An Improbable Fireside Chat
By Mark Grant, an American Citizen
A Fireside Chat
Picture a fireside, stone around the hearth, Christmas logs of sometime past, a blazing fire and embers glowing beneath them. Imagine a simple room, wood panels and the glow that is reflected from the light that danced upon their lacquered finish. There sat a man next to the fire who was not the Pastor of some church nor some litigator stirring the listeners for re-election but a man speaking to the country and for the betterment of the nation. This man was neither a saint nor a person enshrined with excessive humility and while an American, he stood for those higher principles upon which the foundation of this country rested. He had been elected and while it can honestly be said that he inherited the problems and was not their creator; he knew that the task at hand would be his greatest accomplishment or his worst failure. Yet he was not afraid; he hearkened to the task because he would give his hallowed spirit to overcome what must be defeated. He knew he would persevere because he must and that the demands of this nation’s forefathers had called him to the task at hand.
There were TV cameras, there were always TV cameras, and there were carefully placed microphones and yet he ignored them all as the time had come to have an honest word with the American people. We had come so far, lost so many lives and now it was a different kind of battle that must be undertaken to hold the nation intact. The President, not this President, but one that is needed, was filled with purpose and the stern look of a man with a mission defined as he began his words in the evening of that fateful day.
“I come to you tonight not as your President but as a member of your extended family. The time has come for a serious chat and I fear the lateness of the hour and I apologize for not arriving sooner as the need is great but I am here now and so we must sit down and take stock of the nation. The United States did not get so far, did not become what it is, just because of our armies or the might of its sword. The country is rooted in principles and the Rule of Law that we have rested upon since 1776 and it is because of our foundation that we have been able to flourish. We are a country of people that have chosen to live here and while we cannot be proud of each and every act; we can certainly be proud of most of them and of the inhabitants from across the world that have chosen to reside in America.
Tonight we face a difficult task because, just as in any household in our country that has lived beyond its means; the country has lived beyond its means. The reality is that the nation, just like any family, only has so many resources and only has so much income and that the debts of the country must be constrained by what we can afford. I am here to tell you this evening that we have overspent, over indulged our desires and that we must walk back from the brink before we step into some abyss that overwhelms us. Our debt has passed more than one hundred percent of the yearly income of the country and we have headed down a path strewn with thorns that can no longer be ignored as it is tearing our clothing as we move forward in time. Further we have lost some of the purpose of the United States as while we must help those citizens in need, we cannot afford, any longer, to subsidize those people that do not want to work or wish to live upon the earnings of others. This may be the way of some countries but it is not the spirit of this country and so we must backtrack from social policies that encourage it.
We have $14.3 Trillion in income and we now have a debt that is more than $15 Trillion and this is not sustainable. Because the numbers are so large and because I wish no confusion for anyone; allow me to present this in another way. If the income of your family is $40,000.00 and you have debts of $50,000.00 then you know that some changes must be made and quickly and that is exactly the circumstances we find ourselves in tonight. We have over spent, over promised and we cannot deliver without quite real consequences for the nation that would eventually shatter the American dream and lead to the destabilization of the country and that I will not allow. We must cut back and while it may be painful and while not everyone will agree on the measures that I propose I am sure that we can find enough common ground to proceed with the task at hand not as Republicans and not as Democrats but as members of a common family that has made some mistakes in judgment. I propose a twenty percent minimum tax rate for all corporations in America and then the deductions in place can be utilized for the difference between the twenty percent rate and the highest rate of thirty-five percent. I propose that Social Security, for people under forty, be trimmed back but with appropriate tax incentives for those that invest soundly and their savings will be rewarded by these new tax breaks. I also propose a cut-back in in Medicare that does not affect our older citizens but is also applied to those under forty with tax breaks for their buying and maintaining private health insurance. It is a major change in the social structure of America no doubt but one that must be made to bring the country back to financial health because the country cannot survive without sound fiscal policies legislated for the nation.
Next I want to address with you the issue of oil and of the country’s energy needs. We should all be conscious of the environment and of being responsible when drilling for oil or natural gas and America needs to do her best to preserve her resources and use them with careful thought for this generation and for the next generation. I begin with these points so it is clear that we have obligations but I also state with absolute certainty and regardless of any mistakes made that we can no longer afford to reward those nations with our energy dollars that wish to overthrow the fundamental principles of the United States. We can no longer allow for the capital of this country to be invested where terrorists and others who seek to bring us harm reside. We have the resources, we have the technology and I intend to propose to Congress a new set of laws that will end our contribution to any nation that seeks America’s demise, is involved with terrorism or is not a member in good standing of the world’s community.
I also address the social crumbling of this country’s foundation tonight which is to ask when being successful became a pariah in the nation’s thinking. The United States was founded upon the principles of success, upon hard work, upon striving to accomplish our goals and when did we lose this most basic of premises is unknown to me but it is one we must re-establish for the good of our country and of our children. I applaud the man or woman who takes the initiative, makes the hard choices and works diligently to provide a better life for himself and his family and I am in the stands cheering as he passes by and marches upon his own two strong legs. I am in the crowd of admirers and I will not allow for him to be degraded by anyone whether he works on Wall Street or Main Street or whether the invention of some new idea has granted him riches that others have not attained. What is great about this country is that success can be achieved, can be attained and this is one of the cornerstones upon which America rests. Here are the real heroes of this country and deriding these people, so much lately a part of our national fiber, is a disease that has infected this nation and one that I intend to move both Heaven and Earth to try and cure. Horatio Alger and the like were always the rock of the United States and the current spirit in the land to look down upon those that have achieved some success will no longer be tolerated in my presence and I envision the day when not in yours either.
The times in the short run will no doubt be difficult and the choices facing us will not be easy. Many alternatives will be presented and many programs offered and not everyone will agree with what the Congress ultimately decides but choose we must and so we will as I ask for your endurance and support during these difficult moments in our history. What I can assure you, what I can promise you, is that we shall come through this and emerge as a better and stronger country where each man and woman can rest calmly at night knowing that his and her future and the futures of their children will be safer given the difficult choices that we will make in the next few months and then implement to help insure the success of the nation.”
I ask that you join me in my own personal hopes and prayers that someday soon, from someone, we are all able to hear the essence of this speech.