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Mitch Daniels: On Social Issues and a Money Back Guarantee

We have a double dose of the “Monday Mitch” today. I try, depending on time and laziness, to share at least one article concerning my preferred candidate in the 2012 GOP Primary. Thanks to Snowpocolypse 2010 attacking my poor little Long Island (not that I would to complain to anyone from Indiana aboot the snow), you get two!

The first deals with the economy, which is the main reason many of us who are fans of Mitch Daniels are in fact fans of Mitch Daniels. Jonah Goldberg even referred to him as, “…the first pick of wonks and D. C. eggheads.” A perfect example of why would be what he’s doing as Governor of Indiana right now.

You hear R’s and C’s always talking aboot balancing the budget. Why not balance the budget AND give people their money back…

Daniels’ 2011 legislative agenda calls not only for a balanced budget without a general tax increase but a state government spending cap in the form of an automatic taxpayer rebate.

It’s a creative proposal that avoids the pitfalls experienced by other states that have attempted spending caps, such as Colorado where a constitutional spending formula has created a permanent deficit and resulted in significant deterioration of public services.

Under Daniels’ proposal, lawmakers would be empowered but not required to keep spending down and taxpayers would reap the benefits when reserves hit a comfortable target — say 10 percent of the annual budget.

Basically, once the legislature balances the state budget and saves enough in the event of emergency, the left over money automatically goes back to the people. In an ideal setting, it keeps the legislators honest because it would keep the taxpayers (i.e. voters) more engaged in where the money is being spent and why knowing that they can get some of it back.

The other article goes back to a recent interview in “The Weekly Standard,” where Daniels called for a “truce” on social issues so we can focus on debt and the economy. Social conservatives reacted the way you would expect. So does the Governor regret saying it? In a word…

“No,” Daniels told the Indianapolis Star in an interview when asked if he has changed his mind. “I say that with enormous respect for the people who want to see gay marriage legalized or who have a strong view on some other such question and want to see ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ go away.”

The Indiana governor took flak from some social-conservative groups, and some observers predicted that his comments could hurt him if he decides to run for president. But Daniels said those people might think differently if an enemy army threatened to invade the U.S.

“If there were a foreign army massed at our border right now, I think most Americans would rush to do what they could to help defend the country and they’d find themselves figuratively in the trench next to people that are very different from them and that held different views,” he explained. “If the threat were defeated, we might go right back to our disagreements. That’s all I’m saying.”

Currently, Daniels isn’t scheduled to make a decision until April or May, though I’m sure after fellow Hoosier Rep. Mike Pence makes his decision by February (between running for President and succeeding Daniels as Indiana Governor), it’ll be clear what he’s planning to do.

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