July 29, 2009

July 29, 2009 | Commentary on Budget and Spending

Seeking More than Financial Freedom

Why did we come to this country? Rarely do we ever stop for a moment in our busy days at work to wonder why we, or our parents or grandparents, came to this country. But with the U.S. at a crossroad and many of our ancestral homes facing turmoil, perhaps it makes sense to contemplate whether anything besides money drove Hispanics to this country.

Here at home, our economy is hurting. Some states, including the biggest (California), have double-digit unemployment. We are living through economic turmoil not seen in decades. In response, our government is writing checks to supposedly "stimulate" our economy, although nobody knows how we're going to pay for it all. And, worse, it's not working.

As if that weren't enough, Congress has its sights on a massively long wish list of legislative goodies. From universal health care to combating global warming to universal pre-kindergarten Education, this Congress and this president are promising us the world.

Of course, the old idiom is correct: There is never a free lunch. What does Washington want in return? Among other things, our freedom.

On health care, many in Congress are promising to ensure every American has the best possible professional service in the world. But upon closer review, it's clear that many of the bills circulating in Congress don't match the political rhetoric. They would only add more to our national debt while effectively reducing our freedoms.

Meanwhile, on Education, Congress has been ramping up federal spending and promising to provide our children with the best schools. Unfortunately, increased money hasn't translated into improved results.

This is particularly important for the Hispanic community, since most of our children are enrolled in public schools. But rather than allowing for increased reforms and accountability to empower parents to decide for themselves where to send their children to school, politicians on Capitol Hill are asking for even greater control over our children's education.

Education and health care are just two of the many issues where this Congress and this administration want us to cede many of our freedoms in exchange for a bigger and more powerful federal government.

For many of us (or our families), money was not the only thing that drove us to risk it all and leave our ancestral countries for the United States. For many immigrants, coming to this country also meant a chance to live in a democracy where freedom and opportunities flourish. Where we can practice a religion of our choosing. Where freedom of expression is alive and well, evident in a vibrant press.

Of course, immigrants also come to this country for its prosperous economy and high standard of living.

Because we are blessed enough to live in this country, it's easy to take all of these things for granted. Here in Washington, D.C., only a few hours south of the busy streets of Manhattan, decisions are taking place with huge implications for us and our children. Let's work to ensure that besides leaving our children financially stable, we also bequeath them a country of abundant freedom.

Israel Ortega is a Senior Media Services Associate at The Heritage Foundation.

About the Author

Israel Ortega Contributor, The Foundry
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First Appeared in El Diario La Prensa