Last Thursday’s editorial piece in the Wall Street Journal left me a little troubled.   Oh, not in the “my goodness, dire predictions” kind of way and certainly not in the “yeah you guys are nuts” kind of way either.  No, above all, the piece is well reasoned and presented but unfortunately, it’s certainly speaking to the choir. The shame is that those who could benefit from reading it the most are certainly not likely to be the demographic of The Wall Street Journal.  A pity really, as anytime three authors from opposing political persuasions agree on something, it might just benefit all of us to give it a read.  You can link to it here.

It shows up as money, but we've lost so much more. Thanks M.Mchugh

It shows up as money, but we’ve lost so much more. Thanks M.Mchugh

Messrs.’ Canada, Druckenmiller and Warsh have all come to the conclusion that government spending is now at unsustainable levels.  I heartily agree that defense, homeland security and the growth in entitlement programs all need to be curbed.  As they state, “The growing debt burden threatens to crush the next generation of Americans.”  Who can argue with that?  I certainly don’t.  One would think with all the photo-ops taken with children at risk for some “lack of funding,” most politicians would agree that we are in fact, committing the “Generational Theft” the authors describe and which I have been screaming about for years.  But with so many people convinced that giving mom and dad an EBT card and/or Obamaphone right now is good for little Johnny and Suzy, it’s hard to persuade anyone to worry about Johnny and Suzy’s kids.  Screw that, I live in the here and now and want my condoms paid for and my student loans forgiven.  Right now.

The difficulty I have with the article is that they too miss the greater points, the causes beyond the three infirmities they identify as clear and present dangers to the next generation of Americans.   It’s easy to point to the facts they have laid out; that the next generation will be in the hole due to their participation in social security, that Washington has a short time horizon and that politicians are more apt to spread their spoils from attaining office on those partisans that supported them, i.e. special interest groups (even though the authors never come right out and use that term).

However, the honest discourse we must have but so often fail to, centers around just two issues that encompass the three infirmities mentioned above.  First, the notion of being entitled is deeply engrained into today’s society, including in our three friends at the Wall Street Journal.  As often as I look at The Constitution, I can find nothing that supports their assertion that “The government has an obligation, of course, to support needy seniors.”  Interesting isn’t it.  Try making this obvious statement at large and you’re instantly at the bottom of a pig-pile of recriminations, everyone convinced that the general welfare clause covers everything from “end of life care” to a kiss on the boo-boo on the kindergarten play ground.  Unfortunately, once we decide that there is a group that needs to be singled out for special privilege, we start identifying every group the same way and bingo, the special interest and lobbyist boom is born. What makes the seniors so needy?  Do they not in fact, hold most of the wealth in this country?  Of course they also constitute one of the largest dependable voting blocks out there, hence the fear-mongering and outright bribery at the expense of younger generations to keep them in the stable.  If you want to stop the ridiculous spending that’s driving this country out of existence, be real and accept the fact that this country was not founded on the principle of spending other people’s money on certain groups ordained as “special” by those who stay in power appeasing them.

Second, I am surprised to see the authors miss their addiction to the entitlement mentality and compound it by blaming politicians and crony capitalism. No one even remotely denies that there is a lack of will on the part of our representatives and in a lot of cases, outright questionable ethics all over the cesspool that governs our daily lives.  But these folks didn’t just drive to D.C. one day and set up shop to divide our tax money.  We sent each and every one of them there, many of them over and over again; even though we can’t get them to simply produce a budget for the last four years.  Hey, if you can vote for someone who says they didn’t read the most important bill in the last 50 years, or tells you they’ll need to pass it before we can find out what’s in it, then you my friend are the problem.

The economic generational theft that’s occurring is real.  I worry every day that the standard of living that’s slipping away from me will be even worse for my children.  I hate to think of what their kids will face.  But blaming faceless politicians and bogeymen in Washington serves no purpose.  We have a population of voters who have been educated that they only need to find their “special” need to become a special interest group and they too can be entitled to someone else’s belongings.  As long as we can claim an entitlement and then blame those nasty politicians in Washington for overspending, we’re insulated from the fact that the real theft occurred many decades ago. Someone stole our will, our pride, our individualism and desire to achieve and whispered in our ears that as long as we behaved, we wouldn’t have to worry about a thing, we’ll be well taken care of.

The theft was, in fact, of our very cultural identity.  The American ideal was stolen by those who looked for power and stolen for those who could no longer live up to it.  At one time, we were not afraid to rise up and get bloodied for freedom, here or around the world.   That America has been replaced by those who would threaten their elders if they thought their weekly allotment of blood money was to come to an end.