Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life

By , on September 18, 2011

Money and Finance, Opinion

If I were to outline the chief responsibilities of any central government, I would only include three essential functions: (1) the common defense, assuring that the nation is not conquered; (2) assuring that human rights are preserved; (3) operating the government with fiscal prudence. The report card for the United States government would be:

Defense: B

The U.S. has achieved the essential objective against our enemies, defeating them and keeping them outside our borders. A higher grade would correspond to not invading countries based on bad data and without justification, and by achieving great results at less expense.

Human Rights: B+

The U.S., despite some glitches and gaffes, has done quite well in this regard. Exceptions include over-regulation (100 watt lamps as we know them are about to be illegal to produce and sell; prohibition was silly; and the internment of the Japanese and modern airport security are a few other exceptions to a good record.)

Fiscal Prudence: D

By not creating a surplus within ten years, we are counting on inflation to reduce the ratio of debt to GDP. This is so bad that it is essentially a failure to even admit the magnitude of the problem, always the first and essential step in solving one. This D has a good chance of becoming an F if it leads to the result that is increasingly probable, a decline in the wealth and power of the United States.

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