New York Times economics columnist David Leonhardt has good interview with Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels today. Daniels comments about a “truce” on social issues have been sucking up all the oxygen around him, but this interview where the Indiana Governor talks soberly and seriously about the proper function of government and the threat posed by America's debt gives you a good flavor why he's being bandied about as a possible presidential candidate. Here's a couple of revealing excerpts:
Q. What should government do, in a sort of philosophical sense?
Mr. Daniels: It should undertake to enable and facilitate flourishing of private life. That is to say it should protect the liberties and the safety of citizens, first and foremost, and then it should act to make possible … the growth of the private sector, on which everything else depends…
As we see it, inside that circle of things it should do, absolutely, is be very aggressive about constructing public – or seeing that public infrastructure is constructed and is maintained — well, because this enables the private sector to grow. If you have excellent roads, bridges, rail, and – in this world, broadband – it is more likely that men and women of enterprise will be able to suspend their good ideas, their investments, from that, or build it next to that.
And here's Daniels discussing the debt:
Mr. Daniels: I start from a premise that not everyone would agree with, I guess. I believe the American experiment is in mortal peril because of the debt we have coming….
This is more frightening than even the Soviet nuclear threat, which would have been more horrible. If we go broke, we’ll still be alive, but the probability was so small. In this case, the damage, the catastrophe, will be very, very severe, and the probability – I mean, and it’s inexorable.
Q: Absent action.
Mr. Daniels: Absent action, yeah. The probability, I think, sadly, is very high.
Read the whole thing. Even if he's not your pick for President, Daniels is one of the biggest brains in today's GOP and there's much to be gleaned from his philosophical outlook and innovative legislative approaches.