by Jacob G. Hornberger
Everyone is finally starting to recognize that the federal government is merrily traveling down the road to national bankruptcy … and is going to take a lot of Americans down with it. The government is spending at least $1 trillion dollars more than what it is taking in … every year, with no end in sight.
Everyone knows what happens when people do that on a personal or family basis. If you’re already deeply in debt and you keep spending lots more than what you’re bringing in, there can be only one result at the end of the road — bankruptcy.
Well, guess what. In case you haven’t noticed, the federal government is already deeply in debt. In fact, each American, including children, owes an average of some $42,000, which is each person’s share of the federal debt. For a family of four, that amounts to $168,000.
Care to pay up your family’s share?
Alas, most Americans say, “Well, I’m not going to worry about that. That’s a problem for my elected representatives to work out.”
That’s a foolhardy attitude. Why? Because contrary to what you were taught in those government schools, public officials don’t look out for your interests; they look out for their own interests. Every American needs to take personal responsibility for the direction in which our nation is headed.
What are the biggest programs that all that federal spending and debt are funding?
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other so-called welfare-state entitlements, along with military spending, including the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Yet, what do Republicans and Democrats say? They say, “We promise you that we won’t touch any of those programs. But we also promise you that we’ll rein in out-of-control federal spending and debt.”
That’s ridiculous. Why? Because all those welfare-warfare programs amount to 80 percent of federal expenditures! How can they rein in federal spending without touching programs that constitute 80 percent of federal spending, especially when the balance of the spending includes interest on the debt and such sacrosanct programs as the war on drugs?
They can’t. It’s a joke when they claim they can.
The day of reckoning has arrived. It is time for Americans to embrace the libertarian solution to this giant mess: Immediately abolish (repeal) all the welfare-state and interventionist programs, beginning with the crown jewel of socialism, Social Security, and the crown jewel of interventionism, the drug war.
It’s time to admit that America’s experiment with statism, originating with the Franklin Roosevelt administration, was a grave mistake, one that has not only inculcated a sense of helplessness, dependency, and fear among the American people, not only plunged our nation into the moral debauchery of coercive confiscation and redistribution of wealth and punishment for peaceful activity, but is now also heading our nation into bankruptcy.
Medicare and Medicaid, the pride and joy of Roosevelt’s protégé, Lyndon Johnson, have destroyed what was once the finest health-care system in the world. It’s not a coincidence that health-care costs have soared ever since this socialist program was adopted. Reforming socialism is futile. The only practical solution is to repeal it, immediately, and restore a total free market in health care. The free market produces the best of everything, including health care.
The military and the military-industrial complex? Actually, they constitute a much bigger threat to national security than the welfare state. We all know that military spending is a major factor heading our nation into bankruptcy.
What makes the situation worse, however, is that it’s the military that is producing the environment of perpetual war for the United States, which means perpetually growing military expenditures, which means the perpetually increasing threat of bankruptcy.
It is the military that is producing the constant threat of terrorist retaliation, which is then being used as the excuse for ever-growing infringements on the fundamental rights and freedoms of the American people, rights and freedoms whose origins stretch all the way back to Magna Carta.
What do we need a standing army for? What do we need a military-industrial complex for? What do they do for us?
Nothing good. They suck vast amounts of productive capital out of the pockets of the American people, they mire America in foreign invasions, occupations, assassinations, torture, rendition, indefinite incarceration, and suspension of habeas corpus and civil liberties, create new enemies every day, and send us further down the road to national bankruptcy with ever-increasing expenditures.
As President Dwight Eisenhower warned us many years ago, the military-industrial complex poses a grave threat to our freedom and well-being. Time has proven him correct.
There is no nation-state on earth that has the military capability — or the interest — to cross the oceans and invade and occupy the United States. To pull off such an enormous undertaking would require tens of thousands of ships and planes and millions of troops. No nation state has the equipment, supplies, or personnel to pull it off. No nation-state could even afford it.
Therefore, what do we need an enormous standing military and military-industrial complex for? Certainly not to defend the United States from a foreign invasion. And the military’s quest to dominate and rule the world is itself the biggest threat to our national security.
What about terrorists? It’s the U.S. military that is producing the terrorists! Duh! In other words, they produce the terrorists and then say that we need the military to fight the terrorists.
Moreover, as we’ve learned the hard way in Afghanistan, using the military, instead of the police, to bring terrorists to justice is wrongheaded, deadly, destructive, and expensive … and oftentimes ends in failure (as Osama bin Laden will attest).
By immediately withdrawing all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and the rest of the world and by closing the 700 imperial bases in 130 countries, the death and destruction stops, bringing an end to the biggest terrorist-producing machine the world has ever known.
It’s time for the American people to confront the obvious: the welfare-warfare state way of life has proven to be a bad mistake. It should never have been adopted. We should never have abandoned the principles of liberty, free markets, and a constitutionally limited republic on which our nation was founded.
It’s still not too late. We need to repeal, not reform, all socialist, interventionist, and imperialist welfare-warfare state programs, departments, and agencies. It’s the only way to avoid national bankruptcy, hyperinflation, and soaring taxes and debt. It’s the only way to restore freedom, peace, prosperity, and harmony to our land.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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