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Article published May 4, 2012
I’ve known Gino Mariotti since we played basketball together at the old Butler YMCA on South McKean Street in the 1940s. But he’d make a better basketball coach than a history professor. I need to set the record straight on some of the statements in his letter to the editor of April 30, “Acknowledge full picture.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt indeed asserted that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” but it was uttered in his first inaugural speech on March 4, 1933, not when he declared war on Japan on Dec. 8, 1941. His most memorable utterance on the latter occasion were the opening words of his declaration of war: “Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941, is a date that will live in infamy.” Nor was the draft established after America entered the war. The war clouds already were on the horizon when the Selective Service System was created in 1940 to administer the draft. Mariotti obviously has a higher opinion of FDR than most of us conservatives who would describe him as the father of American bureaucracy and the patron saint of all spendthrifts. Liberals would have us believe that Herbert Hoover was the one-man creator of the Great Depression and that it ended very shortly after Roosevelt entered the White House. However, it extended for another decade because of FDR’s socialistic tendencies. I agree with Mariotti on the spirit of sacrifice and unity that characterized America after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. In contrast to the spirit of division that followed the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the whole nation was united behind our president. People cheerfully accepted rationing of cars, tires, butter, even bicycles and chocolate bars, and to hoard anything was considered unpatriotic. But nowadays special-interest groups are unwilling to sacrifice much of anything as we go further into debt to China. Our nation and its wild-spending president continue the mad rush to bankruptcy as the national debt spirals out of control. President Barack Obama has raised the national debt by close to $5 trillion in a little more than three years, to $15.6 trillion. And, how much is $1 trillion? According to WORLD magazine, “to get an idea of how massive this amount is, think of it in seconds. Going back in time 1 million seconds would take you back 12 days. One billion seconds would take you back 30 years, and 1 trillion seconds would take you back 32,000 years.” Multiply that by five.