Saturday, January 22, 2011
Our Top 4 Problems Moving Forward
1. Big government. Whether it's the expansion of entitlements, Obamacare, runaway regulation, or the insolvency of FDR era government services like Social Security and Medicare, our standing on the world stage is in serious jeopardy. Perhaps the most troubling on its face is the aptly spun "health insurance reform" package. I'm not arguing about the health bill itself because I like the Congress that passed it have not read it. In general terms, do you believe a government that can't keep a postal service in the black can be trusted to keep one sixth of our economy in check? Did I mention we have a 14 trillion dollar debt ceiling and are in danger of losing our credit rating as a nation? We've lost economic authority due to trade deficits with China. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government's answer to forcing lenders to provide homes for all, caused the housing bubble and subsequent crash. While the government steps in to penalize free market lenders for dubious behavior the most quasi-criminal program of all controlled exclusively by the government gets less than a slap on the wrist. Tax payer dollars continue to prop it up and as is the case with most big government fiascoes, there is no accountability.
2. Education. We are losing ground fast and I fear that all the good America has given to the world through invention and entrepreneurial zeal is fading away. Regulation is part of the problem but at its root is an abysmal public education system. Kids and parents alike are held hostage by corrupt teacher's unions. Tenure allows bad teachers to foster bad ideas period. The unions are a powerful lobby that not only decide what your kids learn according to ideology but also who's going to teach them, no matter how dedicated or qualified. Touchy-feely good intentioned educational programs are getting us nowhere. In terms of post-secondary education, the U.S. ranked 1st as recently as 20 years ago and now we're ninth in a tie with Belgium. Belgium? Now there's a country I think of when I think of "contributions" to the world in the last 20 years. We spend more money per student ($50,000) than anyone else in the world yet our test scores slide, dropout rates increase, and innovative contributions from our economy begin to fade. Our government's answer? More money. More money. More money. This issue can't be laid at the feet of government exclusively. Parents need to create a culture of learning that starts in the home. Less video games and more constructive education and hard rules for homework. Instead of a trip to the mall, why can't kids actively engage their brains helping mom or dad build something for the house or spend more free time involved in math and science competitions? It's not about money. It's about priorities.
3. The Death of Federalism. States' rights are being consumed by this administration. Prior to the midterm elections in November 2010, I feared that we as a nation became so apathetic as to our surroundings we were destined to be driven as dumb cattle. Whether candidates newly elected based on an anti-big government platform revolutionize Washington or succumb to politics as usual is yet to be seen but at the very least a statement was made. 26 states and more to follow are challenging the health care law in federal court. Of course some of the motivation is ideological but more integral to the argument of federalism is that states don't want the federal government forcing the cost of Medicaid shortfalls on state governments without the consent of the state's taxpayers and the sheer inability of the state's taxpayers to afford such a crushing blow. Federal officials have since the Woodrow Wilson administration misapplied the commerce clause of the United States Constitution. The government has taken the common sense contractual meaning of commerce between the states and applied it to anything within a state as a means to maintain federal control over nearly every facet of life. Montana and Texas drafted a bill to cordially invite the federal government to stick it in regards to guns and ammunition manufactured exclusively and distributed exclusively within a state's boundaries. The federal courts (surprise, surprise) ruled against these rogues but I'd stay tuned to round two. The same applies to the core of the healthcare debate. Can the government force a citizen to buy health insurance or pay a penalty if they don't want it? The simple answer is no and if affirmed by a federal court there then would be nothing sacred the federal government couldn't touch and base on interstate commerce. Scary stuff.
4. National Security. Radical Islam and its proponents' ability to acquire modern weaponry changed the face of our lives forever. There'll be no peace between Judaeo-Christian nations and Muslim nations because there is not meant to be peace between these nations. Most of us would be happy enough staying out of the affairs of the Middle East on a cultural basis because they've been killing each other long before oil was discovered. They'll not rest because as long as you choose not to become a Muslim your life is fair game. Both Russia and China readily do business with radicals like Iran and North Korea because regardless of your position on organized religion these countries lack the foundational stability the history and practice of Judaeo-Christian religion provided our country and culture. The decommission of our military preparedness through ill-advised treaties with Russia that decompensate our ability to protect ourselves with a missile defense system in eastern Europe. The reason Reagan did so much to contribute to the end of the cold war is because he realized the liberal defense ideology simply didn't work. We can't "talk" nations into holding hands because they have a fundamentally different vision of what a stable relationship is. Liberal defense ideology fails because we're not dealing with nations constructed of the same social fabric and values we try to hold on to. Peace through strength has no shortcomings. It provides the means to destroy those that would destroy us while more importantly providing the deterrent that would prevent them from trying it in the first place. The federal government's priorities have been skewed for so long. National security is not only the most important spending issue it's the most important Constitutional issue. The federal government has no greater responsibility morally or legally than the protection of its citizens.