Why, for the first time in modern history, do the majority of Americans now believe that their children will be worse off than they are?
Americans are no fools; they know that, despite the government's best efforts to position economic data as good news, the future is very bleak indeed.
It is not simply the fact that the federal government is borrowing, spending and printing currency on a scale never before seen in world history. Its debts and unfunded obligations are, by some estimates, over $200 trillion and have accelerated from merely insane under George W. Bush to flatly suicidal at the direction of Barack Obama. It is certain that, without a rapid course correction, the economy is on the road to long-term collapse.
And, ominously enough, that is the assessment not of a right-wing pundit, but the very government auditors and trustees charged with fiscal oversight. The CBO, the OMB and the Trustees of Social Security have all sounded the alarm as the metrics that underpin government solvency rapidly unwind.
The financial health of the federal government aside, Levin points to a series of poor -- and, in all likelihood, unconstitutional -- decisions that have stolen powers from the states, localities and people and instead placed them in the hands of central planners in Washington.
In matters of health care, the government has inflated a set of Great Society-era programs that were already financially troubled, and effectively nationalized the entire field of medicine. In assessing the legality of Obamacare, the Supreme Court and its Chief Justice John Roberts stumbled upon a heretofore undiscovered right of the federal government to compel commerce by forcing individuals to buy a government-designed product from a private company.
Few should be surprised then that the results include skyrocketing health insurance premiums, "crippling" deductibles and limited access to health care providers.
As it pertains to education, the alliance of the Democrat Party with teachers unions has left in its wake an educational catastrophe. Hardest hit, ironically, are inner city children whose parents most often cast votes for the same party that is destroying their ability to escape the urban core. Combined with exploding and unsustainable costs for teachers' benefits and pensions, as well as a quite literal war on school choice, it is clear that the system has failed those most in need.
And what of those youth who are able to succeed in spite of a broken educational system? In fact, they face other barriers imposed by the progressive policies of open borders and an ever-increasing minimum wage.
The central government, along with corporate special interests, have lined the pockets of many in Washington to ensure that a steady stream of low-wage workers can infiltrate the country (never mind the security risks inherent in such a policy, the most recent and well-publicized case in point revolving around the tragic murder of Kathryn Steinle). These illegal workers impede the entry of youth into the workforce, delaying their ability to gain valuable experience and to build their resumes.
As for the minimum wage, far from benefiting entry-level workers, its results are obvious and logical to all but the most extreme progressive. It restricts opportunities for youthful workers and distorts the market for labor. It harms small businesses most of all, because it is employed as a political bludgeon by unions in order to increase the amount of dues extracted from workers. Minimum wages are simply another mechanism for the Democrat Party to "help" the poor by redistributing wealth.
As in his other works on government, Levin points to the Constitution and its miraculous creation after centuries of trial and error. He asserts that America's next generation should be taught to revere the Constitution, because only a return to its original meaning can begin to restrain the federal behemoth that has infiltrated every aspect of American life.
Understanding that it will be a lengthy process, and one fraught with peril, Levin calls for a "New Civil Rights Movement":
This book is, against heavy odds, an appeal to reason and audacity. It is intended for all Americans but particularly the rising generation, which is the primary, albeit not singular, target and casualty of the federal Leviathan's improprieties. It is an appeal to younger people to find the personal strength and will to break through the cycle of statist propaganda and manipulation, unrelenting emotional overtures, and the pressure of groupthink, which are humbling, dispiriting, and absorbing them; to stand up as individuals and collectively against the strong hand of centralized government, which if left unabated will assured condemn them to economic and societal calamity. [Ed: emphasis mine]
For America's youth, the matter is not academic, it is one of self-preservation.
The words of Reagan, with which Levin closes, ring more true today than ever: "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
Every American adult should buy or borrow a copy of Plunder and Deceit for a young person they know. Our mission as Americans must be to educate, inspire, and engage; with Levin's latest masterwork, we have every tool we need to help the next generation succeed. We must not delay.
Special thanks to Mark Levin for my now dog-eared review copy.