"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government." Thomas Jefferson

Right Stuff Needed for Fiscal Moonshot

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 4
Publish Date: 
Thu, 08/30/2012


Last Saturday, as Americans debated whether Lance Armstrong was a genuine hero after dropping his fight with the US Anti-Doping Agency, another Armstrong – an undisputable American hero -- died. Were Webster’s to pair Neil Armstrong with hero in its dictionary, one needn’t Think Again to fathom the bravery, achievement, and nobility implied by the word.


By fulfilling President Kennedy’s audacious goal to have an American walk on the moon within the decade, Neil Armstrong is remembered for the skill, courage, grace under pressure, and innate humility necessary to achieve “one giant leap for mankind,” while crediting legions of dedicated others for the “one small step for man” he took on July 20, 1969.  Upon fulfilling his mission, he didn’t spike the football or parlay fame into power or fortune.  He receded into dignified private life to teach and inspire future generations.


In breaking the sad news, NBC’s Brian Williams asserted, “we have lost the last American hero,” as if surrendering America’s heroic destiny to our era’s chaos and controversy. Yet throughout our tumultuous history, Americans have proven “where there’s a will, there’s a way”  -- starting with George Washington, who summoned heroism in his beleaguered troops by crossing the icy Delaware River enroute to American independence.


Though Thomas Jefferson warned “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground,” our founders established “a government of the people, by the people, for the people,” knowing it was a precondition to a dynamic, prosperous and free society. We fought the Civil War so this American ideal wouldn’t perish from the earth. Now, with our faith in the American Dream rattled, we face another great challenge.


Today we suffer unprecedented levels of economic stagnation, long-term unemployment, and government dependency. Despite a record $830 billion stimulus enacted in February 2009, this recovery (which technically began in June 2009) is the weakest of the 11 tracked since World War II. Stimulus advocates promising the unemployment rate wouldn’t exceed 8 percent (though it has for 42 consecutive months), were also wrong in forecasting a 5.5 percent rate by now.


Even since the “recovery’s” start, economic trends have deteriorated: the ranks of the long-term unemployed grew by 800,000; those no longer in the labor force increased 8 million; and food stamp spending doubled to $85 billion. New York Times economics columnist Catherine Rampell reported that median household incomes declined more (4.8 percent) during the “recovery” -- even among the continuously employed -- than they fell (2.8 percent) during the preceding 18-month recession.  Consequently, 85 percent of the much-discussed American middle class report that it’s now harder to maintain their standard of living, according to Pew Research.


Humorist PJ O’Rourke said, “giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” Refusing to relinquish their intoxicating power to spend and borrow, political leaders have subverted the national interest by causing four consecutive trillion-dollar deficits. With government spending at stratospheric levels, we charge $41,222 to our children’s credit card every second. At $16 trillion, our national debt is up 50 percent since January 2009, exceeding the size of our economy. When added to future Medicare and Social Security claims, it totals $136 trillion -- an incomprehensible, indefensible, and morally reprehensible sum.


Anyone who’s balanced a checkbook -- or watched events unfold in Europe -- understands that red ink turns to blood, particularly when interest rates rise above historic lows. So, how can we trust leaders who won’t see and aren’t planning to avert the fiscal black hole toward which we’re rocketing? Shouldn’t we urge courageous leaders to redirect our perilous trajectory toward a safe landing?  


As the cliché goes, “if we can send a man to the moon,” we can restore America’s promise to secure a more stable and prosperous future. After instituting reforms to entitlement programs and its tax code, Canada achieved a remarkable economic turnaround, and so can we. It will require a Kennedy-esque leader to define the challenge as the fiscal equivalent of the moonshot, and to summon the political will for lift-off against fierce gravitational forces.


As a firm believer in Americans, Abraham Lincoln said, “If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”  Eager for blast off is a nation of unassuming and reluctant heroes – ordinary Americans.  Spoken to like adults, and with the facts in hand, we have the “right stuff” to enable another “giant leap for mankind.” If this isn’t our generation’s most important mission, what is?


Think Again – our children need us to be their heroes.


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Thanks for an article that

Thanks for an article that says what needs to be said (and has been said). At some point the USA needs to become a sink or swim. Those who TRULY can not help themselves (the physically and mentally disabled who have nobody to care for them) can and should be taken care of with tax dollars. The ones who've made government hand-outs a lifestyle need to be cut off ASAP. I realize a few will "drown" but maybe the next generation, and the next will see this and say "i gotta learn how to swim".
Education is important but at what point is the money flat-out wasted??? I say about 20 years ago. With two parents in the school system I could see and hear firsthand how the liberal policies of the spineless politicians did more to protect the trouble makers and losers in the school system rather than those kids who were there to learn and further their education. Clean house and let the losers flunk out and end up in jail or under a bridge, but don't let them bring down the ones who are there for the sole purpose of school: learning and advancement.
We only need to look to Europe to see what happens when liberals are in charge, and unfortunately the same is happening here. $16T national debt and this president sees nothing wrong with that (otherwise he'd do something about it, since it's "unamerican" as he called it when GWBush ran deficits, though none like this). Institute some personal responsibility and those who can't keep up can get left behind. At some point the next generation will figure it out (unless the liberal policies are still in our school system, in which case all bets are off)


Neil Armstrong nearly died

Neil Armstrong nearly died more than once, both during the training for the mission - and during the landing itself. What a courageous American...!

” - - - Even since the start

” - - - Even since the start of the “recovery,” economic trends have deteriorated: The ranks of the long-term unemployed grew by 800,000, those no longer in the labor force increased 8 million, and food-stamp spending doubled to $85 billion. New York Times economics columnist Catherine Rampell reported that median household incomes declined more (4.8 percent) during the “recovery” — even among the continuously employed — than they fell (2.8 percent) during the preceding 18-month recession. Consequently, 85 percent of the much-discussed American middle class reports that it’s now harder to maintain their standard of living, according to Pew Research. - - - “

This is the best, most concise definition of “The Obama Recovery” that I have seen in print. Thanks!

BTW, is “Obama’s Recovery” analogous to a hangover, or is it just more binge spending standing on the Banks of the DeNile River? Well, some call it the Potomac River.

Yeah, I know this should be discussed in a 12 Step meeting of Spendaholics Anonymous, but your opinion may help others to attend meetings at the DC Chapter.

The call by Ryan last night

The call by Ryan last night is the equivalent to Kennedy's proclamation.

In ten years we can have our budget balanced, Medicare and Social security fixed and spending at 20% of GDP...IF we elect men with The Right Stuff! This has to be our priority.

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