The western world is experiencing chronic economic distress. Much of it is the result of both the American public and private sectors recklessly borrowing from the future over the past 30 years. Now the future is here. Although Nebraskans share less of the blame, we none-the-less share the same currency and will share in the pain. In spite of that, we are still living in a time and place of incredibly good fortune. Only a small percentage of our people are needed to produce our food and they do so in such abundance that much is exported. As a nation, we have too many houses. Very few freeze in the winter and fewer die of summer heat. The essentials of human life are produced so efficiently that we have an excess of labor. How to distribute such bounty without discouraging production and creativity and without encouraging dependency or financial recklessness is really at the core of our national discourse. What do people do when an economic system reaches a state where a significant percentage of its economic activity is based on the production, marketing, and delivery of goods and services which are really not needed and could be done without? While this is very different from the easy to understand and localized agricultural economy in which many of us grew up, it is never-the-less a global sea of abstract realities which nearly seven billion potentially hungry tummies must now navigate with extreme precision. We have irreversibly plunged into uncharted waters. Never has there been a time when it has been more necessary to think the big thought.
Without a thriving economy, the system fails, standards of living can not be maintained, and a crippling state of weakness, welfare, and worthlessness ensues. We know the system simply is now far too dependent on the federal tax and spend mechanism and that mechanism is broke. We know that as the discretionary portion of the federal budget evaporates, heavy burdens will shift to the state and local governments or inflation will destroy our savings. We know taxing the productive to facilitate spending on artificially created economies or to reinforce unproductive consumptive behavior is unsustainable.