Terry Jeffrey

That means that after paying for the main federal welfare-state and education programs last year, the federal government was already in debt.

It thus needed to borrow every penny that it paid for the Defense Department, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department, all of which -- unlike the welfare-state programs and the Department of Education -- carry out core constitutional functions of the federal government.

According to the Treasury, the national debt increased $1.652 trillion last year.

So, who's to blame?

Well, you could blame the Founding Fathers. After all, they are the ones who framed a Constitution that authorized the central government to maintain a national defense, conduct diplomacy, secure our borders and enforce the federal laws.

Or you could blame the architects of the federal welfare state. These are the politicians who built the wealth-redistributing programs that are now breeding government dependency in America, pushing us deep into debt and driving us toward an economic catastrophe that may do permanent damage not only to our prosperity but to our liberty.

This is where the blame belongs.

It belongs to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt for threatening to pack the Supreme Court with Democratic liberals if the court did not agree to distort the meaning of the General Welfare Clause of the Constitution and allow him and a liberal Congress to flout the true limits on federal power and enact the first federal welfare program in Social Security.

It belongs to Lyndon Baines Johnson, who expanded the federal welfare state in 1965 with Medicare and Medicaid, making the elderly and the poor in this country dependent on the federal government for health care. It belongs to George W. Bush, a "big government conservative," who not only made peace with the welfare state but resolved to make it bigger.

History will remember "W" as the Republican who massively increased federal involvement in education through the No Child Left Behind Act and who significantly increased the insolvency of Medicare by creating a prescription drug entitlement.

And, of course, it belongs to Obama.

Our current president saw the nation heading toward bankruptcy driven by the welfare state and signed legislation forcing every American to buy a government-approved health insurance plan and promising to subsidize that purchase for all households earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level.

Had FDR, LBJ, W and Obama all failed -- had Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the drug entitlement and Obamacare never been enacted -- America most assuredly would still be a great country.

And government would have less control over our lives.

It is time to prove our greatness again by turning our course back to limited government and self-reliance.

Terry Jeffrey

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

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