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By Bill O'Reilly
On paper, the biggest problem is the national debt. Approaching $70 trillion with no end in sight and the failure of the pinheads in Washington to deal with that debt. If the massive borrowing continues the U.S. economy could very well collapse. But in reality, not on paper, in reality the biggest problem the nation has is the folks, us, our mentality. It is changing.
After America and the allies defeated the Nazis and Japanese in World War II, millions of military people returned home to start families and careers. The prevailing wisdom back then was simple. Work hard, respect your country, provide a good education for your kids.
The USA was not a fair society back then as blacks and other minorities were still denied equal rights but most Americans viewed their country as noble having defeated the evil in Berlin and Tokyo.
Now, my parents were among the majority of Americans who felt this way. My father worked hard for modest pay, was honest, didn't want anything from the government, didn't get drunk or take drugs. He didn't take any guff from me and provided a blueprint for my success by paying for my private school education.
My parents didn't coddle me, insisted that I work for my money by cutting lawns and shoveling snow and did not care at all whether I liked it or not.
The nuns demanded that I learn math, English and history. The brothers at Chaminade High School gave me three hours of homework a night. Nobody mentioned welfare programs. So I worked hard, played sports and toughed out the hard times not depending on daddy or mommy or anyone else. I made my own way. And here I am.
Today we have a far different society in America. One where the President of the United States who sets the tone believes his country is not a fair place. And also believes that his mandate is to change the capitalistic system so that Washington, D.C. can provide. And millions of Americans are buying in. If you don't succeed on your own don't worry about it, it's not your fault and checks will be sent to help you out. Now that philosophy saps personal motivation and creates a mindset of victimization.
If the President believes the deck is stacked in favor of the rich folks then what chance do I have? Add to that mindset the rise of the machines where you and I can create our own little worlds, we can spend most of our leisure time playing mindless games or texting about trivia or writing vicious anonymous e-mails. We don't even have to leave the house. We can live an entirely made up world.
But of course, we do have to leave the house. And that's when the trouble begins. And what is society doing to encourage achievement these days? Nothing at all. If you are prosperous, you are a bad person in many people's minds.
Now tomorrow, "Talking Points" will pinpoint how judges and politicians are imposing a completely different country on all of us than the one that my parents lived in.
But for tonight the biggest problem this country has is the way we, the people, are now behaving.
And that's "The Memo."
- You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: email@example.com.