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Will Wray '10: To the nay-sayers in Congress, keep naying.

Barack Obama recently took the opportunity during his State of the Union address to chide you nay-sayers for your negativity. "Just saying no to everything," he condescended, "may be good short-term politics, but it's not leadership."

Please pay him no mind. Keep saying no.

When the semi-governmental organizations, the bloated banks and failed car companies that no longer deserve the title of "business" come begging for taxpayers' dollars, tell them no. It's not your money to give. Tell them that if they have a product worth selling, someone will buy it.

When Obama wants to spend billions on a high-speed rail that won't reduce emissions, traffic or travel time, tell him no. Let the European cities keep their ambiance of sophistication; we will take the coarseness of efficiency.

When President Obama earns standing ovations by announcing that he has and will continue to cut taxes, then, not two minutes later, announces further spending projects, tell him that no, that's not how money works, not even for the president. You can't have less of it, spend more of it, and claim you are tightening your belt all in the same speech.

When he appeals to Republicans by claiming he has cut taxes for 95 percent of working families, tell him that's not enough. Tell him that tax cuts shouldn't be used as a device to swell your constituency; they are given as a matter of principle.

When he appeals to the welfare of your constituents, when he claims that it is his role to stand between two consenting adults, American or abroad, who want to exchange goods and services, well, say no to that too. Don't baby us, or soon we'll be reliant on your paternalism and cease to provide for ourselves. 

Don't let a president who has never really participated in the private sector decide how to regulate it.

When you see a problem worth solving, like the opaque and misaligned healthcare market, please resist the urge to solve it on the Senate floor. There are many causes worth fighting for; there are few causes that will be helped, not hindered, by more legislation.

Remember what has always been true in the United States: The creation of wealth, the employment of workers and the dissemination of goods are within the realm of the American entrepreneur, not the central planner.

Remember that when you were elected to Congress you abandoned the mantle of leadership and assumed the mantle of protectorship. Your salary, skimmed from the salaries of Americans doing actual work, will be money well spent only so long as you spend your time in Congress protecting us from the savior complexes of your companions.

When you are tempted to help the downtrodden, the poor or the unemployed, remember that charity is charity only so long as you give of yourself. Even when you find yourself moved by a sincere desire to better the lives' of your constituents, say no to the emotions that stir your heart. Do not be so cynical as to assume that the empathy that moves you does not exist within those whose money you would spend. 

Do not be so prideful as to assume that by virtue of your election, the bounds of your largesse extend past those of our property rights.

When your constituents approach you for pork barrel projects, tell them no. Turn them away. Be mindful of the fact that the old D.C. game of concentrated benefits/diffuse costs hurts those of us who have chosen to hire workers instead of lobbyists.

When he realizes that his grandiose notions of Father Government have died on the Senate floor and pares his legislative reforms down to a face-saving fraction of their previous scope, still say no. Tell him that he was not elected to shake hands on television.

Obstinance may not play well on MSNBC, but you can hope that your voters understand progress is more than a new law.

Tell him that you were not elected to go along to get along.

Remember that you were elected for your principles and not for one man's idea of progress. 

Always remember this quote: "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." When people like me lose conviction, when we smile wryly and sigh that we are far past Tocqueville's point of no return, prove us wrong.

Tell us that the essence of self-sufficiency that set the New World apart from the Old, however battered it may be by bailouts and New Deals, subsidies and pet projects, still exists. Tell us it will prevail over political demagoguery. 

Tell us that despite scandal and corruption, egotism and demagoguery, there exists in the U.S. Congress some ideal that outshines desire for re-election.

Will Wray '10 occasionally surrenders to the joys of dogmatism.


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