“. . . a Public Debt is a Public curse, and in a Rep Govt a greater than any other” (James Madison, Letter to Henry Lee, 1790). Speaking of King James III in the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote, “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance” (Declaration of Independence).
For most of the two hundred and fifty years of our existence as a nation, the policy of the United States government has been to use public credit only in times of war, or in a dire national emergency. From George Washington to Franklin Roosevelt the attitude of our presidents was to keep the nation solvent. Debt was taken seriously. This attitude prevailed in settling the bills for the American Revolution and it prevailed in all other wars until World War II.
The American economy expanded an annualized 2% on quarter in Q3 2021, well below market forecasts of 2.7% and slowing sharply from 6.7% in Q2. The outlook for investment to increase that capacity is bleak as the incentive for people to work and save is gradually destroyed through collectivism. Inflation from excess spending, the most vicious tax of all, leaches away the purchasing power and the savings of old and young alike. We pay an even greater price in loss of character as programs are legislated that tempt citizens and illegal aliens to become spongers. While the federal government is on an all-time high of deficit spending, many state and local governments are also moving toward bankruptcy. The national debt currently stands at almost $29 trillion, a staggering sum. In 1978, the national debt was $675 billion. In what is a constant trend, your government spends beyond its income. And leftists (socialists) want American taxpayers to go deeper in debt. The current debt per citizen is at $87,000.
Some politicians try to explain away this trend by saying, “Aren’t you living better than any previous generation of Americans? Why worry?” Or how about this one, “Don’t be so selfish. These programs are vitally important!” These explanations are born either of ignorance or deceit. Others deny, with halos over their heads, responsibility for spending excesses that jeopardize freedom. Their promises are always redeemed by forcing sacrifices from working men and women, but few of these politicians have the courage to suggest the wage earner take another 5% or 10% reduction in pay.
James Madison was concerned about the power of government over the people when he said, “Although all men are born free, and all nations might be so, yet too true it is, that slavery has been the general lot of the human race. Ignorant–they have been cheated; asleep–they have been surprised; divided–the yoke has been forced upon them. But what is the lesson? That because the people may betray themselves, they ought to give themselves up, blindfold, to those who have an interest in betraying them? Rather conclude that the people ought to be enlightened, to be awakened, to be united, that after establishing a government they should watch over it, as well as obey it” (Essay: “Who Are the Best Keepers of the People’s Liberties?” 1772).
If it were your next-door neighbor spending above his income year by year, you know well what would ultimately happen. That is just what our whole nation is doing. We are joyously and rapidly moving toward ruin. Freedom calls for Congressmen who understand, want a balanced budget, and will bargain on no other basis.
~ David Norris