U.S. Senator Roy Blunt spoke to about 30 local leaders and job creators concerning what the U.S. government is doing and should be doing in a meeting at Burgers' Smokehouse south of California, Wednesday, Jan. 4.
"The Senate is almost totally dysfunctional as is the Constitutional part of government," Blunt said. "The regulators on the other hand are fully functional."
In answer to a later question, Blunt said, "Better a broken down Senate than one which was doing what it was doing in the first two years of the Obama administration.
"It's better to not be doing anything than to be doing bad things."
Reminding those present that he was a history teacher and the first non-lawyer elected to the Senate from Missouri in 40 years, Blunt spoke of presidents whose administrations set up a direction the country followed for about 25 years or so. He included Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan.
"It's retooling time again," he said. "In the next year - we've been debating this for two years now - we're going to decide in the next year if we're going to become Europe or we don't."
"And we'll just see how it works out."
Blunt said there were a lot of things people should have been concerned about in the last two years - such as the health care bill - the bigger thing that happened in 2009 was the country of Greece and the problem with the European counties about what happens when the government gets bigger than the country's economy can support.
"We don't want to give up the challenges of life and give up the opportunities of life, which are the same thing," Blunt said. "Its a big choice and I'm not quite sure how it works out."
He thinks the odds are pretty good that the country will specifically decide it doesn't want to go in that direction, becoming some European country "where the government makes more and more decisions and opportunities are more and more defined by what the government decides about you and your family and your life."
A decision in which, the country says, "Yes, actually we do in fact want to be the United States of America as opposed to just a bigger version of some European country. It doesn't necessarily mean that's an evil choice, but I think its the wrong choice."
"It's a big moment and we're going to see what we're going to do."
Blunt said if he is right, although all elections have consequences, "this is bigger than anything we're going to talk about in 25 years or so."
"There's one side that thinks the government can make every decision for you better than you can make it for yourself," Blunt said. "And another side that thinks that there are a few things that only the government can do but we ought to be pretty careful about deciding what they are and not let the government do much more than that."
Addressing the energy resources available in the U.S., Blunt said, "We have more energy than we ever thought we could have 20 years ago."
It's now possible to get the energy out of rocks. Of oil shale and gas shale, the country has a lot.
"We know we're the Saudi Arabia of coal, so of course they don't want us to use coal," he said. "This is the only country in the world where leaders look at the natural resources and think about environmental hazard instead of economic opportunity."
The audience included Callaway Electric Cooperative CEO/General Manager Thomas W. Howard, Central Electric Power Cooperative CEO/General Manager Donald W. Shaw and Co-Mo Electric Cooperative Assistant Manager June Nivens and Communications Manager John Agliata.
In answer to a question about turning the country around, Blunt said, "One hundred one percent of the money that came in this year went to entitlement programs.
Everything else that was spent the money was borrowed, including every plane and every bullet, every highway engineer, every air traffic controller and every USDA Inspector. He pointed out that the Social Security Program, Medicare and Medicaid are 85 percent of entitlements.
"You need to look at those and figure out how you can get better results with less money," he said. "You've got to begin to look at the government like everybody else has had to look at their business."
He said the business owners say, "How can I make a better product next month, next year, than I am now, and spend less doing it?"
"Nobody is going out and saying, 'How can I spend more money making a worse product?'" The government is the only place left in America where you measure things by how much you spend on it instead of the result."
Blunt said the number one priority should be domestic private sector job creation and part of that is making good decisions.
"If I could pick one economic principal the administration should understand, it would be Risk-Reward," Blunt said. "I'm pretty sure the administration doesn't understand that part of Capitalism. The unintended consequences costs just multiply. How many higher costs are due to people deciding not to do things?"