Cal Thomas

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way” is an old and familiar quotation, often attributed to Albert Einstein, who was on to something almost as significant as E=MC2.

What if there is no will, is there still a way? It doesn’t seem likely.

In Washington will has come to die, to paraphrase Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida and now Republican presidential candidate. Rarely is anything significant ever accomplished. That’s because for too many politicians, solving a problem means they no longer have an issue with which to bash the other side. At a time when almost no form of behavior is considered a disgrace, the long, drawn-out scenario over the debt ceiling vs. cuts in spending is disgraceful. The debt alone is a disgrace. The battle over it is worse.

Everyone with an intellect lower than Einstein’s knows what should be done. A good accountant could come to Washington and fix everything, but the accountant would not be seeking re-election or in need of contributors and the support of his or her base. If you’ve never seen the movie “Dave,” watch it and see what I mean. The fake president invites his friend to the White House and in one 24-hour period they rid the government of unnecessary programs and balance the budget. Every member of Congress should be required to see the film and then to act in a similar fashion.

President Biden wants us to believe that cutting anything will mean the end of Social Security checks and benefits to veterans. It’s a lie. The waste, fraud and abuse over government spending is a scandal that has gone on too long. The problem is that too many people are addicted to government and at least the liberal politicians like it that way, because they are the party of government and dependency is good for their careers, even if it is bad for those hooked on this subtle but powerful addiction.

As I noted in one of my previous books (“America’s Expiration Date”), no nation in history has ever been able to sustain itself with the amount of debt our government has incurred. It is approaching $32 trillion with interest greater than the GDP of other nations. Along with uncontrolled immigration and the destruction of what were once considered moral norms, we are rapidly headed for the same destination as great nations and empires of the past that failed to pay attention to foundational economic and moral principles.


There is no one to blame except the people who keep electing the politicians who have burdened us with this debt problem.

In the publication Foreign Policy, Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson write about the causes of decline and collapse of other nations: “What’s tragic is that this failure is by design. These states collapse because they are ruled by what we call ‘extractive’ economic institutions, which destroy incentives, discourage innovation, and sap the talent of their citizens by creating a tilted playing field and robbing them of opportunities.”

We destroy incentives by overtaxing the successful and subsidizing the unsuccessful, instead of helping the unsuccessful to become successful.

Then there is rampant crime which can be seen played out (along with homelessness) on some cable TV channels. Clearly this is evidence of an unraveling social structure. And let’s not forget — as President Biden has forgotten, or more accurately ignores — the Fentanyl crisis, which has killed tens of thousands of Americans and counting.

If we have lost our will as a nation to define what’s right and to do it, then we have lost our way in a world that is increasingly being dominated by China, whose president, Xi Jinping, may have correctly diagnosed us as a nation in “decline.”

Cal Thomas is a syndicated columnist and author. Readers may email him at

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