There are three things you have to do to get out of a dangerous place. First confront the brutal facts of the situation; second, and only after acknowledging the first, find the way out of peril. And third, have the faith that you will succeed. Fortunately we Americans have the third ingredient in abundance: an undying belief in ourselves that we can resolve any problem that confronts us and move our country forward.
For eighty years, since Roosevelt’s New Deal, we have accepted the idea that through our Federal government we can entitle people to a pension and health care. First it was for those over 65 (Social Security and Medicare), then health care was added for the needy (Medicaid), next “conservative” Republicans rammed through prescription drugs for the elderly, and now President Obama wants to expand health care to nearly everybody.
It mattered not whether it was Democrats or Republicans in charge; both fed our appetites, expanded these entitlements, and gave them the vaulted status of the Third Rail in Politics. With our consent, none dared confront the costs or how to fund them. “Remove waste, fraud, and abuse” worked as an excuse for a while as did “grow our way out of it through tax reductions.” We fired politicians who even spoke of curtailing them.
The brutal facts that confront us and with which we must now deal are that we Americans cannot afford the promises we extracted from our politicians over these eighty years. We have never taxed ourselves sufficient to pay for the entitlements; and we will not start now since to do so would destroy economic growth and the hope of living the American dream for ourselves, our children, and grandchildren.
That left and leaves only debt as a source of money for the programs. “Deficits don’t matter” was the disingenuous hymn sung by both conservative and liberal administrations during the eighty years. Loans were plentiful and we Americans bought into the easy money. But if the home mortgage debacle of the past several years taught us nothing, it taught us that too much debt cannot be serviced and will detonate in our faces.
Americans are facing the brutal fact that ever increasing debts caused by exploding deficits have placed us in a very dangerous place. If allowed to continue growing, our debts will soon be too large for the taxpayers to service; a default will destroy the value of our money just as mortgage defaults destroyed the value of our homes. Unlike our homes though, our Dollar is the foundation for the world’s prosperity.
We Americans get it and we are getting madder at politicians who don’t.
The Senators and Congressmen in both parties have built their prestigious careers on spending our money. “Bringing home the bacon” whether its in earmarks for their friends or entitlements for their constituents is the proven path to re-election. The intra-party fights are only about who gets to decide where the money they are borrowing in our name goes; despite the rhetoric, it’s never about how to stop spending.
Unfortunately, the current career politicians will never change because they know no other way to remain in their prestigious jobs. Fortunately, Americans are beginning to confront that brutal fact and are organizing through this RedState blog, other blogs, and the Tea Party to replace them all.
In the past eighty years, we have put ourselves in dire circumstances, but can we succeed in overcoming the danger? Yes, we can because like our ancestors, we Americans are facing the brutal facts about our spending, debts, and enabling politicians; we are seeing the course ahead; and we already know that with our undying belief in ourselves, we will prevail.