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Time for Governmentaholics Anonymous

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

“Hi, my name is Bill, and I’m a governmentaholic!”

After listening to Barack Obama’s economic plan, you can expect the number of addicted Americans to grow. He calls for substantial government subsidies for healthcare, college, foreclosure relief, pension plans and alternative energies. He favors tax cuts for middle-class workers and tax increases for top earners and businesses. Those tax increases will need to be very high to pay for his massive increases in spending and his proposed takeover of healthcare. But, like any addiction, the costs keep going up the more citizens are addicted.

Too many Americans have a need for a 12-step program to help break their addiction to government assistance. Unfortunately, some Americans don’t even realize that Democrats are selling a dangerous addiction that further undermines personal responsibility and freedom while creating more government dependence and out-of-control spending.

Senator McCain rightly blames both parties for the wasteful spending, “Congress and this administration have failed to meet their responsibilities…. Government has grown by 60 percent in the last eight years. That is simply inexcusable.” McCain’s economic plan doesn’t create new entitlements; it gives Americans more freedom by allowing them to manage their own lives.

In addition to promising a simplified tax code, McCain pledges to cut taxes on all and raise them on none. In addition to eliminating government waste, he wants government to shrink, not grow. He wants to cut the waste and end earmark abuse on pet programs. To McCain, Americans don’t need renegotiated trade agreements or protection from competition; they just need freedom to compete in a free-trade, global economy! His plan for healthcare takes the responsibility and choices away from the government and employers and gives it to every American adding portable policies, tax credits and saving account options.

McCain treats citizens as adults capable of rising to the challenges they face. For all his talk on self-reliance, Barak Obama’s message of hope doesn’t depend on our citizens achieving their own American Dream. His hope resides in government’s ability to create more programs and more dependent Americans.

Nearly 9 million Americans are asking for federal help because they made bad decisions about loans they could not afford. They risked and lost in the housing market. Are taxpayers responsible for everyone’s bad decisions? What about the people who played by the rules and waited until they could afford to buy? Are they to pay more taxes to help those who were reckless?

When politicians try to fix economies, look out! In 1929, the stock market crashed, and the politicians made it worse. In 1987, President Reagan faced a stock market crash that fell by almost the same amount. What followed was not another depression, but 20 years of prosperity, low inflation and low unemployment. What was the difference? To the dismay of the media and many politicians, Reagan did nothing. He knew that the economy goes through cycles and would recover on its own.

Recently, when asked what the President and Congress should do, Harvard Professor N. Gregory Mankiw, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, replied, “Absolutely nothing!” The economist Thomas Sowell provided needed perspective, “There is not one economist among the 535 members of Congress. But, in an election year, that is not a political handicap. Santa Claus has won far more elections than any economist.”

In the past, we’ve tried spending our way to being a very compassionate country. Our government invested $5.4 trillion on means-tested welfare payments in the “War on Poverty.” The investment would have been worth it, if it had worked, but it did not work. In fact, the results of this type of compassion have been devastating. Under the guise of caring, we’ve ruined families, making it more profitable to be a single-parent family than to have husbands in the home.

With the cost of Medicare, Social Security and existing entitlements skyrocketing, and federal and state governments having to cut budgets, much of America is in denial! They want more from government, and they want others to fund their addiction! As Gerald Ford said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have.” You know who pays for everything Santa Claus puts under the tree—it’s you and I!

It’s time we measure compassion by how many people no longer need government programs instead of by how many are served by them. Outside of a necessary safety net, it’s time to cut programs, not expand them.

In November, a vote for the Republican team is not a vote to end compassion. It’s a vote for caring enough to assist without creating more dependency. Make sure a safety net doesn’t become a lifelong hammock. In fact, the push out of the hammock may be the most caring thing we can do to help more citizens gain confidence in their own ability to overcome life’s obstacles.

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