Last week I was privileged to speak to a group called “Be Heard,” an organization founded in 2010 to inspire younger Americans to become interested in public affairs.
We of the baby boom generation are not leaving the next generation an easy road. I spoke about the country we will leave them, why taxing our way out of debt will not work, the looming threat from China, and what we must do to meet the challenge.
Remarks by Jay Townsend
“Be Heard” PAC
Putnam County, NY
It would not be hard to imagine that in this room this evening is a future Governor, a future Senator, perhaps a President or a member of Congress or two or three. And even those of you who do not seek public office are going to be called to serve. I want to tell you a little about the challenges you face.
I am of the baby boom generation. I wish I could say that it has served you well, that we are about to hand off to you a country stronger than it was when my generation came to power.
But if I were to assert such it would be a lie.
To mine, the baby boom generation, much was given. And no generation in the history of this great Republic has done more to squander that which it was bequeathed.
We will soon hand you a country deeply mired in debt because the baby boom generation gave away the store and hid the cost of doing so.
We will soon hand you a country with a broken tax code and more holes that a trainload of Swiss cheese, willingly granted at the behest of K Street lobbyists who in turn plied our lawmakers with their largesse.
We created entitlements that we cannot pay for, made promises we cannot keep and we are about to hand off to you a staggering pile of bills, ballooning interest payments and a crushing debt burden, and we will expect you to fix it without cutting our social security or our Medicare.
We will soon hand you a nation that has reached beyond it means; squandered the resources of its people; borrowed beyond reason, devalued its currency and rendered many of our middle class wards of the state.
We will hand you a nation that has issued war guarantees to countries in which we have no vital interests, an over-extended military now involved in three wars, with more than 800 aging military bases in 135 different countries.
And to you we will hand a nation deeply dependent on foreign sources of fossil fuels, one with an annual trade deficit of half a trillion dollars, and a national debt burden that has grown from 1 trillion to 14 trillion in the past 30 years.
Now there are those on the left who say that we could put a dint in the debt dilemma with a value added tax-a 25 or 30% levy on everything we consume, every service we buy, every community we sell. On that score they are correct. We could do what Britain and France have done.
But let me warn you about the cost of a socialist state. Britain and France live with chronic double digit unemployment. Britain and France no longer have a military worthy of the name. Britain and France are Empires no more, for in the process of creating their cradle to grave utopia they starved their once mighty armies, and sucked half their private capital out of the marketplace.
There was once upon a time when the term British or French Exceptionalism meant something. Today those terms are oxymorons.
There is another reason not to go the route that the Obama’s, the Pelosi’s, the Schumer’s and the Gillibrand’s would have us go.
We’ve been alone at the top since the Soviet Empire crumbled. There has been no other Superpower on earth since the 1980’s that has been able to challenge our economic or military might.
That will soon change. There is a new kid on the block. Its name is China.
During the past 30 years, China’s GDP has grown by a factor of 10. Its share of global manufacturing will soon surpass that of the United States.
Goldman Sachs says that in less than 17 years China will overtake the United States in Gross Domestic Product. For the first time in more than 100 years, America will cease to be the mightiest economic engine on earth.
Our trade deficit with China has topped $200 billion each of the last five years. They own 25% of our debt.
They have invested the proceeds of their trade surplus all over the globe — Iron ore in Sierra Leone, mines in South Africa, coal and gas in Australia, oil in Brazil and Venezuela, coal in Mozambique, copper in Chili, timber in Canada.
China has cornered the market in rare earth metals, and now controls 97% of world’s supply, commodities essential to the production of electronics, iphones, hybrid cars, jet fighter engines, computer disc drives and missile guidance systems.
As our President now talks of slashing our defense budget, the Chinese are making annual double digit increases in theirs, as they have each of the last 20 years.
They are deploying a new anti-ship ballistic missile than can sink U.S. aircraft carriers. They have ramped up production of unmanned aerial vehicles. A recent display by one of their Aerospace Companies showcased Chinese forces using a drone to attack a U.S. Aircraft carrier. They are building rockets, submarines, surface fleets and a world class Navy soon to challenge our dominance of the Pacific.
Most who now serve in Congress have never had to govern the United States in a world with two superpowers. If you think choices are difficult when we are the only one at the top, imagine a circumstance when kicking the can down the road is no longer an option, or a condition that requires the liberals in Congress to act and govern like adults instead of spoiled children and pubescent spin doctors.
You and your generation will need to make some choices my generation never wanted to make. And you will face some challenges that the cowards of my generation refused to confront.
Are we going to remain the mightiest economic engine on earth? If so, you will need to tell the American people that we must reduce our business taxes, our capital gains tax, that we need to reduce the cost of doing business in the United States, that we cannot willy nilly confiscate the earnings of the entrepreneurs, producers and job creators or wage class warfare against the wealth creators.
Are we going to remain the mightiest military power on earth? If so, you will need to explain that the Chinese are building a world class military and that we therefore cannot allow our military to atrophy. You will need to explain to the American people that freedom is not free, and that we need to invest in defense, research, satellites, technology, hardware, ships, planes and our military personnel.
Are we going to preserve Social Security and Medicare? If so, you will need to be honest and candid and tell the American people that some adjustments and changes will be necessary to do so, lest we find our government reneging on the promises it has made.
Are we going to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of fossil fuels? If so, it falls to you to tell Americans that we need to build nuclear power plants, and allow energy companies to explore for oil and gas in our coastal waters and on our own soil.
Are we serious about having the best educated kids on the globe? It will take more than money. It will fall to you to explain to that we need to undo the union rules that trap kids in failing schools and in classrooms with incompetent teachers.
Do you believe in American Exceptionalism? It falls to you to explain that we cannot keep America exceptional by emulating the socialist failures of Europe. We are what we are because we have charted a different course, one that has spawned more innovation, more wealth, more miracle drugs and more advances in the human condition than any nation in the history of mankind.
We did not do that by limiting the wealth people can create, or by limiting the number of hours people are allowed to work, or by placing limits on human potential.
I’d like to paraphrase something Churchill once said about the life of a person, for it also applies to generations.
To every generation there comes a time, a special moment, when it is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered a chance to do a very special thing, unique to its time and fitted to its talent.
I believe you and your generation can save the United States of America.
I probably have more faith in you than you do.
Because in times past when called to duty, past generations have found a way to answer the call, no matter the odds, no matter the obstacles.
The generation that kept our union one.
The generation that made ours the greatest manufacturing power on earth.
The generations that came to the aid of free Europe and kept her free.
The generation that lifted this nation off its knees during the great depression.
The generation which stood down the Soviet Union and forced it to crumble.
Your mission begins now. On your campuses, in your dorm rooms, in your fraternities and sororities, your classrooms, your clubrooms.
Now there is good news. Nan Hayworth is now a Member of Congress. She gets this. God bless the steel in her spine. Republicans now control the Congress. Let us hope they remain true to the message that won them the Congress.
And I am not going to go away. Having fallen on the sword of Schumer and having lived to talk about it, I’m still here, alive and kicking, happy to stand by your side and even willing to once again lead the charge.
But even if Nan serves for 20 years and God affords me the chance to someday serve you, to you and your generation will fall some of the burden of cleaning the mess that we of the me generation made of the campsite.
Let is someday be said that you and your generation led a nation to reject the false promise of statism and the hoax of liberalism.
Let it someday be said of you and your generation that you rose to the challenge of your time, a time that brought a new dawn to America, that you and your generation relit the lamp of freedom and rekindled the cause of liberty and preserved for future generations the great promise of the greatest democracy the world has ever known.
That because of you American kept its seat at the head of democracy’s table.
That because of you the sun was not allowed to set on American Exceptionalism.
God Bless you.
God Bless your Generation.
God Bless the United States of America.