Two excerpts from Bruce Thornton:
The on-going negotiations over avoiding the tax hikes and spending cuts we call the “fiscal cliff” are the simply the latest act in a farce of self-serving political denial. For decades now both parties have overseen and nurtured the expansion of the entitlement state all the while ignoring the slow-motion economic implosion whose predictable end can be seen today in a bankrupt Greece currently surviving on EU handouts. But American voters and politicians are so marinated in expectations of endless federal and state largess that modest reductions in spending, such as those proposed earlier this year by Congressman Paul Ryan, are attacked as draconian “cuts” that will “shred” the safety net and throw millions into Dickensian penury.
The costs of such profligacy, however, are more than economic. These wealth transfers have had deleterious effects on traditional American character. Observers of the American character traditionally had remarked on what Eberstadt describes as a “fierce and principled independence” and “proud self-reliance.” […] But the federal government’s ever- increasing handouts––which these days are not considered signs of shame, but deserved legal and civil rights––are eroding these virtues.