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Stop punishing productive workers

I could rattle off economic facts about tourism trends, underwater mortgages and unemployment numbers, but Nevadans don’t need statistics to tell them what they see with their own eyes.

Washington is out of control. President Barack Obama’s divisive politics and destructive policies are tearing our nation apart. Worst of all, America’s workers are getting punched in the gut.

Nevadans have seen first-hand what happens when Washington recklessness, personal greed and irresponsibility collide — bubbles burst, businesses go bust and families suffer.

Today, people are still hurting. Across Clark County, things remain rough. Last week’s jobs report showed that Nevada has the highest unemployment rate of any state in the country. Even if Washington bureaucrats fail to report it, many have been forced into early retirement.

Unlike most Washington and Wall Street elites, I actually know a thing or two about working-class Americans living in the real world. My blood is not blue, but my collar is.

I’m a Republican, but not because I grew up rich. I’m a Republican because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life poor, waiting for the government to rescue me.

I’ve been outspoken and some have labeled me a populist. The truth is, I’m a proud American who just thinks we should put our workers first. I’m frustrated with the Washington establishment that undermines and undercuts Nevada’s working families.

We discourage hard work with liberal policies that weaken America. Why are we punishing those who work and rewarding those who don’t?

We refuse to secure the border, endangering our national security and flooding our country with illegal immigrants who undercut the wages of American workers.

We spend $2.2 trillion on Obamacare to reform our health care system. But today, simple check-ups, hospital stays and basic medicines are more expensive than ever.

We bail out “too big to fail” Wall Street banks while “too small to save” Nevada families, miners and small businesses are punished with big government taxes and one-size-fits-all Washington mandates.

As governor of Arkansas, I turned my state around. I cut taxes, slashed welfare and balanced the budget for 10 straight years — despite facing the most Democratic legislature in the country.

As the dust settles from Nevada’s economic whiplash, Washington needs to wake up and turn things around. Politicians need to quit fighting over the minimum wage and focus on solutions that help each American earn their maximum wage.

Nevada deserves a thriving economy in which employees and employers can achieve more, do more, earn more and prosper. We need to restore our country’s promise so that the American dream is just as accessible to those on Main Street as it is to those on Wall Street.

After all, America wasn’t built on settling for the minimum. It was built on striving for the maximum. We should:

■ Abolish the IRS and pass the Fair Tax. Let’s encourage hard work and productivity — not tax American wages.

■ Secure the border, repeal Obama’s executive orders, oppose amnesty and protect jobs for American workers.

■ Protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare for seniors. That starts by repealing Obamacare, which raided $700 billion from the Medicare Trust Fund.

■ Break the cycle of government dependency. The only proven poverty reduction program is personal responsibility.

It’s going to take more than simple solutions to fix a broken Washington.

We need a strategy. From tax, trade and telecommunications to education, immigration and health care, we should boil down every issue to the bone: helping Americans achieve their maximum wage.

Let’s put our country back on track by fighting for prosperity and purpose for all.

Mike Huckabee was governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2006 and is considering a run for president of the United States in 2016. He will be speaking at the Nevada Republican Party’s Central Committee dinner Saturday night at the Silver State Charter School in Carson City.

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