Craig R. Smith is an author, commentator and popular media guest because he instantly engages audiences with his common-sense analyses of local, national and global trends. Serving as CEO of Swiss America for over 25 years, Craig understands that Americans want solid answers to the tough questions and that real leadership begins with servanthood. Craig's most recent book is "Crashing the Dollar: How to Survive a Global Currency Collapse," which heMore ↓Less ↑
Over the last year I have received dozens of e-mails attacking my positive outlook on America.
Some think I have buried my head in the sand over all the problems we are facing. Issues like the potential failure of Social Security and Medicare. The deficits and unfair trade. Health care and poverty. The loss of freedoms and violations of the Constitution. The decline of the family.
While I am concerned, and many problems do need to be fixed, I don’t agree with what many view as the cause … the big, bad Bush.
I remember growing up in a home where dad went to work each day and provided a great life on a single paycheck. Mom’s value was not found in how she could compete with dad but how she complimented him by doing what he couldn’t. I thought back about the cost of a new home in 1960 and the cost today.
I remember when the thought of an abortion was akin to murder. Television struggled to allow images of bikini-clad women. The highest level of violence was Barney Fife shooting himself in the foot. Hard work and integrity were valued over wealth and fame. Manufacturing was synonymous with America, not Mexico or China. Attention Deficit Disorder was easily cured by my dad’s belt.
So what happened?
I am not sure. However, one thing worth pointing out is many of the problems we face today have little to do with the current administration and a whole lot to do with the one group in our society that seldom changes … congressional incumbents.
Reviewing the 110th Congress reveals some interesting data. There are 24 long-serving senators (11 Republicans, 13 Democrats). They have 679 combined years of service. That is an average of 28.29 years each. So basically, since 1978, the same old guys have been calling the shots on where we go as a country. The longest serving members are:
Patrick Leahy-VT (D) – 32 years
Pete Domenici-NM (R) – 34 years
Joe Biden-DE (D) – 34 years
Dan Inouye-HI (D) – 44 years
Ted Kennedy-MA (D) – 45 years
Robert Byrd-WV (D) – 48 years
So, what is my point you may ask. My point is this. The problems we face today have been brewing for years. The voices screaming foul about the state of the nation are the same voices that have been in charge of making the decisions. Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden and Patrick Leahy, who have been non-stop in their partisan attacks on the president, take little or no responsibility for the problems in America. Nor do they offer any helpful suggestions to fix critical issues such as Social Security. They charge any changes as an assault on the Roosevelt legacy. The fix for families? Gay marriage.
When one points a finger at another in accusation, there are three fingers pointing right back at the responsible party. Our incumbent leaders have done little to keep the country on the right path. The ”Blame America First” crowd has been systematically passing legislation that does little to benefit our nation.
Since 1948 the House has predominantly been controlled by the Democrats while the Senate has gone back and forth. The difference however has been clear as it relates to philosophy. The days of Blue Dog, pro-defense, Scoop Jackson-type Democrats have been replaced with the liberal Ted Kennedys, Dianne Feinsteins and Patrick Leahys of today. The shift of power in the recent election was not to the liberal left as some would have you believe. Many seats were decided by the slimmest of margins and won by candidates that ran on conservative agendas. John Tester, Jim Webb and Bob Casey are nowhere near the likes of Ted or Dianne.
Less government, lower taxes and more personal responsibility are the keys to our future. All of which Ted Kennedy despises. He wants bigger government and higher taxes. He wants all of us to be dependent. Government is the answer in his world.
I truly believe the nation is begging for a traditional approach to solving problems. Honest, limited government is better government. Entitlement spending must be brought under control. Lower taxes benefit all Americans. Strong defense should be more than a campaign slogan. It is necessary for survival. More personal responsibility makes each one of us safer. Government is not the answer, it is the problem.
For those Americans truly fed up with the direction of the country, may I suggest a solution? In 2008 vote out all incumbents who have more than 25 years in office regardless of party affiliation. If you want change, change the people making the decisions.
The incumbents have had plenty of time to fix the problems. What makes you think another five, 10, 20 years will make a difference? I know many senators truly love this country and have been serving at a high personal cost. If any one of them left public service and returned to private life, he would make more money with less stress. Their effectiveness has long since passed. It is time to allow others to lead with fresh ideas and new approaches. If you agree, let your voice be heard with your vote in 2008.
So I suggest that the real problem is you and I. We vote for the same people who do the same things election after election hoping for a different result. I believe that’s the definition of insanity.