Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem.
Those were the words spoken by President Ronald Reagan on his inauguration day nearly 30 years ago. Yesterday, they were spoken again by millions of Americans who saw our country heading in the wrong direction. While the final numbers have yet to be tabulated, one thing is clear: Americans chose a new path.
Today is not a day for Republicans to gloat, however. Our generation is now confronted with some of the toughest challenges it’s ever faced. Our economy is broken. We’ll be faced with an unwelcoming job market after graduation. Entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare are bankrupt. By the time we turn 47, Social Security will be unable to pay anyone. Our school systems are in desperate need of fixing. Our competition is no longer just sitting across the classroom but across the globe in countries like China and India.
After the 2008 election, Republicans needed to collectively regroup. A great discussion began within the conservative movement as to what went wrong and what needed to be fixed. As the policies of the current leadership became more unpopular, a new, re-energized Republican Party was offering a fresh perspective. While the left tried to marginalize these people as simpleton, Glenn Beck-watching racists, their hateful and vitriolic rhetoric was drowned out by people from the grassroots up who saw the government growing while the economy shrunk.
When Democrats took control of the House of Representatives four years ago, they promised change. They claimed spending billions of dollars would fix our economy and end record high unemployment. Then they told us we should be thankful they passed an 8,000-page health-care law they didn’t even bother to read. They promised that “politics-as-usual” would become a thing of the past, only to offer backroom deals in order to gather votes for the healthcare bill. They vowed not to listen to special interest groups until the environmental lobby convinced them to vote to pass Cap and Trade, a bill thatwould cost everyone from seniors to young adults thousands of dollars more per year.
When Americans eventually found their policies to be unpopular, Democrats said it was President Bush’s fault. When their approval ratings continued to fall they blamed Republicans for standing in the way of legislation. When Americans didn’t buy these excuses, Democrats finally turned the blame to the people themselves, saying they didn’t understand how much good the federal government had done for them.
What Democrats failed to understand was that Americans don’t want the government to do what’s best for them. The American people want to do what’s best for themselves. While well-intentioned, the policies of this administration and this Congress have repeatedly failed to fix our economy and have added trillions of dollars to our national debt. The results of yesterday’s election illustrate that not only are Americans upset with the current leadership, but that they think Republicans offer the best ideas and solutions when it comes to solving our nation’s difficulties.
Yesterday, the American people chose personal responsibility over government entitlement, fiscal responsibility over wasteful spending and a smaller, less intrusive government that encourages economic growth and keeps taxes low. Although the challenges we face are great, there is hope that we have the ability to rise up and become the next “Great Generation.” Although we may not agree on every issue all the time, we must agree there are some issues that have to be solved today. The president and Democratic leadership need to work with Republicans to solve those issues. Both our generation and future generations are depending on it.
Matt Payne is a junior majoring in Chinese and economics. We welcome all feedback. Please send responses to [email protected]