Given the current political fractionalization of the “United” States, perhaps we should consider re-minting our coins with the motto “E Pluribus Maximus Pluribus.” This seems closer to the “truth” — if in today’s world such is to be found. Perhaps it’s also time for Harvard to gin up a new motto.
In an article published in the Orange County Register as “Sorry, Newt. Only the debt ceiling will reach the moon” — over at the National Review Online it’s titled “The State of Our Union Is Broke” — Mark Steyn bemoans the sorry state of L‘Affaire Américain. Some excerpts:
- Debt-to-GDP and other comparative measures are less relevant than the hard-dollar numbers: It’s not just that American government has outspent America’s ability to fund it, but that it’s outspending the planet’s.
- “In the last 22 months,” said the president, “businesses have created more than three million jobs.” Impressive. But 125,000 new foreign workers arrive every month (officially). So we would have to have created 2,750,000 jobs in that period just to stand still.
- What of his (Obama’s) likely rivals this November? Those of us who have lived in once-great decaying polities recognize the types. Jim Callaghan, prime minister at 10 Downing Street in the Seventies, told a friend of mine that he saw his job as managing Britain’s decline as gracefully as possible. The United Kingdom certainly declined on his watch, though not terribly gracefully. In last Monday’s debate, Newt Gingrich revived the line and accused by implication Mitt Romney of having no higher ambition than to “manage the decline.”
- There are times for dreaming big dreams, and there are times to wake up. This country will not be going to the moon, any more than the British or French do. Because, in decline, the horizons shrivel. The only thing that’s going to be on the moon is the debt ceiling. Before we can make any more giant leaps for mankind, we have to make one small, dull, prosaic, earthbound step here at home — and stop. Stop the massive expansion of micro-regulatory government, and then reverse it. Obama has vowed to press on. If Romney and Gingrich can’t get serious about it, he’ll get his way.
If Mr. Steyn is a tad too pessimistic for your taste, perhaps Professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo at the close of their most recent “Uncommon Knowledge” appearance are more to your liking: