Victor David Hanson: The other America

Germany’s first chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, supposedly once said that there was “a special providence for drunkards, fools and the United States of America.”

Apparently, late 19th century observers could not quite explain how the U.S. thrived when, by logic, it should not. That paradox has never been more true than today.

The U.S. government now owes more than $18 trillion in long-term debt. Even after recent income tax hikes for the very wealthy and huge cuts in the defense budget, the Obama administration will still run an annual budget deficit of nearly $500 billion.

No government official dares to trim Social Security or Medicare. Everyone knows that both programs are fiscally unsustainable.