Recent events both home and abroad present us with an opportunity to analyze what the future holds for the U.S. What I find truly tragic is how poorly prepared the populace is to apply past lessons to current events.
Historically, the average democracy has lasted 200 years. Thankfully, the U.S. is not and never has been a democracy or we would long ago have faded into obscurity and chaos.
Look at the left coast for a modern example of why democracy is a bad thing. California voters have continued to expand social programs and refuse to allow any tax increases to solve their $20 billion deficit.
U.S. voters are similarly wired, but because we are not a direct democracy, instead they will punish their elected representatives for making difficult decisions to cut programs by voting them out at the first opportunity.
We have a crisis of enormous repercussions looming and our public education system has largely failed to prepare us for the moment. Virtually every penny collected in taxes presently goes to pay for Social Security and entitlement programs. This means we have to borrow from other countries in order to fund Medicare, defense and the rest of the discretionary budget.
I am not against publically funded retirement programs, but they have to be self-sustaining. If the system-design requires even a dime of outside funding, it will eventually collapse. If we are to keep Social Security from going bankrupt, changes must come.
The bi-partisan, eight-member Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform recommended the single change necessary to fix Social Security. The change? Raise the age from which benefits begin. Representative-elect Cory Gardner, R-4, according to The Coloradoan, opposes increasing the retirement age.
This should tell you into what abyss our political climate has declined. Shockingly enough, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Lewis Black and the rest were all absolutely correct. We have a party of no ideas, the Democrats; and a party of bad ideas, the Republicans.
If given the opportunity, these two parties will work together to ensure their stranglehold on the power structure remains unchallenged. The DISCLOSE Act, likely to come up for vote again during the lame duck session, is intended to protect the power structure on top of which these two groups of thugs, idiots and buffoons sit.
Here are the pressing concerns every American with a three-digit IQ needs to educate themselves about: Medicare, whose unfunded liabilities make the Social Security deficit look like paint damage on the Titanic â€“â€“ weâ€™re talking hundreds of trillions of dollars; the Federal Reserve, this corrupt organization has destroyed the value of the dollar and has put us in a very precarious position with our largest debt-holder, China.
We must also educate ourselves about Afghanistan; invade this country and start the clock on the end of yours, it has happened repeatedly.
MSNBC and the ultra-liberal, progressive, socialist movement decry wealthy Americans for having the gall to succeed without depending on the government. I mean, how dare they exchange a product or a service for money without being willing to sacrifice simply based on the delusional feelings of a group of people who, if left to their own devices, on a stopped escalator would starve to death before finding a way out.
The problem is we have no political leaders at the federal level in the U.S. willing to address the problems we must fix. Democrats are every bit as responsible for Iraq and Afghanistan as Republicans, and Republicans donâ€™t want to anger their retirement-age constituents by making the necessary changes to Medicare and Social Security.
Neither party wants to make substantive changes to the Federal Reserve because it allows them to have the illusion of control over the economy. If the Federal Reserve worked in that capacity, why is the dollar today worth only 4 cents of a 1913-era dollar? Can you imagine how cheap a 30-rack of Keystone would cost if the dollar were still backed by gold? Can you say $30 all-weekend party?
It is time to get selfish. Seek ways to opt out of Social Security, put yourself in a position to live a healthier life and find a way to self-sustain. These problems are coming to a head and very soon.
Those who fail to learn from the past â€¦
Seth Stern is a senior journalism major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.