We are in the midst of a national conversation regarding what are the responsibilities of a nation of wealth to provide for its population. Assumptions as to what are the personal responsibilities of individuals to care and provide for their own welfare have eroded on a steady basis over the last 40 years, to the point where societies are being asked to support not only those who can’t provide for themselves, but also for those that can. For this nation, born on principles of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, this burden is beginning to project to ominous moments in the near future in the form of unfunded mandates. An unfunded mandate has an obvious definition: a government’s promise to underwrite a future personal liability, with no identifiable mechanism for funding it.
Unfunded mandates are becoming a federal, state, and local nightmare, with governmental pensions exploding budgets and entitlements to the population creating dangerous scenarios for budgetary collapse in the near future for massive programs such as Medicare and Social Security, to the point where the very precepts of each are being questioned as to their viability. The health care “reform” of 2010 recently added, only adds to the worst components of the previous system, adds millions to the census of “receivers”, and like its elder brothers, provides no viable means for adequate funding.
We can no longer assume the bottomless resources of a nation of wealth, as obviously the productivity of the population that supplies its wealth is progressively becoming ensnared in its promises to an intolerable level. An ageing society naturally reduces the roles of “producers” to ” receivers”, with the ratio of productive workers to pensioners in the 1960’s of 8:1, soon to fall below the insupportable level of 2:1. Its is strangling our capacity to grow and prosper, poisoning the relationships between generations, and potentially forever changing the implied promise of this nation as one of limitless opportunity to those who seek opportunity.
We can no longer push these issues down the road if we wish to be a viable society our children will be content to live in. Review the U.S. Debt Clock below, and when politicians present their credentials for review for their election as our representatives, ask them what they plan to do about the Monster in the Attic. Vote for the ones who want to kill monsters, not live and ultimately be devoured by them.