On a hot, sunny Saturday 60 years ago we arrived in America. My parents decided months earlier to come to the land of opportunity from war torn Europe to make a new life for themselves and their sons, my older brother, aged six, and me, aged two.
My parents, who were the only ones in their respective families to survive the evils of National Socialism (Nazism), did not come to America expecting the government to pay-or help pay–for their needs. Instead, they worked hard, paid their taxes and became citizens in 1954.
America was a much different place six decades ago than it is today. After World War II America was unwinding from the huge burden of fighting a two front war. The federal budget was just under $41 billion in 1949, a more than 50% decline from 1945. The national debt was a mere $253 billion. The New Deal-the supposed savior of the U.S. economy–was firmly in place.
In 1949, the average person did not expect much from the federal government. After suffering during the Great Depression and sacrificing for nearly four years to defeat the Axis Powers, the people wanted an enduring peace and sustainable prosperity. In general, the people were not clamoring for more big government.
Today, the federal budget is $3.99 trillion, the deficit is $1.84 trillion and the national debt is just shy of $11.7 trillion. Entitlement spending is the largest expenditure of the federal budget, and despite winning the Cold War, the United States is fighting a two front war in the Middle East.
The official unemployment rate is 9.5%, while some analysts claim the real rate is about 16%, when you calculate the number of discouraged workers and part-time workers who want to work full time. The boom-bust cycle is causing untold pain throughout America.
The U.S. dollar’s purchasing power has declined markedly in six decades. What cost $1.00 on average in 1949 cost $9.06 today. In short, the depreciation of the U.S. dollar has continued under both Republican and Democrat administrations. The current financial crisis is the inevitable consequence of the Federal Reserve’s legalized counterfeiting and continuous attempts to ‘stimulate” the economy with easy money.
The perverse legacy of the welfare-warfare state is all around us. The federal government’s deficits are sucking more and more resources to bail out the mistakes of the fat cats on Wall Street and in corporate board rooms. State governments are broke. State capitalism, not laissez faire, is responsible for the financial mess of the country.
Instead of withdrawing from Afghanistan, the “graveyard” of the Middle East for foreign powers, President Obama is committing more U.S. troops, which is resulting in more and more civilian deaths.
The promise of 1949, peace and prosperity, has been replaced six decades later with perpetual war, a shaky economy, and a culture of entitlement. The American people are at the proverbial crossroads. If they choose wisely, peace and prosperity will become a reality. If the American people do not reverse the welfare-warfare state soon, Obama’s collectivist agenda will cement a command and control economy in America for as long as the eye can see.