Facing more than a decade of egregious moral and financial failures by our government, Americans are on the verge of being treated to yet another rendition of theatrical political farce.
After recently celebrating the 235th birthday of the most profound and enduring experiment in redefining the relationship between the people and their government, we face the frightening prospect of watching that unravel at the hands of arrogant and disingenuous politicians.
The current posturing over the debt ceiling is merely a metaphor for the unwillingness of entrenched elected officials to accept their responsibilities and to deal honestly and courageously with issues concerning the running of our great nation.
As the chief financial officer for the fourth largest state and one of the world’s largest economies, I have been charged by my fellow Floridians to, among other things, audit local governments, manage a regulatory framework, wisely invest the people’s tax dollars, oversee the disbursement of payments and investigate statewide allegations of fiscal impropriety.
I see firsthand evidence of job-choking regulations, overreaching involvement of government in the lives of Florida’s families and businesses, fiscal profligacy, and outright fraud.
We have acted with a single-minded commitment to root out that mindset in Florida. In partnership with the Florida Legislature and Cabinet, we have reduced spending and resisted attempts to grow government or increase regulations.
We have embraced the ethical obligation to free future generations of Floridians from suffocating debt and put those tax dollars back into the pockets of individuals where they can be employed to build businesses and generate jobs.
Aided by a balanced budget amendment which the voters of Florida had the wisdom to pass, we have identified the path to economic growth and prosperity.
That path is not littered with tax increases or criminal spending habits. There are no crushing debt obligations or stifling regulations. Throngs of angry and arrogant bureaucrats do not cheer us on our way.
Our Constitution establishes clear and unmistakable principles of governance. Returning to those principles requires foresight and courage. Time is not on our side. Nero has already set the standard for fiddling. It is now up to Congress to assume a nobler mantle.
Jeff Atwater is Chief Financial Officer of the State of Florida and oversees the Department of Financial Services.