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Frankly, it feels like it's over ...
February 18, 2014 - Lee Smith
I am grateful to the columnist Thomas Sowell for helping me clarify my thinking. I have been pondering for quite some time the exact status of our nation, its direction and the general feeling this leaves me with.
Sowell, in a column about U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz that the Sentinel published on Wednesday, Feb. 19, discusses the concept of a “point of no return,” beyond which government power grows more absolute. He describes Obamacare as representing a “quantum leap” in the power of the federal government over the lives of ordinary Americans. The Supreme Court ruling that upheld the law was a watershed moment in the nation’s history.
Not all that long ago, conservatives and libertarians were hopeful that government could be rolled back. We all remember Ronald Reagan, who said government is the problem. We also recall Bill Clinton, who said the era of big government was over.
A few years later, President George W. Bush actually proposed major reforms of Social Security, with an eye on turning over retirement to individual Americans, to make them responsible for their own savings and make them better off in terms of return on investment. But this idea turned out to be stillborn.
The lofty rhetoric and high hopes of administrations past cannot compete with the mass and momentum of our federal government. Mitt Romney may have been clumsy in describing the notion that half the population is now dependent on government, but he was right.
On the other side of the ledger, Americans turn over about half their pay to federal, state and local governments.
So where the nation stands is here: socialism. Where it is going is in the same direction. All of this is disappointing and disheartening, to say the least. It betrays our nation’s greatest legacy, namely freedom. An “American” was once a tough, rugged, do-it-yourselfer who scorned handouts, giving or receiving. Now, an “American” is someone who competes with the other little piggies at the public trough. And government, with its financial and punitive might, herds the animals.
If there is not a dramatic change in this situation in the coming election, or within the next few, it’s difficult to imagine how things will ever change, without an inevitable hard crash of the system. That could take decades of stagnation and living lives in a structured economy that has killed nearly all dynamism. That means less innovation, higher unemployment and lower standards of living than what is possible.
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