President Obama will deliver the State of the Union address in just 4 days. I won’t waste my time listening. Rather, I thought I would revisit a much more inspiring, and much more relevant speech. That would be the inaugural speech delivered by Ronald Reagan 30 years ago. It is really amazing just how relevant it is. He could have easily delivered it today and you would never know the difference as every word fits the current events even more so now than 30 years ago.
It’s quite refreshing to hear America spoken of out of admiration rather than shame from Obama. No apologies. No bowing down to foreign leaders. Reagan made many mistakes in the years to follow, but he was the last President we’ve had able to speak in a way that recognizes American exceptionalism. His message was one that recognized that it was up to us to save ourselves. We the people. Not government.
Yet, what is government but the people? It’s made up of us and is a direct reflection of our values. If it doesn’t work for us, it is up to us to change it, not to leave it to government to police itself. Left to its own devices, that will never happen. The reason we are in the situation we are in is our pathology of dependency. We are addicted to government involvement of our daily lives. You may point to greedy bankers or corporations as enablers of our financial problems, but the ultimate fault must lay at our feet.
Recent polling reflects this. Americans claim to support voluntary austerity measures in an effort to curb spending. Yet, the polls show that we still have a long list of “third rail” untouchable entitlements. We have a disconnect. Cutting spending as long as it doesn’t affect me seems to be the mantra. Unfortunately, real spending reductions will be painful for nearly all of us.
The GOP has proposed spending reductions that will result in savings of $2.5 trillion over 10 years. That’s $250 billion per year. Sorry, not nearly enough as we just racked up over $400 billion in deficit spending in just the last 3 month period of 2010. Remember, this is just to slow down the deficit increase. It doesn’t address reducing the debt or the associated interest.
We are told we can’t rush getting the debt under control as this will cause the economy to crash. BULL! I even hear people on the right saying this. To agree to this premise is to say that our economy is truly dependent on government spending as the left claims. It is not! Excessive spending on entitlements and expansion of various government programs does not grow our economy.It is, in fact, a drag on our economy. Trillion dollar deficits only serve to “crowd out” private investment. They are literally sucking up money both now and in the future that cannot be used to create wealth and grow the economy.
Every day we wait to stop digging the hole deeper only delays any real recovery and puts us at greater risk that we will allow the problem to grow too large to overcome. This thinking goes back to the pathology of dependency. Oh my gosh, what will happen if government shut off the spigot tomorrow? That kind of fear is what feeds the progressive movement. It is the total opposite of the spirit the founders of this country possessed.
It’s what Reagan meant when he quoted “act worthy of yourselves”. We have to take it upon ourselves to do whatever it takes to get down and dirty and go to work to reverse the course we’re on. No, it won’t be easy at all. No one has a plan that is. I guarantee it. There is no politician anywhere on the planet that has a plan that is void of pain. But our freedom comes with a high price tag and we haven’t been paying the bill. There will never be a day in which we can just relax and enjoy the fruits of our labors without always having to be vigilant. We let it get to where it is and it will take all we have to save it.
So, act worthy of yourselves. Our ancestors created the greatest country ever for us. As caretakers, we must not look simply to place blame on how it got to be this way. We need to realize our self-worth and break our chains of dependency. We need to greatly reduce the role of government in our lives. It will be shocking to many. Yet, it isn’t an option. And we will be far better off because of it in the future. No pain, no gain may just be a slogan, but it is true in this case.
Forced austerity is already here. Government layoffs are starting. Reduced government provided services are happening now. Municipal defaults are sure to increase. Much of what we need to do is going to be forced upon us anyway. We cannot allow government to continue to delay in taking our medicine. It will only make it worse. The best that we can do is to embrace it and begin to plan for how best to deal with the fallout.