Programs like Social Security and Medicare have the potential to help those who are truly in need, yet currently these programs are poorly constructed and unsustainable. Each year that we fail to address this insolvency, the country takes on more debt and risks a collapse of the entire system – which would hurt the most those for whom these programs need to help the most. Due to the compounding nature of interest, over the next decade alone, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the U.S. government will pay more than $5 trillion in interest payments alone on our debt. The Quantitative Easing efforts of your Federal Reserve officials, during which the U.S. government has bought its own debt to artificially keep interest rates low, has put the nation in an even more precarious situation to pay off our debt obligations should the interest rates rise swiftly or should one of our creditors cash in their bonds.
When you were elected, you had a unique opportunity to unite our country and address the issue of increased government spending. However, you abdicated on this leadership role and you have in fact increased the size of government (e.g., added at least 123,000 federal bureaucrats), created further dependencies on government (e.g., a record 67,300,000 now rely on some federal assistance), and have accelerated the insolvency of these “entitlement” programs (e.g., in 2011 and 2012 cut funding source for Social Security by 32 percent).
During the 2008 campaign, you criticized John McCain for wanting to aggressively tackle the debt issue with what you said was a hatchet. You said you would use a scalpel. Mr. President, I think you need a bigger knife. We have a spending problem, and you have become our county’s biggest culprit. Perhaps feeling it might hurt your re-election efforts, you lacked the courage to take the advice of your own National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (aka Simpson-Bowles Plan), which proposed initial steps to help the debt crisis. Even this spring when Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) took the initiative and proposed a plan to make modest refinements to government dependency program that would strive to have a balanced budget by 2030, you besmirched him with demagoguery. You used rhetoric that leads one to assume that you and your party are the only ones with compassion or that care about those in need. I don’t think Congressman Ryan’s plan is perfect, but at least he had the integrity to propose a plan. You have been a national figure for about six years, where is your plan?
I don’t want to use my son as a pawn. I do want to raise my son to respect values, such as hard work, integrity, and philanthropy. Yet, I am genuinely fearful that your path for our nation disincentives success, weakens individual responsibility, and damages the long-term hope for future Americans.
Zemek is a former Wall Street financial services registered representative and a U.S. government budget analyst.