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September 22, 2012

Column: Candidates offer voters a choice to be citizens or subjects

Citizens or subjects? That is the question.

Dueling videos of former Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama suddenly have gripped the fall campaign. In broad strokes, they outline the candidates’ divergent worldviews.

“There are 47 percent who are with him (Obama), who are dependent upon government,” Romney said. Mother Jones magazine released Romney’s off-the-record comments captured by a hidden camera at a Florida fundraiser last May. These Americans “believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

Romney wishes that he had answered more delicately a donor’s question on who would and would not support his candidacy. But Romney did highlight the 76.1 million Americans whose income tax is $0. Many of them also consider Big Government their great provider. Some feel squashed by a flat-tire economy that thumps along at 1.7 percent growth in gross domestic product. Others have become seduced by an ever-expanding state that caters to their every craving.

“Economic freedom is the only force that has consistently succeeded in creating sustained prosperity,” Romney wrote in Tuesday’s USA Today. “My course for the American economy will encourage private investment and personal freedom. Instead of creating a web of dependency, I will pursue policies that grow our economy and lift Americans out of poverty.”

Romney envisions an enterprise model that would revitalize a nation of thriving, independent citizens.

Conversely, Obama sees government as the transmission that propels society. It sucks funds from the pocketbooks of the affluent, pumps them through the omniscient state, and injects them into the pockets of all sorts of people.

Obama said as much on Oct. 14, 2008, when he told Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher, “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

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