Freedomworks, a national grassroots organization dedicated to lower taxes, less government and more economic freedom for Americans, launched their two-day Liberty Summit Wednesday for more than 200 state volunteer leaders across the country.
The summit was designed to educate attendees to recruit friends at home and mobilize powerful campaigns locally to fight for more individual freedom and elect constitutionally-motivated leaders. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), one of the strongest proponents of earmark reform, spoke on the importance of eliminating pork barrel spending and applauded the efforts of other Senate and congressional leaders who’ve joined him in the fight. Several years ago, he noted, nobody knew what an earmark was but today, the term is common knowledge.
Coburn called earmarking the “seduction and corruption of members of Congress” and told the audience that “activism is going to change things.” He declared he could beat any pro-earmark politician in any place in the country because the people reject pork.
Pork-barrel spending is a bi-partisan problem that Coburn said has created a three party congress: real Republicans, liberal Democrats and Appropriators. Appropriators — the members of the Senate and House committees on appropriations — are the members who most easily and most directly control earmarks throughout the legislative process. And they often do so behind closed doors.
Anonymous earmarks and deceptive spending will be more difficult beginning in January 2008 when the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act takes effect. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will host a website listing all organizations or entities receiving federal funds.
According the Coburn, the site will be simple to navigate and offer a Google-like search engine that allows users to “see transparency in the federal government like you’ve never seen before.”
He highlighted Reagan21, a group of House and Senate members seeking to reduce government intrusion and embrace traditional grassroots activism through the Reagan conservatism that prospered in the 80s. One of Reagan21’s top priorities is the fight against earmarks and wasteful spending.
Coburn said that democracies ultimately fail due to failed fiscal policies and said Washington is handling the future of America “cavalierly.”
“You lose friends and influence people by standing on principle,” Coburn said, then boldly suggested the salaries of Congressmen be tied to how well they balance the budget after one man asked how much more Coburn made than him.
During a question and answer session, audience members expressed frustration at the lack options in electable leaders to restore integrity to government. Coburn urged the volunteers to create more local contacts that would sacrifice time and answer a call to save the future for the next generation. “Are your grandkids worth it?” he asked. The answer was “yes.”
In the next session, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) spoke on a new social security reform proposal, the “7.65% Solution.” The proposal supports individual control and ownership of social security accounts. A social security funding crisis shadows America’s future and a movement towards personal, transferable accounts would provide the risk-free protection workers need to invest in their retirement.
In this plan, workers would put the current 7.65% of social security taxes from their paycheck into a personal account that would hold investments and build value over time, instead of involuntarily donating it towards the government run retirement system.
Democrats often resort to a federal solution for the social security crisis but DeMint said, “We can’t use every problem in this country to eliminate freedom with more government.”
“The Democrats know that a dependent voter is a dependable vote,” he said.
He said Republicans can win on social security if they stop spending the money on other things and save the surplus.
“If we work now to change how we do health insurance…more people with their own plans…when they retire will demand to keep their own policy,” DeMint said. “Individual ownership will create revenue so people can afford their own policy.”
The 7.65% Solution gives the money back to the people and allows them to make the best choices for their own lives without sacrificing paycheck money to distrustful federal government spending program. According to the written proposal, social security tax is the largest tax taken from the paycheck of the working poor in America so the solution would benefit the low income segment of society, which traditionally relies most on government help.