The greatest president in the modern era would have turned 100 years old today. I was in high school when he became the 40th president of the Unites States, and his leadership inspired me to enter public service.
I am thankful for President Reagan's life; for what he did for our country and for our world. He caused us to believe in ourselves again and to believe in the American dream. He loved his country. And he loved the cause of freedom.
He knew then what we know to be true today - that the answer to our problems lies not in the hands of government, but in each of us.
He famously said that "government wasn't the answer, government was the problem." He didn't say it for any other reason except that he meant it. He believed it. And he was right.
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President Reagan believed that government had grown too big. He believed that high taxes stifled the economy and American creativity. And he was right.
He fought for lower tax rates, less government spending and less red tape and bureaucracy so that our economy would grow. And grow it did!
When he was elected president, inflation was 11.83 percent. When he left office it was 4.2 percent.
When he was elected, unemployment was 7.6 percent; when he left office it was 5.5 percent.
When he was elected, the GDP was $3.126 trillion; when he left office it was $5.1 trillion.
To list but a few of the economic improvements under his watch seems futile. But nonetheless, the world had never seen such an economic boom.
It is easy to see what President Reagan would do right now if he was still with us. He would drastically cut Washington spending so that Americans could keep more of their hard-earned dollars. He once said, "the tax isn't the tax, spending is the tax." Amen!
There is no better way to honor President Reagan on what would have been his 100th birthday than for Washington to implement some of the common-sense reforms he enacted when he became president.
This is why I have sponsored a bill called The Rising Tide Act of 2011.
In it, I call for five tax reform and spending ideas that will get our economy moving again.
1. Reduction of corporate income tax rates to 23 percent
2. Repatriation of existing overseas profits of American companies to provide incentive to them to invest back in the United States to grow our economy.
3. Elimination of the death tax
4. Elimination of capital gains tax and
5. Permanent extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts
These ideas would grow our economy, spur investment and lower unemployment.
Before us lie two very different paths: The one I just described, which is what President Reagan would have done and the other is what President Obama described in his State of the Union speech - more government spending, more regulation and less liberty and freedom for each of us.
These policies would "kill the goose that lays the golden eggs," severing the prosperity that is the basis for our continued growth as country.
The time is now for the size and reach of our federal government to shrink. A good economy makes everything else possible. President Reagan knew this, and implemented policies to get government out of the way and allow free people and free markets to reign. This is what America needs right now more than ever.
The writer, a Republican, represents District 1 in the U.S. House of Representatives.