A response to President Biden's question, 'What are Republicans for?'

President Joe Biden speaks during a Jan. 19 news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, where he asked, "What are Republicans for?"
President Joe Biden speaks during a Jan. 19 news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, where he asked, "What are Republicans for?"

It is just too easy to stand back and watch America reject Joe Biden’s policies and persona. Americans are smarter than some thought and their evaluation, shown in the polls, is consistent.

With his approval rating around 38%, and his policies being roundly rejected, despite a rapturous media, it is fair to answer the question that Biden asked at a news conference last month: What are Republicans for? Let me try to explain.

Republicans would, first, start treating the American people with respect and honesty. We will tell the American people the truth. They deserve no less and we are confident that they can handle it. We will be servant leaders.

Under Biden, inflation is at a 40-year high. Cures are there. First, we would give the American people an honest balance sheet and cash flow statement, prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting standards, as would those of any public company — no gimmicks, no off-balance sheet liabilities. Let Americans see the truth, for once, about our economic position.

As for inflation, it is a supply and demand issue. We would ramp up American oil and gas production by aggressively facilitating pipelines, mineral leases, drilling and exploration. Increasing such supply would lower prices, sharply — not only for fuel, housing and food, but they also have a multiplier effect on costs for farmers, manufactures, shippers and airlines.

On the demand side, immediately stop spending any stimulus dollars not already spent. We all see the results of pouring trillions of dollars of borrowed money into an overheated economy. Just stop the madness.

As for supply bottlenecks, we would consult with and listen to actual truckers and trucking companies and ask them what is hampering the deliveries. Imposing new and tighter regulations on them, as done now, is not useful. Steps need to be taken to help the average American, not Wall Street or the elites, by bringing down that cruelest and most regressive tax, inflation.

On immigration, we would complete the entire wall, empower Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enforce the law, keep the “remain in Mexico” policy and let in more legal immigrants who can contribute to our society. As many other countries do, evaluate each one based on language and professional skills, security concerns and the like, and let in just the ones who would enhance American society. As for Dreamers, let them alone, but any immigrant here illegally now who is convicted of any crime or applies for government aid should be deported.

We will restore the concept of “equal justice for all.” Whether it be as to the Oath Keepers, antifa, BLM, the “mostly peaceful” rioters, the Clinton, the Trumps or the Bidens, the law will be enforced as to all.

Crime is a local issue in great part. We would radically change course. America has a homicide epidemic in large cities and we can do better. We would direct all federal law enforcement aid to those areas that increase police funding, have prosecutors who actually prosecute felons and cooperate with federal authorities, remove no-cash-bail policies and send their recruits for real training.

We are for voter ID laws, Election Day and not "election season” voting, identification being required to be proven for absentee ballots and in-person voters, the voting rolls being accurate and absentee ballots being sent only to those who request them.

Let the parents have power and knowledge. Respect and empower them. We need to stop the lies now. Parents are not morons. They love their children. We would support a new G.I. Bill in which every parent, not just the rich, can take those dollars attributable to his child and use those dollars to choose the best school for their children. The shame of so many tens of thousands on waiting lists for limited voucher programs must end.

Let parents review, in advance, all materials and observe the classrooms. Let the sunlight in.

We will reject the use of race as a basis for discrimination and will work to unite all Americans in a shared vision. We stand for free speech, and more of it, however much we oppose ideas expressed. We want to fight lies with truth, not with bats, fists, spittle and violence.

Lastly, we want to return to sanity, to good common sense and listening to and addressing the needs of the American people.

Edward B. Harmon, a retired mergers and acquisitions attorney and law school professor, lives in Gainesville and is a monthly contributor to The Sun.

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This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Edward B. Harmon: What Republicans stand for