Monday, February 25, 2008


Wake up, America

The Members of Congress who've tried to rally support for earmark reform (see McCain, John and Flake, Jeff) certainly deserve our praise. In the grand scheme of all things fiscal, however, pork-barrel spending is but a drop in the budgetary bucket. To wit (chart provided by Say Anything Blog):

Unless and until politicians, advocacy groups, and ordinary citizens find the will to get serious about entitlement reform, the United States will stay on course for the budgetary meltdown that's coming in about, oh, 50 years. And don't hold your breath waiting for reform proposals to come out of the Democratic caucus. (Remember how they scuttled efforts to reform Medicare in 1995-96, or how they jammed a log in the spokes of Social Security reform in 2005?) Democrats spend practically all of their time crawling over one another to see who can propose the biggest expansion of the American Welfare State.

The government's long-term fiscal outlook is bleak, to say the least. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid already consume nearly half of all federal spending; and many economists predict that these three federal programs will consume more than 75 percent of federal spending when the last Baby Boomers retire. If Americans can't find the courage to start weaning themselves from the federal teat, they'll soon find themselves working 6 or 8 months of every year just to pay the confiscatory taxes needed to fund entitlements

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back again into bondage."

-- Professor Alexander Tytler, describing the fall of the Athenian Republic -- prior to the American War for Independence

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