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That all Men are born equally free and independant, and have certain inherent natural Rights,…; among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursueing and obtaining Happiness and Safety.
Virginia Declaration of Rights – George Mason, 1776
Indispensable for personal freedom is the liberty for each person to choose how to allocate and invest their time, labor and money, and to own the gains made by these investments.
Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana comprehends and embraces a governance system promoting freedom. Recently, Daniels expressed his and Indiana’s philosophical mission:
We believe that government works for the benefit of private life, and not the other way around. We see government’s mission as fostering and enabling the important realms – our businesses, service clubs, Little Leagues, churches – to flourish. …
Indiana allows each citizen to choose how to invest their time, labor and money. Daniels explains:
We place our trust in average people. We are confident in their ability to decide wisely for themselves, on the important matters of their lives.
Importantly, Indiana honors a worker’s right to retain and control the fruits of their labor and increases a citizen’s control of government:
We believe it wrong ever to take a dollar from a free citizen without a very necessary public purpose, because each such taking diminishes the freedom to spend that dollar as its owner would prefer.
So when we cut property taxes, to the lowest level in America, we left flexibility for localities to raise them, but only by securing the permission of their taxpayers, voting in referendum.
Daniels describes how Indiana limits government regulation and limits expenditures to necessary public goods and infrastructure:
Every day, we work to lower the costs and barriers to free men and women creating wealth for each other. We build roads, and bridges, and new sources of homegrown energy at record rates, in order to have the strongest possible backbone to which people of enterprise can attach their investments and build their dreams.
In healthcare, Indiana empowered state employees and Medicaid (low income) recipients to select their healthcare needs:
We designed both our state employee health plans and the one we created for low-income Hoosiers as Health Savings Accounts, and now in the tens of thousands these citizens are proving that they are fully capable of making smart, consumerist choices about their own health care.
Hoosier parents have increased education options for their children:
We have broadened the right of parents to select the best place for their children’s education to include every public school, traditional or charter, regardless of geography, tuition-free. And before our current legislature adjourns, we intend to become the first state of full and true choice by saying to every low and middle-income Hoosier family, if you think a non-government school is the right one for your child, you’re as entitled to that option as any wealthy family; here’s a voucher, go sign up.
Indiana and Governor Daniels are governing for freedom, increasing all Hoosiers’ opportunity to pursue liberty and happiness. Arguably, Indiana is fostering personal freedom better than any government in the world. Certainly, Indiana is achieving freedom better than the proliferate spending and the explosive debt and regulatory burdens of Bush II, Obama and their Congresses.