With July 4th approaching, it is the perfect time to consider the sacrifices made by our ancestors, to celebrate their successes, and consider how we are doing in comparison. One group often cited as the gold standard Americans is what we call the Greatest Generation, the people who survived the Great Depression and sacrificed through WWII to protect our liberties.
The greatest generation was vastly different than the people we have in America today. Today we want our taxes, our guns and freedom, and have little consideration for grandma on Social Security and Medicare. Sadly, that grandmother is likely part of the greatest generation, and still we tell them that their entitlements must go.
The greatest generation paid taxes as high as a 95% rate to finance WWII, while our generation has hocked our grandchildren’s future to pay for Iraq and Afghanistan. The greatest generation sent 8.5% of their population to war and today we send less than 0.5% of ours, letting someone else’s kid do the fighting for us. The greatest generation shared their prosperity with each other when the war was done, but now we give tax credits to companies that send our jobs overseas, and browbeat the few remaining union members because they want to earn a wage that will purchase a home and put the kids through college.
The greatest generation funded great universities because they knew that knowledge was power, and today we cut school funding and learn our lessons from Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh, while driving to dead end services jobs with no benefits.
Personal responsibility is often touted as the solution to our financial woes, and I would like to see those that so claim to assume that responsibility. The huge national debt that we use as an excuse for cutting grandma’s services is the product of our generation’s greed and apathy, and like the greatest generation we need to step up and pay it off. Responsible people realize that we must pay more taxes to pay off the debt created by ourselves — as did the greatest generation that we all admire.