Advancing American Greatness - Two Dramatically Different Views

Last week, President Obama convened a “job summit” at the White House. According to an article in the Washington Times, Obama took this action because he was “Facing rising unemployment rates and uncertain results from the stimulus bill.”

When you consider that the list of invitees to this meeting did include liberal economists credited with shaping the $787 billion stimulus package, union leaders, environmental advocates, etc., while it did not include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business, you have to wonder what the President’s “real agenda” was for this meeting. For me, that became quite clear from the President’s opening remarks at this event. First, he stated that “many businesses are still skittish about hiring” and that “many have figured out how to squeeze more productivity out of fewer workers”. He summarized those statements by saying “that may result in good profits but it’s not translating into hiring”. Then he went on to talk about the government’s role in fixing this. In other words, Obama’s “real agenda” was the one he has consistently … that the source of problems is those being governed and the ultimate solution is the government.

At almost the same time, I had the opportunity to sit in on a local news outlet interviewing Jon Russell, the candidate I’m supporting for U.S. Congress in, Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. The topic … job creation and the economy.

The difference in Candidate Russell’s approach to this topic was strikingly different than that of President Obama’s. Jon’s Plan of Action doesn’t involve calling together some Blue Ribbon Panel, looking for answers, or appointing a Czar or, in any way, seeking government control as the solution. In fact, what he had to say in this regard was,

“I firmly believe that small businesses hold the key to economic recovery. If the government was serious about creating jobs and moving us out of the recession, the best thing they could do is to step aside and allow free-market capitalism to work for small businesses. Small businesses make up 70% of our American workforce. They are the solution to economic recovery. The question is, will Congress sober up in time to recognize and leverage this reality or are their policies really more about control than recovery?

My plan of action for strengthening small businesses and creating jobs includes:

  • Encouraging small business startup companies of 100 employees or less through allowing them to launch their businesses tax free for two years. That means no payroll taxes and no capital gains tax. Nothing at all goes to the government for the first two years.
  • Accelerating the availability of venture capital by permitting venture capitalists to invest in these tax-free start-ups with no federal taxation on their investment for the first two years.
  • Boosting the growth of existing small businesses by way of a 20% reduction in over-all federal taxes and making it possible for them to write off losses of the 5 previous years.”

As I said, the difference in Candidate Russell’s approach to this topic was strikingly different than that of President Obama’s. With that said, I think it’s pretty natural to ask some “Why Questions”.


To start with, “Why is a first-term President looking for blue-sky answers in such a convoluted manner while a first-time Congressional Candidate can offer such down-to-earth solutions?” I think the answer to this is in the question itself. With the President, the agenda is political, including his goal to be elected for a second term. With Candidate Russell, the agenda is to be a Representative of the people; term-limiting himself, not seeking another elected office and returning to his family, home and business afterwards.


Another obvious “Why Question” is, “Why do these men have such diametrically opposed views on the source of our economic problems and the source of the solution to these problems?” I think the answer here is pretty obvious too. It’s their experience. Barack Obama has never had a “real job”, let alone any experience as an entrepreneur or any sort of businessman, for that matter. Jon Russell has been an entrepreneur and businessman since his college days. And, from that beginning, his businesses have been modeled to be profitable while meeting underserved needs in the community. Presently, Jon and his Wife, Sarah, run a Family and Urgent Care clinic in Washougal. While that location is successfully winding up its first year, they have committed to opening a second facility in Vancouver. Considering that Jon is doing this while serving as a Washougal City Councilman and now, is running for U.S. Congress, these accomplishments are even more impressive.


Finally, it struck me that the difference in Obama’s approach on this, versus Russell’s approach, is summed up by the theme of Russell’s campaign … Advancing American Greatness. Obama is looking to government, as the source. But our government isn’t what has made us great. Our greatness comes from US … each of US … our families … our churches … our businesses … our communities and everything put into them by US. Any time our government has exhibited greatness, it has come from US. Unlike Barack Obama, Jon Russell recognizes that Advancing American Greatness means taking the focus off of government and putting it back on the true source of American Greatness … its people.