I don’t think that the extraordinary success of the United States has been an accident. It’s been the product of a value system based on freedom and merit, and the good fortune of having some very smart founders that were gun-shy went it came to powerful, authoritative governments, having suffered under the dictatorial behavior of the British monarchy. They devised a system intended to limit the scope and practice of a centralized government, hence the careful crafting of a constitution that is prohibitive with the “checks and balances” we all learned about in grade school. What seems to be forgotten, is that we are not a democracy, but a republic, and this was by design. The problem inherent in a true democracy is well illustrated by the statement “democracy is three wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.” Often ascribed to Benjamin Franklin but likely a misattribution, it makes the case succinctly and elegantly.

Some would argue (particularly on the left) that the ongoing economic crisis is evidence that the current system is failing, and cite the excesses of the private sector as the cause. Of course, this argument doesn’t take into account the collapse of almost every socialist regime, or the fact that socialist policies in this country favoring unions and public sector jobs, and meddling in financial systems such as the mortgage industry through quasi-private companies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have hybridized the current system. In other words, we’re bipolar, in a state of politico-economic confusion.

Many Americans, both on the left and the right, have come to the conclusion that the government must reduce its spending, as the current paradigm is unsustainable. But when faced with specific programs, particularly those that they benefit from or are philosophically wedded to, the response is often, “You can’t cut that—it’s too important.”

I don’t see how this country can work its way back to the success we’ve been historically accustomed to without reverting to the sound fiscal policies of our forefathers, which did not include amassing debt for our progeny to pay for programs to increase our standard of living artificially today. The government must take its lumps, and I have some very specific recommendations as to what could be done to reverse our impending decline (which, I expect, will be dutifully ignored). But first, in my next rant, to be fair, I need to flog the private sector.


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