Mitch Daniels is the president of Purdue University, a former governor of Indiana, a former director of the Office of Management and Budget, and a co-chair of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. He recently wrote an op-ed featured in the Wall Street Journal.
When today’s young Americans learn the extent of the debt burden we have left them, they will legitimately question the premises of self-government. When tomorrow’s older Americans finally understand how they have been misled about the nature and the reliability of our fundamental social welfare programs, it may be the last straw breaking the public confidence on which democracy itself depends.
In fairness, a few members in each political party have tried to address the coming crisis. To them, all thanks and credit. To those still in denial, or even advocating steps that would make our debts even higher, please reconsider. Your careers may end happily before the reckoning. Your re-elections may not be threatened by your inaction. But your consciences—and what Lincoln called “government of the people, by the people, for the people”—will be.