For thousands of years we have heard somber warnings about becoming perpetual debtors. Thomas Jefferson addressed this: “to preserve [the] independence [of the people,] we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.”
So why hasn’t the national uproar about our soaring debt been louder? Why hasn’t Congress done something more about it than vote to increase the statutory debt limit to record heights?
One reason could be that today’s warnings about our spiraling national debt are usually abstract and do not explain the real-world consequences. Elected officials warn, “The national debt is really bad, and we must reduce it!” These canned statements often sound melodramatic and don’t inspire action.
Complicating the problem is the fact that an increasingly large portion of Congress’s time is devoted to delaying the negative effects of crises of its own making. Because the federal government has interjected itself into the minute details of Americans’ daily lives — an involvement our Founding Fathers never contemplated — it must now react to multitudes of miniemergencies on a routine basis to quell discomforts and save face.
These include everything from extending failing Big Government programs to bailing out failing corporations that made bad business decisions, at least in part, because of government-imposed mandates.
Contrary to Congress’s tendency to play Whack-A-Mole, the consequences of an ever-increasing national debt reveal themselves only gradually — and thus evade the Legislature’s radar.
Most frightening is the serious risk that by the time Congress is convinced the debt is worthy of attention, our nation’s power will have been stripped by our creditors and our independence irreversibly suppressed. Let’s take a realistic look at how this could happen.
Creditor nations have certain unspoken powers over debtor nations. Take China, one of the largest U.S. debt holders. U.S. government officials keep begging China to continue investing in Treasury securities to fund our record-setting deficit spending. How can these same officials demand, with a straight face, that China recognize Tibetan independence, halt religious persecution or acknowledge individual or political freedoms? (Continues here)