Reckoning

by TOM MCLAUGHLIN November 9, 2012

My friend was being too pessimistic - I thought.


Months ago he said the country will continue its downward slide because those who depend on government have become the majority, and will always vote to keep those government benefits coming no matter what.

Yes, those people who depend on government for everything are increasing, I acknowledged then, but even most of them weren't stupid enough to believe those benefits would keep coming forever. They understood the simple arithmetic that we could not continue indefinitely borrowing 42 cents of every dollar we spend. If conservatives only pointed out that - even if we took all the income of the richest Americans - we could only continue funding our nanny state for a few months, people would understand. They'd know the whole thing would collapse if we stayed on the road we're on and they'd vote for fiscal sanity instead of four more years of President Obama's pie-in-the-sky promises.

No they won't, he said. Most Americans are not that smart, he insisted - and he was right. Tuesday's results proved him right. They proved me wrong and I have to adjust my thinking.

The wagon-riders have become the majority. Most Americans don't want real liberty - the liberty to succeed or fail on their own - they want to remain attached to the government umbilical cord and stay home watching "Dancing With The Stars."

For quite a while now, commenters on my blog have been deriding me as out of touch with mainstream Americans. I guess I am. I've overestimated the common sense of the average American voter.

Thirty years ago I got to know a wealthy family as I took care of their property. The matriarch's grandfather made a fortune in shipping during the late nineteenth century, but by the fourth generation, it was all gone. Rags to riches to rags in four generations. How long has it taken the United States to go from the richest nation in history to the biggest debtor nation in history? About four generations.

My father-in-law is on his death bed as I write this. He's a twice-wounded veteran of World War II and went on a morphine drip Tuesday - election day. The family is around his bed waiting for the end.

What strikes me is how analogous that is to our nation's condition. We just reelected a president who has promised to continue for another four years with the policies that have increased our national debt by 50% and stagnated our economy. Whereas the family waiting for my father-in-law's death is fully cognizant that he's dying, the electorate that put President Obama in for another term Tuesday doesn't understand that America as we know it is dying too. My father-in-law will be gone inside a week, but our country may limp along for months or even years.

 The fiscal cliff looms for January. That budget problem our government put off dealing with? It's coming up soon. Does President Obama realize that he's inheriting a much bigger mess for his second term than he did for his first?

 

FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Tom McLaughlin is a (now retired) history teacher and a regular weekly columnist for newspapers in Maine and New Hampshire. He writes about political and social issues, history, family, education and Radical Islam.  Email him at tommclaughlin@fairpoint.net.

 


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