Governor Buddy Roemer Shares Views about Middle Class and His Campaign

Shortly after announcing his bid for presidential candidacy, Governor Buddy Roemer spoke in my class, Public Policy 20: Leading Voices, about the future of the middle class.  “Today, the middle class is challenged,” he began.  He described the middle class as being innovative, creative, family-oriented, and those who have high dreams.  “This country is in decline in terms of its economic health, and the first to feel it is the middle class. The underclass has not felt it because their government benefits have increased.”  He stressed the importance of keeping jobs here, and talked about how his granddaughter, who wants to be an astronaut, will have to move to Russia if she wants to fulfill her dream.  Furthermore, he said, “If I were President, I would start reviving this economy with small business. And the way I would do that would be a lesson learned from Ronald Reagan.  I would deregulate them.” 

Governor Roemer also proposed energy independence.  He compared the importance of energy independence to sending a man on the moon during President Kennedy’s time.  “Instead of sending a man to the moon and back by the end of this decade, we’ll be energy independent.”  His plans include alternative green energy, using natural gas and nuclear power, and imposing tariffs on Middle Eastern oil.  He also suggested rewriting the tax code, and, most strikingly, practicing fair trade, in particular, by targeting certain countries that manipulate its currency, don’t have working condition standards, uses child and prison labor, and are environmentally awful.  There needs to be trade adjustments on every import that raises the price to same production process in the U.S.  “I’ve been to China enough times to know it’s unfair trade.  I’ve seen nine-year-olds working in the plants.”

One student asked a question about fair trade, and his resonse was, “Write this down.”

Student: “Ok, I’m writing.” 

BR: “It’s called Free Trade Doesn’t Work, by Ian Fletcher.”

A few students chuckled at his curt response and sense of humor.  He followed up with his response, “You will say ‘Roemer, you are the man.’”  In sum, Governor Roemer’s point is that if the trade imbalance problem is not solved we will be a nation in ruins.  “When I’m through,” Gov. Roemer said, “These guys [politicians] are going to be talking about fair trade…they don’t know anything about jobs. It’s not what they do.  They’re politicians.”

Governor Roemer then proceeded to talk about his campaign funding.  He said, “I don’t take a dime over 100 dollars….I want Her [America] to be free to lead. I want Her to be free to do it. That’s what America needs. I’m not going to run and win and then going to change my stripes.  “

Gov. Roemer continued talking about campaign funding, “The only limit I would ask the Supreme Court to agree to would be full disclosure of how much, when, and from whom. To be disclosed is part of managing free speech in a crowded theater…That’s why I picked 100 dollars. I don’t have to scream to givers. Everybody in this room could give me 100 dollars. You could take part in this campaign if you have the guts. It’s up to you.  It’s”

 —Melanie Wilcox