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2012 ElectionEconomyOpinionPolitics

Making the Trip, Eating the Elephant, Straightening out the Economy

by Gen. Jerry Curry (ret.)
Guest Clash Contributor

The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, writing around 320 B.C. said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” To usher in effective monetary reform today, that first step must send a clear signal to the business, banking and economic sectors in this country and overseas that a new day has dawned; a day in which America once again assumes its rightful place of economic and financial leadership and responsibility.

That’s what must happen if we are to successfully recover from the financial Armageddon and debt crisis which is currently sweeping across the nation and the world. A final solution to our problems can be realized, but only after a long and difficult journey. And that journey begins with a single step; you can only eat an elephant one mouthful at a time.

Congress and the Administration act as though they are impotent and powerless to halt the nation’s drift toward bankruptcy and financial ruin. Recovery and reform is not as difficult as they would have us believe. The first step toward financial soundness is getting spending under control; then comes solving the debt and entitlement part of the nation’s problems. This last part is hard; stopping overspending is not. Controlling overspending simply requires decisiveness and a Gordian knot mentality.

Think what a powerful message it would send to our business community and to the world if the President declared that effective immediately budget growth and financial increases in all departments and agencies are frozen. The government will only spend within its budget. That is just a tiny first step, but the message it would send around the world would be awesome. It would say to the nation and to the world’s financial managers that the United States is serious about solving its economic problems; and not just serious about Congress’ increasing the debt limit.

This message is the reverse of the one that has been repeatedly communicated by the White House to the federal bureaucracy for the past four years. That message is that there are no spending limits and financial frugality is a curse not a blessing.

If stopping overspending is easy why haven’t the White House and Congress already stopped it? As relates to Congress, the answer is easy: Congress hasn’t stopped overspending because they are addicted to doing it, see no compelling reason to stop, and there has been little pressure from the people to make them stop. That is, to them it is fun to spend someone else’s money, the American citizens’ money.

The reasons why the President hasn’t stopped over spending are more complicated and since we don’t really know what he is thinking, we have to deduce from the facts and policies that he has put in play these last four years. What has really been going on inside the White House and the head of the President? Supposedly one of the facts that has caused him to act the way he has is that he is an amateur and has little to no experience in governmental matters, economic affairs and foreign policy. This is all true — but irrelevant.

Doesn’t the President know that his Administration’s continued profligate spending is unsustainable and will soon bankrupt the nation? Certainly he knows it. He knows that his Administration’s uncontrolled spending is well on its way toward destroying the nation’s economy.

If he knows how destructive his policies are, why doesn’t he stop and change them? It could be that he refuses to change them because they are doing exactly what he wants them to do? He intends to destroy the nation’s world standing and its military and economic power. In short, he wants to reduce this county to third world status. Then he will have accomplished what appears to be one of his life goals: the devastation of America through redistribution of its wealth and economy to the poor countries of the world, especially to Muslim countries.

For the last four years, Republican political leaders have demonstrated that they are unable to successfully impact presidential actions and policies. The President has consistently and repeatedly defied the Constitution and, at the same time, thumbed his nose at Congress and the Supreme Court. None of these supposedly “co-equal” branches of government has been able to contain him. Today the only way he can be prevented from financially destroying the nation’s economic system is for “We the People” to vote him and his party out of office.

Not too long ago there was a time when if either political party produced a leader – like a Senator Joe McCarthy — who was dangerously destructive of the American political system and the American way of life, the leadership of both parties would put the welfare of the nation above personal and party political gain, and lead a bipartisan effort to dethrone him. Congressmen with that strength of character and love for country seem to no longer exist.

Well, there are a few left who recognize that the journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step. The gavel is passed on to them and to “We the People.” Working jointly they must prevent misguided Presidents, Congresses and Administrations from dragging the nation over the cliff of destruction.

Image: Portrait of Lao Zi (Lao Tzu); Project Gutenberg; public domain

General Jerry Ralph Curry (Ret.)is a decorated combat veteran, Army Aviator, Paratrooper, Ranger and retired Army Major General. For nearly forty years he has served his country both in the military and as a Presidential political appointee, including for the Carter, Reagan & Bush 41 administrations.