candidate similar to yourself who doesn’t address the above, such will lead me and many others to believe you are ignorant to the above and not just acting strategically to win the election—and such may cost you the election. The ball is in your court…
Your Brother in the Gospel,