Published September 19, 2010
The federal government's continued expansion and rising indebtedness is unconstitutional, Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller said Sunday, arguing that the direction the nation is going -- and that his rival Sen. Lisa Murkowski is headed -- "is a dead-end road."
Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Miller said Washington has overstepped its constitutional authority by enacting unemployment compensation, Social Security and Medicare programs that have bankrupted the nation.
"We have a contract between people and their government. Right now that contract's been broken," Miller said.
The GOP Senate nominee, who defeated Murkowski in the primary, said his opponent, who announced Friday that she would file a write-in candidacy in the general election against Miller and Democratic Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams, has helped bring the nation to the verge of insolvency.
Murkowski's solutions are part "of the despair of the past, the one that's leading us into insolvency as a nation," he said.
But Murkowski said Sunday that Miller does not represent the values or hopes of Alaskans.
"He has taken an approach that is just, plain and simple, more radical than where the people of the state of Alaska are," Murkowski said on CNN. "These simplistic answers, these glib answers that basically offer no positive solutions, I don't think are what the people of Alaska are hoping for. And they have said that to me. They've said, don't leave us with that option."
Miller, who noted that the GOP primary that he won by 2,000 votes was the largest Republican turnout in state history, said Murkowski has voted for the "heavy hand of government," which "is not a message of hope. It's one that has no answer for the future."
The "entitlement mentality," he added, is a "disingenuous" interpretation of the Constitution because it indoctrinates individuals and governments into believing that "it's the federal government's role to get in there and provide for the general welfare, to basically provide for the solvency particularly of states and other entities -- what, auto companies, the banks -- everything else that fails, the government should be involved in bailing out."
The Constitution "does not provide for this all-encompassing power that we've seen exercised over the last several decades," he said.
"He is suggesting to us, in my opinion, and in the opinion of many, many Alaskans, some pretty radical things. You know, we dump Social Security. No more Medicare. Let's get rid of the Department of Education. Elimination of all earmarks," Murkowsi said.
On Social Security, Miller, 43, said the money he has paid into the system has been stolen from him because with a $13.4 trillion debt and trillions more in obligations, those funds aren't going to be there for him in the future.
But, he added, elderly recipients like his lower middle-class parents have got to continue to depend on it as their primary source of income.
"Our seniors have got to have the trust and security that those benefits are going to be paid, even those that are getting ready to receive. Obviously, there's a contract. It's got to be upheld," he said.
For others, including individuals and the states, looking at other options will not only help return the country toward solvency but will reduce federal government intrusion.
"I think making sure that I can put my money where the government can't steal it is a very critical factor that has got to be considered," he said.