Political courage and the national debt

U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., recently opined in this publication that it’s “not too late to stop [the] tsunami of debt.” I agree 100 percent. It’s not too late – yet. But just like the old bearded gent standing at the corner of First and Main, I’m holding a sign that reads, “THE END IS NEAR.”

If we continue on our present path, we can get a glimpse into our future by looking no further than Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland. These countries threaten not only their own financial security, but that of the entire European Union through failed social programs and well-meaning but ill-advised “green” technology.

In response to our mounting debt, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., drafted his “GOPPath to Prosperity,” with the tacit approval of Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

The Democrats, however, have chosen to turn Ryan’s efforts toward achieving fiscal prosperity for our country against him and the GOP. After Kathy Hochul’s recent upset victory in the traditionally GOP-held New York District 26 seat, Democrats now feel that Medicare reform will be their key to victory in 2012. The arrows have already left their bow. Recently, a liberal group published a video depicting a Ryan look-alike throwing an elderly lady off a cliff.

By the way, didn’t President Obama ask that political rhetoric be toned down in the wake of the Giffords shooting in Arizona? Hmm, maybe that was an Obama look-alike.

Similarly, the Democrat-controlled Senate is ignoring Social Security reform measures. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said Social Security “is an issue that should be addressed sooner, rather than later, to give workers time to plan for any changes. But the current situation does not necessitate rushed orsevere action.” In my humble opinion, “severe action” is doing nothing, and can be described most charitably as an act of convenience over responsibility.

It’s going to take both a president and a Congress with the courage to make the tough decisions in order to get this country back on track. They have to care more about their country than they do about their re-election. Entitlements like Social Security and Medicare have long been referred to as the “third rail of politics.” The third rail may very well be untouchable, but if someone doesn’t repair it soon, the train will run completely off the tracks.

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