These are ominous and concerning times

Dan Lucas_July 2012_BW

by Dan Lucas

These are very disquieting times.

North Korea is believed to be conducting hydrogen bomb testing and has successfully launched a missile capable of reaching the United States – breaking many U.N. Security Council resolutions in doing so. Islamic terrorists murdered a U.S. ambassador with impunity, and rather than comprehending what that means, those in charge sought to spin the ‘optics’ of the murder for political purposes.

An Islamic nation-state has very publicly humiliated U.S. forces with no negative consequences. That same nation-state is now free to develop nuclear weapons and has access to much more money to pursue nuclear weapons or to fund terrorist organizations – thanks to the U.S. The current agreements to stop the development of nuclear weapons for that country are meaningless – just as the 1994 nuclear deal with North Korea was meaningless and failed.

Our ambivalent and hands-off approach to the Middle East has resulted in that region further spinning out of control. It has led to the rise of ISIS and a mass migration out of countries like Syria. The rise of ISIS and mass migrations have in turn have resulted in carnage in places like Paris and San Bernardino, as well as some major and disturbing clashes of culture in Europe.

The weakness and lack of resolve we are exhibiting as a nation are very dangerous signals to a very dangerous world.

China is acting increasingly aggressive. After a U.S. Navy ship recently sailed through disputed waters, a spokesman for the Chinese defense ministry said the move “may cause extremely dangerous consequences.” Alarmed by the Chinese, even a fickle Philippines is now welcoming back the U.S. military.

After successfully invading Ukraine and seizing the Crimea with nary a whimper from an impotent West, Russia is growing its sphere of influence in the Middle East vacuum and continuing to intimidate its European neighbors.

In the U.S. political sphere, rational thought seems to have fallen from favor. It has been replaced by anger or entitlement.

Staggering proportions of our U.S. population appear to be living life heavily medicated.

Our federal spending is irresponsible and not sustainable.

The national debt recently topped $19 trillion. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the federal debt “is now equivalent to about 74 percent of the economy’s annual output, or gross domestic product (GDP)—a higher percentage than at any point in U.S. history except a seven-year period around World War II.”

Around six percent of federal spending now goes to just paying the interest on the debt. Federal net interest on the debt was $229 billion in 2015. Federal corporate income taxes collected for FY2014 were about $330 billion. That means that the equivalent of more than 2/3 of corporate income taxes collected went to just paying interest on the debt! And federal interest costs on the debt are projected by the CBO to triple in the next decade to $808 billion.

We are blithely spending trillions of dollars we don’t have – in effect taxing Americans who are still too young to vote and even those yet to be born. That is irresponsible and unethical, and it’s not sustainable.

America is at a crossroads. We have serious decisions to make about our future.

It is my prayerful hope that we overcome our current predicament, that we embrace rational and mature approaches to problems, that we find constructive outlets for our anger and frustration, and that we elect leaders who call forth the best in us. Leaders who inspire us and who truly call us together as a nation.

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