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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Monday, May 03, 2021

Meet Rep. Peter Meijer, Fighting to Keep America the Envy of the World

by Ralph Benko: From time to time America confronts a mortal threat. We Boomers, under the leadership of Rep. Jack Kemp, R-N.Y., vanquished stagflation. Under the leadership of Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-Texas, and his muse, Joanne King Herring, we beat the USSR by arming the Afghan guerrillas.

Now, China has pronounced its intention to surpass America for technological, economic, and geopolitical world supremacy. Historically, a junior Congressperson will arise to become America’s champion. Meet Congressman Peter Meijer (R-Mi), my candidate for taming the Chinese dragon. But … how?

The Wizard of Oz was a political parable. When Dorothy discovered the Wizard to be just a man behind a curtain manipulating a huge image she accused him of being a very bad man. To which he responded, "Oh, no, my dear; I'm really a very good man, but I'm a very bad Wizard…."

Most Members of Congress are good people. Just … bad wizards. Peter Meijer stands out as, potentially, a very good Wizard. How so?

He’s the scion of a $7+billion family fortune. That’s just a happy accident. Yet rather than living a life of sybaritic luxury or bourgeois privilege Meijer put his life on the line in Iraq, conducting "intelligence operations to protect American and allied forces. As a sergeant, he led soldiers and missions that resulted in the detention of enemy operatives responsible for killing American soldiers and disrupted Iranian-backed efforts to take more American lives."

After mustering out and finishing his college degree at Columbia University he opted, again, for service: Team Rubicon, a veteran-based disaster response organization.

Then Meijer opted for serious hardship duty: serving in the US Congress. There, he chose the hard course for a conservative Republican: voting his conscience in favor of impeaching President Trump after Trump failed to do his sworn duty to quell the Capitol riot.

To me Meijer looks like the full "Wizard of Oz" package, brains, heart, courage: a good man.

Yet for him to matter—to you, to me, to America—more is needed: a display of wizardry lest he end up as just one of the Hill rookery of 535 honorable but inconsequential, forgettable, legislators.

Meijer stands out because, above his ordinary duties on the Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security committees, he chose to serve on the obscure House Research and Technology subcommittee, the mostly overlooked commanding height determining whether America retains world preeminence … or lets China take the lead.

Meijer’s choice of this subcommittee signals wizardly discernment.

As he said to me in an exclusive interview:

"I’m seriously conservative. That said, the government plays a key role in technological progress. Private sector investment can't go into something with an unclear outcome. Corporations need to justify their expenditures with profits. So they can’t really explore the unknown where the big breakthroughs are to be found. That’s our job."

"Consider Dr. Katalin Karikó who did pathbreaking work into uncharted scientific territory, discovering messenger RNA, the very basis for the vaccines immunizing us from Covid. It’s the government’s job to fund the fantastic ideas … and fund courageous scientists like Dr. Karikó ... to keep America at the forefront.:"

"But we have to do it right. President Biden’s plan seems to be to get Congress to appropriate big sums of money and then throw them at something. That’s not how science and technology works! To win the race with China we need to stay focused on outcomes, not outputs. Or it’s a waste of taxpayer money.

“There’s no simple solution in fixing the mismatch between how long it takes to get results that improve peoples’ lives, like the Covid vaccine, and who gets to take the credit. But there’s too much at stake to let that get in the way."

"I'm cosponsoring a number of pieces of legislation to bolster funding for research and development. One of these is to Supporting Early-career Researchers Act so that Covid doesn’t cost us a generation of researchers. I’m also looking at the opportunity to expand the existing research pipelines with the Rural STEM Education Research Act. And I’m sponsoring legislation to allow America to invest in the most precious resource of all, human capital, with H.R.2153 - To invest in basic scientific research and support technology innovation for the economic and national security of the United States.

"Now, because of China, America has a formidable rival for world technological, economic and geopolitical preeminence. I am committed to pushing America to increase the federal R&D budget, the research budget that brought us computers, microchips, the internet, cable TV, the Covid vaccine, and countless other technologies that create great jobs and make America the envy, and leader, of the world."

Keep your eye on Peter Meijer. He just might prove to be the Wizard America needs to stay great at this moment of great vulnerability.
Ralph Benko is Chairman, The Capitalist League and contributor to the ARRA News Service.
Tags: Ralph Benko, The Capitalist League, Meet Rep. Peter Meijer, Fighting to Keep America, the Envy of the World To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 4:20 PM - Post Link


Anonymous AL Page said...

Are you aware Ralph Benko is praising Peter Meijer, who voted to impeach President Trump?

Granted, it is Benko's opinion. My opinion is that Peter Meijer is a RINO and CINO (my anacronym - conservative-in-name-only).

Love your newsletter! Just disagree with Benko!


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