Star Parker

As 2013 comes to a close, it’s as good a time as any to do some national soul searching.

Polls show that three out of four Americans say the nation is on the wrong track. Disapproval ratings of our president are lodged above fifty percent.

Clearly, whatever was generating the glow that got the most left-wing president in American history elected twice is starting to fade.

Despite the considerable human experience from around the world that socialism does not work, and the considerable experience in our own country that human freedom and capitalism does work, many Americans bought the left-wing sweet talk and sugar-coated promises from Barack Obama that this time things would be different.

As Obamacare socialism implodes, as every conservative observer knew from day one it would, the American people need alternatives, not just to how we get our health care, but to the destructive left-wing vision that has gripped this country over recent years.

And here, the Republican Party leadership needs to shoulder its share of the blame.

Nature abhors a vacuum. It is not enough to know what doesn’t work. Citizens need to hear, with clarity, what does work, and this can only happen through courageous, principled leadership.

Leadership, by this standard, from the opposition party, the Republican Party, has been woefully lacking.

Two recent surveys point to the deep confusion among the American people.

A Gallup poll last week reported that 72 percent of Americans identify “big government” as “the biggest threat to the country in the future,” the highest percentage since Gallup began reporting this in 1965.

Yet, when asked in a Pew Research Center survey, also reported last week, which parts of the federal budget should be scaled back to deal with the deficit, most Americans do not want to touch what is the biggest problem – entitlement spending.

Social Security and Medicare take 36 percent of the federal budget compared to 18 percent that goes to defense spending. And projections show entitlement spending rapidly growing to take an increasingly larger chunk of the federal budget.

Yet 69 percent of Americans are opposed to taking on Social Security and Medicare to deal with the deficit while only 40 percent are opposed to cutting the defense budget. Even a majority of Republicans – 62 percent – don’t want to touch Social Security and Medicare.

When most Americans feel the biggest threat facing us is big government, yet they do not want to take on the biggest factors driving the growth of government, we have got a problem.

This is a problem that can only be addressed through leadership. And at this writing, that leadership is absent.

Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.