Its spring and I’m in a motel snowed in for the second time in three days. This past weekend I spoke at a symposium hosted by the Tenth Amendment Center at Southern New Hampshire University. It was a power packed event. A full day surrounded by people who not only see the hand writing on the wall but who also believe they know what the words mean left my head swimming with the ideas presented and the inevitable optimism created when people see a problem and take action.
Lead, follow, or get out of the way! This has long been the battle cry of the do something even if it’s wrong lobby. It also appears to have been the guiding philosophy of George the Second’s TARP and Obama the Only’s stimulus.
I once knew the manager of a Rock-N-Roll band famous for the on the road antics. A constant string of motel mayhem, bar room buffoonery and generally boorish behavior devoured his attention. He always managed to get the boys out of trouble and on to the next town. I asked him once how he managed to smooth so many ruffled feathers. His answer and his policy for living large in the Rock-N-Roll lifestyle, “Do whatever you want, and choke them with hundred dollar bills.” Or as our politicians lead by example, “Come on let’s throw some money at the problem maybe that will make it go away.”
On my way to my second snow day I drove past miles and miles and miles and miles of orange barrels blocking half the highway. I could almost count them since the speed had been cut by about 30%. After a minimum of twenty miles the construction ended, and I could once again drive at normal speed. During all that time I saw not one worker, machine, or any evidence of human activity except the barrels. Our President has admitted that even though he sold us a trillion dollar pig-in-poke with the catchy little phrase there is no such thing as a shovel-ready job. It now seems the Stimulus the Progressives foisted upon us was clearly a make-work boondoggle. Now we are paying people to make signs telling us what wonderful things the Stimulus is accomplishing. We’re paying people to put the signs up. Paying people to put out the orange barrels, and then paying someone to pick up the barrels and take down the signs. What’s next? Do we hire people to dig holes and then hire people to fill them up?
Once American said things like, “Millions for defense but not one cent for tribute!” Once we said, “Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead!” And “I have not yet begun to fight!” Today the whine seems to be, “Where’s my share?” “How about me?” and “Don’t touch my entitlement. Cut someone else.” We have trillions for the political hacks, sweetheart deals for the unions, bail-outs for crony capitalists, and all the other hucksters, but no one with the courage to say what has to be said or do what has to be done even if it won’t cost one cent.
What has to be said is that we’ve squandered all the treasure and we’re about to kill the economy which has always been the goose that laid the golden egg. Generations of over-the-top spending have finally brought us to the day when the credit cards are about to be cut up and the notes are about to be called.
What has to be done is stop the over spending. Every household in our transformed America is facing the reality of cutting the expenditures to meet the income. It’s time the government did the same thing. We don’t need to have a series of continuing resolutions providing token cuts in exchange for an Amen to continued spending at astronomical levels. And we don’t need to raise the debt ceiling if we will begin to spend no more than what comes in. Since we are currently borrowing approximately 40 cents of every dollar Washington spends this will of course mean austerity such as we have never known. But what is the alternative, insolvency, default, and an America which will slide from the first world to the second.
This isn’t what we inherited from our parents and it isn’t what we should leave for our children. The people who met to uphold the Tenth Amendment know that, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” And we never delegated the power to spend us into serfdom or charge us into bankruptcy. So the next time you crawl past miles of closed highway with no work going on make a mental note to contact your Congressman and Senators and tell them to quit the spending and quit digging holes you can’t afford to pay someone to fill up.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. Get the latest dispatches from the History of the Future and find books by Dr. Owens @ http://drrobertowens.com. Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.
© 2011 Robert R. Owens