Earlier this decade, Michael Barone wrote a book entitled “Hard America, Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Battle for America’s Future”. His premise was that we are becoming an America of soft people demanding entitlements at other people’s expense, unwilling or unable to stand on our own and looking to the government instead of ourselves to provide our every need.
Our school system typifies this softness. The system avoids competition and promotes instead a soft concept of self esteem that elevates how one feel’s above the reality of actual merit. Consequences are avoided at all costs…failure is so demeaning that we dare not even try. Passed along from grade to grade without the barest of essential skills, we are producing Soft Americans with no understanding of the real world.
Hard America, on the other hand, plays for keeps. People are not advanced because they “feel good” about themselves, but on the basis of solid performance. In Hard America there are real consequences to failure. But, Hard America is in danger of being overwhelmed by Soft America.
If you have any doubt about how soft we are becoming, consider the mantra, “Too big to fail”. The bailouts of the automotive industry, the banking and financial segments of our economy and the push for universal healthcare are all attempts to remove the consequences of poor choices and proof positive of the ascendancy of “Soft America” today.
But, the problem is, to quote Barone, “Soft America depends on the productivity, creativity and competence of Hard America, which protects the country and pays its bills”.
As we descend deeper and deeper into the “comfort” of a soft life of victim hood where no one is accountable for their choices and big brother will always ride to the rescue; we are destroying the essential American character. Our country was built upon character which is self reliant, courageous in the face of adversity and unwilling to trade away personal freedom for the government’s promise of security.
From the Pilgrims who faced long odds and hard times to pursue freedom regardless of the cost; to the signers of our declaration who pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to bring freedom to these shores…from the rugged pioneers who overcame significant hardship to expand our borders from coast to coast; to our astronauts risking their lives to expand our borders to the moon and beyond…from the Minutemen at Concord to our brave soldiers buried across Europe, the American character has resisted the easy way…has stood firmly for personal freedom and rejected the idea that someone else owed us an easy life.
Elections Have Consequences
Soft America won an overwhelming victory in 2008. Soft America has savagely
attacked the concept of merit and competency. Soft America has undermined the free enterprise system that built the greatest nation in history and has denigrated success in favor of handouts and protectionism. Soft America has consistently mocked and discouraged the small business entrepreneur; preferring instead to “Spread the wealth around”. Soft America is attempting to void the consequences of bad choices and that will ultimately destroys character and the work ethic so critical to achieving the American dream.
If Soft America prevails, the impact on the American spirit and America’s future will be grim…the drive to turn us all into beggars dependent on the federal government’s benevolence for our daily needs will gain great momentum.
To overcome the accelerating trend lines of the last few years, Hard America must be willing to once again find the inner strength to stand firm for the bedrock principles of limited government, personal accountability and free markets. The cost to right the ship of state, restore fiscal sanity and rebuild the American dream for our children will not be easy and will not be accomplished without personal sacrifice.
ARE WE READY TO PAY THE PRICE TO RESTORE AMERICAN?
If we truly want a smaller government, balanced budgets and a free market
economy, we must decide what federal programs we are willing to forego.
This is not a rhetorical question. The answer is NOT what others must give up; the answer is not a litany of bloated federal bureaucracies that we must shut down. The question is much more personal…if we are to be successful in restoring the America our founders intended, we must decide what price we are personally willing to pay. For example:
As a retired military officer, am I willing to have my retired pay and benefits frozen for 5 years?
As a social security recipient, are you willing to have your benefits frozen for 5 years?
As a federal employee, are you willing to have your pay and benefits frozen for 5 years?
As a public employee, are you willing to renegotiate your retirement benefits in order to make the program sustainable?
Will you willing to abandon your unemployment check and diligently seek work…any work to meet your financial needs?
Are we willing to allow sound fiduciary principles to guide a restructuring of our social security benefits to ensure the long term viability of the program?
Are we willing to live within our means, rejecting federal attempts to buy us off with a new car or make our mortgage payment or pay off our personal credit cards?
The list is surely much longer as we consider the personal sacrifices we must be willing to make to restore America. The critical point is that without personal sacrifice, all our proclamations of concern for the debt…for the future of our country…our public outcry demanding smaller government are hollow and empty.
Without a commitment to personal sacrifice, all our protestations are simply selfishly motivated calls for others to sacrifice for our benefit. If smaller government is to become a reality; if we are truly to have a government living within its means, then the sacrifice must be shared by all.
The only path to a smaller government is to reduce spending, reduce or eliminate wasteful programs and provide an environment where the free market can function without artificial barriers.
Once we have committed to the personal sacrifice needed to restore sanity in the federal government, then we have the moral authority to suggest major cuts in other parts of the federal government. Just a few suggestions:
Eliminate the Energy Department and the Education Department
Reduce the Dept of Defense, State Dept and Justice Dept by 10%
Reduce the IRS by 80% and replace the income tax with a fair tax
Reduce Federal employees by a minimum of 33% (from 2.1 million to 1.4 million)
Make earmarks illegal.
Obviously, this list can be expanded (I welcome you thoughts). But before we rise up and demand these kinds of changes, we must signal our willingness to bear our share of the sacrifice.
This email has not addressed increasing federal revenue…as President Reagan said, “Our government doesn’t tax too little, it spends too much.” If our goal is smaller government, then our attention must be on reducing spending and the overall size of the federal government.
That said, in principle, when the government is functioning properly, it creates an environment when business can prosper and grow. In so doing, the federal revenues will grow accordingly. We must resist the liberal’s first reflex to raise taxes to meet revenue needs. While it may seem counter intuitive, if you raise taxes, you ultimately lower revenue while if you lower taxes, you raise revenue (Google “Laffer Curve”).
With common sense and courage, and a renewed dependence on our Creator we can overcome the progressive’s agenda and restore America.
A young mother was being interviewed on a national network recently. She was expressing her concern that the government’s approach to the mortgage crisis was to bail out home owners unable to meet their financial obligations while she and her husband adjusted their life style, lived within their means and struggled from month to month to make their house payment. She asked where is the lobbyist standing up for my family and the millions like us. The interviewer asked her if she and her husband had ever considered missing a couple of payments so that they could qualify for the government assistance.
Her reply was striking, “NO, not ever…we weren’t raised that way.”
Thank God for Hard American willing to stand by their principles and make hard choices rather than being bought by a federal government bent on making us all beggars.
Hard America, we make a statement about what kind of nation we will leave future generations…one strong and free or one indebt and bondage? Make your voices heard!
Visit www.inspireandignite.com to contribute to the Second American Revolution.
For a strong reminder of who is really in charge visit:
Jim Kinney Capt USN (ret)