Pence addresses Detroit Economic Club

Webmaster’s thoughts: There has been quite a bit of talk about Congressman Pence possibly running for Indiana Governor or even US President. To date, I don’t think he has officially announced an intention either way. Today’s speech to the Detroit Economic Club was touted as a “major economic speech”. I’ve always thought it would be a waste of name recognition to run for Governor and a Presidential bid would be more in keeping with his course in Washington. Let me know your thoughts about a possible Gubernatorial/Presidential run in the poll to the right. In the meantime, below are some excerpts from his speech and a new proposal he is making to limit Federal Government spending to 20% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

An article from the Detroit News reports:

[…] Indiana Rep. Mike Pence said he was “humbled” by the “encouragement” he has received to make a 2012 bid for the White House, and added he would spend the next few months mulling over his political future with his family and advisors. “Let me say my little family and I have been very humbled by the encouragement we’ve received about running for higher office,” Pence said at a luncheon held this afternoon by the Detroit Economic Club at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. “Were determined to take the next few months and pray about it, and seek the counsel of those people who we respect.”

[…] Pence made his comments during a question and answer session that followed his prepared address in the hotel’s ballroom.


Excerpts from U.S. Congressman Mike Pence’s remarks on the economy delivered at 12:45pm ET today to the Detroit Economic Club.

[…] We live in no ordinary times. Our economy is struggling in the city and on the farm. Unemployment is at a heartbreaking 9.6 percent nationally and nearly 13 percent in Michigan. Nearly 42 million Americans on food stamps. A housing crisis and dismal GDP growth.

And it seems that those in authority have no idea what to do about it. Some in the administration call it the “new normal.” (like we haven’t heard that before) In the 70’s they called it a national “malaise.”

With more than 15 million people still looking for work, President Obama and Democrats in Congress have tried to borrow and spend the country back to prosperity resulting in trillion dollar plus annual deficits and a nearly $14 trillion national debt. To this runaway federal spending they added a government takeover of health care, attempted a national energy tax and approved one bailout after another.

In September 2008, when the Bush Administration proposed that Congress give them $700 billion to bail out Wall Street, I was the first Member of Congress to publicly oppose it. I didn’t think we should do nothing, I just thought it was wrong to take $700 billion from Main Street to bailout bad decisions on Wall Street. I warned that passing TARP could fundamentally change the relationship between the government and the financial sector and so it has.

Another excerpt:

[…] Taxpayer funded bailouts are no substitute for economic policies that will create real consumer demand. I have no doubt that American automakers and autoworkers can compete and win in a growing American economy.

To restore American exceptionalism, we must end all this Keynesian spending and get back to the practice of free market economics. The freedom to succeed must include the freedom to fail. The free market is what made America’s economy the greatest in the world, and we cannot falter in our willingness to defend it.

Even though our economy is struggling and America seems at a low point, I believe we can restore our economy but it will take vision and courage to do it. And everything starts with putting our fiscal house in order.

And another:

For my part, I believe the answer is a Spending Limit Amendment to the Constitution. Since World War II the federal government has operated on an average of just under 20 percent of gross domestic product. But, in the past three years, federal spending has climbed to nearly 25 percent of GDP. Left unchecked, and accounting for no new programs, federal spending will reach 50 percent of GDP by 2055.

We should remember what Ronald Reagan said, “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size.” We must have a mechanism that forces Washington as a whole to make the hard choices necessary to reform our nation’s addiction to big spending and unsustainable entitlements.

By limiting federal spending to 20 percent of our nation’s economy in the Constitution, except for certain conditions such as a war, we will create a framework for this and future Congresses to live within our means and have the incentive to grow the economy.

To grow the economy we must shrink the size of the federal government but fiscal discipline alone will not be enough to bring jobs and prosperity back to America.

We need a new agenda for economic growth and that is principally what brings me to Detroit to discuss today.


[…] The new Republican majority in Congress must embrace a bold agenda for economic growth built on timeless free market practices and reform.

So what are the building blocks of an incentive-based, growth agenda? I submit they are the following:

  • Sound monetary policy;
  • Tax relief and reform;
  • Access to American energy;
  • Regulatory reform;
  • Trade

“S.T.A.R.T.” You could call it a prescription for a fresh start for the American economy. Some of these are new ideas. Some are timeless. Taken together, they will put us back on track for job creation and prosperity.

In conclusion:

The problem with our economy today is that, after years of runaway spending and growth of government under both political parties, America is on that wall between West and East. No longer the vibrant free market that built cities like Detroit but not yet overtaken by the policies that have engulfed Europe in a sea of debt and mediocrity.

To restore American economic exceptionalism, we have to decide that we believe in it again and turn and pursue a free market economy again with all our hearts.

We have to choose. Ronald Reagan said it best:

You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream–the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.

I choose the West. I choose limited government and freedom. I choose the free market, personal responsibility and equality of opportunity. I choose fiscal restraint, sound money, a flat tax, regulatory reform, American energy, expanded trade and a return to traditional values.

In a word, I choose a boundless American future built on the timeless ideals of the American people. I believe the American people are ready for this choice and await men and women who will lead us back to that future, back to the West, back to American exceptionalism. Here’s to that future. Our best days are yet to come. Thank you.


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