In a July press conference, President Obama explained why he would not settle for a six-month extension of the debt ceiling by saying that preparing a long-term budget would not become easier in six months. “It’s going to get harder, so we might as well do it now,” he argued. “Pull off the Band-Aid, eat our peas. Now is the time to do it. If not now, when?”
As it turns out, the federal government ate a very small serving of peas. The rate of spending growth will be reduced by 10% or 15% at most under the agreement that was reached. Obama is back to talking about tax increases and making “the wealthiest Americans” pay “their fair share.” He obviously thinks we’re the ones who have to tear off Band-Aids and choke down vegetables, by giving up more of the private sector to government control.
I will not eat my peas. I’m not interested in any more lectures about “sacrifice” from politicians who never have to make do with less. When private citizens trapped in the Obama economy talk about making “cuts” to their expenses, they’re not talking about slight reductions in the rate of growth.
I will not be a hostage. When the government spends a trillion dollars it doesn’t have, year after year, it is building a prison made of promises it cannot keep. Those who depend on government spending for their livelihood will soon discover the floor of that cage is a trap door, and it hangs over an abyss. Freedom lives in the absence of dependency. When a government that can only pay for sixty percent of what it takes forces itself into your life, it comes as a thief, not a savior.
I will not go to the back of the bus. Obama’s term began with a lot of boastful talk about how his political opponents should “sit in the back of the bus,” and “not do a lot of talking right now.” Now his Party seeks to silence its critics by calling them terrorists. American elections are not about choosing temporary groups of absolute rulers.
I will not get in people’s faces. Obama spends a lot of time sermonizing about our “shared values.” He also spends a lot of time telling us to hate each other. In 2008, he exhorted a group of his followers to confront their neighbors, saying “I want you to argue with them and get in their faces.” The success of a free nation is found in competition and cooperation, not domination and submission. I am not interested in knowing who follows ATM manufacturers and corporate jet owners on the President’s official list of public enemies.
I do not want a “balanced approach.” The President uses the code phrase “balanced approach” to badger us for tax increases. The people of the United States should not give the government any more money. It hasn’t earned such a demonstration of faith and trust from us. Congressional incumbents are re-elected 90% of the time, even in “tidal wave” elections. I will not give more control of my life to people I have a 10% chance of firing, once every two to six years.
I do not want a Sputnik moment. The President called for unity and shared purpose by saying he wanted America to have a new “Sputnik moment.” The last thing we need is a list of “shared purposes” drafted by the State and imposed on us through regulations, penalties, and subsidies. The central planners of the Obama Administration have demonstrated their utter incompetence. I couldn’t care less about their dreams for the future. It is time for us to pursue our dreams, and our millions of diverse purposes. In the time it takes for a morbidly obese bureaucracy to cough up a list of five or six politically approved national priorities, a free nation can find prosperity through countless small adventures, from coast to coast.
I will not get off my sacred cow. Collectivism involves the compulsory sacrifice of private ambitions, in the name of “compromise” and “unity.” I will not wait for the State to tell me what I am allowed to desire. I don’t care if my dreams measure up to a politician’s standards, or pass his moral judgment. I will ride my sacred cows in peace, and allow you to do the same. We’ll occasionally meet in competition at the county fair, and see whose sacred cow takes the blue ribbon.
I am not the property of the State. I will not listen to talk of “tax expenditures” or tax cuts the government cannot “afford.” My labor belongs to me. I sell it voluntarily, for the best price I can obtain. I purchase the labor of others, for the lowest amount they will agree to. The government is a necessary expense we should all share, and keep as minimal as possible. The State does not have first claim on my time. My income is not a gift from the government. I will endure no talk of “greedy” taxpayers, while so many pay no taxes at all. The millionth dollar earned by a wealthy man is his property, just as much as the first dollar I earn. We will tell the State how much money we are prepared to give it, and require a timely and precise budget of how that money will be spent.
I will not be transformed. I have watched one transformational claim after another, from “social justice” to “global warming,” exposed as a fraud. I will not be transformed. I require the government to perform its lawful duties, not concoct grandiose schemes to remake the population according to academic fantasies. I will not wait for the State to create jobs, conjure markets out of thin air, pick winners and losers, decide who “deserves” to own a house, announce when citizens have “made enough money,” pass judgment on our traditions, or calculate how much energy we are allowed to consume.
It is time for the bankrupt and dying State to be transformed. It is time for the architects of our massive national debt to eat their peas.
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter