Monday, February 16, 2015

Lincoln Day Essay by Pam Fredericks

“Utah is widely regarded as one of the best managed states in America. What impact have Republican principles had on the success of our state? How can the Utah model help address the challenges facing America?”

By Pam Fredericks

Utah proposed seven times within forty years to become a part of the United States of America. Utah and the United States of America were married January 6th, 1896. Any state that proposes that many times is going to bring with it allegiance, purpose, personality, and tenacity for getting a job done. Those that saw the need to be part of the U.S., had principles that drove those characteristics into action. Utahans, then and now, demonstrate self-reliance, frugality, innovation, creativity, responsibility, and resourcefulness. The principles that Utah governs by are some of the same ones shared by Founding Fathers. Some of those principles translate into what Republicans today base their platform on: limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets to name a few. These principles prove to be universal, constant, and successful, regardless of who’s using them.  However, they are what sets America apart from the rest of the world. Utah has been and continues to be successful because of its dedication to proven American principles.
Utah’s greatest resource is the people’s understanding, appreciation, and application of these principles. Utah is dedicated to these principles because they strengthen individuals, which create families, which build society, which shape business, which produce prosperity.  Utah has been named the 2014, #1 best state for business. It’s not a surprise as we were #3 last year, and #1 from 2010-2012. This conclusion is based on six categories with 36 sub points including: business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects, and quality of life. Business costs are broken down into labor, energy, and taxes. Utah comes in with a “pro-business climate” because of lower energy costs, “job growth forecasts”, a technology hub with an enormous talent pool, and a relatively young work source (forbes.com/best-states-for business).
Prosperous states know that there’s a powerful correlation between a strong business environment and a strong individual and family environment. Our Governor, Gary Herbert, said, “Government should get off your backs and out of your wallets” (forbes.com/sites/alanhall). Every sector, which includes, private, non-profit, religious, corporate, and especially government, should all exist to fortify individuals and families. Government leaders should be like wise parents who balance their roles of protecting, providing, and teaching. However, too much of anything is a bad thing. Overindulgent parents cultivate greed, envy, gluttony, pride, lust, sloth, and wrath; known as the seven deadly sins. On the other side, under involved parents can adopt these destructive characteristics. Like dedicated parents, wise elected officials strive for the right balance. We call that limited government.
Limited government, like exceptional parenting, breeds personal performance and productivity. Utah is pleased to have as our state motto the word “Industry”. Utah is not afraid to work. Our unemployment rate of 3.5% is a great compliment to our leaders, and a big accomplishment of Utah citizens. Wise government leaders empower people to take responsibility to create their own prosperity and destiny.  If needs or wants are provided by government programs, then people slowly lose their drive, desire, and value to provide for themselves. They become dependent on the state. Brilliant parents raise their dependents to be independent. The national government seems to glory in having co-dependents.  Government should get satisfaction from helping citizens help themselves. The proper role of government is more of a protective one, not a providing one.  Limitless government takes away opportunities to be generous and charitable. Because of Utah’s view of limiting government, the flat low income tax rate of 5%, lower energy costs, and sensible budgeting skills, Utahans are also able to be the #1 most charitable state (wallethub.com). We can measure success by unemployment rates, government debt ratios, taxes, crime rates, standard of living, business growth, and all sorts of percentages, but there is nothing more important than serving and loving others.
Personal and Fiscal responsibility go hand in hand with free markets.  Free markets allow, expect, and trust people to merit their own way. Free market principles generate entrepreneurship, variety, industry, creativity and quality, because there is incentive and purpose in work. Fiscal responsibility also means managing funds trustworthily. Utah shows this with their balanced budget and two rainy day funds. Utah also does not have legalized gambling. Hawaii is the only other state that does not have some sort of legalized gambling. The website business.utah.gov is very informative and impressive with regards to the governor’s office of economic development.
Utah’s second greatest treasure is the land and its natural resources. Even though 60% of Utah is managed by the federal government, we are able to accomplish a lot with comparatively a little. Only Alaska and Nevada have higher percentages than us. Most of the “well-managed states” are in the west or mid-west where most of the land is considered federal. We can prosper with whatever assets and liabilities we have because of our self-sufficient spirit and industrious attitude.
Utah’s land was used for a very long time for most people’s livelihoods. We have an incredible mining and agriculture heritage. Our mining, farming, and ranching roots are very deep and even though most of us aren’t throwing a pick, irrigating, or branding cattle, the heritage of hard work and frugality that these trades nurture are a blessing. Farmers and ranchers are notorious for keeping things simply because they might need it for something someday. We know how to use the land advantageously. We are very fortunate to have a vast variety of landscapes and environments that travel and tourism maximize revenues on.
Utah is a well-run entity purely because of its people, in and out of leadership, that choose to live by valid principles. Six out of the top ten states for business in 2014, have Republican traditions. They are: Utah, North Dakota, North Carolina, Texas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Political officers have immense power in effecting people’s lives. But, they are not or ever will be solely responsible for the happiness and prosperity of a state or nation. The great American test is that each person is responsible for their own life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, regardless of what anyone else does.
Thomas Jefferson said, “In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock” (brainyquote.com). If we stand like a rock to what’s good and right, and what works best, then currents will not have power to drown us.  America is forgetting what matters most. America is fighting upstream battles. We’ve twisted styles into principles, and principles into style. Styles change and cycle but principles persist and prove. We’re also losing the ability and freedom to choose and create our own styles and be individual innovators. What’s best for an individual is always right for society but what’s right for society is not always best for an individual. People give up their personal liberty all the time. How can we think about the problems of America when we are blinded by their own? People are sometimes blind and deceived because of the actions they have chosen for themselves, and the blame and the criticisms that are darting through the air. Talk about clean air…let’s talk about negativity and sarcasm. Talk about less spending…let’s talk about greed and laziness. Talk about a balanced budget…let’s talk about practicality and responsibility. Talk about health care…let’s talk about anger and self-worth. Talk about national defense…let’s talk about addictions and morals. Talk about what makes Utah stand out…let’s talk about true principles that have been handed down for generations. The “American Spirit” is alive and well in Utah and is the main reason it’s considered a top spot for business.
 Are we the land of the free and the home of the brave or are we the land of the spending spree and the home of the latest craze? The government is trying to be everything to everybody. It’s impossible. America is like the parents who spoil and try to “fix” things with more control and spending. We don’t have a balanced budget. We are over-regulating and over-spending ourselves into a catastrophe. Utahans understand the excruciating task of keeping things balanced is critical to happiness in our hearts, homes, and homeland.
The ideals that have guided this relatively young state, were ideas that drove America’s Founding Fathers, such as natural rights in a representative republic where power is given to the people to maintain a strong overall welfare, which will only succeed if they are virtuous and moral.  Freedom is based on the ability to choose-not whether it’s right or wrong, but the opportunity and ability to make choices. Hopefully, it is self-control that is affiliated with today’s Republican Party. Republican principles are based on classic, unrelenting, American-revolution inspired morals and virtues. The United States needs to get back to “American Principles”. If America is going to be successful financially and socially, Utah and all the other states need to divorce itself from any part of any principle that spoils society, breaks businesses, fines families, or impairs individuals.  

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