This may be the most unpopular column I have ever written. It will be unpopular because it will talk about things that are taboo to more Americans today.
In truth, we have become a nation of ostriches who bury our heads in the sand, enjoying the sun on our backs and ignoring the coming storms. It is so easy to dwell in the present and give no thought to the future.
None is so blind as he who refuses to see. None is so pitiful as he who refuses to learn from history.
Every July 4, Americans celebrate Independence Day. Yet year by year, Americans have shed their independence and become more and more dependent upon a government that is racing like a runaway train doomed to its own destruction.
Ask not what you can do for your country; ask what your country can do for you. That seems to be the attitude of far too many Americans who have paraphrased the famous quote of John F. Kennedy by turning it around completely.
Far too many of us have adopted the attitude of living for today and caring not a whit for the future. We have expected and demanded from those we have elected, and then demanded some more.
Our attitude has been, give us everything we want or you will not get our votes,
and the politicians have responded in self-defense.
The United States has descended to the point it is so debt-ridden it can hardly hope to pay off the trillions that we owe. Yet as with our personal finances, there surely will come a day of accounting, a day when those who are our creditors will demand payment, and we will have nothing with which to satisfy our debts.
Who will own our country then? We keep re-electing a Congress that has no regard for economics. Over the years, it has squandered every cent it could lay its hands on, even nearly stripping the Social Security fund. Don’t blame the Democrats or Republicans. Blame every legislator we have sent to Washington.
We have run up tremendous debts, and yet today they look for more ways to spend our tax money. Despite owing trillions of dollars, we keep throwing billions of dollars away in foreign aid, much of it going to countries that are far better off financially than we are. By what stretch of the imagination does this make sense?
We have re-elected a president who has been the biggest spender ever to occupy the White House, and he continues to push programs that will cost and cost and cost. Some of these things may appeal to the “gimmee” crowd of Americans, but we must be realistic.
How are we going to pay for these things?
The only answer is massive tax increases, not only on the wealthy but on every American, even down to welfare recipients.
The only alternative is to live within our means, and apparently nobody wants to do that.
When a public official tries to cut back on government spending, you hear terrible screams of anguish from those who have become accustomed to grants for their pet projects. Gov. Tom Corbett can testify to that, although his projected cuts have been comparatively minor.
Unfortunately, far too many politicians use scare tactics in attempts to get votes, rather than trying to improve things. Evidence of that was the last presidential campaign, when we kept hearing dire predictions about what would happen to Social Security if the opposite party should win.
They had many senior citizens jumping through hoops in fear they would lose the Social Security benefits they had paid into for many years, many for half a century or more.
We have seen efforts of the Federal Reserve to alleviate things by printing more money. This has been tried in other countries, with spectacularly bad results. The money became worthless, to the point some people used it to start fires. People starved and could not afford to buy food, even if they could find any. It could happen here, and eventually will unless some drastic changes are made.
Great nations fell, not from armed attacks but from seeds of destruction sown within. It has happened to Italy, Greece, France and Germany – all of which believed “it could never happen here.”
Before the same tragedy happens here, when those in power realize the end is coming, Americans may see tax rates double and triple. Even that may be too late. The time to make amends and seek solutions is now.
May God save our great nation, and thwart those who would tear it down.
Bill Jones is a retired senior writer for The Tribune-Democrat.