What’s the biggest threat facing our grandchildren?

I’m an old guy with 15 grandchildren. So, naturally, I’m concerned about the world I’m leaving behind for them.

I’m not really worried about myself. I don’t expect nuclear war, economic collapse, major disease pandemic or any other gigantic catastrophe before I go to heaven — or that other place.

But my grandchildren will be around for another 70-80-90 years. We obviously can’t know what might happen in that length of time. But what world are we leaving for them and, from today’s perspective, what’s the greatest threat to their future?

Democrats and liberals seem to have reached a consensus on what that supreme threat is – climate change. Carbon emissions and warming temperatures will wreak catastrophe well within the lifetimes of my grandchildren, they say.

Another candidate for greatest threat is the $20 trillion national debt (and growing). If unfunded federal and state obligations are added to the $20 trillion, the actual debt is more like $70 trillion to $80 trillion. History (including modern history) is replete with examples of nations and economies ravaged by deficit spending and government grown too big.

A third threat might be summarized as the breakdown of the family and the erosion of traditional values and accountability. The economic gap between the rich and poor is growing. A major factor for the successful sector is the advantage provided by family support, fathers in the home, marriage, and healthy standards and expectations. Is this increasing gap and increasing dependence on government programs (which exacerbates deficit spending) a real threat to the future of my grandchildren?

An argument can be made that all three threats are very serious. But the enormous political divide in the country today is reflected in attitudes about these threats.

Liberals, while waxing apocalyptic about climate change, seem to barely care about the national debt or the breakdown of families. In fact, their solution to these problems is more spending and government programs – which I believe will make the problems worse.

Conservatives are less concerned about climate change, but greatly fear the future consequences of the national debt, ever-growing entitlement programs, and the erosion of time-honored values and declining status of traditional families.

Personally, I agree with scientists who say human-caused climate change is occurring. But I believe the science is much less settled about the long-term consequences. To attribute every major weather event to climate change, as some liberals and environmentalists are wont to do, reduces their credibility and hurts their cause.

I want clean air and water and to protect the environment. Doing those things will reduce carbon emissions and hopefully slow climate change. But I’m not willing to make the leap that climate change is going to destroy the world and the future of my grandchildren.

I believe big government, out-of-control spending and entitlement programs, and the national debt are bigger threats to my grandchildren. While I will get my Social Security and Medicare, it’s by no means certain they will get theirs. My generation is leaving the country deeply divided and deeply in debt, with a large share of the population highly dependent on government.

As congressional Republicans are finding with the current healthcare/Medicaid debate, it will be almost impossible to rein in entitlement programs. And the gulf between the haves and have-nots will continue to grow. More government spending won’t help.

My generation has not solved these problems. I hope the next generation will be more successful. I wish them luck.