August 19, 2011

August 19, 2011 | Commentary on

How the American 21st Century Will be Shaped by Hispanics

What is the proper size and scope of a federal government? A particularly timely question as scores of developed countries struggle with the aftermath of government spending binges. But how the United States, the world’s biggest economy, answers will be particularly instructive for this 21st century.

To determine the future of the American economy, it is worth revisiting the current American political landscape. There we can get a more accurate prognostication. What we know is that the recent showdown on how to raise the debt ceiling was just the latest manifestation of a larger debate about the obligations and limitations of a federal government.

Many of these same questions, in fact, surfaced when President Obama’s misguided healthcare law came up. The dissatisfaction it provoked has set off a backlash, turning more into a liability than an achievement as he prepares to make his case to the American electorate for a second four-year term.

True, the most strident opposition to the healthcare law and the general insidious expansion of the federal government is most pronounced among an older and whiter voting bloc. But polling now reveals that more and more Americans of all shades are continuing to grow disillusioned with the president and his policies.

As the latest American Census numbers reveal, Hispanics are now 50.5 million strong, with approximately 60 percent describing themselves as Mexican-American. And with the Census projecting that by 2050, three out every 10 Americans will call himself a Hispanic, the American 21st century will largely be shaped by how the largest minority group views the government.

If Hispanics are to believe the political left, then the government is the purveyor of an endless succession of government-run programs and services that can be sustained through increased taxes. If Hispanics are to accept this proposition, than we can expect a bleak future for the Americas.

What’s more, the political left has been adept at telling Hispanics that we are victims of racism and discrimination and should look to the government to achieve the American Dream. Class and racial warfare are perfect ingredients to grow a big government.

But if the American experiment is to flourish in this 21st century, Hispanics will have to play a role in rejecting big government in favor of greater freedom and personal responsibility. Hispanics will have to realize that the government can never replace ingenuity, entrepreneurship and a vibrant free enterprise to create prosperity and a high standard of living.

Economic prosperity and the lure of a better tomorrow continue to attract millions of immigrants to the United States, including many from Mexico. And it’s been American’s dogged persistence to remind its government that it is ultimately accountable to the people, not the other way around that sets it apart from other countries.

To the outside observer, it is easy to write off the American government as dysfunctional. But a more careful study reveals the passion for competing ideas that has always characterized the American experiment from its earliest days is in its latest incarnation. Hispanics, like the rest of Americans, are at a crossroad between collectivism and liberty. Rest assured that the outcome of this decision will not be confined to just the United States.

Israel Ortega is the Editor of Heritage Libertad.

About the Author

Israel Ortega Contributor, The Foundry

First appeared in Univision