April 30, 2021

This week, President Joe Biden delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress and called for sweeping legislation to help America recover from COVID-19 by vastly expanding the size of the federal government, the scope of its powers, and its reach into our communities. The Goldwater Institute is already achieving reform to help thousands of Americans get to work, to unleash innovation in healthcare, and to ensure children receive the education they deserve, and it’s not relying on the power of government—or trillions of taxpayer dollars—to do it. Our state-based solutions get the government out of the way so people have the freedom to work, can make the healthcare choices that are right for them, and have the educational options that their children need.

  1. Putting Americans to Work: President Biden is calling for a massive increase in federal spending on infrastructure (as he loosely defines it) to put Americans back to work. Where President Biden wants to use government to “create jobs” (it’s not even possible for the government to do that)—which will result in larger deficits, debts, and job-killing taxes—the Goldwater Institute is working to free entrepreneurs from the government. Fact is, we’re already helping Americans get to work and practice their professions, and it’s not costing a penny.

    Today, nearly one in four jobs requires an occupational license — a permission slip from the government. When a licensed professional moves from one state to the next, they are forced to go through the costly and time consuming licensing process all over again. Our Breaking Down Barriers to Work law is a state-based solution that makes it easier for Americans to continue to work by ensuring their professional licenses are universally recognized when they move to a new state. In 2019, Arizona became the first state to enact Goldwater’s law, and to date, more than 3,000 Arizonans have benefited. Goldwater has already passed the law in over a dozen states, and dozens more have introduced it.
  2. Unleashing Innovation in Healthcare: President Biden called for a federal program to prevent, detect, and treat diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer. That’s certainly a worthy goal, but as the saying goes, government is not the solution to the problem, it is the problem. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) bureaucratic drug approval process has long stood between terminally ill Americans and potentially lifesaving treatments—that is, until the Goldwater Institute took action.

    Our Right to Try law, which we enacted in 41 states and at the federal level in 2018, is helping people suffering from diseases including cancer, ALS, and glioblastoma. This year, we released a blueprint to reform the FDA and unleash innovation in healthcare, take Right to Try to the next level, and ensure that patients can access cutting-edge treatments today—not in the distant future.
  3. Access to a Good Education: President Biden said that finding a good education is one of the big challenges facing families today, and he’s right. His solution, though, is the wrong one because he again looks to more and bigger government as the answer. To solve the education problem, President Biden called for expanding the federal government’s role in funding preschool and community colleges. What he didn’t call for was giving parents something they desperately need: educational options and true choice in education.

    The Goldwater Institute is improving education with another innovative, state-based solution. We have led the charge nationally to expand school choice through education savings accounts (ESAs), which take a portion of what a state would spend covering the cost of a student’s education in a K-12 public school and instead deposit that money into a personalized account—money that can be used to pay for tuition and tutoring. This gives parents—not the government—the power to decide which educational options are right for their children. We have expanded ESAs to eight states, and we’re working to extend them across the country. As schools were shuttered during COVID-19, parents benefitted from the flexible options the Goldwater Institute has created, and today there is a movement growing across the country for more school choice in state after state.

In the summation of his speech, President Biden spoke glowingly about the power of government to open doors of opportunity and extolled its virtues as a benevolent agent of change. “We the People are the government. You and I. Not some force in a distant capital. Not some powerful force we have no control over,” he said. From President Biden’s perspective—as a man sitting in the Oval Office—the capital might not seem distant, and the government might not seem out of his control. But for Americans who can’t practice their professions, access lifesaving medications, or choose the right education for their child, all because the government is getting in their way, their view is decidedly different. That’s why the Goldwater Institute is fighting every day to help all Americans live freer, happier lives—not by growing government, but by expanding freedom and turning state-based reforms that put people first, not Washington, D.C.

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