Texas Gov. Rick Perry Is 'Fed Up!' Newly re-elected Texas Gov. Rick Perry argues against big government in his new book: Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington. States should be freer to act without federal interference, Perry says.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Is 'Fed Up!'

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Is 'Fed Up!'

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Fed Up!
Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington
By Rick Perry
Paperback, 240 pages
Little, Brown and Company
List Price: $21.99

Read An Excerpt">Read an excerpt

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has just been elected to an unprecedented third term in office.

And in his new book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington, Perry broadcasts his belief that states should have more freedom from the federal government.

"It's what our founding fathers believed in too," Perry tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "They did not believe that all of us would be alike, and they really didn't like centralized government and mandating down to these states how to act, how to look."

States should be free to make decisions regulating such things as taxes, marijuana and gay marriage, Perry says.

"If you want to live in a state that has high taxes, high regulations -- that is favorable to smoking marijuana and gay marriage -- then move to California," he says. Texas is also often compared to California because the two are both large states. But Perry sees a clear distinction:

In Texas, "we still believe in freedom," Perry says. "Freedom from over-taxation, over-regulation, over-litigation."

When asked what the federal government is preventing him from doing that he would like to do, Perry says the government sent in the EPA to take over Texas' air permitting process.

"A permitting process," Perry says, "that for the last 16 years has helped clean up Texas air more than any other state in the nation, with the exception of Georgia."

And, in addition to cleaning Texas air, Perry says, his state led the country in job creation.

"Four out of five private-sector jobs -- new jobs -- created in America were created in Texas," he says. "This administration thinks somehow or other they can do it better than we can. I don't think so."

Another issue Perry takes aim at is health care. Instead of forcing people to buy health insurance from a "Washington-devised program," he says, states should be allowed to compete in creating the best programs.

"You let California, New Mexico, New York, Texas and Florida compete against one another, and they'll be laboratories of innovation," Perry says. "They will come up with the best way to deliver health care."

Perry points to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as,"one of the brightest, most capable governors in the country." And Perry says, "He'll come up with a health care delivery system that we will like, and we will go over and appropriate it from him and put it in place in Texas."

In his book, Fed Up!, Texas Gov. Rick Perry argues for states to have greater freedom from the federal government. Suzanne Erickson/Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company hide caption

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Suzanne Erickson/Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company

In his book, Fed Up!, Texas Gov. Rick Perry argues for states to have greater freedom from the federal government.

Suzanne Erickson/Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company

And if a health care system fails in one state, it will not harm the entire country, Perry adds.

In a series of articles last year, The Economist magazine asserted that Texas had, "the highest proportion of people lacking health insurance of all 50 states, the third highest poverty rate, the second highest imprisonment rate, the highest teenage birth rate, the lowest voter turnout and the lowest portion of high school graduates."

Perry says, however, that those issues cannot be addressed until there is an economy fit to pay for programs that will alleviate some of those problems. And he adds that less regulation and taxes are important to improve the skilled workforce.

"We obviously are improving our skilled workforce, or people wouldn't be moving to the state of Texas," he says. "We have an election every day in this country -- people vote with their feet, and Texas is winning that election overwhelmingly."

Many of the people moving to Texas are immigrants or the children of immigrants. Perry governs a state with a vast Hispanic population and rapidly growing numbers of people from places like China, India, Pakistan and the Middle East. Houston is already considered a “majority-minority” city, where no one group is predominant, and Perry expects the whole state to become majority-minority within a few decades.

The governor of this swiftly changing state works to take a nuanced approach to a minority group that’s been very much at the center of the news. "We have a huge Muslim community in the state of Texas," he says, and many of these Muslims are "great businessmen and women, very good supporters of mine. ... We are an incredibly diverse state. I sell it as part of our strength."

Perry was asked if he was comfortable with the way that some people talk about the problem with terrorism -- their concern to say that the real problem is “Muslims" or "Muslim countries."

"The radicalization of Islam is a great concern," Perry said. "Islam of and by itself is one of the great religions, along with Christianity and Judaism." He recalled meeting one of the Democratic candidates for Texas governor in the recent election. "He’s a Palestinian. And he and I were having a conversation about Ground Zero. How do you deal with this? He said, well, it’s pretty easy. He said, 'Build a synagogue, a temple, and a church there.  And bring these people together.'"

Excerpt: 'Fed Up!'

Fed Up!
Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington
By Rick Perry
Paperback, 240 pages
Little, Brown and Company
List Price: $21.99


I grew up in Paint Creek, Texas. If you can't find it on a map, I won't be surprised. Just look for Haskell, Texas, population 3,000, and then go a few miles to the south and the east and you might find it. We were cotton farmers. We believed in God, we believed in taking care of ourselves and one another, and we believed that America was the greatest nation on earth. We still do. Serving as the governor of Texas for almost ten years has given me a unique perspective on the current state of things in our country. And from my vantage point, I see a nation filled with good, hardworking people who are wondering what happened to the country they knew. It wasn't so long ago that we were expected to pay our bills, we were able to pray at the town meeting, and we believed it was important to rely on ourselves or our families rather than government.

Now, cynics will say that I decided to write this book because I seek higher office. They are wrong: I already have the best job in America. I wrote this book because I believe that America is great but also that America is in trouble — and heading for a cliff if we don't take immediate steps to change course. I wrote this book in the hopes that it will lead to a new conversation about the proper role of government in our lives and perhaps be a step toward renewing our collective appreciation for the genius of our nation's federal system of government — when it works the way it is supposed to.

I believe that government is best when it is closest to the people. I believe that states are the critical components of our federal system of government, that the Founders recognized their importance, and that empowering the states is the best way to ensure our God- given right to live according to the dictates of our consciences. I believe that we have let establishment politicians on both sides of the aisle empower Washington at the expense of states, and thus our liberty. I believe that our fight today is to restore the proper balance of power in order to ensure that America can remain free and prosperous — and capable of continuing to lead the world.

Chapter 1

America Is Great, Washington Is Broken. A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.

— John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, July 17, 1775 1

Something is terribly wrong. There is a sense among Americans that the world we have always known is in danger of being turned upside down.

Now, do not misunderstand me. America is great. Our nation has done, and continues to do, more for the cause of freedom around the world than any nation in the history of man. And our nation is filled with people, whether they were born here or came here in search of the American dream, who are driven by faith, determination, personal responsibility, and self- reliance. They are forging better lives for themselves and their children. This is the land of opportunity — a place where, after all, a rural cotton farmer from Paint Creek, Texas, can become governor.

Americans have fed more people, clothed more people, healed more people, and improved the lives of more people — and more quickly — than any other society the world has known. And we have done it by believing in the individual, by defending liberty, no matter the price, and by demonstrating a living, abiding faith that has compelled us throughout the generations to act against evil and to advance good. But America is in trouble, and the people know it. We sense that our way of life and, perhaps more importantly, our ability to decide how we shall live, is no longer in our control but in the control of an increasingly powerful and oppressive national government — a government run by people who simply do not share our values or our beliefs and blatantly ignore its limits.

In short, it is not America that is broken; it is Washington that is broken. You can't argue with the fact that power has increasingly been consolidated in Washington. In 1960, the government of the United States spent approximately $92 billion annually, or $509 per person. By 1987, that figure had grown to $1 trillion, or $4,127 per person. This year, federal spending is projected to surpass $3.7 trillion, or $11,500 per person. There are over 2 million civilian federal employees, an additional 1.5 million in the U.S. military (that part is a good thing), and millions more involved in federal contracts. There are over 4,500 independent federal criminal laws and over 163,000 pages of federal regulations scattered across hundreds of agencies in 15 different departments. The federal tax code and its supporting regulations total over 9 million words across thousands of pages.

The federal government is massive and grows more so by the day. Indeed, by the end of the 111th Congress, there will likely be more than 6,500 new bills introduced in the House of Representatives and 4,000 more in the Senate, designed, ostensibly, to cure the nation's ills.

Of course, it never occurs to the power brokers in Washington that perhaps they are the cause of much of what ails us. But it occur to the American people. I have had the privilege of meeting and talking with tens of thousands of my fellow citizens from all walks of life, and I can tell you one thing for certain: the American people are fed up.

We are fed up with being overtaxed and overregulated. We are tired of being told how much salt we can put on our food, what windows we can buy for our house, what kind of cars we can drive, what kinds of guns we can own, what kind of prayers we are allowed to say and where we can say them, what political speech we are allowed to use to elect candidates, what kind of energy we can use, what kind of food we can grow, what doctor we can see, and countless other restrictions on our right to live as we see fit.

We are fed up with a federal government that has the arrogance to preach to us about how to live our lives, and the chutzpah to haul every baseball player and other "evildoer" in the world before a congressional committee — or some comic such as Stephen Colbert. Meanwhile, Congress, arguably one of the most incompetent regimes with one of the worst track records of mismanagement in the history of mankind, runs up over $13 trillion and counting in debt.

We are fed up with bailout after bailout and stimulus plan after stimulus plan, each one of which tosses principle out the window along with taxpayer money. We can't even keep up with all the spending, be it the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the auto industry bailout, the AIG bailout, or President Obama's failed $787 billion "Recovery Act." The list goes on and on.

We are fed up with a federal government that pledged $200 billion to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when their mismanagement, coupled with ridiculous federal regulations, led to the inappropriate lending policies underlying the financial crisis in the first place. And we are fed up with tax credits that amount to pure giveaways to certain citizens at the expense of others — the government picking winners and losers based on circumstance and luck with no real benefit to the economy.

We are fed up with a Department of Homeland Security that refuses to secure our borders, resulting in more than 10 million people living in our country illegally, thousands more coming in daily from all over the world, and almost 1,000 children being born in our country every day to parents who are here illegally. Meanwhile, politicians use the issue of immigration as a political tool to divide Americans.

We are fed up with a self- interested Congress that spends its time earmarking over 9,000 pet projects in 2010 worth over $16 billion, a number Democrats tout as an accomplishment because it represents just over half of the peak amount of $29 billion under Republicans in 2006 — all of which corrupts the political process and wastes our money. We are fed up with a Congress that often fails to even read the legislation it passes and that increasingly writes laws, such as the health care bill, that are over 2,000 pages long.

We are fed up with activist judges who tell us what is right and wrong and deny us the right to live as we see fit — from deciding when life begins and where the Ten Commandments can be displayed to telling the people how to punish criminals.

We are fed up that Social Security and Medicare teeter on the verge of bankruptcy, amassing unfathomable liabilities for future generations, that the federal government refuses to admit it, and that there is no leadership in Washington to do anything about it — unless you count yet another committee chaired by a retired senator that will no doubt be appointed to fix them.

We are fed up with a federal government arrogant enough to declare it knows more about our health than our doctor and that is willing to risk the best health care system in the world while blatantly lying that it is not on the path to a single-payer, government-run system.

But perhaps most of all we are fed up because deep down we know how great America has always been, how many great things the people have done in spite of their government, and how great the nation can be in the future if government will just get out of the way.

America is great. Yet for some in our nation, to make such a statement is considered arrogant, close-minded, or jingoistic — the kind of thing said by cowboys, as if it is a bad thing to be a cowboy.

Excerpted from Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington Copyright 2010 by Rick Perry. Excerpted by permission of Little, Brown and Company. All rights reserved.