Mike Needham

At critical times through our nation’s history, principled and courageous men have stood up and lead our country towards greatness. Our Founding Fathers declared their independence from Britain and created our Constitution – the greatest governing document we have ever seen. From those early leaders to Ronald Reagan, who most recently advanced freedom in our nation, great men have, at critical times, emerged to save America, “the last great hope of mankind.”

Most, if not all, Americans realize our country is today at a crossroads. We are faced with an ever growing and more powerful central government, rapidly increasing debt and vigorous competition from abroad. America is once again in need of a courageous and principled leader.

America, both as an idea and in practice, has always been about individuals, not an all powerful central government. Rugged individualism and an unwavering entrepreneurial spirit are what made America exceptional. Yet, in recent years, we have moved away from those founding principles.

Take, for example, the individual mandate contained within President Obama’s hostile takeover of health care. By wide margins, Americans have rejected the individual mandate. It will fundamentally alter the relationship between an individual and the government. If government can require an individual to buy health insurance, where does it stop? Can it dictate what we eat? How often we exercise? A lawmaker in South Dakota has already highlighted this issue by proposing legislation requiring individuals over the age of 21 to buy a firearm. Shockingly, liberals haven’t embraced that idea.

The growth of government does not come cheap. During the past decade, our national debt has exploded from less than $6 trillion in 2001 to more than $14 trillion today. The level of debt is quickly becoming unsustainable, especially given our massive unfunded liabilities.

If we continue down our current path, America’s AAA credit rating may be jeopardized. That would increase the cost of borrowing and dramatically weaken our already depressed economy.

Last week, we saw the House of Representatives take an important (albeit relatively small) first step towards addressing our nation’s coming fiscal crisis, by making actual cuts to our nation’s non-security discretionary spending. However, as many pundits correctly noted, the reductions are modest (not even back to 2008 levels) and only cover a sliver of the massive $3.7 trillion budget.

Mike Needham

Mike Needham is the Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Action for America, a grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to advancing legislation that promotes freedom, opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.