The perverse and real-world effect of ill-considered and naïve government “generosity” is the erosion of the American work ethic and increasing citizen dependency. This reality, recognized and finally addressed with welfare-to-work rules during the Clinton Administration, has been contemptuously rejected by this President. In doing so he has treated the common sense of most Americans (reflected in overwhelmingly bi-partisan legislation) and the actual record of success and failure with equal contempt.
Barack Obama will make much of the need for “investing” in our future. But most Americans have come to understand that we don’t get anywhere near a dollar’s worth of value for every hard-won dollar we pay into the growing federal behemoth. When we actually acknowledge that every “investment” is made with borrowed trillions of dollars, the very definition of a “sound investment” is turned on its head.
We read about a $20 shrub moved out of the way of a rebuilt freeway in San Francisco at a taxpayer cost of at least $250,000. We read about the dream of alternative energy subsidized by taxpayers at a cost of billions of dollars that proved to be failed investments because our government ignored any reasonable prudence or due diligence examining actual market conditions. These are economic headwinds of our own creation.
When we talk about “opportunity for all,” we should be talking about all of us. That means we should be thinking hard right now about the future--our children and our grandchildren and even those who follow them. So while the intent may sound noble, spending money now that our offspring (and our economy) will be required to suffer later is hardly enlightened. It is an assault on our future health as a nation.
Concern about unsustainable debt and spending is an entirely legitimate subject that is overdue and worthy of a full-throated national debate. The outcome of this needed debate deserves and requires “consent of the governed” far beyond a 52 percent margin in an election and it deserves more than taunting from his bully pulpit. This badly needed debate won’t happen as it should with a President who has so insulated himself from any other points of view and who, with every new speech, puts his office above discourse and compromise.
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