Need a bad news antidote? Try a little Americanism

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Need a bad news antidote? Try a little Americanism

In need of a little economic cheer heading into the Christmas-time festivities? Are you sick and tired of hearing about reckless government spending, deficits and debt? Or, do you simply just need to think about something positive for a change? I know that I do.

When we think seriously about these times, I suppose that there is good reason to be concerned about where we are as a nation. The federal debt crisis is certainly real. You simply cannot spend more than you are taking in year after year, decade after decade. You also can’t keep piling on the government promises for which our federal government has no current ability to pay. Indeed, if you think about it deeply and mutter the word “inflation,” it is really hard not to simply throw your hands in the air in disgust and enter into a prolonged depression wondering, how can we ever get out of this mess?

But get out of it we must. Our parents, we ourselves, our children and their children all require it. I do think we have at least one reason for optimism that we too often forget: we are Americans. Our ancestors specialized in asserting individual creativity, even if it meant migrating across an ocean to be free. They pushed their way across a nation by the strength of their backs and personal ingenuity.

Given that our current issues seem to involve government incompetency rather than a lack of resources, like land, food or energy, we can take heart that our American heritage includes getting the job done without government’s heavy hand. We have it in our blood to find a loop hole in a silly regulation, find a way to avoid a government bureaucracy, or just go unnoticed – all legally. We have it in our spirit to seek out new paths and boldly go where no man has gone before, all without Big Brother setting the course.

This American spirit is alive and well, though you may not find it in the headlines. You can see it in “old” things like email, as well as in new things like personal publishing or 3-D plastic printing machines, where makers in their basements can fabricate even the most intricate specialty part. Too small for your taste? Try private space exploration or private power generation. The point is, America has prospered most because our system encourages (or used to encourage) people like Steve Jobs to even drop out of school to fulfill a dream and start Apple Computer, which is changing lives all over the globe. You see, wealth is not like a pie that gets cut up and only a few share in it. Wealth is more like new pies being created all over the place. In other words, we all can end up having a flat screen TV even though its inventor also gets rich.

The great thing is that all over this country, people are quietly going about the business of figuring out how to succeed despite the federal government’s failures. In fact, what we could really use is a pause in new rules so that America is not constantly working with a moving target. If we could just get our federal government to sit still for a bit, I have every confidence that individual Americans could get us out of most of our current problems.

Fortunately, in many of our states, including Indiana, there is still a recognition that freeing individual Americans and businesses to do what they do best is the best way to achieve economic soundness. Along those lines, if you have an Indiana regulation you think is outdated, I would love to hear from you. Perhaps we can get it out of the way, so you can pursue your dream – and in so doing bring economic prosperity to all of us. Shoot me an email at or give my office a call at 317-234-2993. It’s your government, and I want to hear from you.


State Rep. Tom Washburne serves as Vice Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He also serves on the Financial Institutions Committee and the Select Committee on Government Reduction. Rep. Washburne represents the entirety of Gibson County and portions of Knox, Pike, Vanderburgh and Posey counties.