Getting America back on track

John Tate President, Campaign for Liberty
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Spring break is that notorious time of year when students flock to exotic locales on their parents’ dime to escape reality and party with no concern for the consequences.

Sounds like business as usual in Washington, D.C.

Members of Congress are now in the midst of a two-week “spring break” recess, giving them time to reflect on their binge-spending programs while basking in the shadow of a federal debt and deficit that have reached astronomically high, record-setting levels.

After a year of proliferate spending, milquetoast budget cut proposals, an expansion of interventionism abroad, and the continued degradation of our civil liberties, it may seem as though Congress has been on spring break all along — funding its irresponsible policies with taxpayer money and showing no indication of slowing down.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new. This has been the theme in American politics for years now, and the hangover is sure to be worse than anything experienced on a plane ride back from Cancun.

Needless to say, the current path is unsustainable and our country is in serious trouble. That’s why it’s time to turn up the heat on the politicians to unbearable levels. If we do not act quickly and decisively, the great principles upon which this country was founded could be relegated to the dustbin of history as nothing more than hollow folklore.

Now more than ever, it is important that we tactfully target our efforts and work to instill solutions based on freedom instead of government power. There is, very literally, no time to waste.

There are three important steps Congress can take as soon as it returns to help get America back on track.

First, it can restore financial sanity by reining in an out-of-control Federal Reserve.

We must not forget that, in addition to a national debt over $14 trillion, Congress, the Federal Reserve, and the U.S. Treasury have united to put us on the hook for more than $14 trillion in bailouts and loans.

Congress may be the addict, but the Federal Reserve is the enabler.

Allowing the Fed to operate our nation’s monetary system in almost complete secrecy leads to abuse, inflation, and a lower quality of life for every American, with the increased costs hitting poorer Americans the hardest.

HR 459 and S 202, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, would require a complete audit of the Fed for the first time in its history and provide answers to the American people about how our money is being spent. HR 1098, the Free Competition in Currency Act, would free us from the shackles of Fed manipulation.

Second, the federal government should be required to do what millions of responsible Americans do every day: balance their books and stay within a budget.

A legitimate balanced budget constitutional amendment, as favored by Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee, would keep politicians from running massive deficits and piling more debt on future generations. This is the best way to stop the federal government from taxing and spending the American economy into collapse.

Finally, Congress should be expected to restore basic civil liberties.

We cannot overlook the importance of repealing the Patriot Act. Congress passed the original bill, and transformed our country into a national security state, in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy without allowing for thorough analysis or a reasonable time for debate.

The implementation of the Patriot Act has created an expansive, inefficient, and secretive bureaucratic nightmare that is increasingly being used to spy on Americans. This is done in the name of keeping us “safe.” Last year, Congress once again sneaked through a Patriot Act extension with little public debate.

The Republican-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate are poised to extend certain provisions this May, and it is only thanks to the quick action of Senator Rand Paul and thousands of true patriots that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is being forced to hold a debate before the final vote.

Ultimately, however, the only hope America has for recovery resides with the very group to whom the prosperity of this great nation was entrusted in the first place: We the People.

It is imperative that each of us take action to set our country back on course. Something as simple as a phone call to your senators and representative voicing your opinions on key issues can really add up to make a difference and let them know that you will not tolerate further runaway spending and half-hearted budget cut proposals.

Come election season, you and I need to prove yet again that we are serious about holding our politicians’ feet to the fire. The precepts of liberty and justice have long been replaced by a policy of reckless abandon, and it’s time to straighten things out.

You and I must send the politicians a strong and direct message:

The party is over.

John is President of the Campaign for Liberty. He previously served as the National Political Director for The Ron Paul Presidential Campaign Committee.