Jim Gilmore: Financial catastrophe for the United States
Column by Jim Gilmore
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The passage of the health care bill continues to dig the American public deeper into a financial hole. No matter how it is characterized, this is a vast new entitlement program, with no limits on the cost to the taxpayers of the future. Today our economic system is breaking under the weight of Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, the entitlement society. The national debt and deficits show that we cannot go on with this welfare state. This new health bill “doubles down” on the financial problems that we must solve to restore the future of our nation.
According to the official budget document of the U.S., the 2010 national debt is 94% of our gross domestic product, being all the economic activity of the American society combined. By 2020, the debt will be equal to 107 percent of our GDP. All these estimates were before the passage of the health care bill. The nation of Greece is today in crisis at 113 percent, and their sovereign debt is in jeopardy. The sovereign debt of the U.S. is headed for similar levels. We simply cannot sustain the level of spending that requires this kind of borrowing to make ends meet. The new health care bill doesn’t help us control spending, instead, it balloons spending beyond the alarming debt levels we already have and see coming in the future.
The Democratic leadership in the U.S. House and Senate make it clear that the passage of the health bill is not the end of their push to nationalize the costs of health care. One Democratic Senator said this is only “the beginning of a process”, whereby future efforts will be made to enact a “public option” later. One supporter of the health care initiative stated on National Public Radio, “I like capitalism, but this is about human needs”. This mirrors an ignorance of the reality that only the free market has any hope of providing quality health care at costs controlled through competition.
Finally, to enact their ideological program, bipartisanship was thrown overboard. Bipartisanship was great when the Republicans were expected to support their agenda, but completely abandoned when conservatives had a different approach to health care reform. As President Obama said, “This is what change looks like.” This kind of change takes us backward, away from the fiscal conservatism that will be essential to restoring our financial health in the future.
In his opinion column in Tuesday’s Washington Post, George Will decried the desire of the Democratic Party to create a dependency society. He states that the Democrats believe that all entitlements are forever. Except that they aren’t. We simply won’t be able to finance these levels of government benefits. The only way out for our country is to control spending, and to build up the American economy, to create jobs, and to draw on the national character of the American people to create wealth and to take care of themselves as much as possible. Now is the time to begin a new process, toward the “Independent Society”. In fact, there is no choice. A more “Independent Society” is our only way out of this culture that is bankrupting our country.
James S. Gilmore III is the president and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation. He is the former governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.