Pork For Our Time

Image In 1938, British Prime Minister  Neville Chamberlain met personally with Adolf Hitler to work out a deal to prevent conflict in Europe.  He basically agreed to let Germany take part of Czechoslovakia without repercussions.  When Chamberlain returned from Germany after making a deal with the devil, he told the British people that they would see “Peace for our time”.    Chamberlain’s name has become synonymous with the term appeasement and people have used his actions to show that you cannot negotiate with a madman.  If you examine his words in more detail though, it is even more disturbing.  When Chamberlain said “for our time” he had to know that Adolf Hitler did not have peaceful intentions and eventually there would be war.  He just didn’t want to deal with it, despite the fact that Germany was only growing more dangerous every day.  In other words, as long as we have peace now, who cares what happens later.

Unfortunately, we see this same sentiment today when it comes to dealing with our nation’s debt.  Experts argue about when the debt will become a crisis, but few will dispute that excessive debt hurts our country.  We also know that, if nothing changes, the debt will only get worse.  And nothing is really being done about it.  Despite the fact that Rep. Ryan’s budget is already under attack by some, it only begins to address the debt ten years from now.  The budget submitted by Sen. Murray never balances the budget so will never address debt.  

So where does the problem lie?  The majority of Americans feel that the government should live within its means.  However, mention reduced spending on any program, and some group will protest.  To make things worse, few politicians have the courage to propose reduced spending to any specific program because of the repercussions.  In some ways, that makes our behavior even more cowardly than Neville Chamberlain’s.  At least his decision to sacrifice part of Czechoslovakia was based on life and death decisions, war and peace.  The decisions our elected leaders take now to guarantee ‘Pork for Our Time’ and push this problem off to future generations is strictly based on political gain.  And the American people are not facing the threat of another World War like the British were in 1938.  Will we be willing to sacrifice anything to avoid passing the burden of debt to future generations or will we only be concerned with ‘our time’?

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