That's the title of a very profound essay by Walter E. Williams at Townhall.com. Here's an extract.
To get our economic house in order, there must be large spending cuts, not only in so-called discretionary spending but in non-discretionary spending as well.
. . .
Millions of Americans don't want their entitlement touched, many of whom are senior citizens. Seniors will tell you that they were forced into Social Security and Medicare, and any congressman talking about cutting those and other entitlements will face their wrath at the ballot box. By the way, according to one study, "Until recent years, Social Security recipients received more, often far more, than the value of the Social Security taxes they paid. For workers who earned average wages and retired in 1980 at age 65, it took 2.8 years to recover the value of the retirement portion of the combined employee and employer shares of their Social Security taxes plus interest."
Seniors are not the only group who can put the fear of God into politicians. There are massive corporate handouts through programs like the Export-Import Bank, Agriculture Department business and farm subsidies, and the Small Business Administration. Then there's massive Department of Education spending on K-12 education and higher education. The list of federal programs, described as taking the earnings of one American and giving them to another, numbers in the thousands.
Everyone who receives government largesse and special favors deems his needs as vital, deserving, proper and in the national interest. It is entirely unreasonable to expect a politician to honor and obey our Constitution and in the process commit political suicide. What's even worse for our nation is that voters ousting a politician who'd refuse to bring, say, aid to higher education back to his constituents is perfectly rational. If, for example, he's a Virginia politician and doesn't bring higher education grants back to his constituents, it doesn't mean Virginian taxpayers will pay a lower income tax. All that it means is that Marylanders will get the money instead. Once legalized theft begins, it pays for everyone to participate. Those who don't will be losers.
That's the nation's dilemma. The most important job for people who want to spare our nation from economic collapse is not that of persuading politicians to do the right thing but to convince our fellow Americans to respect the limits of our Constitution.
There's more at the link. Go read the whole thing. While you're there, check out his other essays. They're all worth reading.
If Mr. Williams is right, and people simply won't accept the sacrifices that will undoubtedly be necessary to turn around our financial situation . . . then we're screwed, collectively and individually. Therefore, I hope he's wrong; but my hopes may be in vain.