Time to Apologize for Future Generations

Townhall.comby Terry Paulson

It took nearly 150 years for Congress to pass a resolution apologizing for slavery. We should apologize now to future generations for what we’ve done and are doing to America. Though our generation’s motivation was compassionate, we’re leaving America worse.

They called the World War II generation “The Greatest Generation.” They survived the Great Depression by becoming resourceful and forging strong bonds of family and community. Thousands died fighting tyranny and securing liberty for others. Workers had no 401Ks and no paid health insurance. Citizens took pride in personal achievement, treasured their faith, families and freedom. They were good parents, balancing a healthy dose of discipline with loving support. They didn’t brag about what they did; they just got busy taking responsibility for their own lives. They wanted a government that would leave them alone, not take care of their every need.

Their offspring wanted their children to want for nothing. Supported by Dr. Spock, many parents stopped the lectures and disciplined less, shielded their children from failures and poured on affirmations to boost their “fragile” self-esteem. They allowed religion to be taken out of schools. By failing to teach strong values, too many parents left their children’s values development to television and Hollywood. They wanted only peace, not war. But it didn’t stop there.

We continue to vote for indulgent politicians. Prior to World War II, the cost of government never exceeded a few hundred per American citizen in today’s dollars. Now, government costs over $13,000 per citizen. Instead of promoting personal responsibility, freedom and free-enterprise opportunity, our “nanny-state” fosters dependence, promotes victim thinking and entitlement programs, and micro-manages every facet of our lives. Politicians, Democrats and some Republicans alike, have given us what we demanded—more spending to meet our every need!

Unfortunately, since we keep adding more entitlements and refuse to pay as we go, we leave no inheritance of opportunity, just a horrendous, out-of-control debt. Our current deficit is over $12 trillion, but that’s just what politicians will admit. Former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker estimates the total “unfunded liabilities” at $56.4 trillion. That’s the bill to pay off the publicly held portion of the national debt and all the benefits already promised through Social Security, Medicare and other welfare programs minus what will be collected for these programs under existing tax laws.

Because there is no reserve fund for these liabilities, any shortfall is taken out of general tax receipts unless politically difficult changes are made. In 1946, 42 workers were available to support the cost of each Social Security recipient. Without changes, by 2030, there will be only two workers to support each retiree.

More: http://townhall.com/columnists/TerryPaulson/2009/12/07/time_to_apologize_for_future_generations