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  • Debt Crisis Begs the Question: "Are We Citizens or Subjects?"

    There are two sides to our federal debt crisis—an economic one and a civic one—and both demand attention. As lawmakers in Washington focus their attention on the budget, they would be wise to remember the policy objectives behind their necessary reforms. They must ask: Are we a nation of citizens or subjects?

    America is at a tipping point. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, if left unchecked, will devastate our economy and cause irreparable damage to our way of life, all in just a few short years. Alison Fraser, Heritage’s Director of the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, has noted that “the public debt is closing in on 70 percent of the economy and within the decade will exceed the tipping point of 90 percent.

    America is exceptional because it was founded on the basic truth that we are a nation of citizens, free and independent from a faraway king, dedicated to the belief that individuals are capable of self-government. It is an economic necessity to drastically cut the federal budget and rein in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid spending, but there is also a greater civic necessity to reform these programs and free individuals from their dependence on government and the entitlement mentality that has enslaved huge swaths of our nation. We are now witnessing the effects of an overreaching government, which, in its attempt to provide, has ended up making people dependent on its generosity. Citizens have become subjects and relegated as mere clients of this or that state or federal program.

    The elections of 2010 and 2012 are perhaps the most significant in our generation. Those of us in the debt-paying generation have a huge stake in what happens in this Congress and the next because it will have profound and significant effects on our economic future. Greater than that, however, is the governing philosophy that will be established. Policies are not enacted in a vacuum; they have real consequences on the character of the American people. Americans have come to their own time for choosing, not unlike the one Reagan described in 1964. As Reagan said, “we must decide “whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

    Will the policy reforms make us freer and more able to cultivate a citizenry that is imbued with individual responsibility and virtue? Or will we continue along the downward path of debt and dependency? In all their economic reforms, lawmakers must remember that our republic depends upon the character of its citizens. And citizens we must be, for America is not a kingdom of subjects.

    Paige Agostin is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Debt Crisis Begs the Question: "Are We Citizens or Subjects?"

    1. George Colgrove VA says:

      The disregard of the American Taxpayer would suggest the federal workforce views us as subjects.

      In addition, considering we have run out of cash and instead of staying within the limits of received tax money, the federal workforce continued to bloat their budgets, hire countless more people at ever-increasing pay scales would suggest they view us as subjects.

      Truth is we support them and their luxury lifestyles.

      When we say no, what do they do – protest against us. Not one group of federal workers has organized to lower their pay based on our demands. Not one group of federal workers has organized to at the very least apologize for taking advantage of the taxpayer.

      So far, there have been no proposals made to reduce the overpaid federal workforce in size and in cost.

      All evidence points to the federal workforce seeing us as subjects. In addition, looking at the main streets of any city outside the beltway it is certainly looking like it.

      The feds have killed the middle class. Today, America is looking more like a lord/serf society rather than a diverse of people with an equal opportunity.

    2. Frank J. Randazzo Cy says:

      Iam 61 and a vet and i say reign in social security etc.. They can first start with the able bodied illegals who are completly ripping off the system.

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    4. Bobbie says:

      Going back to the beginning of his presidency when he voiced by description of skin color, eye shape and culture of who he would help, instead of helping all under one title of Americans united, appalled me to believe we are subjects of his controlled demise. I'm sorry to say white people were not mentioned, but not surprised.

      Alot of what is being done is targeted at "white" people and their personal accomplishments. Unless you own GE or a company of Obama's favorite and you just happen to be white. He'll set you up into something devious and then point his finger at you or everyone else will see it to be you and make exception to or never know, whatever underhanded set-up of the president's caused it.

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    6. janet says:

      Great job Paige. It's time for Americans to choose; citizen or slave.

    7. Lenore Beard, Ft. Sm says:

      I have great respect for you and what you have written.

      I will look forward to reading more articles by "Paige"

    8. Ann Lerew Florida says:

      On the news yesterday, (4-6-11) the debt ratio was stated as 90% of GDP. Is this true? If it is , we have already reached that Tipping Point.

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