How “the greatest generation” betrayed America 10

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare – all must go. If we were politicians we would propose a soothing program of phasing them out. But we have the luxury of being theoreticians only, airy-fairy philosophical types, who have reached our ivory tower after decades tramping the muddy and perilous highways and byways of the wicked world. So we can simply and bluntly say: it is not the proper business of government to feed, house, heal or educate the people, and the federal government must stop trying to do so or the nation will sink under the burden of debt this administration has laid on it.

The proper business of government is to defend the nation, protect every individual and his property by enforcing the law. It should not encroach on the freedom of the people. It is a thing that all too easily runs wild and ravenous. It must be kept within tight limits. At best it should be no worse than an annoying necessity. Always remember that anything government does, it does badly. So let it do only what it must; what only government can, nothing more.

In support of our view today we cite Walter Williams, who writes at Townhall:

Whether Americans realize it or not, the last decade’s path of congressional spending is unsustainable. Spending must be reined in, but what spending should be cut? The Republican majority in the House of Representatives fear being booted out of office and are understandably timid. Their rule for whom to cut appears to be: Look around to see who are the politically weak handout recipients.

The problem is that those cuts won’t put much of a dent in overall spending. …

More than 200 House members and 50 senators have co-sponsored a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution. A balanced budget amendment is no protection against the growth of government and the loss of our liberties. Estimated federal tax revenue for 2011 is $2.2 trillion and federal spending is $3.8 trillion leaving us with a $1.6 trillion deficit. The budget could be balanced simply by taking more of our earnings, making us greater congressional serfs. True protection requires an amendment limiting congressional spending. …

We need a rule that combines our Constitution with simple morality and plain common sense. I think it immoral for Congress to forcibly take one American’s earnings and give them to another American to whom they do not belong. If a person did the same thing privately, he’d be convicted of theft and jailed. We might ask ourselves whether acts that are clearly immoral and despicable when done privately are any less so when done by Congress. Close to two-thirds of the federal budget, so-called entitlements, represent what thieves do: redistribute income.

Some people might say, “Williams, the programs that you’d cut are vital to the welfare of our nation!” When someone says that, I always ask what did we do before. For example, our nation went from 1787 to 1979 and during that interval produced some of the world’s most highly educated people without a Department of Education. Since the department’s creation, American primary and secondary education has become a joke among industrialized nations.

Who made this happen and when? He points an accusatory finger:

There is a distinct group of Americans who bear a large burden for today’s runaway government. You ask, “Who are they?” It’s the so-called “greatest generation.” When those Americans were born, federal spending as a percentage of GDP was about 3 percent, as it was from 1787 to 1920 except during war. No one denies the sacrifices made and the true greatness of a generation of Americans who suffered through our worse depression, conquered the meanest tyrants during World War II and later managed to produce a level of wealth and prosperity heretofore unknown to mankind.

But this generation of Americans also laid the political foundation for the greatest betrayal of our nation’s core founding principle: limited federal government exercising only constitutionally enumerated powers. It was on their watch that the foundation was laid for today’s massive federal spending that tops 25 percent of GDP.

A good part of that generation is still alive. Before they depart, they might do their share to help us have a federal government exercising only constitutionally enumerated powers.

They might. But not all grow wise as they grow old.