Vail Daily letter: America’s free lunch is long gone
May 25, 2011
For decades now politicians (mostly Democrats) at all levels of government and the hierarchy of union leadership have been buying votes and placating membership by promising vast benefits that they are now finding impossible to deliver. The “free lunch” that was assured to many is turning out to be nothing more than a cruel myth, for the “benefits” that were promised are in reality now tied up in the form of unsustainable (and likely unpayable) debt.
Though warning cries about the impending fiscal crisis have been heard for several years from the private sector, a disinterested, lazy and somnolent public has been lulled into a false sense of security and well-being.
Now President Obama’s own economic council, the head of the Congressional Budget Office, the Group of Six (sadly, now five) and other well-informed agencies and individuals are screaming that the United States could very well be in as bad a shape economically as is Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Spain.
We are witness to a number of significant warning signs (i.e., mounting debt and deficit spending, a stagnant economy, the collapse of the real estate market, gridlock in Washington, lack of confidence in our leaders, etc.) that the Second Great Depression could be just around the corner unless dramatic and meaningful steps are taken.
The all-together pathetic posturing and finger-pointing by most of our elected officials and their inability to look beyond their own re-election bids to adequately address and solve the immense problems facing the nation gives credence to an approval rating for both houses of Congress that now stands at about 20 percent.
In order to avoid going over the cliff and into the abyss, everyone’s ox will have to be gored and shed some blood.
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Here are a few of the places where we must start: The growth of jobs must be looked at as job one, for without wages, salaries and businesses to tax government will have no way to pay its mounting bills.
Tax loopholes must be plugged. Some taxes will have to be raised (how about a value-added tax on everything?).
People’s expectations as to what government will do for them will have to be lowered substantially.
We must pull out of all foreign wars within 12 -24 months, because we simply cannot afford them at the expense of everything else at home. The pentagon’s budget should be slashed and our military refocused on defending our boarders closer to home.
All “entitlement” programs must be reviewed and adjusted for sustainability and affordability; Obamacare should be repealed as it is simply unaffordable. Tort reform should be an objective. Term limits for U.S. representatives and senators should be enacted. And a goal of the nation being debt- and deficit-free within 20 years (like a mortgage on a house, paid off in full) should become the law of the land.
Tough and unpleasant-tasting medicine to be sure. However, by taking it as prescribed, the patient has a good chance of surviving into the 22nd century.
Without it, history clearly reveals that the United States will follow every other great power that has preceded us into obscurity.