Richard Keith "Dick" Armey is a former U.S. Representative from Texas's 26th congressional district (1985–2003) and House Majority Leader (1995–2003). He was one of the engineers of the "Republican Revolution" of the 1990s, in which Republicans were elected to majorities of both houses of Congress for the first time in four decades. Armey was one of the chief authors of the Contract with America. Armey is also an author and former economics professor. After his congressional career he worked as a consultant, advisor and lobbyist.
As a free-market economist influenced by the ideas of Milton Friedman, Armey favored relatively open immigration and the elimination of barriers to the movement of goods and people across national boundaries. Armey was one of Congress's fervent supporters of privatization of Social Security and phasing-out of farm subsidies. He is a strong supporter of replacing the progressive tax levels and a complex system of deductions with a simplified single rate known as a flat tax where the poorest taxpayer would pay the same rate of tax as the wealthiest. Armey is very critical of a competing tax reform proposal that would replace the current system with a national sales tax, the Fair Tax.
In 2003, Armey became co-chairman of Citizens for a Sound Economy, which in 2004 merged with Empower America to become FreedomWorks. "FreedomWorks" is a common Armey saying and the organization is dedicated to advancing a "Freedom Agenda" of "lower taxes, less government, and more freedom." FreedomWorks states that it has 700,000 members nationwide and full time staff in 10 states. In his role as Chairman, Armey continues to be a national political figure and grassroots leader. He travels widely, meeting with activists and legislators. In 2005, for example, he testified before the President's Advisory Panel on Tax Reform and debated Governor of Colorado Bill Owens on a tax increase ballot measure.
In 2009, FreedomWorks launched a campaign against health care reform proposals, accusing the Obama administration of attempting to "socialize medicine". A strategy manual disseminated by a FreedomWorks volunteer explained "best practices" including "Inflate your numbers", describing how one group succeeded in dominating a group of 150 voters in which only 30 opposed healthcare reform.