THE CONSERVATIVE VIEW
BY RUSSELL TURNER
FLAMES OF OBSESSION
I guess is it just human nature for all of us at one time or the other to become obsessed with an idea or philosophy. My obsession happens to be a belief in the principles upon which our great country was founded. America was founded as a place where people take responsibility for themselves. But this now seems to be an outdated, minority view. The Land of the Free is truly becoming the Land of Getting Free Stuff.
As I watch the antics in the reconvening of the Oklahoma state legislature, there are countless people flocking to OKC demanding that the funding be increased for their personal gravy train. In a poll conducted last December by NBC News / Wall Street Journal, a record 57% of Americans responded that they want MORE government in their lives, and that the government should be doing more to solve people’s problems. In 1995 that question was first asked, and at that time the number of people wanting more government was about half of what it is today. In my opinion the most alarming result of the poll was the number of people who wanted less government involvement in their lives, only 39% of the respondents believed that private interests and individuals should be more involved instead of the government.
This idea of the government doing more in our lives has brought our state and our federal government to the brink of destruction. I have said it in many of my previous columns, the US federal government already spends almost all of its tax revenue on mandatory entitlements like Social Security, and interest on the debt. They could literally cut nearly everything we think of as government– national parks, Homeland Security, even the IRS– and still not make a dent in paying down the national debt. To fund all of the programs we hear a constant call to tax someone else such as the rich or huge corporations. It might surprise many people to know over many decades the government’s share of the GDP of our economy stays very close to 17%. While the actual dollar amount of tax revenue goes up every year due to inflation and economic expansion, the government’s slice of the total economic pie is 17%. From World War 2 through the Reagan presidency that number has remained constant. Whether we want to admit it or not we Americans are being played. Too many socialist politicians on each side of the aisle only want to get re-elected; they create divisions in our society by catering to the emotion of envy. Instead of looking at the facts, they cannot understand the principle of 17% and they try to get a bigger percentage. The only true solution would be to focus on making the pie bigger.
Instead of promoting a culture of cradle to grave care from our government we should be embracing the principles that our nation was founded upon. I often see kids that have their hands out demanding a free university education; it is time that we as a society start asking some hard questions. How many books have these kids read in the last 6 months? How many free online courses have they enrolled in? If we are to survive as a great nation we must stop fanning the flames of obsession for something free. Instead of whining on social media about how no one is giving you anything for free, we need to remember that America is a place where people take responsibility for themselves.