Mark Baisley
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I have concluded that the ultimate consideration for those vying for the office of President of the United States is their ideology surrounding the purpose, and therefore the size, of the federal government. 
 
I researched those who have gone before them and found the following perspectives from four people who have served as President:

“To provide legitimate services to our people; to help preserve peace; to provide a mechanism by which the people’s character can be expressed in international affairs.  I think the purpose of government is to alleviate inequities.  I think the purpose of government is to provide for things that we can’t provide ourselves.”  -President Jimmy Carter, A government as good as its people, Page 74

"What is the purpose of government?  It's to empower people to make the most of their lives..."  -President Clinton, 1998 interview with The Baltimore Sun

“First, in tough times governments need stable revenues to pay their bills, support salaries, pensions, and health care.  That requires decisive action to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes.  Otherwise, a few pay too much, many pay too little, the government is in the hole and can never get out, and you will never be able to have a stable economic policy.  It is tempting for everyone to avoid wanting to pay any taxes.  But if everyone will pay their fair share, the share will be modest and their incomes will be larger over the long run because of the stability and growth it will bring to this Russian economic system.”  -President Bill Clinton speaking to students at Moscow University of International Relations in 1998

“He (Bill Clinton) saw that government spending and regulation could, if properly designed, serve as vital ingredients and not inhibitors to economic growth, and how markets and fiscal discipline could help promote social justice.”  -President Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope, Page 53

“It’s useful to remind ourselves, then, that our free-market system is the result neither of natural law nor of divine providence.  Rather, it emerged through a painful process of trial and error, a series of difficult choices between efficiency and fairness, stability and change.  And although the benefits of our free-market system have mostly derived from the individual efforts of generations of men and women pursuing their own vision of happiness, in each and every period of great economic upheaval and transition we’ve depended on government action to open up opportunity, encourage competition, and make the market work better.”  -President Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope, Page 234

“That is one of the things that makes me a Democrat, I suppose -- this idea that our communal values, our sense of mutual responsibility and social solidarity, should express themselves not just in the church or the mosque or the synagogue; not just on the blocks where we live, in the places where we work, or within our own families; but also through our government.  Like many conservatives, I believe in the power of culture to determine both individual success and social cohesion, and I believe we ignore cultural factors at our peril.  But I also believe that our government can play a role in shaping that culture for the better -- or for the worse.”  -President Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope, Page 99

“It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all.”  -Thomas Jefferson to Francois D’Ivernois, 1795
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Mark Baisley

Mark Baisley is a security and intelligence professional