Letter to the Editor: Will the US Sink Into Mediocrity?

14 August 2011   David Wilhelmsen
We can learn, or we can let go.

Andrew Carnegie
For the first time since the advent of bond ratings, agencies no longer consider the United States deserving of “AAA” rating. Standard and Poor, as well as other rating agencies, have acknowledged that Washington is broken, divided, and dysfunctional at best.

Many blame Washington’s sluggishness at reaching a debt deal as the primary cause of the downgrade. Unfortunately, the true problem clearly surpasses political friction. The United States Government borrows forty cents out of every dollar it spends. It owes over fourteen-trillion dollars and a substantial reduction in spending seems unlikely at best.

The issue America faces is not sluggishness in raising a debt ceiling; it is sluggishness in deciding which direction we will take.

Two paths lie before us. One consists of raising taxes substantially to cover the government’s excessive spending. It involves discouraging business, promoting entitlement programs, and abandoning the free market.

The other path calls for a sharp reduction in spending. It entails choosing freedom over entitlements, electing individual ingenuity over government regulation, and embracing the free market system which has transformed America into the single greatest country in the history of mankind.

Neither path comes without a sacrifice. Slashing entitlements will leave many Americans without welfare or free healthcare.

America, however, has always inspired people from all over the world with the hope that their dreams might become a reality. It has not drawn them with the guarantee of a commonplace life, but with the possibility of an extraordinary one.

A boy by the name of John once came here from Sweden with five dollars in his pocket and no education. However, he worked extremely hard and earned enough money to buy a shoe store. That store, known as Nordstrom, is now a global retail giant.

Another young boy by the name of Andrew came to America in hopes of escaping the suppressed economy of Scotland. He worked tirelessly from a young age and rose in the ranks of the Steel business. Eventually, he built the Carnegie Steel Company and became one of the wealthiest men in American history.

These two stories both give testament to the freedom and individual liberty found in America.

We must either return to these principles, or we must watch our nation sink into the depths of mediocrity.