The importance of personal responsibility is taught everyday in American classrooms, churches and at dinner tables and ball fields—everywhere, it seems, but Washington, DC. There, in the shadows of monuments to Washington and Lincoln, responsibility needs to be reinvigorated by politicians who seem to be more intent on lavishing taxpayer dollars on special interest groups than providing for a safe and prosperous American future.
As concerned citizens, we cannot tolerate such irresponsibility. We cannot merely sit on the sidelines while politicians and government bureaucrats spend away our future. As my new book Getting America Right: The True Conservative Values Our Nation Needs Today explains, we can and we must demand responsibility from our elected officials.
First, let’s acknowledge a basic truth: politicians are human beings. As people, I’m sure they want to do good things, but they are also tempted by the power of billions and billions of dollars that can be spent for causes that help them more than help us as the American people. If they yield to the great temptation of personal gain versus principled behavior, they are acting in an irresponsible way. Case in point: runaway federal spending.
At the time of the writing of Getting America Right, the national debt was a staggering $7.7 trillion. Tough to wrap your mind around a number like that, isn’t it? Well, then get this: If, like any company in the nation, the government had to include known future liabilities in its bookkeeping, estimates indicate the national debt would actually be somewhere in the range of $72 trillion. Again, that’s t-r-i-l-l-i-o-n. U.S. Comptroller David Walker has called this figure "chilling."
You can say that again.
Seventy-two trillion dollars in red ink would scare most people straight. Not for many politicians and government bureaucrats.
They keep right on spending.
Consider three examples from the 2004 You Won’t Believe This file:
• Congress spent $2 million on The First Tee Program in St. Augustine, Florida to teach young people about golf and values.
• Congress spent $50 million to build an enclosed rain forest in Iowa.
• Congress spent $800,000 to provide Disneyland with a “free” shuttle service for its guests.
Doug Wilson is the the co-author, with Edwin Feulner, of Getting America Right: The True Conservative Values Our Nation Needs Today.
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