(CNSNews.com) Sen. Jim DeMint (R.-S.C.) argues in his new book—Now or Never: Saving America from Economic Collapse—that Americans could be approaching a last chance to save the country from a fiscal catastrophe and permanent transformation into a nation where the federal government assumes powers not authorized by the Constitution.
“I’m trying to sound the alarm to Americans that this could be our last chance to turn things around and get them right,” DeMint said in Online With Terry Jeffrey interview.
In the book, DeMint says the nation’s political establishment, by bringing the nation to the brink of an unprecedented fiscal crisis, has put Americans at risk of losing their freedom.
“The political establishment in Washington is destroying our country, and only a determined effort by the American people can stop them,” DeMint wrote. “We are in serious trouble and very close to economic collapse. This is not hyperbole; Americans have never been this close to losing all the freedom, prosperity, and opportunity that generations of citizens and soldiers have fought and died to give us.”
“We are not getting the truth from the politicians or the media,” DeMint wrote.
DeMint told CNSNews.com he believes a transformation of the federal government began in the 20th Century, leading to a concentration of power in Washington, D.C.
“It really started in the 20th century,” said DeMint. “The government wasn’t large and didn’t have any money because the only money it had came from excise taxes and sales taxes.
“Until they passed the income tax in the early 20th century, the government really couldn’t grow,” DeMint said. “That opened the floodgates. Forming the Federal Reserve centralized our whole banking system and gave the federal government more control.”
FDR's Social Security program “was supposed to help poor seniors with a 1-percent tax on the first $3,000” and “is now the largest tax Americans pay,” said DeMint.
“Lyndon Johnson added Medicare, supposedly for poor people, and now it’s the only plan we have when we retire,” said DeMint.
“Eisenhower did the Department of Transportation. Nixon did the EPA. Carter did the Department of Education,” said DeMint. In the process, America changed “from a bottom-up, decentralized political system to the concentration of power and money in Washington.”
The solution, DeMint argues in Now or Never, is for Americans to embrace what he calls “freedom solutions that work.” First among these is a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution like the one sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee of Utah that would require two-thirds votes in both houses of Congress to increase taxes or the federal debt limit and that would cap federal spending at 18 percent of GDP.
“Every child born today already owes more than $45,000 to the federal government, and if this figure is calculated based on Americans who will actually pay federal income taxes, the debt per taxpayer is actually closer to $100,000,” DeMint wrote.
DeMint also argues for largely removing the federal government from primary and secondary education.
“If the federal government reduces its funding for education and keeps in place all its federal programs and mandates, this will make public education even worse,” writes DeMint. “But what if the federal government lets go of its near monopoly on public education? What if the federal government requires that states guarantee equal opportunity for all students and then allows the states to design their own education systems?”
DeMint says one problem with the education system is that liberals oppose school choice.
“Most states now spend more than $10,000 per year for every child in government schools,” DeMint writes. “Even if only half of this figure--$5,000—was given to children as a scholarship to any accredited school, the private sector would explode with innovative choices to meet the needs of a wide variety of students.”
The United States, DeMint believes, is now also on a short path to total government control of the health-care system.
“America is currently on a course toward socialized medicine, where the entire health care system will be controlled by the federal government,” DeMint writes.
“Unless Obamacare is repealed, more than two-thirds of Americans will be on a government health plan within five years,” he says. “Government health plans do not pay doctors and hospitals enough to cover their costs, so more and more costs are shifted to patients with private insurance. The cost of private insurance will continue to rise, forcing more Americans onto government plans. Soon the private health insurance market will collapse, and Americans will have only one choice—government health care.”
Ironically, in congressional testimony this week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius essentially agreed with DeMint’s prognosis for the health-care system, if not with his free-market cure. “The private market is in a death spiral,” she said.
To pull private health insurance out of this death spiral, DeMint says individuals should get the same tax break employers get when they buy health insurance, that people should be able to buy insurance across state lines to produce a more competitive market, that individuals and employers should be able to join together in groups to bargain for better deals from insurance companies, and that tort reform should be enacted to protect doctors and hospitals from frivolous lawsuits that drive up health-care costs for everyone.
“We must have a loser-pays tort system in America like almost every other modern country,” writes DeMint. “Under this system people are free to file a lawsuit for any reason, but if they lose, they have to pay the legal costs of the winning party.”
DeMint also believes Americans should not only be able to freely decide whether to buy health insurance, but also what type of insurance they want to buy.
“Individuals should also be free to have a health savings account and high-deductible health plans if they chose,” he writes.
DeMint says both legislators and citizens need to understand that the federal government’s role in American life is strictly limited by the U.S. Constitution.
"I took an oath to protect and defend a Constitution that limits what the federal government can do, and the explicit functions of the federal government are found in Article 1, Section 8," DeMint writes. "The federal government is supposed to defend the nation, regulate commerce between the states, provide for national roads ('postal roads') and harbors, maintain a sound currency, protect private property rights, and promote justice. There are few other things the federal government should be doing--and our Founders limited its role precisely because they knw centralized power yields corruption."
CNSNews.com asked the South Carolina Democratic Party on Wednesday if it would like to comment on DeMint’s argument that the U.S. is on the verge of economic collapse and that the nation could be facing the last chance to turn things around. By Thursday, the party had not responded.