Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Armey's Axiom: Market Is Rational, Government Is Dumb

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Armey's Axiom: Market Is Rational, Government Is Dumb

Article excerpt

On those weeks when they are not abolishing government departments and programs, cutting taxes and balancing budgets, the supermen of the House Republican leadership publish books they have written while flying between Washington and their home districts.

This week's entry is "The Freedom Revolution" by Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas. It arrived on the shelves from Regnery Publishing without the publicity hype surrounding "To Renew America," the book Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia will publish next month. But if you want the philosophy that animates this new GOP House delivered in plain, unvarnished form, you can't do better than Armey.

He is part of the Republican professoriate, a Ph.D. in economics on the faculty of North Texas State University until he ran for the House 11 years ago. His rise to the top of the House Republicans has been even swifter than Gingrich's and reflects the appreciation of GOP freshmen and sophomores for the blunt and outspoken way that Armey says what they believe.

The positions he has taken fit together. He supported - indeed co-authored - everything in the Contract With America, from term limits to tax cuts. Beyond that, he would eliminate the graduated income tax in favor of a flat tax; end most government regulations; give vouchers to parents for the public or private schools of their choice; abolish the minimum wage; end workers' tax exemptions for employer-financed health care; convert Medicare to a voluntary insurance system; institute "tough love" welfare policies, and slap much stricter penalties on criminal acts.

Armey does not blink at controversies that cause less committed conservatives to trim their sails. He defends free trade and, even more daringly, calls for expanded immigration, as long as it is legal. He butchers sacred cows. He invented the base-closing commission procedure that has deactivated dozens of military installations and he is death on farm subsidies as well.

But somehow, these positions, though radical enough in themselves, are not as breathtaking as the underlying philosophy Armey lays out in his book and boils down into "Armey's Axioms." Many embody his profound disrespect for the motives of today's liberals. …

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