Not surprisingly, all this spending is eating up a larger and larger portion of Washington’s budget. The amount of federal spending that went toward dependence-creating government programs was 28.3 percent in 1962. By 1990, it was 48.5 percent. Now it’s 70.5 percent. How much higher can it go without making it impossible to pay for other essential functions? Defense, for example, already faces draconian cuts in the near future.
We shouldn’t be fatalistic, of course. This disturbing course can be reversed. But it’s going to take some serious political will -- the kind that comes only when We the People apply pressure. Congress has got to curb federal spending, reform welfare and entitlement programs, and encourage more community-based aid and personal responsibility.
Otherwise, we’ll see the downward spiral continue. The research shows that as bureaucratic programs replace aid from private charities, communities and neighbors, Americans are less likely to prosper and achieve true independence.
“Liberty means responsibility,” George Bernard Shaw once wrote. “That is why most men dread it.” Most men, perhaps, but surely not Americans. Or will later generations look back and see that we stood by and allowed our once-great nation lose its charter as the beacon of independence for the rest of the world?