Jim DeMint in Now Or Never, by Jim DeMint


On Abortion: No funding for Planned Parenthood; protect the unborn

The Senate Conservatives Fund has developed a questionnaire that we require candidates to complete before we consider an endorsement. I am not looking for perfection, and I don't expect candidates that I support to always agree with me. But a candidate's answers to these questions will reveal whether they consistently apply conservative principles to their positions on important issues. Question #1 and #2 on the SCF questionnaire asks the following questions about abortion:
  1. Will you oppose taxpayer funding for any organization that provide abortions or that funds organizations that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood?
  2. Will you support legislation recognizing the personhood of the unborn child?
[The SCF website SenateConservatives.org includes the plank]: Protect Life: Human life is precious and it must be protected. SCF candidates oppose taxpayer funding for abortion.
Source: Senate Conservatives Fund in "Now Or Never", p.219-221 Jan 10, 2012

On Budget & Economy: Spending is an addiction

I am constantly amazed at how out of touch my colleagues are with the very real dangers from our reckless spending and irresponsible budget deficits. How can public officials and journalists continue to ignore such a serious and obvious threat? I asked former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan: "The people in the administration and Congress are smart people. Are they intentionally trying to collapse our economy and undermine our currency as a way to restructure our debt and redistribute wealth?"

I think Greenspan is right. Washington's determined drive toward national bankruptcy is more likely an addiction than a conspiracy. Attempting to persuade my colleagues to stop spending has been like confronting an alcoholic about his need to stop drinking, with the prevailing attitude being "Just one more and I'll quit tomorrow." The spending continues in Washington, as do many promises to cut the budget--tomorrow.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p. xxiii-xiv Jan 10, 2012

On Budget & Economy: Quantitative easing prints money & causes inflation

A deceptive example would be what the Fed calls "quantitative easing," in which it simply prints more money out of thin air--devaluing our dollar and damaging our country's economic health and global standing. And in its role as a supposedly independent guardian of the dollar, the Federal Reserve has embarked on policies that have undermined worldwide confidence in our currency and set the stage for massive inflation.
Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p. 24 Jan 10, 2012

On Civil Rights: Gay marriage considered immoral by all the world's religions

The definition of marriage is a key question to determine how candidates view the role of government. Does government have the right to reshape cultural mores by redefining religious institutions to sanction behavior that is considered immoral by all the world's religions? In America, people should have a right to live with whomever they want, but redefining marriage to promote behavior that is deemed costly and destructive is not the proper role of government. This Senate Conservatives Fund question tells us where candidates stand on marriage and the role of government on other issues as well:
Source: Senate Conservatives Fund in "Now Or Never", p.221 Jan 10, 2012

On Corporations: Eliminating business taxes makes US best at manufacturing

During a recent recession, GDP declined less than 1% from 2007 to 2009, yet because our tax system is weighted so heavily on investors and business profits, total income tax revenues plummeted more than 20%. America desperately needs a fair and flat tax code.

There are numerous tax reform ideas that should be considered. Consumption tax proposals, such as the Fair Tax, would eliminate all income, payroll, and business taxes, and replace them with a 23% national sales tax. The elimination of business taxes would make America one of the best places in the world to manufacture goods. Rebates would be provided to insulate poor Americans against higher taxes, and the rich, who are the nation's largest consumers, would pay disproportionately more taxes. But all citizens would participate at least in a small way in paying for the cost of government.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p.174 Jan 10, 2012

On Education: NCLB should be called "More Children Left behind"

When Pres. Bush sought to improve public education through No Child Left Behind, he included more centralized federal control of public education. This frustrated many Republicans. But Bush's plan originally offered an option for states to agree to higher federal standards in return for the flexibility to run their own schools and develop their own education program. This would encourage states to compete for the best public education systems.

I was opposed to NCLB but believed the opt-out provision would allow some states to demonstrate better ways to improve their schools. But in order to gain Democrats' support, Bush was forced to give up the state flexibility provision.

Bush's compromise with Democrats to pass NCLB resulted in more centralized federal control over public education and, ultimately, more spending to maintain an education system that continues to become increasingly less competitive with the rest of the world. It should really be called "More Children Left Behind."

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p.100-101 Jan 10, 2012

On Education: Government-run schools can't instill morals and character

Poor-quality public education is a huge problem for America--and it is also a serious threat to freedom. Since the principles of freedom depend on the character and capabilities of individuals, the development and education of children are important goals for a free society--which also means education is simply too important to be conceded to the inefficient bureaucracy characteristic of our federal government.

Government cannot instill in children the character and discipline they need to become productive citizens. These must come from good parents and community-based schools that reflect the morals and principles individuals need to be successful in life.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p.162 Jan 10, 2012

On Education: A-PLUS Act: allow states to operate like charter schools

What if the federal government lets go of its near monopoly on public education? I am one of the sponsors of the A-PLUS Act, which has been introduced in both houses of Congress. This legislation would allow states to operate much like charter schools; they could agree to certain standards while still being allowed the flexibility to run their schools the way they want. Federal money would be block-granted to these charter states instead of being divided among multiple programs. If states don't meet federal standards, they would have to return to the federal regimen.

A-PLUS would allow states to be innovative and, more importantly, to adapt their schools to the needs of students.

Competition for the best schools would raise the standards for schools throughout the nation. This could be a revolution in improving the quality of education American students receive, while the size and cost of the Department of Education could be significantly reduced.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p.163-164 Jan 10, 2012

On Education: Vouchers lead to competition, not re-segregation

Democrats often argue that publicly funded education scholarships (that is, vouchers) would drain money from government schools and lead to the resegregation of schools. This is utter nonsense. With a portable scholarship program, government schools would have to become more competitive to be replaced by better, less expensive schools. But thankfully, school segregation is gone forever. This generation of American students is so far past the thought of segregation that for the overwhelming majority of America's youth, any hint of discrimination is repugnant. Liberals continue to raise the specter of institutionalized racism in places like public education, where strong modern attitudes against it will unquestionably prevent it from ever reemerging.

The government cannot create the system of specialized and individualized schools necessary to give every student the opportunity to succeed. Education freedom would help America's fiscal and economic problems now and in the future.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p.165 Jan 10, 2012

On Education: Allow states to opt out of No Child Left Behind

The Senate Conservatives Fund has developed a questionnaire that we require candidates to complete before we consider an endorsement. A candidate's answers to these questions will reveal whether they consistently apply conservative principles to their positions on important issues.
Source: Senate Conservatives Fund in "Now Or Never", p.224 Jan 10, 2012

On Energy & Oil: Secure and reliable market-based energy supply

The Senate Conservatives Fund has developed a questionnaire that we require candidates to complete before we consider an endorsement. A candidate's answers to these questions will reveal whether they consistently apply conservative principles.
Source: Senate Conservatives Fund in "Now Or Never", p.224 Jan 10, 2012

On Environment: Cash-for-Clunkers program was a stupid idea

Most average citizens recognized that the 2010 "Cash for Clunkers" program was a ridiculous idea. The federal government paid car dealers to buy used cars and have them destroyed so people would be forced to drive more environmentally friendly new cars. In Washington, it sounded like a brilliant idea: help the environment while bailing out the ailing car industry.

But in the real world, Cash for Clunkers was a stupid idea in many ways. The federal government borrowed the money to do it because we were already broke. Destroying used cars used a lot of energy, and reduced the supply of used cars--making these more affordable vehicles more expensive for lower-income people.

Most of the new cars that were bought by the program were imports. Reports of fraud by dealers and companies that were supposed to destroy the used cars were rampant. And to top it all off, the government completely mismanaged the program, and closed it down after a few weeks.

Still, some in Washington insisted it was a success.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p.212 Jan 10, 2012

On Families & Children: Dependency encourages social problems

Dependency often encourages other social problems. A 2011 editorial reported that 41% of children born in the US were born to unmarried mothers (up from 5% a half century ago, before welfare programs existed). That includes 73% of black children, 53% of Hispanic children, and 29% of white children. The editorial provided overwhelming evidence that children of single mothers--particularly teen mothers--suffer disproportionately high poverty rates, impaired development, and low school performance.
Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p. 29 Jan 10, 2012

On Government Reform: Feds have shut down kids' lemonade stands!

State and local governments are taking their cues from the federal government (often by force) and adding onerous regulations. Things have become so ridiculous that is some states, children's lemonade stands have been shut down and the parents fined up to $500. I wish I was kidding. The International Business Times reported on August 2, 2011:
Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p.140-142 Jan 10, 2012

On Government Reform: Kept pledge for six-year Congressional term limit

When I was elected to the US House in 1998, I was sworn in with 18 other freshman Republicans--about half of whom vowed to obey a self-imposed term limit pledge. Only 3 kept their pledge. I was one of them. So was Senator Pat Toomey.

Washington changes people. Candidates who boldly proclaim they will fight for change, once elected, do not withstand the crushing pressure from party leadership, constituents, interest groups, and the media. Many politicians walk through the front door of the Capitol pumped up and ready to take on the world--but walk out completely deflated.

Americans' disdain and apathy toward the political process have grown as we have watched one champion of "change" after another drink the Beltway Kool-Aid, "grow in office," and join the Washington establishment. Why, many citizens wonder, should they even bother to get involved with politics? Why vote?

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p.205 Jan 10, 2012

On Government Reform: Not federal government's job to do good deeds

Many who want to use the government to do good have honorable intentions. However, it is not my job as a US senator to think of good things to do. It is not my job or that of the government to go out and survey America, discover problems, and use taxpayer dollars to attempt to solve them all. My job is to keep the government focused on its specific constitutional responsibilities and leave the rest to the states and the people.

It is simply not our job to do good deeds and solve every problem.

The federal government should write the rules and serve as referees. It is not our role to be the coaches, players, or fans. Yet, this is exactly what our modern government tries to do.

Worst of all, because those of us in Washington are so distracted trying to centrally manage every aspect of the nation, we are not effectively carrying out our constitutional responsibilities.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p.236 Jan 10, 2012

On Gun Control: 2nd Amendment view tells if you take Constitution seriously

The Senate Conservatives Fund has developed a questionnaire that we require candidates to complete before we consider an endorsement. A candidate's answers to these questions will reveal whether they consistently apply conservative principles to their positions on important issues.

The Second Amendment is about a lot more than guns. It tells us if a candidate takes the Constitution seriously. This Senate Conservatives Fund question is simple and to the point:

[The SCF website SenateConservatives.org includes the plank]: Defend the 2nd Amendment: The 2nd Amendment protects our freedom to keep and bear arms. SCF candidates oppose all efforts to eliminate or restrict this right.
Source: Senate Conservatives Fund in "Now Or Never", p.222 Jan 10, 2012

On Health Care: Freedom solutions: cross-state insurers; health cooperatives

Freedom solutions in health care can provide better choices, improve the health status of Americans, and stop the socialization of 1/6 of America's economy.

We should break up the state-by-state insurance monopolies and allow individuals to buy health insurance across state lines. Giving states the ability to compete would lower the cost of health insurance by creating a highly competitive, national insurance market for individuals.

Small employers and organization should be free to join together to buy health insurance at lower prices. Today, federal laws give larger corporations a huge advantage over small businesses and individuals. There is no good reason why individual Americans, small businesses, churches, and volunteer organizations should not be free to cooperate together to buy health insurance.

Frivolous lawsuits against doctors and hospitals must be stopped. Hospital administrators tell me up to 1/3 of their costs can be attributed to defensive medicine.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p.167-168 Jan 10, 2012

On Principles & Values: Dubbed "Senator Tea Party" at grassroots rallies

Tea Party grassroots activists were not just Republicans; they included Democrats, libertarians, independents, and many who had never been involved in politics. Americans from different backgrounds and political persuasions voiced grave concern over the troubling direction of their country. It was the beginning of an American awakening.

I was dubbed "Senator Tea Party" due to my vocal support for the many grassroots rallies organized throughout the country. When I spoke at Tea Party events and made my way through the crowds, I would often hear 3 things: "Thanks for fighting. Don't back down," and "We're praying for you." And of course everyone would ask, "What can we do?" These folks came from all walks of life, but they were all eager for political leadership from elected officials serious about stopping the federal government from bankrupting our nation.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p. 12 Jan 10, 2012

On Principles & Values: Judeo-Christian conservatism overcomes natural selfishness

The American vision of societal organization reflected a totally different view of mankind.

Freedom operating within the constraints of law was the only rational way to deal with individuals whose natural tendencies were bent toward selfishness and corruption.

These competing visions of human nature and societal arrangements are at war in America today--and the progressive view that mankind is inherently virtuous is infinitely more attractive to the uninformed voter.

The Judeo-Christian view, which is essentially synonymous with today's conservative view, is that a decentralized societal structure based on individual rewards and punishment is the best way to harness the good and redirect the negative tendencies of human nature.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p. 51-22 Jan 10, 2012

On Principles & Values: American exceptionalism requires understanding biblical view

No government should promote any form of religion, but unless our elected leaders understand a biblical view of human nature supported by years of historical evidence, they will develop policies that are antithetical to American exceptionalism. Government planning or force has never yielded productivity and virtue from the people. Only accountability to God, economic necessity, and the rule of law can redirect the inherent negative tendencies of mankind toward morality, virtue, hard work, self-control, and personal responsibility.

These are the character traits that make people governable with only limited government and external control. This is what compels one neighbor to help another. And these are also the characteristics that provide some measure of restraint to elected leaders who are given the power to govern.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p. 55-56 Jan 10, 2012

On Principles & Values: Many Democrats are sincere in their desire to help others

One of my best friends in Congress is a Democrat. He is part of a small group of moderate to conservative Democrats in the House known as Blue Dog Democrats. We agree on many things. He believes there should be a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget. He believes in a strong defense. He is against illegal immigration. He is pro-life. He is a man of genuine faith with a strong commitment to his family.

I once asked him: "You agree with Republicans on almost every issue, so why are you a Democrat?" His answer: "Because I want to help people."

My friend's answer reminds us there are many good people in the Democratic Party who are sincere in their desire to help others. They honestly believe that despite all the evidence to the contrary, the federal government can balance the playing field of life, ensure fairness, improve education, eliminate poverty, and redistribute wealth and prosperity from the haves to the have-nots.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p. 97 Jan 10, 2012

On Principles & Values: Select candidates by integrity of character, not promises

To save America, we must change Washington--and we will never effectively do so until we change the people we send to Washington.

In politics, ideology and rhetoric are useless unless elected leaders have character, courage, and competence. Character means you are accountable to a set of principles that don't change for expedience. And, for me, it means being accountable to God.

Character cannot be determined by claims and promises--it is revealed over the course of one's life. Every candidate for public office will have a record of performance in their family life, their professional life, their church, their community, and their voting record and behavior in office. It is important that we evaluate the character of candidates. We shouldn't expect perfection, but there is usually a discernible pattern of character. If a candidate has not been honest with those closest to him--his family, friends and community--we should not be surprised if integrity is also lacking in his public life.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p.210-211 Jan 10, 2012

On Social Security: Social Security mess is another failed progressive policy

Social Security was originally intended to be a safety net against poverty for older Americans. When it was created, workers and employers each paid 1% of the first $3,000 of a worker's salary (a maximum of $30 per year for workers). Today, Social Security is the largest tax paid by many Americans (a combined employee/employer contribution of 12.4% of the first $106,800 of wages paid). Today, the federal government automatically puts all of the money that should be set aside for the Trust Fund into the General Fund.

Contrary to what many progressives love to say, there is no money in the Trust Fund to pay future benefits. Furthermore, the fundamentally flawed program faces a severe demographic crisis as members of the baby boom generation begin to retire. The mess we face with Social Security, a program so many are now dependent on, is yet another example of a failed progressive policy, where the potential for unintended consequences was ignored at the program's inception.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p. 80-81 Jan 10, 2012

On Social Security: Tax-free lump sum payment as alternative to benefits

Social Security can be saved without cutting benefits to seniors if politicians are willing to give workers and seniors more choices based on individual freedom and responsibility. One idea is to give all retired and retiring seniors with alternative sources of income the option of taking a tax-free lump sum payment equal to of their projected actuarial payout.

If only a small percent of seniors took this option, it would save the country billions of dollars. This arrangement would also encourage younger workers to save more so they could cash out of Social Security when they retire.

Another freedom option would be to allow workers over 50 to opt out of future Social Security benefits. These workers would keep their portion of Social Security taxes (6.2%) for the remainder of their working lives if they purchased an annuity that guaranteed a base income when they retired. This could save individuals $1000s a year and spare the government billions of future Social Security payments.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p.176 Jan 10, 2012

On Social Security: Transition younger workers into personal savings system

The Senate Conservatives Fund has developed a questionnaire that we require candidates to complete before we consider an endorsement. A candidate's answers to these questions will reveal whether they consistently apply conservative principles to their positions on important issues.
Source: Senate Conservatives Fund in "Now Or Never", p.224 Jan 10, 2012

On Welfare & Poverty: Too many Americans are dependent on federal government

Too many Americans are dependent on the federal government for this jobs, income, health care, housing, food, and education. The Democrats have always known that a dependent voter is a dependable vote. Democracies become dysfunctional when too many voters expect more from government than it can dole out by taking from those who are actually producing wealth.

Dependency and the redistribution of wealth is precisely what got us into our current financial mess, and America is now close to the tipping point where more voters are receiving something from government than paying for government. Unfortunately, those who want more from government are better motivated and organized than those who actually pay for government, would like to keep more of the fruit of their labor, and want to live independently in what is supposed to be a free country

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p. 27-28 Jan 10, 2012

On Welfare & Poverty: Partner with churches to assist the poor

Instead of alleviating poverty, welfare simply institutionalizes it. These programs are meant to help the poor but have trapped many people into a life of single-parenthood--which often results in more poverty.

As with Medicaid and other federal programs, the problems with welfare and public assistance could also be solved by giving such responsibilities back to the states. In my book "The Great American Awakening," I proposed that we "phase out federal welfare programs, and give block grants to states to partner with churches and charitable groups to assist the poor. Use federal block grants to assist states in setting up safety net programs to provide support for poor and disabled citizens."

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p. 30 Jan 10, 2012

The above quotations are from Now Or Never
Saving America from Economic Collapse
by Sen. Jim DeMint (R, SC).
Click here for other excerpts from Now Or Never
Saving America from Economic Collapse
by Sen. Jim DeMint (R, SC)
.
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Jim DeMint on other issues:
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Page last updated: Jul 24, 2012