By Tim Wildmon
Nov. 6, 2012, will mark the day that America changed from being a center-right country, politically, to being a country sharply divided along conservative and liberal lines with a majority of Americans preferring big government liberalism over the traditional conservative model of smaller government.
For this reason, I seriously doubt we will see another Republican president in the foreseeable future – if ever. (A majority of Americans blame George W. Bush for today’s economic problems.) Too many Americans receive some form of financial assistance from the federal government, and Republicans preaching entitlement reform are never going to get those people to vote for them. For an example, here is a segment from a Washington Examiner article in June: “When the food stamp program was first expanded in the 1970s, just 1 in 50 Americans participated. Today, 1 in 7 Americans get $134 each month, at a monthly cost of more than $6 billion. With the bipartisan Farm Bill going through Congress, high levels of dependency may become permanent.
Although I am a conservative, I am not decrying every form of government assistance. I do like the idea of a couple of months of unemployment benefits for those who suddenly lose their job, for instance. But our society has changed. Government assistance used to be viewed as a temporary way of helping people in need. There used to be a degree of shame associated with receiving government welfare. Ask anyone over 60 and they will confirm that. But as with having babies out of wedlock, that stigma has long been lost.
The federal government is so large now that we borrow 40 cents from China, Japan, etc. for every dollar we spend because we don’t have the money to pay for our commitments. We can argue the legitimacy of any federal government program, the real problem is once you reach the point where there are not enough people paying into the system (and include our other major obligations like the military) then the country eventually goes broke, like what has happened in Greece and soon will happen in other European countries. That is the place America is headed. The tragic thing is no one has a plan to prevent this that is acceptable to a majority of the American people. Why? Because in the short term it would be very painful if we started cutting back on federal government spending. And no politician wants to tell people they can’t have something to which they have become accustomed.
President Obama does not really care about this. It bores him. He ignored his own bi-partisan debt commission. And a majority of American voters have just affirmed Obama’s position. So, we continue to travel the road to Greece.
Community columnist Tim Wildmon is a Lee County resident. He is president of the American Family Association, but the column represents his personal opinion unless otherwise noted. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.