I don’t typically read USA Today, but this week I am on vacation and there was a copy laying around. An opinion piece by two friends—a conservative columnist (Cal) and a liberal strategist (Bob)—caught my attention:
Cal: People have become too reliant on what President Obama sees as the “social contract.” I don’t see anything about that in the Constitution.
Bob: Right, Cal. And we don’t see anything in the Constitution about regulating the aviation industry, either, but the world changes, and government’s role evolves with it.
Cal: Democrats say “evolves” when they mean “grows.” But go on.
Bob: My point is the public can’t have it both ways. On the one hand people complain about the deficit, but on the other hand they won’t give up one bleeping thing to make it happen. OK homeowners, will you give up your mortgage interest deductions? Rich seniors, how about passing on your Social Security check? Corn farmers in Iowa, enough with your ethanol subsidies. What happened to the idea of shared sacrifice?
Cal: My turn? Or Planned Parenthood? Ante up. Or NPR? Build an audience the free-market way. Or the Department of Education? Vouchers, anyone? Or â¦
Or college tuition, or military spending, or… yes, the list goes on. Spending will never drop unless we actually stop spending. Their discussion continues further on:
Cal: The real problem is that too many people continue to put too much faith in government to solve the nation’s problems. This would include some conservatives. We ought to be teaching the old-time virtues that best prepare someone to be able to stand on their own, make a living and provide for their families.
Bob: Ah, the same old song. You sound like my friend Haley Barbour who wisely decided against running for president.
Cal: Right, because our current path is working out so well. How dare we take a virtuous path. Bottom line, we can’t go on like this, demanding more from government and less from ourselves.
Bob: Your point?
Cal: That we are doomed economically and probably in other ways.
Bob: Doomed? What happened to the sunny optimism of conservatives?
Cal: It’s been undermined by the Change and Hope wrecking crew. Besides, cultural conditioning has brought us to this point. We must be conditioned to start thinking in a new way, which is really an old way, or else.
Bob: I couldn’t agree more. We must all face the deficit now â and I mean every citizen. Instead of complaining, every American ought to consider what he or she is willing to sacrifice in federal benefits and programs. And then vote that way. Engage your government. Contact your representative. Provide political cover for tough decisions on spending and, yes, taxes. The whining needs to stop, and the action needs to begin.
What? Is he talking about the end of federal quality of life insurance? I sure hope so.
A friend sent me an article last week by Wendell Berry, whom another friend had told me to read up on (and I hadn’t found the time yet). He had written an article some while back about why he will not own a computer, and several readers accused him of exploiting his wife because of this. The article was his reply to them, and he asks whether our “advances” are always worth the cost they come at.
It is very thought provoking, and I highly encourage you to read it (despite its length):