Terry Paulson

If some of the presidents we celebrate today could speak to us and give us counsel, what might they say?

Thomas Jefferson once said, “Information is the currency of democracy.” That requires homework, not a reliance on mainstream media sound bytes. In his first prime-time press conference, President Obama tried justifying his stimulus plan by pointing to Japan’s economic “lost decade.” But Japan, facing a deep recession, implemented ten separate spending stimulus packages between 1992 and 2000. Spending on public infra­structure was a major part of each package, yet the Japanese economy refused to recover. After eight years of “stimulus,” Japan’s annual growth rate was an anemic 0.6 percent between 1992 and 2007. If anything, Japan’s experience suggests that Obama’s unprecedented and expensive stimulus packages won’t work!

The U.S. national debt now stands at $10.8 trillion. The Democrat’s stimulus packages are increasing that to well over $13 trillion. We’re already paying over $412 billion a year just to pay the interest on our current debt. This is nothing compared to the $58 trillion of unfunded Social Security and Medicare liabilities. There’s no money set aside in a fund to pay these expanding benefits. Bernie Madoff’s swindle is dwarfed by Washington’s Ponzi Scheme! Creating a bigger deficit and a larger government bureaucracy isn’t the answer America needs.

Instead of just using Lincoln’s Bible, President Obama might have tried applying some of his core political principles. Abraham Lincoln preserved the union but knew its limits: "Government should do for people that which they cannot possibly do for themselves--and leave otherwise alone!" Lincoln knew how personal responsibility was critical to a society’s existence. After his own small business failure, Lincoln worked 17 years to pay off his debt. Lincoln would have had no patience for today’s “entitlement” mentality: "The worst thing you can do for those you love is the thing they could and should do for themselves.".

At the 1992 Republican Convention, President Ronald Reagan shared his secret for helping America climb out of recession, “I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence, rather than your doubts.” Reagan knew that the American Dream was built on individuals and entrepreneurs taking advantage of our free-enterprise economy. Instead of telling Americans we can’t make it without more government spending, Reagan inspired Americans to trust and use their treasured freedoms!

Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

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