Rick Santorum says Government Needs to "Back off"

Miranda Myers on August 07, 2015
Senator Santorum said he favors a smaller government yet his opening remarks called for a larger military. He seems to believe that reducing government will reduce corporate influence.

On July 24th I attended a Rick Santorum Town Hall in Weare. I arrived to the Town Hall early and was able to get a seat in the front row.

My best comparison for the atmosphere of this event would be a Friday Night Lights football game. When the crowd settled in their seats there was this overwhelming feeling of unity among the attendees, who were much older than myself and my two friends who attended. When Rick Santorum entered, it was like their home team had walked onto the field. The crowd around me erupted in applause and had smiles painted across their faces like team colors. As the Senator began speaking, there were occasional shouted comments, much like a game, shouts of agreement, negative remarks towards his opposition, and of course laughter, whether it was sarcastic or genuine. It was apparent to me almost immediately that this was a room of dedicated fans, and that set the scene.

Sitting in the front row proved to be worth it. I raised my hand as soon as Santorum wrapped up his initial speech on his opposition to the Iran Agreement as well as how to defeat ISIS/ISIL. The senator pointed at me and said “You have the courage to sit in the front row, so you can have the first question." I asked Senator Santorum “Corporations seem to have unlimited access to Congress. What will you do to prevent corporate cronyism from corrupting our government and economy?”

Santorum responded to my question by saying that he has “huge concerns about what has happened in this country." He also went on to say how as a Senator he had to make many “weighted” decisions, and the most difficult were the “bills that they have done to regulate and control sectors of the economy." Santorum went on to describe how corporations meddle in the process by making the decision about “who wins, who loses, based on how you regulate business." Senator Santorum brought up the idea of a “free market” way of doing things, a way that would “create a level playing field."

 The Senator circled back to my question by saying “this is where the cronyism comes in, it’s the fact that the government is doing this in the first place, in many respects, the government just needs to get out of doing this." Santorum appeared very intent on the fact that the government has “come in and basically tried to constrain the financial sector of this economy and make it jump through so many hoops." He stated that it only helps “the big guys."

 He began to end his statement saying, “what it comes back to is what the federal government needs to get out of and try to, I hate to say deregulate, because there is still regulation, it’s just not regulation that favors the big guys over the little guys." Senator Santorum talked about how he believes “more corporations are giving to Democrats because big corporations have figured out that big government is good for them." Senator Santorum finished answering my question by saying “at some point you have to just have government back off a little bit from this, and if you want to have an impact on lobbying, and all the other things, get government out of this big stuff."

Ultimately Senator Santorum believes that a smaller government is what is needed to solve corporate cronyism, and if we can shrink our government, he believes we will have far less issues with “people paying lobbyists to lobby."

When I finally had a chance to sit down and listen to my recording of  Senators Santorum's response to my question, I was intrigued by several of his comments. The first thing that surprised me was Senator Santorum's push for more military spending which he had spoken about during most of his opening remarks, yet he wants a smaller government. That doesn't make sense at all. Another point that I found interesting was his statement that corporations give far more to Democrats than they do Republicans, so I decided to check the facts by consulting with OpenSecrets.

During the past election the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) raised $28.2 million, of which 59% came from corporations. During the past election the Republican Governors Association (RGA) raised $30.5 million, and of those donations 70% came from corporations.

The next time I see Senator Santorum I will be sure to tell him what I have learned. I will also ask him to reconcile his call for more military spending with his interest in smaller government.

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Weare Town Hall
16 N. Stark Hwy
Weare, NH 03281
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