Since Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal," many Americans appear to have abandoned self-restraint, individual responsibility and accountability in favor of government as provider, protector and guarantor. The notion that people are "owed" what others have earned is primarily responsible for our enormous and growing debt. We once promoted individual initiative and people who overcame difficult circumstances. Now we seem to punish the successful and treat the unsuccessful as victims who have no hope of improving their lot without government. This is a fallacy of course, based on the results of the failed "war on poverty."
Despite the fact -- and it is a fact -- that government does many things poorly and at too high a cost, too many of us continue to turn to it for salvation. Politicians encourage this because addicting more people to government keeps them in power, solidifies their careers and keeps the special perks flowing their way.
Nothing would change Washington faster than the transformative idea that only we can make our lives better by our financial and moral choices. It's long past time for politicians to say "eat your vegetables, they are good for you" and for citizens to comply.
Such a message will be labeled "harsh" by some, but it is necessary to restore a sick economy and a nation that needs to return to its constitutional roots. This return is the cure for our national dysfunction.
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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