Accomplishment as a Resolution for the New Year

I’m not one for resolutions.  A glimpse at my growing midsection, which seems to get more and more ample with each passing year, should be a hint as to why.

I have certain tendencies, see, that even my two best men at my wedding pointed out — I’m the kind of guy to take on all sorts of big projects, thinking that I can keep a bunch of different balls in the air indefinitely and with precision, but in reality it takes everything I have not to drop one or two along the way or, worse, drop everything all at once.

So, when it comes to the first day of the new year, I present myself with a mental list of challenges I will either face or would like to face before the next twelve months are up, and vow to make as many happen as I can without allowing the rest of my life to fall to pieces.  Last year, two of the bigger challenges were (a) to successfully move my family from Philadelphia to Charleston, and (b) to pass the South Carolina Bar Exam on the first try.  One for two ain’t bad.  (It’s a lovely 70 degrees as I write this on New Year’s Day from my deck outside of Charleston, South Carolina; my Bar results weren’t so lovely.)

This year, of course, there are a few of the regular challenges–I’d like to be the best possible husband and father, and have a better financial picture and slimmer waistline after twelve months than I do now, for example –but I find myself worriedly confronted with a number of challenges of a larger scope.  In April, for example, we’ll be welcoming a brand new baby boy to the family, a new challenge that doesn’t quite fall in the “optional” category.  I’d also like to pass the Bar Exam on the second try in February, finish the book I’m working on whenever I can find time, and ensure that America’s Right stays at least somewhat relevant in today’s political discourse.

I’d love to guarantee that all will be accomplished but, as evidenced (again) by the pants in my closet that just keep getting larger and larger, there are no guarantees.

Part of me wonders if our nation has the same luxury when it comes to letting a ball drop here or there.  If I cannot finish the book or if it takes me a third attempt to pass the Bar Exam, for example, so be it.  If all I have the time to do at America’s Right is post recipes for cookies and pastry, so be it.  So long as I take the appropriate steps to take care of my family, I’m fine with everything else.  The United States of America, however, seems to be reaching a teetering point in a couple of arenas, and I’m not so certain that inattention with regard to issues such as our growing debt and the looming crises in Medicare and Social Security can be tolerated.

The grandchildren of the baby boom generation will spend their adult lives paying in to the Social Security program, but will inevitably watch as it faces bankruptcy long before they stand to collect benefits.  Bernie Madoff languishes in prison for employing the same sort of business model.  As for Medicare, things are equally as daunting.  From the New York Daily News today:

The oldest members of the Baby Boom generation turn 65 in 2011 and will begin to swamp the struggling Medicare program with millions of new applicants.

Boomers born in 1946 – the first year of the postwar era when birthrates soared – will be eligible for the government-administered health insurance program starting Saturday.

Medicare covered just 45.2 million people in 2008 and cost $500 billion. By 2030, that spending is expected to double, raising concerns that the health care program could go bankrupt – a devastating blow to Baby Boomers who have paid into the system their whole working lives.

Unfortunately, both Social Security and Medicare are political third rails, and the growing partisanship and hunger for power in Washington, D.C. means that neither are likely to be addressed in a serious way. Sad, because a large part of the solution for both lies in something that has sparked a political movement which grew exponentially in 2010: individual freedom. Medicare–and health care in America in general–would benefit from the creation and use of Health Savings Accounts. Social Security could similarly be saved by allowing for funds to be invested responsibly on the personal level — while funds growing at the 1.2 percent or so they enjoy now would take approximately sixty years to double, if my math is correct (admittedly, a long shot) a modest three percent could allow for said funds to double in just over twenty years.

The aforementioned partisanship and hunger on Capitol Hill, also, is a place in which America cannot afford to drop the ball. We come into 2011 prepared to swear in a Congress led by Republicans who claim to have learned from past transgressions, to have learned that the pursuit of power in perpetuity too easily overshadows the pursuit of what is right for the nation as a whole.

During the weeks and months before the November 2010 mid-term elections, we heard a resolution of sorts from GOP leadership that they will listen to the American people, that they will not compromise when it comes to conservative convictions. And yet, before this new Congress could even begin, key members of the Republican Party leadership did just that, caving to demands from Democrats wholly uninterested in fiscal discipline by irresponsibly extending unemployment benefits in exchange for bipartisan support on tax cuts which would have been unnecessary come January. As a result, they gave the same 111th Congress Democratic Party leadership which added more debt than the first 100 congresses combined a victory that served to vindicated their destructive agenda and foment a popular recovery for an otherwise beleaguered Democrat in the Oval Office.

(Want to better understand why the tax cut compromise was such a disappointment? Read Charles Krauthammer’s December 10, 2010 piece from the Washington Post.)

For me, the biggest challenge facing the nation has nothing to do with a specific issue.  It’s ideological, and it has everything to do with a sort of personal willpower that has been missing from Washington, D.C. for … well, forever.  2010 was a remarkable year politically in that we saw an amazing transformation in grassroots America.  I wonder less whether I’ll have lost weight by this time next year, or whether I’ll have finished my book or passed the Bar or anything else, and more about the Resurgent Right has retained its passion and commitment to principles, and grown its influence enough to hold our leadership accountable for doing so as well.

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Comments

  1. Don't Tread says:

    I resolve to be resolute in my constitutional republic convictions.

  2. Gail B. says:

    Happy New Year to you, too, jeff. And congratulations!

    Thank you for the New Year’s post. You made my day. I was afraid you’d forgotten us. I shoulda known better!)

    Although 1-1-11 is almost over, we still have 1-11-11 and 11-11-11 to go. Just thought I’d toss that in.

    Happy new Year, everybody!

  3. Randy Wills says:

    First, a Happy New Year, Jeff, and may you attain all of your goals for 2011. And congratulations on the news that you will be welcoming a baby boy into your lives soon.

    On the political/economic front, I share your concern whether or not we, as a nation, are capable of turning the ship of state around before it is destroyed by the looming iceberg of debt and unfunded liabilites.

    It really all comes down to committing to a new “platform” of personal/individual responsibility and belt-tightening, driven by a serious commitment to spiritual values. I fear that the expectation for government subsidies and mandated social welfare programs, coupled with a pervasive hedonistic lifestyle, is too deeply embedded in the psyche of the American public to respond with sufficient vigor and accord to save us. The deep cuts in social programs would, of necessity, be draconian, and the bleeding-heart liberals will never allow that to happen.

    But that doesn’t mean that we can’t try and hope for the best, but as my dear old grandmother used to say, “prepare for the worst”.

    Randy

  4. LD Jackson says:

    Interesting thoughts, Jeff. I also am concerned about how the 112th Congress will shape up. I try to be optimistic about the situation, but when faced with the reality of how things in Washington never seem to change, I question that optimism.

  5. Gail B. says:

    We have to keep our Members of Congress on track to prevent this goal of Obama’s–

    http://www.theblueprintbook.net/

  6. bradfregger says:

    Excellent! I will pass this on so that others may see why I am committed to America’s Right

  7. nana3 says:

    Jeff,
    I would add my congratulations on the news that your family will welcome a baby boy and I also congratulate you on what you have already accomplished. It is evident that you are indeed a ‘family’ man who is striving to be the best husband and father you can be but also the best citizen also as you defend and support the ideals on which our country was founded. You have provided a resource for all of us to exchange and discuss ideas and to contemplate the future of this country. You have availed us of very thoughtful and informative commentary from you and your contributors concerning the challenges we are facing. I appreciate your diligence in researching your articles and also your desire to be objective in your analysis. I, too, am not very good at resolutions, especially when they concern my weight and improving my health but I must do better this year. As I have thought about the past year, the one impression that I have is that the ‘blinders’ have come off for a lot of us. I confess that I have been too busy with my family and the ordinary events of daily life to realize and comprehend what has been happening in our political, social and economic worlds. Today, I have a new perspective, thanks to you and all the other sites who have sought to bring the TRUTH to us. I think all of us are greeting 2011 with apprehension and concern. We are uncertain about who can be trusted to lead and govern our country. As we have observed our out-of-control government spending plunging us into an abyss of debt, we have been alarmed and infuriated. I have been forced to admit that it is not only the government that is out of control but many of us. I am a baby boomer and my husband and I still work and have enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle although we are certainly not wealthy. Our investments have been depleted and our profession is suffering because of the economic situation and disasters that have affected our area. My parents came through the Depression and I am remembering how frugal and conservative they were with their money and resources. They were so right about the disgrace of wasting what you have and living for the moment. Although I listened to them and tried to apply some of their principles to my life, I now realize that I have not done as well as I could have done. The prospect of losing our retirement and everything we have worked for is in our minds but we will continue working to make sure that doesn’t happen. Most Americans are living with the same fears and concerns. We have realized that we can’t depend on the government to insure prosperity through intelligent management of the resources in this nation. As we have seen the grassroots political organizations emerge, I think that is where the healing of America must begin. I watched an interesting documentary by Soledad O’Brien on CNN about the Almighty Debt as it relates to the Black Community. It illustrated how the Black ministers are working with their members to encourage responsibility in their finances and control of their debt using Biblical principles. I admired the fact that the minister was not making excuses for them but holding them accountable for living beyond their means. He was attmpting to instill in the young people the value of restraint in spending and living conservatively as God expects us to do. Our government is a reflection of what is also happening in society…we are addicted to spending money and obtaining more ‘things’. I am as guilty as anyone so that is one of my resolutions for 2011…to be an example and guide for my children and grandchildren in being a responsible consumer and using my finances wisely. I know there are many needy people in this world and if we all commit ourselves to helping others by restraining our frivolous spending, perhaps we can make a difference. I wish you the best on your Bar Exam and the book..I’m sure you will pass it and your book will be a great success. Happy NEW YEAR to everyone on this site! May we continue to pursue and reveal the TRUTH as we seek to restore this nation to greatness as God intended.

  8. Gail B. says:

    Ronald Glenn’s predictions for 2011: http://americasright.com/?p=1990

    Ronald, you are good! Many have actually come true! (Olbermann’s head didn’t explode, but he did get canned for a few minutes.)

  9. Gail B. says:

    Crud! I meant 2010.

  10. Ima SoBelle says:

    Happy New Year, Jeff, and thanks again for all you do. Congratulations on the pending arrival of the new baby! You seem to have your priorities in order-God, family and country. Best wishes on the Bar, too.

    As far as the new Congress goes, it remains to be seen whether they will stay true to their campaign promises and rhetoric. I think that the resurgence of conservatives in this country will continue on and grow. The MSM continues to implode but even some of them are beginning to say that the emperor has no clothes. Are there really cracks starting to appear in the feet of the Annointed One? Apparently so. I think 2011 will bring many changes for all of us. I am a ’47 Boomer but at this point, I will be surprised if I ever see one cent of Social Security and I really am not looking forward to Medicare, especially if ObamaCare doesn’t go away. (Please let it go away!)

    May we be strengthened in our resolve to stay the course and to pray for and defend the Constitution. If the Constitution is too hard for SOME to understand, that is just a result of revisionist history and dumbed down education. I really think it should be a required course in every high school in America. That would go a long way towards righting the wrongs we are now fighting against, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.

    Keep up the good fight.

  11. Dee says:

    Congratulations, Jeff, and Happy New Year to you and to all those who post here. I am very interested in what the new Congress will do. The House may get some changes made but I’m not sure about the Senate. Senator Brown from Mass. has been a disappointment at times and I feel that he and Snow are the same. I am somewhat optimistic but realize that BO is not going down without a fight.

  12. Laurie says:

    Great post Jeff and congratulations on the new little one. My daughter is expecting her second in April also. It is these precious new little ones that make me more focused on changing America to the country she should be.

  13. Bosotn Blackie says:

    Jeff,
    Happy New Year and congratulations on the pending birth of your son!!!
    Well said, Nana3, I couldn’t have said it any better.

  14. graypanther says:

    Brilliant long-term strategy, Jeff. Once you have a boy and a girl to argue with, your logic will be battle-tested to the nth degree. (But hurry up and pass the bar – you’ll need the money.)

  15. Anonymous says:

    One state trying to start the new year right, by restraining the beast.

    http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2011/BillHtml/SB0114.htm

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