Last Friday evening the federal government narrowly averted a reprise of the 1995-1996 shutdown when Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, and Senate Majority Leader Contrary Harry Reid agreed to a modicum of budget cuts. The amount was not as high as many of us on the fiscal conservative side would like but they are a tentative step in the right direction. A much more substantive step in the direction of restoring national fiscal sanity and solvency was made by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's release of the GOP budget alternative to the "dead on arrival" budget submitted by the Obama Administration. Rep. Ryan and his Republican colleagues should be commended for their long-term approach to this problem and, hopefully, will be able to withstand the whining class warfare rhetoric which is being directed toward them by defenders of the fiscal status quo.
It would be nice to believe that Obama's sudden interest in fiscal rectitude, which he will elaborate on in a speech this upcoming Wednesday, is genuine. However, he and the Democratic Party, and even some Republicans, have a decades long track record of resisting substantive cuts to government spending. Any true reduction of government spending must address the entitlement trinity of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Unfortunately, the past seven decades demonstrate that any attempt to point out unpleasant truths about Social Security will produce demonic howls from Democrats and allied interest groups who refuse to recognize that demographic trends make sustaining Social Security as we know it extremely difficult. New York "Senator" Charles Schumer's recent babbling about "Tea Party extremism" is an obvious example of donkey infantile behavior.
These individuals and organizations also must recognize that the federal government can no longer be our mommy and daddy and meet all our material needs. Unfortunately, their political power base is dependent on maintaining and increasing the American public's dependence on the federal government regardless of the economic and social consequences of such dependence. The past year has seen the global consequence of excessive public reliance on governmental financial support in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal. With a national debt exceeding $14 trillion, we should not assume we are immune from such economic calamity. History clearly demonstrates that countries which fail to manage their finances eventually disintegrate and become vulnerable to economic and military exploitation from other countries. Our increasingly heavy reliance on China to support our fiscal profligacy should be a cause of acute concern to America. While we can no longer be an isolationist island in an interlocked global economy, we must NEVER make the mistake of letting any single country, or combination of countries, restrict our financial autonomy.
We will have to make painful cuts to our social spending programs, some defense cuts, and maybe have to consider some tax increases to begin the long painful road to national financial solvency. We must focus on long-term planning, eliminating waste, reform and simplifythe tax code, enhance personal educational standards and accountability, and emphasizing saving instead of consuming as we strive to increase our living standards. We will face ferocious resistance from the Democratic Party's welfare state constituencies and will require unprecedented intestinal and political fortitude to withstand these assaults. Our fiscal predicament has been caused by both parties and all of us as individuals dating back to the New Deal of the 1930s. It will take several years, multiple presidential administrations, and numerous congressional sessions to achieve this. Nothing less than our national survival and freedom is at stake. In this fight, we should be inspired by the concluding words of Abraham Lincoln in his February 27, 1860 Cooper Union speech in New York City "Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to due our duty as we understand it."