Far be it from me to deny the immense social benefits of identifying and sacrificing a scapegoat or two, but at some point or other, we should also tell something approaching the truth.
[In the quotes below, VD Hanson is referring only to Americans; I would spread the net much wider.]
[S]o far no one seems willing to tell the American people the truth: It is not just “they,” but we, the people, who have recklessly borrowed to spend what we haven’t yet earned.And then he asks this question:
Take energy... Our energy challenges do not just concern independence, natural security, and global warming. They involve basic financial solvency, as well. Yet so far, none of our public officials have warned us that the energy crisis is largely a money matter: We’re borrowing too much to buy what we won’t or can’t produce at home.
Second, as a nation of debtors, we are renting money from Asia to buy its exports with our credit cards. Given our talents and natural wealth, we could easily consume more than others in the world and still balance the books. But Americans cannot charge all that we desire on unlimited credit.
Third, the government can only hand out more entitlements by borrowing even more to pay for them. Raising taxes on anyone in a recession is insane. But even crazier is cutting them further at a time of skyrocketing national debt without commensurate reductions in spending.
So who will tell the people that we can’t raise — or reduce — taxes and that we can’t borrow for any more new programs until we first cut expenses and begin paying off the trillions we’ve already borrowed?But there's another, bigger question of which that one is only a part. Which politician is going to tell us that we can't ALL have what we want; we can't ALL have endless choice; we can't ALL have the right to acquire and consume more than we produce?