Newt lays out his solutions

SALEM – Historian, college professor and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says people instinctively know when they are pursuing a strategy that just doesn’t work, like his ice cream and beer diet.”I’ve had a weight problem my whole life,” he told the audience Wednesday at Salem State University, recalling his efforts to find a solution. “I have found diets that work. Usually they have not been beer and ice cream.”The analogy was meant to take aim at current U.S. policies on job creation, the economy, the environment and national security, all of which held prominent roles in his speech. According to Gingrich, we all know what must be done to make America strong and healthy once again. “The problem is, we get distracted, or it’s too hard,” he said.In explaining his views on what’s wrong with American policy, Gingrich focused mostly on job creation, or the lack of it. We must reward those who create jobs and make it expensive for those who don’t, he said, segueing into a brief story about the English colony at Jamestown in 1607.As Gingrich put it, John Smith, the colony’s leader, needed everyone to work because there was a critical labor shortage. But the aristocrats among the colonists, claiming they had already paid their way, were opposed.Assessing the situation, Smith told the rich and titled, if you don’t work, you don’t eat, but I’ll not force you to work.Gingrich equates the condition to America’s welfare system, which encourages dependency on government handouts instead of fostering self-sufficiency. Quoting from books such as “The Tragedy of American Compassion” by Marvin Olasky and his own vast knowledge of history, he said the Great Society destroyed the nation’s poor by creating a welfare state.”Giving people money for doing nothing is fundamentally a bad thing,” he said, paraphrasing the authors. Rather, the poor should be given opportunity to earn money, he said, adding the welfare office should not be a place where people go to maximize their access to government dependency.Gingrich slammed President Barack Obama for attacking Libya with missiles instead of enforcing a no-fly zone and gathering a coalition of allies who might lead the mission. Knocking out Libya’s dictator needlessly put America’s credibility on the line, he said.The Republican speaker also criticized President Obama’s words of praise to Brazil for their offshore oil drilling and for telling them America wants to be their best customer. “I say no,” said Gingrich, insisting America should tap its own oil reserves so that Brazil becomes our best customer.At several points during the address, which was part of the university’s 29th annual Speaker Series, Gingrich referred negatively to unionized labor. While claiming he is not anti-union, he offered an anecdote about the 18 percent of Harvard University graduates who want teaching jobs but are feared because they might instinctively work too hard and too long for too little. He also referred to the teacher-of-the-year at a Milwaukee school who was laid off for lack of seniority.Rhetorically, he asked, would an NFL athlete who performs with amazing skill be let go from the team?”The unions can’t become the last bastion at defending incompetence,” he said.Government regulation and ineptitude was also on Gingrich’s hit list, particularly the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration and the federal Food and Drug Administration.Although he hasn’t declared his candidacy for the U.S. Presidency in 2012, he nonetheless described the upcoming election as the most important in the nation’s history since 1860. He has also started an online blog that might be viewed as the seed of a campaign launch.Gingrich warned the audience against complacency for fear China and India will emerge as superpowers strong enough to leave America an indebted, second-rate nation.Gingrich was born Newton Leroy McPherson in 1943 in Harrisburg, Pa. His father was 20 years told at the time, his mother 17. The boy was raised solel

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