by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
Congratulations to JLF Senior Fellow Garland Tucker, whose analysis of our $20 trillion+ debt load has been published by Investor’s Business Daily at investors.com. He reminds us of the fiscal and moral crisis we face.
Since the onset of the Great Society’s War on Poverty in the mid-’60s, the U.S. has spent — progressives would contend “invested” — more than $15 trillion in means-tested entitlement programs. Between 1960 and 2010, federal entitlement spending increased from 19% to 43% of annual federal spending. In 1960, government entitlement spending was a mere $24 billion — or $134 per citizen. By 2019, federal entitlement spending had soared to $7,200 (or approximately $1,000 in 1960 dollars) for every American.
We’ve taken a wrong turn, Tucker writes.
The legacy of big government is about far more than exploding debt. It is about the loss of individual freedom. The United States now stands at No. 16 in the world ranking of economic freedom, a shocking reversal of our No. 2 ranking only 20 years ago. We have too often been willing to trade our reliance on free markets and individual freedom for government entitlements.
In “The Road to Serfdom,” Frederick Hayek warned of the insidious policies of Big Government that have always led to serfdom. No matter how benevolent the aims of government, the loss of individual freedom is the debilitating result of increased governmental control. Hayek argued that policies of individual freedom and free markets are “the only truly progressive policies.”
Don’t miss Garland Tucker’s piece on the looming debt crisis at investors.com.