Make Your Representative Work for You

What would the ideal job look like for you? Would it be one in which you had free rein to do whatever your heart desired and were paid regardless of your productivity? Or would you prefer a position in which you created value for yourself and others but were also held to a high standard? Would you rather get money for doing nothing or earn it as a reward for a job well done?

The latter choice, which is based on earned success, is more fulfilling and also benefits others. Businesses in our state operate in a competitive environment that rewards hard work as the most effective way to ensure productivity while providing goods and services for society. But our state government always seems to struggle with efficiency, keeping promises, and even balancing its budget. Perhaps the reason is that voters too often neglect to hold government officials accountable.

Imagine if, like many politicians, business people never got fired for failing to meet deadlines, never got sued for breaking contracts, and always spent more money than they took in. To be sure, North Carolina’s elected officials sometimes have their careers ruined or get prison sentences for scandals of epic proportions (see: John Edwards, Mike Easley, et al), but such corruption surfaced only after a century’s worth of one-party dominance.

Now that the executive and legislative branches of our state government are again controlled by a single party, while the state Supreme Court is composed of a majority of conservatives, how can North Carolinians ensure that the changes they voted for are actually signed into law? How can we prevent the Republican Party, which may maintain its majority rule for the foreseeable future, from becoming as corrupt as the previous party to hold sway over the state, the Democrats? Now that the tide seems to have turned in favor of conservatives, North Carolinians must hold their elected officials accountable and not be afraid to criticize them when necessary.

Members of any political party have a tendency to blindly accept the actions of their leaders. Conservatives must not become complacent and overly confident that the men and women they elected on November 6 will keep their promises. The reality is that our elected officials are themselves flawed human beings and are sometimes too slow to recognize when the policies they promote turn out to be destructive. The best way for conservatives to make sure that limited-government reforms are implemented is to stay informed and engaged about what state and local officials are doing.

For starters, conservative officials sometimes commit policy blunders when it comes to handling the economy, and North Carolinians must call them out on their mistakes when the legislative long session begins in January. Republicans often implement harmful pro-business policies when they should push for free market reforms. Sadly, “pro-business” policies sometimes are really just tax breaks for huge corporations and billionaires who promise to create jobs in North Carolina (but who rarely deliver on those promises). Such policies give an unfair advantage to large companies but hurt small businesses.

Republicans are also often weary of jobs being outsourced overseas when, in fact, if an economy is free enough, new technologies will allow innovative industries to replace those that left. Conservative voters must be aware of the mistakes that Republican officials tend to make when drafting policies, and they must be prepared to contest lawmakers’ errors with sound arguments.

In November, North Carolinians voted for less government intrusion in the business sector, greater freedom to explore energy solutions, more opportunity to send their children to good schools, and less federal government interference in the form of stimulus packages and harmful healthcare reform. Employers expect their employees to work hard. Consumers expect to get what they pay for with their hard-earned dollars. Likewise, the people of North Carolina must expect to get what they voted for if they are to make this state an example of prosperity to which the rest of the nation will aspire. It’s high time voters started holding their elected officials to a higher standard. Let’s make them earn their positions. Let’s make them work for us.

Rhett Forman is an Analyst at the Civitas Institute in Raleigh.

This article was posted in Legislative Activity by Rhett Forman on December 11, 2012 at 7:50 AM.

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Comments on this article

  • 1

    Beverly Mihelich
    Beverly Mihelich Dec 12, 2012 at 11:33

    I totally agree and having been associated with the military my whole life I’ve lived places and experienced first hand better and worse systems than what we have in NC. I know first hand how bureaucracy and gov’t jobs breed fraud, waste and abuse. I have seen first hand what communism and socialism looks like for those people who have had to suffer under them and I don’t want it!!!! I can’t believe we trusted those we elected to protect us from tyranny and selfish gain only to realize they are not only embracing it but promoting it, stealing our freedoms one by one turning us into their slaves. While we take our oath to protect and defend the constitution seriously what have they been thinking?

    Along with serving our country with the military, my family produced several educators and I have been a substitute so I know first hand why it is so hard to get quality teachers and why schools are failing.

    Healthcare costs went up with the implementations of Medicare and then Medicaid really pushed it up over the top not to mention all those regulations that caused the cost to doctors to go up exponentially. Yes, there is a doctor in my family as well as farmers, warehouse workers, retail workers, stockbrokers, truck drivers and nurses.

    I believe in helping people who find themselves temporarily in a hard place but to help to the point that it becomes a generational lifestyle is not good for anyone. I see too many of our kids and adults becoming lazy and unwilling to do what is hard because they have been given too much. If people are doing without they don’t get fat or have the latest electronics that I do without until I can afford them. My own children learned the value of good work ethics by getting jobs babysitting, picking strawberries and ultimately retail while in high school to buy what they wanted above what we were willing to buy them. People, especially kids, need incentives to help them see that being productive is a great thing for everyone.

    We need people with common sense running our gov’t, who can say NO to wasteful spending and since that doesn’t seem to apply to most politicians who forget who they are working for, we have to be diligent. This country is on the road to ruin as a whole but I believe it is only at the local and state levels that we can turn this around. I cheer for the politicians who stand up against the status quo and do the right thing for their state and ultimately the whole country. Let me know how I can do my part to help fix this – who to write and when. I’d personally like to see someone help reform the requirements for starting new very small businesses by steam lining the processes, costs, taxes and regulations. Big outside businesses should not be given incentives above what is offered to local citizens who have chosen to live here without such benefits. There are too many fees, regulations, restrictions and too many taxes that are also too high to be good for any business, new or old or to encourage new comers to move here. If Paula Dean, Bill Gates or any one successful today tried selling those home baked, hand made items made and sold out of their homes today they would never have the freedom they had to become the successes they are today.

    Freedom, with personal responsibility, granted to us by our creator and recognized by our gov’t, to achieve what we want to achieve is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. So here is to all those lemonade stands and bake sales across this great land and the gov’t officials who keep their greed and selfishness in check when they see people learning the value and dignity that comes from hard work and ingenuity.

    The Bible teaches us that if a man is unwilling to work he is not to eat, that a man that does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel, that spearing the rod spoils the child, treat others as you would like to be treated and many more wise teachings that make this world a better place for those of us who practice them. Those who have are supposed to provide the opportunity for the poor to gather their food and feed themselves but not to gather it and do all the work for them. As conservatives we need to look at this situation we find ourselves in and be realistic about what we expect from the poor and rich alike through the advice of God Himself. Thank you.

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