Now that the congressional money tree has bloomed again, this time in the form of new stimulus money for the states, we are faced with the question of whether the federal government will ever learn self-control. Federal government spending has exploded over the last two years, causing unsustainable debt that is being compounded by pressing entitlements.

In fact, in January 2009, total public debt outstanding was $10.6 trillion. Today it surpasses $13.2 trillion—despite the cries of the American public for the federal government to control its spending spree.

The worry over government intervention grows even worse when we consider that after years of relatively stable levels of economic freedom, America’s economic freedom dropped in a single year to “mostly free”” status. And that fall has been followed by even more interventionist and expansionist policies this year.

The current trend toward policy action that undermines America’s freedom must be reversed. There may be various strategies to restore freedom in America, but surely none includes the continued expansion of government. Our best hope for a prosperous future is likely to be found in the opportunities created through greater individual liberty. As The Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Agenda for America has outlined, “the important thing is to act now to arrest the decline of freedom and assert our rights as free people to set our own course toward greater prosperity.”

Jacob Honsvick is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: