One of the many great things about working at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy is discovering all the terrific people associated with it. A good case in point is Dave Carpenter.

Dave is a valued friend of the Mackinac Center and its mission to advance free-market perspectives in policymaking. He recently sent a question to U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow through the "Ask the White House" Web site and actually got it answered and posted there. This exchange illustrates the difference that every citizen can make by reminding even the most distant officials of the proper role of the government in the creation of economic growth:

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Dave, from Sault Ste. Marie, MI writes:
Thank you Secretary Snow for participating in this forum and taking the time to respond to my question/statement.

I firmly believe that government has taken on roles and responsibilities that properly belong to the individual and private sector. When President George H.W. Bush addressed the crowd that had assembled for the Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk in 1992, a heckler shouted, "What are you going to do to get me a job?" I am not aware if the president had heard his comment; however, I responded, "What are you doing?"

Secretary Snow, I was concerned by the contents of the first paragraph of your biography:

"As Secretary of the Treasury, Snow works closely with President Bush to strengthen economic growth and create jobs."

Secretary Snow, how do you believe that the government creates jobs?

John Snow
Great question, Dave, thank you for asking. I don't believe that the government creates jobs, outside of actual government employment (both civil service and the military). What I do believe – and what the President believes and often says – is that government can help create an environment in which entrepreneurs can flourish. And when our nation's businesses – especially the smallest businesses – are given the room and the oxygen to grow, they will grow and they will create good jobs. My responsibility as a public servant is to make sure that the government is not putting too much of a weight on our free-enterprise system. We need to keep it free to keep it growing and creating jobs.

As much as we enjoy reminding public officials of their proper role in the economy, we get a charge from watching our friends and supporters do it, too. If you’d like to see the site where Dave’s comments (and those of other citizens) to the treasury secretary are posted, you can find it here. In the meantime, we at the Mackinac Center will continue to provide reasons why public officials should turn free-market rhetoric into free-market reality.