During his tenure in Congress, former Sen. Jim DeMint got an up close and personal look at the ways in which big government harms America.
As the Sen. Republican leader of the Joint Economic Committee, DeMint analyzed economic data and trends. The South Carolina lawmaker found that the least successful states followed a “top-down, big government, centrally controlled model.” The most successful states, he discovered, governed based on “uniquely American, free market principals.”
In his latest book, “Falling in Love With America Again,” DeMint explores these very issues. He also delves into the problems created by Obamacare. DeMint is now the president of The Heritage Foundation. He talked with CitizenLink about the challenges facing our country.
CitizenLink: What are some of the ways in which big government is hurting our families?
Jim DeMint: We need to realize that this administration and political power, which we see growing today, inevitably will corrupt and become coercion in a lot of ways. What we’ve seen on the family front over the last several decades is that the federal government’s attempt to show compassion has created reverse incentives in the welfare program and family formation. Basically, a woman with a child can get government assistance — but not if she’s married. We’ve created these incentives and kept them in place for such a long period of time that we’ve basically changed American culture. Now, 40 percent of Americans are born of out wedlock. I’m not criticizing certain moms. I know it’s difficult. I know that you can make it. But big government has replaced a lot of the little platoons — churches, charitable groups, and families — that can actually help them get out of poverty and out of a bad situation.
CitizenLink: What are some of the results of these “reversed incentives”?
Jim DeMint: These incentives have ended up not only in broken families, but if you follow the trail, what we find is high school dropouts; delinquency; drug use; incarceration and poverty. The biggest causal factor of poverty today is broken families.
CitizenLink: In your book, you talk about how Obamacare is the worst example today of big government and getting involved with big business.
Jim DeMint: I guess I’ve seen things from being on the inside for a number of years —being in the House and Senate. But this myth that somehow “big government is going to help the little guy” has got to be dispelled. Obamacare was not written to help those who didn’t have insurance. It was written primarily by large insurance companies, large hospital associations that really like the idea of forcing Americans to buy health insurance. And if you look at these things, basically the young and healthy are paying more. If you’re creating a system of democracy, then it’s not helping the health care of Americans. It is very likely to hurt our health care system over time.
CitizenLink: You also write about how the Obama administration cut backroom deals with lobbyists for hospitals and others to push the Affordable Care Act through Congress. Why the push for this legislation from the administration? What does the administration gain from this?
Jim DeMint: The centralization of control of the left wing doesn’t matter if Obamacare doesn’t work. What it does is remove the control of health care from Washington because it’s there even if the law itself collapses. The only recourse is going to be to have more government to simply pay your systems. But the centralization of power allows the big players to control things.
CitizenLink: And Senator, how do we fall in love with American again?
Jim DeMint: When we remember what America is in the first place. No one’s fallen out of love with the ideal America, the American dream. Many people have fallen out of love with the people who run the country and with one-size-fits-all solutions coming out of Washington — this divides people. When Washington decides that they’re going to redefine marriage and force it on people, for instance, it makes people angry, resentful of their country and of the people who are pushing it. And so instead of being able to live together — and actually loving a neighbor whom you disagree with on an issue like marriage — we begin to resent the neighbor who’s using the coercive force of government to try and force us to believe something we think is definitely wrong. People can live together in harmony, despite a lot of different views — until the government forces us all to the same goal.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about “Falling in Love With America Again.”
Listen to “How Obamacare Will Impact the 2014 Elections.”
Watch “CitizenLink Report: Why Obamacare is Unconstitutional.”
Watch “Stoplight: Now That You Know.”