August 12, 2012


"OUR CHURCHILLIAN MOMENT" (Paul Ryan, The Claremont Institute, Claremont, CA, Remarks as Prepared for Delivery , November 12, 2011)

Today, we face a new threat - a gathering storm, whose primary manifestation is the shadow of our ever-growing national debt.

This shadow hangs over businesses and workers, who face a struggling economy and the rising probability of greater turmoil ahead given our dire fiscal situation.

This shadow hangs over seniors, who wonder whether Washington is making empty promises to them about their retirement security.

And it hangs over parents, who wonder if they will be the first generation in American history to leave their children with fewer opportunities and a less prosperous nation than the one they inherited.

We hear rumblings of this storm coming from Europe - we hear the chanting of angry protesters, the shattering of glass, and the shouts of lawmakers as fistfights break out in European parliaments.

And the rumblings are getting louder here every day, because instead of learning from Europe's mistakes, we are repeating them.

Europe is learning the hard way what happens when you suddenly run out of road to kick the can down. And now its citizens are paying the consequences of decades of empty promises.

Churchill himself put it this way: "There are two ways in which a gigantic debt may be spread over new decades and future generations."

The right way, he said, would be "to make the utmost provision for amortization which prudence allows."

The wrong way, he said, would be "to aggravate the burden of debt by fresh borrowing, to live from hand to mouth and from year to year, and to exclaim with Louis the Fourteenth, 'After me, the deluge.'"

I don't need to tell you which path we're on. It's not too late to do this the right way - to get back on the right path. But there are two components to getting this right.

The first is to follow Churchill's advice: Prudently restrain government spending, while avoiding the kind of tax hikes that would stifle economic growth.

The second is to follow Churchill's actions: To lead by telling people the truth; to realize that we are not the first to face these kinds of challenges; and to meet our challenges as our forefathers met theirs, with determination and faith in the righteousness of our cause.

Posted by at August 12, 2012 11:51 AM

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