There aren't many people outside of politics and its dependent professions who would say that we didn't have enough government in the year 2000. Total spending for the federal, state and local governments was 3.2 trillion dollars, which amounted to 32 percent of gross domestic product. The federal budget itself was 1.8 trillion dollars. Adjusted for inflation, that amount of federal spending today would be 2.3 Trillion dollars and that total for federal, state, and local levels would be $4.2 trillion.
Projected federal spending for 2012 is $3.8 trillion, 65 percent higher than the inflation adjusted amount for the year 2000. Total federal, state, state and local spending is now about 40 percent of GDP. Our politicians are patting themselves on the back for supposedly cutting to the bone. The 58 billion dollar cut in the budget is just 3.9 percent of the inflation-adjusted increase of 1.5 trillion dollars, which also happens to be the amount of the budget deficit for the year. The $58 billion is not a painful cut but rather merely a reduction in the increase of government. Thousands of new regulations stifle the economy and our lives every year.
Politicians will continue to do what they have been doing until the people of this country stop rolling over and playing dead. They will continue to kick you until they get a few bite marks on their legs. The most important lesson that Americans can learn is that politicians are not your friends. Public servants do not serve the public. They all have their own agendas. They consider you just a cog in the wheel of the machine. When a politician uses an expert to support a position on an issue, you can rest assured that the expert, whether an economist, a doctor, a scientist, or successful investor or businessman, has been chosen not for the truth or what is right but rather for advancing the political agenda, regardless of the truth.
Americans, the future is calling you. It is trying to wipe the sleep from your eyes. Wake up and see. You are real human beings, with dignity, intelligence and dreams. You are not mere specks in society, game pieces to be used by the political class. You have a responsibility to yourself and to future generations. Take that responsibility seriously. We are living through one of the turning points in history, one with great opportunity for the entire human race, but one also with grave danger. History has well demonstrated what happens when people cede their responsibility to politicians and bureaucrats. When they allow the governing authorities to run their lives, despotism is the inevitable result.
Freedom is a precious gem, but it is very costly. Its price is action, vigilance, self-responsibility, and productivity. The price of apathy, greed, negligence, and sloth is tyranny and oppression. That is one of the clearest lessons of history. The ruling class of any society is a very small percentage of the population. Thus, oppressors must have the consent of the people to stay in power. They do this with propaganda, making the people believe they are powerless and convincing them that the government is the savior.
When people don't take responsibility for their own lives, they relinquish their decision-making power to others. When people depend on others for their living and their welfare, they give up the right and ability to decide their own fate. America is still the land of the free. How much longer that remains the case depends on how much longer we refuse to be the home of the brave. It takes courage to swim against the current, to oppose what is wrong, to say things when people don't want to hear, to tell the truth, even when it hurts.
America needs bravery; not the kind displayed on a foreign battlefield to enforce the whims of arrogant politicians and power brokers, but courage at home to call a spade a spade and to oppose oppressive laws and bureaucracies here on our own soil. America needs her people to recognize that the goal is not comfort and security, but rather the freedom and confidence which arises from responsibility and self-reliance. Nobody knows your dreams, needs, and opportunities like you do. Nobody cares about your future and your life as much as you do.
Americans, your country needs you. It needs your particular brand of intestinal fortitude to turn the tide. It requires you to quit being good, docile servants and stop giving the chains to those who would bind you.
Dan McLaughlin is a columnist for The Post-Journal. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.