I Have 4 Words For You: “We Can’t Afford It.”

For years, conservatives have been talking about the potential consequences of out-of-control spending — and guess what? The consequences are here.

The markets are plunging, we’re probably already in a recession, and we may be genuinely headed towards a financial crisis of global proportions.

And this crisis? It isn’t merely another turn of the wheel in the market, another capitalistic cycle. It’s directly related to our national debt and our foreign debtors, who are deliberately withholding credit. Are they actually trying to create a crisis or merely protecting their investments? Either way, nations like China have now confirmed that they have an effective weapon that they can use against the United States economy. If they cut off our credit, they can create a crisis at will.

That’s what this deficit spending has done to us.

Meanwhile, the national debt is at 10 trillion dollars and headed towards 11 trillion — and that’s not even using the sort of accounting standards we force businesses to use, which would count Social Security’s unfunded liability of 10 trillion plus and Medicare’s unfunded liability of 60 trillion plus towards the debt.

Are those fixable problems? Theoretically, since we can cut back a bit and hold our spending in place as the economy grows enough to get us out of this mess, yes. But — that’s only going to work if there is a complete change of attitude in this country. Not only do we need to erase the deficit, we need to actually start paying down the debt.

What that means is that we need to freeze spending, put together a surplus, and use it to retire our debt instead of giving it back as a tax break or using it for new programs.

Let me tell you what else it means.

* It means the first question that should be asked about every government program is, “Can we afford it?”

* It means we need to stop shrugging our shoulders at wasteful programs that only cost “a few million dollars.”

* It means that we need a freeze on the growth of the federal government, not just for a year, but for the foreseeable future.

* It means we literally can’t afford any new social programs, including socialized medicine.

* It means that both parties, for once, need to put aside partisanship and actually cut the costs of Social Security and Medicare.

* It means that, yes, we conservatives are going to have to agree to cut military expenses. We need to spend less on the military, less foreign aid to allies, and we need to start scaling back what we’re doing across the world as soon as feasibly possible, with as little disruption as possible to our allies.

What it all comes down to is that voters in this country — conservative, moderate, and, yes, for the first time ever, even liberals — should have 4 words that they keep repeating over and over to politicians, “We can’t afford it.” It means that politicians should have to justify every new expense, really justify it — before we spend the money.

It’s not enough to nibble around the edges anymore or even merely shoot for erasing the deficit. What this credit crisis has alerted us to — or should have at least, is that the problem we are creating now with our spending has the potential to literally destroy the future of this country within the next 50 years if we don’t change course.

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