My Turn: Compromise could rob our future
By Steve Pender
I read an opinion piece in the Salisbury Post recently that explained why the Democrats and especially the Republicans in Washington need to start compromising.
I found the beginning of the article a bit odd, though. It started with Abraham Lincoln’s quote, “A house divided against itself cannot long endure.” I thought quoting Lincoln was an odd way to begin discussing compromise, because President Lincoln is best remembered for not compromising.
Over 150 years ago, the Republican Party was formed with the primary purpose of ending slavery, which Lincoln (our first Republican president) achieved. (The Democratic Party had been formed a few years earlier to preserve slavery against the growing abolitionist movement.) Slavery was abolished because the Republican Party wouldn’t compromise.
Today, President Obama’s stimulus package has wasted almost a trillion dollars because, as he discovered, “shovel-ready” jobs weren’t actually “ready.” The Congressional Budget Office recently reported that their original projections were wrong, and the stimulus package will actually hurt the economy in the long run. Yet President Obama still wants the Republicans to compromise and support a second stimulus bill (his “Jobs Act”). It’ll add almost another half trillion dollars to our national debt for another temporary fix. This kind of compromise we don’t need.
Too many people don’t understand why our national debt matters as long as we keep up the interest payments. After all, if you, as a private citizen, don’t make your credit card payment, it’s not the end of the world. No one can force you to pay, and if your payments become unaffordable, you can simply quit paying. Chances are you can get another credit card from a different company anyway. Eventually, you may lose your ability to charge stuff, but you’ll keep all the stuff you already bought.
To illustrate why our national debt does matter, try to imagine a “different world.” In this world, when your parents (or your childless relatives) die, you inherit their outstanding bills. If they die owing credit card debt, this debt is transferred to your account. If they had a mortgage, you couldn’t borrow money for any major purchase (a house, car, or your children’s’ education) unless you could manage their mortgage payment as well as your own new debt.
In this “different world,” when your parents die, their entire estate goes to the government. So you might inherit a mortgage, two car payments, and some credit card payments; but you don’t get the house, either car, or anything else.
After all this, you discover that your parents purposely ran up as much debt as they could, not because they hated you, but because they simply forgot that you even existed.
Unfortunately, this “different world” isn’t really imaginary; it’s the reality of our national debt. This is what we’re leaving our children, and they’ll pass it along to their children. Since we now borrow $4 billion a day, children born in the next few years can expect to be taxed 25-30 percent of their income just to cover the interest payments for money long-ago spent.
Those taxes will come first, and then they’ll be taxed whatever it costs to operate their current government, just like today. This is called “economic slavery,” and while not nearly as horrible as the slavery that existed 150 years ago, it’s still a terrible legacy for us to be leaving behind. Economic slavery is the result of an ungrateful, egotistical, self-pitying, selfish society. The same goes for “raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires.” The rich aren’t rich enough to make a dent in the national debt; even if we confiscate everything they own. There just isn’t that much money. Trying to profit by pitting Americans against Americans is wrong. Besides, once taxes are raised, Congress will spend the entire 10-year projected “extra” income within a month.
History will record that we who lived during these Bush-Obama spending years were the most selfish generation in history. Is it essential that Republicans compromise with the Democrats and their “Occupy Wall Street” buddies? No, but it would be as easy as taking candy from a baby. Since we’re compromising (stealing) our babies’ future, and not candy, I say no to compromise.
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Steve Pender lives in Rockwell.
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