"Plug the .... hole!" our president cried in frustration. I agree. But...
As bad as the oil spill in the gulf most certainly is, the leak I am talking about is the unending gusher of red ink which comes from the "well" in Washington, D.C. This leak is doing far more damage to our country and will take much longer to correct than the leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Its effects are far more problematic for the health of our country, yet far less is being done to combat it. At least BP is making an effort to stop their leak, even if most attempts have proved futile so far. In our nation's capitol, everyone talks about the need for fiscal responsibility, but few have shown they believe those words by allowing the danger to galvanize us into action.
This is a problem with blame in both parties, and which goes back for decades. Both parties have pursued an expansionist philosophy towards government, adding new agencies and programs and government employees (and therefore union employees), with the cost placed squarely on the backs of the American taxpayers. America was rich though, the richest nation in the world, so we humored the government because we could bear the increasing taxes and still enjoy a comfortable living.
No more. America is now the biggest debtor in the world, and America's creditors are grumbling about our fiscal policy because they are afraid, and with good reason, that America will default on its debt and be unable to repay what it owes. Our creditors look at massive entitlement programs in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid which are on the brink of insolvency, and then see us add an even larger health care entitlement on top of it, funded in part by pulling funds from those other bankrupt entitlements. They know that the likelihood that we will pay our debts in full without resorting to currency-devaluing inflation lies somewhere between slim and none.
Even as we struggle to get our fiscal house in order, we've added not only a new entitlement but have increased the size and cost of government even while the private sector continues to bleed jobs. According to a study by the Heritage Foundation, when factoring in both salary and benefits, public sector employees now make almost twice what their private sector counterparts make. In fact, it also reports that the fastest growing sector for producing millionaires is government.
While we have been on a long, slow slide into socialism for decades, that slide has been sped up under the last several administrations. While past presidents have been content to take the scenic route to socialism, Obama has put the pedal to the floor and redlined the speedometer. He has given us the $787 billion stimulus package that has only stimulated the pocketbooks of Democrats' favored constituencies (like government employees and labor unions) while giving us sustained 10 percent unemployment. He continues to sign pork-filled budget bills despite promising he would veto them. He signed a multi-trillion dollar health care control bill that will reduce the quality of the world's greatest system of health care delivery while drastically increasing the cost; all so government has more control over our lives, because government is omniscient and can't trust the filthy, intellectually-unwashed proletariat to make the "right" decisions.
Under Obama, the mistakes of the Bush administration (the philosophy that a benevolent government can address all of our problems better than individual citizens making individual choices) have been compounded and added upon, and he's not nearly done. Democrats are still pushing the union-friendly "card check" legislation behind the scenes, and pushing an economy-destroying "cap-and-trade" energy tax right out in the open.
A government-run, centralized economy will not bring us prosperity; it will bring us bankruptcy and misery. It has failed everywhere that it has been tried. Even our own U.S. Treasury Secretary has acknowledged the futility of sustained government intervention in the economy. He said "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promise. I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started ... and an enormous debt to boot." Sound familiar?
Those were not the words of current Treasury Secretary and highest-ranking tax cheat "TurboTax Tim" Geithner. Those are the words of former Treasury Secretary, and close friend of FDR, Henry Morgenthau, discussing the eight-year failure of FDR's New Deal programs to ease us out of the Great Depression.
Free people making free decisions as to what is best for their family is what will lead us back to prosperity, not government. That is why it is called the free market.
Lower taxes, and taxes more evenly distributed (around 50 percent of Americans pay NO federal income tax). Drastically reduced spending by government. Drastically reduced regulatory compliance burdens upon the American people, and especially businesses. Debt reduction. These are the things that will lead to prosperity. Government should not be able to have a blank check to spend on whatever it so desires. I don't. You don't. Businesses don't. States don't (although many try). Why should the federal government, which has only those powers delegated to it by each of us as sovereign individuals, have the power to do something that we can't do ourselves?
When we adequately address that question we may begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel...and this time it won't be an oncoming train.
Louis DeBroux is a Taylorsville resident, married, with eight children. He is vice chair of communications of the Bartow County Republican Party. He owns Gatekeeper data backup and recovery. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.