Up to now, over the course of my almost half century of life, I think pretty much Americans could afford not to pay attention to the question of what the fundamental roles of government are. Politicians, economists, philosophers, theorists, and even regular folks who just found government interesting could and would debate it, but the average person could focus on their job, their family, and their interests without a great deal changing. One party would be elected, and then the other, and it would swing back and forth. But the fundamental roles of government were not challenged.
Today, however, in times of spiraling national debt, terrorism, an increasing gap between rich and poor, and economic instability, there are those who see this as an opportunity to “reset the foundation.” We are kidding ourselves if we think there are those who won’t fundamentally change this country in a heartbeat if they are able. Take social security, for instance. Sure, we all might debate about our ability to fund it. But there are folks out there today who, just like in the 1930s, viewed that government should have no role in providing for anyone’s retirement. Or take health care. Sure there are folks who have well thought out positions for and against the new health care law. But there are also those who would argue that the government should pay zero when it comes to public health. This is no longer a “radical” position in current public debate.
We surely cannot spend like there is no tomorrow, as we have been. Funding social security and health care programs doesn’t mean writing a blank check. We need to get in there and figure out what we can cut. We very well might have to change laws that have been passed. And both parties need to take long hard looks at their traditional benefactors in Federal Spending (both have spent like crazy, just in different areas).
But as politicians work to balance the budget, let every Christian be alert to those who would remove every safety net that has been established in our nation. We are called to care for our neighbor in need. And we might just find we ourselves need that safety net too one day.
We are in this together as Americans. Let us look out for one another.
Until next time,