Terry Jeffrey

In a similar, but more dramatic way, Congress moved at about the same time to subsidize the retirement of seniors by creating the Social Security system.

In the 1960s, Congress created the Medicare program to subsidize health care for seniors.

In this decade, Congress created a Medicare drug entitlement to subsidize prescription medicines for seniors.

In the process, Americans became increasingly dependent on Uncle Sam. This was a good thing for federal elected officials: They could take wealth from one group (tomorrow's taxpayers) and give it to another group (today's voters).

But it also created two great problems: The bills for these benefits were bound to come due eventually, and a people dependent on government are by definition not an independent people.

The real American dream is not found in having a government that helps you pay for your home, your health care and your retirement. It is found in taking care of those things yourself, as a free and independent person.

The next generation will find this dream harder to achieve because of this generation's profligate dependence on an improvident Uncle Sam.

If Uncle Sam literally paid off every mortgage in America -- even those Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have no involvement in -- it would cost taxpayers $12 trillion. That is a mind-boggling sum. But it is far less than the $53 trillion in unfunded liabilities the Government Accountability Office now says Uncle Sam has guaranteed to make good on in the form of Social Security, Medicare and other federal entitlements.

Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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