by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Now, however, we are in danger of falling short in helping to secure a more stable and prosperous future—because we cannot figure out how to argue the case for the things that truly must be done. What we need now is reform, not revolution. And the hard and necessary work of incremental reform now appears almost impossibly difficult to achieve precisely because it seeks not to change the world—which is easy to argue for—but avert disaster. Which is far less sexy.
Steering us away from the path of fiscal disaster due to the exponential growth of Great Society entitlement spending would be the most important domestic-policy achievement of our time. But it’s probably not going to happen because the only thing entitlement reform will achieve is the avoidance of a calamity. It’s the public-policy version of replacing your roof. It’s both modest and comprehensive. When you replace your roof, you are not participating in the full flowering of human genius. You are, instead, acting to ensure that at some future date, your roof won’t cave in.
The only pleasure you can take from that is the pleasure you take from being responsible. And we live in an age when Americans no longer experience the exercising of adult responsibilities as a source of quiet pleasure or existential satisfaction.