Europe has gotten itself into quite a jam. The “womb to tomb” nanny state policies of most of the European countries have resulted in a financial crisis in several countries. The socialistic mentality that the government has to provide all kinds of services has bankrupted Greece and other countries because the cost of these services has exceeded tax revenues. Rather than cut back on these services, those countries have borrowed to make up the difference. Now they have such a huge debt it is nearly impossible to pay it down.
Despite the financial crisis, citizens of these countries still have a sense of entitlement and are rioting because some of these services will have to be curtailed. How do these people think these services will be paid for? Drachmas from heaven? I doubt if they want to see their already high taxes go even higher.
The United States is also in deep financial trouble, with an enormous national debt, unfavorable balance of trade, an ailing economy, and a crisis of leadership. Similar to the Europeans, we have a government that is living beyond its means. Special interest groups and many individuals have a sense of entitlement, and so continue to feed at the government trough.
What’s the humane but practical solution? Returning to what made this country great in the first place: government that wasn’t intrusive, reasonable taxes that aren’t a disincentive to succeed, a solid work ethic, and nearly unlimited opportunity to excel. How do we do this?
First of all, government at all levels should do only what either nobody else can do or do what it does best, and eliminate everything else. Government shouldn’t try to be all things to all people, but should be responsible for national defense, police and fire protection, education, infrastructure maintenance, regulation and control, food inspection, environmental protection, provide a safety net for the disabled, poor, and those temporarily unemployed. Earmarks should be eliminated and the president should have line-item veto.
Second, redeploy some of the savings from smaller government to programs of national importance: energy policy, rebuilding the crumbling infrastructure, including the electrical grid, building up a defense against cyber attacks.
Third, simplify government, reduce paperwork, make starting a new business easier, get government out of some aspects of life where it makes minimal if any positive impact, simplify the tax code (but no flat tax, no VAT).
With these actions hopefully we as a nation can become debt-free, energy independent, and more business-friendly, and begin to eliminate the sense of entitlement that so many people have. Who knows? Maybe we’ll be able to bring some manufacturing back into the U.S. from overseas.