National Debt Exemplifies Immorality

Member Group : Jerry Shenk

Elected national politicians have spent or committed trillions of dollars of wealth Americans – including many millions of unborn Americans – have yet to earn and saddled future generations with debt that is not only currently unsustainable but one that our kids and grandchildren may find impossible to repay.

In just a few years, interest on the national debt will be the largest expenditure in the federal budget – larger even than defense or Social Security. Debt service is an expenditure for which we receive nothing.
Spending money America doesn’t have is merely irresponsible. But congressional lawmakers have, at the very least, gone one step beyond irresponsible. They have mortgaged the future of America.

This massive accumulation of debt by the American political class is not just irresponsible, it is immoral.

Arguably the most remarkable thing about the current political landscape is that, following decades of the persistent growth of government, a distinct majority of Americans, including quite a few who see themselves as liberal, no longer consider a preference for smaller government to be controversial.

That phenomenon – and it is a phenomenon – is a public reaction to two years of excesses and fiscal overreach by the current administration and Congress. Though the problems actually began years earlier than the last inaugural, beginning in 2009 the many years of incremental growth of government to which Americans had become accustomed, even inured, was accelerated in ways no one, even the least observant among us, could possibly have failed to notice.

The seemingly steroid-fueled federal spending of 2009 -10 has finally provoked a backlash against spending in general and at all levels of government. By cutting Social Security taxes temporarily, even the recent bill extending the 2001 and 2003 tax rates blew a hole in the budget that will add substantially to the national debt. The bill carried with bipartisan support.

For the first time, at least three generations of Americans have been made aware of the personal, local and national threats of federal spending and the massive accumulation of debt: inflation, taxation and national security.
The debt represents generational theft on a grand scale. Indeed, the national debt brings the future of the nation into question.

America is not too big to fail. The Soviet Union failed. So did Greece. Ireland was recently bailed out by the European Union, and Spain, Portugal, Italy and other European nations are in financial jeopardy. France’s credit rating was recently downgraded. The entire European enterprise is in danger of collapsing.
The United States has the largest economy in the world. Who has the resources to bail out America?

We must do it ourselves. Americans must act – and quickly. We must change how we think about government and about ourselves. Voters must hold elected officials accountable for their actions and be personally responsible as well.

Voters must deal with and reject the politicians who voted for budget resolutions that assume at least a decade of deficits exceeding a trillion dollars or more annually but then didn’t have the courage to produce an actual budget. The legislators who voted for huge stimulus bills that stimulated little but the bank accounts of special interests and campaign donors must be replaced. Lawmakers who failed to read bills before voting on them and then attempted to excuse their failures by telling us that "doing nothing was not an option" cannot be allowed to set national policy on anything, especially spending.

Those lawmakers who regard "bringing home the bacon" as their highest responsibility must accept that there is no fat to bring home and, instead, turn their attention to providing good governance, the only responsibility their oath of office actually requires.

This is no longer a conservative versus liberal or Democrat versus Republican ideological contest. Absent a healthy nation, no ideology aside from anarchy has a chance to succeed.

History suggests that voters chose smaller government before, in 1980 and 1994, but history also records that government never shrinks. It didn’t shrink during the Reagan years or following the Republican tidal wave of the first Clinton midterm election. Government only grows, as it has through every Democratic and Republican Congress and administration of the past 50 years.

Both major parties have been complicit in creating the problems we face. Elected officials – Democrat and Republican alike – must step up and deal responsibly with the mess for which they and their predecessors in office are responsible. Those officials who will not do so must be rejected by voters and sent home at the earliest opportunity.

Grassroots groups clearly had an effect on the 2010 general election, but will the tea parties and other similarly motivated activist organizations across America have the interest, energy and staying power to keep an eye on politicians and make a difference in the quality of government? Or are they merely shooting stars in America’s political firmament, destined to burn out?

Time will tell, but time is not on our side. The problems America faces are both immense and urgent.