America has a choice to make: Continue down our current fiscal path of extravagant social spending into Euro-socialist impotency, or return to our heritage of fiscal responsibility, international respect and national prosperity.
The looming battle over the debt ceiling, currently set at $16.4 trillion, may seem like a topic over which only wonks and bankers can get excited, but it should be a confrontation that involves everyone. After all, it will have a dramatic effect on the future of our nation, and the kind of lives we, as well as our children and grandchildren, live.
If the debt ceiling is raised substantially, or even, as President Obama has demanded, eliminated altogether, it will free up the federal government to finance the kind of Euro-socialist nanny state so popular in much of Europe, with labor unions, and in our urban centers. While things like a lifetime free education may seem attractive, we can look at the consequences of such policies in Europe, and see that they only end one way. Economic subjugation, destruction of the middle class, riots, massive unemployment, draconian austerity, and collapsing governments are the inevitable results of the nanny state. Like a three-day binge, it may feel good at the time, but the hangover is a "killer."
The alternative is to accept that the grand, big government, social experiments of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s are over. They failed to fix the problems for which they were created, and, even worse, many of them created new, far worse problems such as the dependency, broken families, crime, and corruption we face today. These well-meaning, but short-sighted, policies, programs, and regulations need to end, the departments, bureaus, and committees supporting them need to be disbanded, and the budgets need to be cut to zero!
Our Military, instead of being used as a laboratory for new social policies, nation building, and traveling good will shows, should be pared back to have one, and only one, mission, National Defense.
And our contemptible sense of entitlement needs to be expunged from the culture. No longer can politicians be allowed to steal from some, to buy the votes of others by promising them "free stuff."
That doesn't mean that the poor won't be helped, or care afforded to the needy. Americans are a generous and compassionate people, but we can be just as generous helping each other directly, as we are when the police power of the state is used by special interest groups and politicians to extort, through taxation, the funding for their pet projects and vote buying schemes. The federal government should be involved only in those activities required under their Enumerated Powers, and every other department, agency, and bureau needs to be returned to the states, or, better yet, to private concerns
It won't be easy. We have to undo forty years of bad habits and strip massive amounts of political power and money from Washington, but, if we accept the challenge of acting like adults, and living within our means, the rewards can be impressive. Our nation grew from obscurity to the greatest economic power in the world, under policies of fiscal restraint, sound money, and limited government involvement in social policy. Americans enjoyed the highest standard of living, the greatest literacy, and the greatest national security of any nation on Earth as a result. Fiscal restraint created, and allowed us to live the American Dream.
If we wish a similar future for ourselves, our children, and grandchildren, instead of the one playing out in Europe right now, then we have to make a choice. We have to force our politicians to hold the line on the debt ceiling, and make the hard, real, cuts demanded by fiscal responsibility.
In 1626, the Lenape Indians were offered a deal; sell Manhattan Island for a handful of beads and "stuff." We all know how that worked out for them and their descendents.
In 2013, Americans are going to be offered a similar deal; raise the debt ceiling in exchange for a bunch of "free stuff." Are we going to be any wiser, or are our descendents going to rue the day we traded their future for a bunch of "free stuff" today?