Conservative Cartography

News flash! Consensus in Washington, DC, this week: We are in a mess.

Politicians disagree ad nauseum on whether they inherited the mess or created it, whether they have helped or hurt it. But let us be thankful that, at a minimum, all agree a mess exists.

Not a week goes by that I don’t hear from someone who is worried about our nation’s future. On various levels, there is broad belief that we have lost our way.

People are doubting that their children will live more healthful, prosperous lives than they. This is a first in American history.

American exceptionalism has taken a beating. We are beginning to look average in education, invention and production.

We have clearly slipped into moral decline. Many, especially our youth, are trading long-term hope for short-term pleasure. They are caught in a deadly trap.

We need a way out. A way back. We need a map…or two.

I don’t often give homework assignments, but this week I must. Two documents deserve our nation’s attention. One addresses fiscal policy; the other, social policy. Both are of the highest quality.

First, a Wisconsin congressman has drafted a Financial Peace University of sorts for our country. Paul Ryan calls his plan “A Roadmap for America’s Future.”

A trained economist, Congressman Ryan strategically lays out a plan to achieve what we all want: an effective social safety net, a solvent central government and a reasonable tax system.

He makes common sense adjustments to the health care insurance system, Medicare and Social Security that will lower tax rates, broaden the tax base, maintain existing coverage and create a sustainable federal budget. The Congressional Budget Office has endorsed his numbers.

He recommends such a simplification of the IRS tax code that a monkey could do your taxes. Hallelujah. I love my CPA friends, but we desperately need their smarts solving more important problems than how to minimize tax liability.

Ryan’s plan aims to restrain government spending, rejuvenate a vibrant market economy and restore “an American character rooted in individual initiative, entrepreneurship, and opportunity.”

Give it a read: http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov.

Second, a Princeton law professor, a divinity school teacher and the founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries have together crafted a critical social reform plan.

It’s called the Manhattan Declaration because the founders gathered in New York City one year ago next week to begin writing it.

The Declaration unites Christians of all stripes to affirm shamelessly three things: 1. the dignity of every human being; 2. marriage between a man and woman as the most basic institution of society; and 3. religious liberty for all.

Under these three, the Declaration clearly sets the saving work of Christ as the foundation for restoration.

I found this line particularly relevant: “To strengthen families, we must stop glamorizing promiscuity and infidelity and restore among our people a sense of the profound beauty, mystery, and holiness of faithful marital love.”

The Declaration is bold and thoughtful, a combination in short supply these days. See for yourself: http://www.manhattandeclaration.org.

That’s your homework. There will be a test. In fact, it has already begun.


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