USA past its prime

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As a leading edge baby boomer I realize that I was born at the pefect time in history. For my generation opportunity abounded and we were on the verge of an exciting new worldd in which science and technology opened up a new frontier. The latest generation of Americans enter the world of lower expectations and a reduced future lifestyle. How and why did this happen? The Occupy Wall Street people tell us that it is because of corporate greed. President Obama tells us it is because of millionaires and billionaires who do not pay their fair share of taxes. The truth is a little more complicated and comes down to three major changes in American society. No. 1 is the explosive growth of government, government at all levels. Federal, state and local now consume 43 percent of the gross domestic product. That only leaves 57 percent for “we, the people.” As government expands it issues new taxes and regulations that further reduce the GDP. Thus, they take an ever-expanding share of a shrinking pie. No. 2 is the teachers’ union that has now given us two generations that are less educated than their parents. These young people have to compete in a world economy against workers in China and India. These workers are not only willing to work for less but have better skills in math and science. No. 3 is the debt. The federal government will tell you that their debt is $15 trillion but that is only because they do not have to keep their books according to standard accounting practices. If they were an ordinary corporation, they would have to show on their books the unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, then the real debt soars to $71 trillion. This is an amount that can never be paid back. It will have to be written off. I fear that America’s best days are behind us. George P. Horan, Auburn