Cal  Thomas

As the party of government, Democrats have a special interest in increasing individual reliance on the state because it keeps them in power. Among the many problems with that position is that at some point, consumers of other people's wealth become a majority. In order to sustain what those non-producers expect, government must borrow increasing amounts of money until we arrive at where we are today -- unable to pay our bills and dependent on foreign governments, chiefly China, because no one wants to say "no" to what anyone wants.

What to do? Instead of demanding ever more from government, we must reclaim those basic virtues from The Greatest Generation and begin to do more for ourselves. That means younger people must take charge of their own retirement. It also means more people must stop worrying about health care and begin to focus on staying well. The healthier we are, the less we will need doctors, hospitals and medicine.

We can't go on as we have been. The kabuki theater that passes for reasoned debate in Washington is nothing more than rhetoric that has been tested before focus groups for political gain. Too many politicians are telling their constituents, not necessarily what they believe, but what they think they want to hear. And this is why little gets done in Washington and why we are losing our liberty.

Back to that 2009 Saginaw, Mich., story about Depression survivors and what they think of today's complainers: "What happened," said the Rev. Edward R. Pankow, 80, pastor-emeritus at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Hemlock, "is people just got too much too easily. The more you wanted, the more you got."

Democrats hauled out their familiar playbook about starving grannies and women who would supposedly be denied treatment for breast cancer if the government had shut down. This time it didn't work.

It was clear Republicans won round one of the budget battle when Obama adviser David Plouffe said on "Meet the Press" last Sunday that the president would seek new cuts, even in Medicare and Medicaid. Can they keep up the momentum?

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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