This was originally written as a column for the Star-Exponent
This must be the high water mark for government. We have such a huge government, which creeps into every aspect of our lives that we must for ourselves and for future generations halt its spread and then begin to roll it back.
This is a gargantuan undertaking. Many cannot even imagine living in a world with a smaller government. They have been convinced that the government is there to help them. To make life easier. That they couldn’t live without the helping hand of the government. Who would protect them? Who would right the wrongs of the world? Government is a friend. Government is good.
Government is not “good.” It is necessary to some extent. Humans, as it has been said, are not angels. We need government to enforce contracts and keep the peace so that commerce can happen, but beyond that? Well, I don’t think it should do much more than that.
Well that’s you Nick. You may want to live in some “libertopia” with a night watchman government. But not me. I like Social Security, welfare, a massive military industrial complex, No Child Left Behind (Okay no one likes No Child Left Behind). I like big government.
Fine. You like these things. The problem is we cannot afford them.
I don’t mean “we can’t afford them” in the way a Republican pundit might say on Fox News. I mean we really can’t afford them.
With the deficit spending we are engaged in, on the scale we are engaged in, we are simply living off of the assumed wealth of future generations. We are limping along today because we are using the generational credit card to get by.
The good news for you folks in your late 60s, 70s, and beyond is that you will probably pass on before the bill comes due. You will have your Social Security and Medicare, and Medicare Part D, don’t worry, because you vote and the politicians want to get reelected.
So far the younger people haven’t figured out that they are on the hook for the biggest bill in the history of the planet. They haven’t figured out that this massive burden will weigh them and the economy down during their peak earning years and will continue to erode at the quality of life for the middle class.
We, the generation of credit card holders, can’t think beyond next month because most of us live as debt slaves already. We have car payments, real mortgages, credit cards, and God only knows what else. Most people are hamstrung by debt even if they make a nice living. This is because we need things NOW. We must have what we want NOW. We after all deserve it.
Want a war in Afghanistan? A ten year war? Put it on the generational credit card. Want a war in Iraq? Put it on the generational credit card. Want Obamacare? Put it on the generational credit card. War in Libya? Credit Card. Green energy “investment”? Credit card. Want to bail out the banks? No? Well that’s going on the credit card whether you want it to or not.
How will all this be paid for? Or more precisely how will this end?
What if we tax all the billionaires 100%? Nope. Won’t fix it.
What if we grow the economy by 10% year over year for a decade? Boy, that’d be great, but it still wouldn’t solve the problem.
The only choice is to cut and cut deeply. We must put our house in order and feel the pain now, or suffer a far worse fate down the road.
Yeah Nick, but that’s tomorrow.