U.S. Learning Lessons Of Charles Foster Kane
By Robert Levy
Moore Republican Chairman
In the movie "Citizen Kane," the newspaper mogul's former guardian who became his bankruptcy trustee laments that Kane lavishly spent his fortune without ever investing it or planning for the pitfalls of economic downturn.
So, too, do we lament our nation's predicament in this Great Recession. America finds itself to be Charles Foster Kane explaining in Chinese to East Asian bank presidents that we have squandered our inheritance.
Just after World War II, America had literally all the money in the world. We made most of the world's goods and were self-sufficient in almost everything else. But we also adopted the problems of the world and problems within our own country as our mission to solve. We fought Communism, declared a "War on Poverty" and even gave amnesty to illegal aliens in the 1980s, encouraging still more to come and seek the benefits of the welfare state.
Each step was taken based upon love for our fellow man and with the intention to make the world better. But as my father always said, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
In 1960, we were still a creditor nation with a yearly positive trade balance of $4.8 billion (about $80 billion in devalued 2011 currency). Today we have a trade deficit that exceeds $645.8 billion. Yet America still spends money on projects as if we were the only country with money to spend. America is like "poor little rich girl" Barbara Hutton, spending herself into poverty and not realizing until her end just how poor she had become.
Americans want no one to go hungry, so we create food stamps rather than creating a job. We want no one to go without shelter, so we build Section 8 public housing rather than building a -manufacturing job base.
We give cooling subsidies in the summer, heating subsidies in the winter, school breakfasts and lunches and a cash bonus at tax time for non-taxpayers, the earned income credit. And, now we even give free health care, including a current recommendation made about a week ago for free birth control pills. In short, the poor big rich man, Uncle Sam, now has to borrow 42 cents for every dollar he spends. It would be like a family earning $50,000 per year and spending an added $36,207 each year in credit card debt. It may not seem much in the first year, but after 30 years, when the youngest child graduates from college, that family would owe the bank $1.1 million. Even at 4.5 percent (the interest on the federal 30-year bond), that interest alone would be 98 percent of the family's yearly earnings without any reduction in principal.
In order to solve this problem, Democrats want us to put a federal receiver by the wallet of every job creator and take the additional money under threat of arrest. This is known as raising taxes. Republicans simply say: "I know the money is going to a good cause, but we can't afford it. We must spend less." We can either pay to feed the poor or give the poor a job so they can feed themselves.
And, contrary to what most people think Republicans believe, we say that almost every poor person would rather work and earn both wages and self-respect than take the meager subsistence that government offers. Hard-working people with good-paying jobs do not need or want government subsidies or control.
America has a balance sheet issued yearly by the United States Treasury. The last balance sheet, after assuming that all TARP loans and mortgage-backed -securities will be paid back (these books were probably cooked by Bernie Madoff roasting a Valley Dale Ham), showed the United States with $2.6 trillion in assets and $14.1 trillion in liabilities.
With a negative net asset position of $11.5 trillion of -liabilities in excess of assets, it is clear that bonds for the Los Angeles Dodgers or Chrysler have greater backing than the bonds of the federal treasury. We cannot afford to take a bankrupt nation further into debt.
The federal government is, quite frankly, broke. But, like an addict, it wants just one more debt ceiling "fix." It is up to us to take this once-proud nation to the Betty Ford Clinic. What Democrats want is for Uncle Sam to take out another mortgage on his home (already $11.5 trillion -underwater) just to pay the interest on his credit cards. Republicans have to say, "Stop!"
We are all Citizens Kane. We got our inheritance from our parents and grandparents who suffered in the Great Depression and then fought and died as members of the Greatest Generation. Since 1945, our Congresses have spent their money and mortgaged their assets, reinvesting little. We need to refrain from doing to our children and grandchildren what past politicians have done to our parents and grandparents.
We have to roll up our sleeves, protect our borders and rebuild our industrial might. And, if we need to refrain from raising the debt ceiling to cut up our credit cards, then we will have learned the lesson that Charles Foster Kane could never understand: We can build Xanadu, but it does us little good after the foreclosure sale.
Robert M. Levy is chairman of the Moore County Republican party. Contact him at Law52@prodigy.net.
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