Second inaugural reflections from a divided nation
Every four years the nation has a chance to take a deep breath and look forward. Presidential inaugurations are usually a time of reflection and a time for anticipation as a new four-year term begins.
This year, and especially this inauguration, makes me feel as though I have been on a giant rollercoaster, and at this very moment we have reached the top of the ride. There is a relative calm, but the anticipation of the accelerating track ahead captivates my every thought. For some, it’s been the ride of their lives, while others are dreading the conclusion and praying the end is near. Make no mistake, you have either loved this ride or you have hated it; such is the case in a deeply divided nation.
Inaugurations are also a time to display the pomp and circumstance of our nation’s royal beginnings. Although legend has it that George Washington was offered the position of King, he had the wisdom to decline, but the reverence our nation bestows on our presidents remains. However, I’m sure that every four years the inauguration is a perspective on whether the glass is half full or half empty.
I think our founders understood that. They understood that, in a democracy, the diversity of perspectives would continually look at that glass from the individual point of view. They knew we were independent minded and would explore the vast frontiers of freedom, which in turn would expand the opportunities for all people willing to capture the imagination of innovation and economic thought.
The American spirit remains boundless, only limited by the imaginations of its people. Sadly, big government tends to shackle our spirit and limit the dreams of the millions of people who wish to strive to better their lot in life — for themselves and their children. No matter how you view the glass of America, you must face the reality that this president has championed the growth of government, expanding its largesse in ways that diminish freedom and burden millions of ordinary Americans, especially in their quest for choosing opportunities to advance towards a better life.
History has shown that big government will fail. It places self-interest in the hands of bureaucrats and political leaders rather than allowing for individuals to pursue their own economic self-interest, lifting future generations with a rising tide of prosperity.
The second inaugural is the perfect time to start talking about legacy. There are dots to be connected and praise or blame to be accorded. The hard truth about legacy is its unyielding connection to the nation’s trajectory. Good decisions ultimately create good outcomes, and likewise, foolish decisions will lead to hard days down the road.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office has recently released a statement that has been under reported and mostly ignored by the mainstream media. It is the foundation of the president’s legacy. It is the truth the media ignores, but history will tell.
GAO’s simulations lead to an overarching conclusion: current fiscal policy is unsustainable over the long-term. Absent reform of federal retirement and health programs—including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—federal budgetary flexibility will become increasingly constrained. Assuming no changes to projected benefits or to revenues, spending on these programs will drive increasingly large, persistent, and ultimately unsustainable federal deficits, and debt as the baby boom generation retires.
Although the inauguration is a time for celebration, we need to remain mindful of the folly of policy decisions in the first term. Stay vigilant in protecting freedom in his second term.
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