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The year was 1982, the age of Reagan. I was a young Hinckley Institute of Politics’ intern in Washington, D.C., working in Congressman Dan Marriott’s office. I hung out with the BYU interns because they were always attending events with D.C. superstars. We had dinner with the famous journalist Jack Anderson, attended lunch with the nation’s clean air chief Joe Cannon and even celebrated President Reagan’s birthday at the White House with other College Republicans.
But the BYU event that has stuck with me all these years was an event with Charles and Mary Bradford, an accomplished banking economist and Utah editor and poet, respectively. A student asked Mrs. Bradford whether she was a liberal or a conservative. Without hesitation she said, “I believe in conserving ideas that are right and true and liberating ideas that are right and true.” I was instantly moved by the correctness of her approach. The goal isn’t liberalism or conservatism. The goal is to make correct decisions in the face of enormous challenges and to adhere to true principles along the way.
And let’s be clear…our country and state face huge challenges. We have 80,600 Utahns on the roles of the unemployed. Utah’s education system needs attention. Healthcare in our country is broken. And there is no hint of fiscal responsibility in Washington, D.C. If ever there was a time when we needed “right and true,” it is now.
During the next six months, we have the chance to select a President of the United States of America. The central question in the campaign will be the economy and government’s role in it. Both campaigns will spend upwards of a billion dollars to convince us that their way is right. It will be referendum on the economy like we have never seen before, and each of us will need to make choices about what is right and true.
Knowing that reasonable people can disagree, I offer these economic guidelines to help in your deliberations.
I’m an economic conservative. As I look back on Mary Bradford’s profound statement to me as a young intern, I’m reminded that market economies produce greater efficiencies, create greater wealth, reward work and innovation, and result in a higher standard of living for the greatest amount of people. Market economies are an idea that we should conserve.