EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

December 1, 2012

Column: Save your pennies for the fiscal pain that’s coming

… “to preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.”

Thomas Jefferson

This year, we made our election between economy and liberty, or debt and foolishness. Voted for the latter.

I was angry on behalf of my grandchildren, who will be burdened with the debt because of the foolishness, and initially blamed the social conservatives whose positions turn off a majority of women and young voters. But now I think that if these soc-cons didn’t exist, the Democrats would have invented them. Having no record of economic achievement, or hopes realized, Obama had to change the subject, and I can recall the moment this happened.

I’ve never liked the “blame the media” game but can’t deny it here: the Romney “fix the economy” campaign was proceeding effectively through the primaries until the debate hosted by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, which he opened with a question to Romney about contraception. The candidate, along with viewers, responded with bewilderment to the introduction of a subject that hasn’t been controversial in several decades: “Why,” Mitt asked, “are we talking about contraception?”

No reason, except that much of the rest of the Obama-worshipping media dutifully marched to Stephanopoulos’ lead into the “War on Women” with its irrelevant issue of “women’s reproductive rights.” These weren’t really threatened yet positioned Republican candidates, even those who are pro-choice, as “anti-women.” Incredible as this might seem, it drove out most discussion of the only real issue, the growth of government into $16 trillion-plus of unsustainable national debt.

That growing debt makes all other issues irrelevant: With severe annual deficits, we can’t deal adequately with the infrastructure, national defense, health care, or the environment and education concerns of young voters. Yet a majority of voters chose Democrats over Republicans because they were told that the latter “don’t relate to people like you.” “The rich,” the 1 percent that pay 40 percent of the income taxes that fund what does get funded, were vilified. And yes, “gifts” were given or promised to various constituency groups. Some of these groups will be on the bottom of the heap when the economy collapses under the weight of the debt, but they foolishly think the word “entitlement” will hold them harmless.

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