On Debt

Debt: An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slavedriver.” Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary, 1911

$13 trillion. That is what the United States currently owes to other people. This is our national debt and what the next few generations will be responsible to pay in addition to any they incur themselves. Does anyone really understand what that means? Let’s try to wrap our heads around what just ONE trillion is:

  • There are one million millions in a trillion.
  • One trillion is $1,000,000,000,000 (yep, you counted right, there are 12 0’s)
  • One trillion seconds will pass in 31,688 years
  • One trillion seconds ago civilization did not even exist. (A billion minutes ago, Trajan was emperor in Rome. A million hours ago, it was 1895, and Grover Cleveland was President of the United States)
  • One trillion dollars in cash would weigh over one million tons
  • It would take more than 10,000 18-wheelers to transport one trillion $1 bills.
  • If you make one dollar every second, it would take more than 31,000 years to make a trillion dollars.
  • You could spend $10 million a day and it would still take you 273 years to spend $1 trillion

Ok, the last one got me. It sure did not take our government 273 years to rack up that much debt, so I guess they are spending a lot more than $10 million a day. This has got to stop. The debt we are passing on to the next generation is taxation without representation in its purest form. Are you comfortable knowing that your children will be taxed on more things, in addition to income, just to pay for debts incurred today because of the inability of the government to live within its means?  “A borrower is the slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7), and we are indeed slaves to those who hold the cash. Neither liberty nor compassion comes from more debt, and anyone who says otherwise is a fool. Our country can no longer be all things to all people, we cannot save everyone, we cannot provide for everyone, and we cannot be responsible for another’s future at the expense of our own. You are never truly free to do what you want if you owe someone money.  Think about it.  What would you do differently if you did not have a mortgage, a car payment or a credit card payment? How much more powerfully free would you feel?

Likewise, it is time that we demand the government to stop defrauding our country in order to get themselves elected or keep the financial elite in power (via entitlement spending). This debt is enslaving our nation and reducing our liberties through higher taxes. We are not even paying off the principle of our debt – the tax revenue coming in is only enough to cover the interest!  Not only that, a quarter of the debt we owe is to China, a country that does not hesitate to kill and impoverish its own people. Is this who we really want to be beholden to? Where are our standards? If “they who control the credit of a nation direct the policy of governments” (Richard McKenna), then how will America continue to be the beacon of freedom to the world with such a slave chain around our neck? The President may be ok going hat-in-hand to China begging pretty-please for money, but I am not.  We are Americans, and we are better than this. We should not EVER lower our standards in order to meet the world’s expectations.

We need to seek the wisdom of history, so that we do not suffer the same fate of nations who have risen and fallen before us. The time is now to choose between slavery and freedom, not only for ourselves, but for our nation.  How much more of your family’s future are you willing to yield to another for the sake of the present?

“We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our selection between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat in our drink, in our necessities and comforts, in our labors and in our amusements, for our callings and our creeds…our people.. must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live..  We have not time to think, no means of calling the mis-managers to account, but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow suffers.  Our landholders, too…retaining indeed the title and stewardship of estates called theirs, but held really in trust for the treasury, must…be contented with penury, obscurity and exile.. private fortunes are destroyed by public as well as by private extravagance. This is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of society is reduced to mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering… And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.” Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), 3rd President of the United States

“The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance”. Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC- 43 BC), ancient Roman statesman, lawyer, and political theorist

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