August 19, 2011
By Israel Ortega
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.
First appeared in Univision
American Leadership Initiative of the Leadership for America Campaign
Strategic Initiatives Manager
Read More >>
Request an interview >>
Please complete the following form to request an interview with a Heritage expert.
Please note that all fields must be completed.
Heritage's daily Morning Bell e-mail keeps you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.
The subscription is free and delivers you the latest conservative policy perspectives on the news each weekday--straight from Heritage experts.
The Morning Bell is your daily wake-up call offering a fresh, conservative analysis of the news.
More than 200,000 Americans rely on Heritage's Morning Bell to stay up to date on the policy battles that affect them.
Rush Limbaugh says "The Heritage Foundation's Morning Bell is just terrific!"
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) says it's "a great way to start the day for any conservative who wants to get America back on track."
Sign up to start your free subscription today!
The Heritage Foundation is the nation’s most broadly supported public policy research institute, with hundreds of thousands of individual, foundation and corporate donors. Heritage, founded in February 1973, has a staff of 275 and an annual expense budget of $82.4 million.
Our mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. Read More
© 2013, The Heritage Foundation Conservative policy research since 1973