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By Idaho Senator Mike Crapo

We recommit ourselves to the ideas of the American Founding. Through the Constitution, the Founders created an enduring framework of limited government based on the rule of law. They sought to secure national independence, provide for economic opportunity, establish true religious liberty and maintain a flourishing society of republican self-government.
-The Mount Vernon Statement, 2-17-10

A group of prominent conservative leaders recently released the Mount Vernon Statement to recommend a return to America's founding principles to meet our current challenges. Given the shape of our economy and the direction of our country, this advice could not come at a better time to remind America who we are, what we have been blessed with and which course to pursue as a country. The Mount Vernon Statement states that our Constitutional principles "define us as a country and inspire us as a people. They are responsible for a prosperous, just nation unlike any other in the world."

It is precisely this system of limited government that has allowed America to become the most economically and politically free country the world has ever known. Our Constitution limits the powers of government and spells out the liberties of its citizens. This system continues to supply opportunity for individuals and broad prosperity for all. Everyone benefits from the unprecedented productivity of our dynamic free-market system. It is this very system that has made America, as President Lincoln said, "the last best hope of earth."

Yet there are those who would turn away from our Founding principles, especially now in a time of economic turmoil, instead of turning toward them. The Mount Vernon Statement says, "The federal government today ignores the limits of the Constitution, which is increasingly dismissed as obsolete and irrelevant." In January, in an editorial defending First Amendment rights for all, I wrote, "The federal government's unprecedented spending and increased control over the economy go far beyond what the Founders intended and are causing great unease among the majority of the American people."

The massive size of the federal government is not only creating unease among citizens and job seekers; it is creating unease and uncertainty among would-be job creators. The government, by itself, cannot create growth, jobs or prosperity, but it can, with its massive size, destroy incentive and productivity in the economy. The government should reduce spending, keep taxes low and let entrepreneurs and small and large businesses see that they won't be penalized for success. Then we will begin to see the economy recover and the jobs come back.

Over the past year, in opinion polls, at Tea Party rallies and at town hall meetings, we have seen overwhelming opposition to the size and direction of our current government. We cannot afford to see this opposition fade because of fatigue or because we think we have won. The President and the majority in Congress are still pressing a government take-over of health care and are looking to move onto cap-and-trade and massive spending and tax increases.

They are hoping for us to tire and quit speaking out. I urge everyone to use email and other resources to encourage family and friends to continue speaking out and to tell their elected representatives to oppose this big government agenda. It is as important now as ever to continue speaking out and to restore the limited government philosophy that made America the freest and most prosperous country in the world. For more on these issues, please go to my website,, or visit to read the Mount Vernon Statement in full.

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