The House of Representatives has passed the Ryan plan, while the Senate voted it down. The proposal is likely to loom large in next year’s presidential election, and that’s probably good. It would give Americans a stark contrast upon which to vote. Allen concludes that our decline could mean shoddy treatment even for our nation’s fallen heroes. “Next thing, we’d be tossing the bodies of veterans into common graves, though this has already happened at Arlington National Cemetery.”
He’s correct that the scandal at Arlington is an embarrassment. But the problem isn’t that our government ran out of money to operate the cemetery. Instead, as the Post documented in a series of stories, the federal government poured millions into upgrading a computer system, yet the cemetery’s administrators used pencils and note cards to keep burial records. It’s a case of government waste, not government wasting away.
But all is not lost.
“By every benchmark, this present age should be an American century, here and abroad,” writes Victor Davis Hanson of Stanford’s Hoover Institute. “New finds of coal, natural gas, oil, tar sands, and oil shale keep growing, not declining.”
And, he adds, “In an increasingly hungry world, American farmland is the most productive on the planet. Our farmers are surely the most gifted and innovative. The United States has inherited a vast, developed infrastructure; our duty is to improve and expand it, not, as our ancestors had to, start from scratch by building a Hoover Dam, intercontinental railroad, or port facilities in Oakland.”
The tools are there. We just need to use them.
It isn’t inevitable that the United States must slide into decline. If it does, it will be because Americans chose to, not because we had to. Let’s make the right choice.