There Is Only One Choice
America must change course. We face a staggering fiscal problem that threatens the very future of our nation. Not only will we continue to struggle with huge federal deficits into the near future, but the problem will become ever larger and ever deadlier in the decades to come. Unless we act wisely, massive government spending and surging public debt will destroy the foundations of our economy and darken the American Dream for our children and grandchildren.
But this is not inevitable. We can in fact preserve the American Dream. With bold and decisive action, we can reduce spending and solve our debt problem. We can safeguard our legacy of freedom, opportunity, and prosperity, and we can do it in such a way that shrinks the government to a manageable size, invigorates our economy, and ensures basic economic security to younger and older Americans alike. We can save ourselves from a sea of red ink while doing better for our seniors and the poor than the current programs that have gotten us into the present mess.
The Heritage Foundation has come up with such a plan.
The underlying problem that it addresses is simple: The government is doing things it should not be doing and spending far more than we can afford to pay or should be paying. It is time to start moving decisively toward a federal government that is limited and carries out its appropriate function. As a result of the government’s doing far too much, spending since World War II is at record levels as a proportion of the U.S. economy (in terms of gross domestic product, or GDP) and is growing. The federal government is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar that it spends. The accumulated national debt caused by this and past borrowing already stands at nearly 70 percent of the country’s annual economic output and is set to climb to at least 100 percent by the end of this decade.
According to some international comparisons, the U.S. economy is already in worse shape than the stumbling economies of most European nations, and it is only a matter of time until our financial house collapses. We are living on borrowed time and risk an economic catastrophe unless somebody in government exercises real leadership to reduce spending and borrowing. We can and must do better.
What if we fail to act before domestic and foreign lenders lose confidence that America and Americans will ever act responsibly? What if a crisis engulfs us? To see our grim future, we need only look at countries like Greece that are experiencing stringent and disruptive austerity and sudden drops in living standards. Yet we can still avert such a catastrophe in America with real leadership and bold action. A growing number of states in America are confronting similar challenges with creative remedies to return to fiscal discipline.