I recently received an email from my Congresswoman (a Republican by the way) asking my opinion regarding the possibility of Congress raising the federal debt ceiling. Upon first glance, I started to react to the communiqué thinking “I need to tell her what I think so she will know what to do.” But before my fingers could even begin to type a reply, my brain started to kick in and I began to see the matter in another light.
Our country is currently $14.4 trillion in debt. We’re adding another $1.5 trillion to that number this year alone – a number which, I might add, didn’t change even a smidgeon by electing a Republican majority in the House. Our unfunded liabilities (something that businesses are required to report as debt, but the government doesn’t) are so outrageously out of control that estimates range from $45 trillion on the low end (wikipedia.org), to $114 trillion on the high end (usdebtclock.org). Then there’s another $1.1 trillion in state indebtedness, $1.7 trillion in local government debt and another $16 trillion in personal debt that we as individuals owe on mortgages, credit cards and the like. In short, if every man, woman and child in the U.S. could cough up a little over $400,000, we could pay off all of our publicly held debt and we as a nation could arrive at merely being broke.
But let me continue – We’ve also run a trade deficit that has consistently increased for over 30 years, reaching a new high of $502 billion for last year alone (New York Times / americaneconomicalert.org). This, while we continue to out-source jobs to every third world country we can find and import illegal aliens to take what jobs are left. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve (which is not a branch of the federal government, but rather a group of private banks with a license to create money out of thin air) continues to print money like crazy-mad, doing everything in its power to devalue the dollar and help precipitate a global economic collapse while our own economy hangs by a thread.
Yet despite all of this, my Congresswoman finds it necessary to conduct a survey in order to figure out whether raising the federal debt ceiling is a good idea or not. I’m sorry, but this sounds like someone sitting in a burning building, who instead of getting up and running for the door, is calling strangers to get a consensus as to what they should do.
So after a moment of reflection, I backed away from the keyboard, then calmly put my Congresswoman’s message aside and moved on, realizing that anyone who can’t figure this one out on their own is a lost cause.
The point is that an elected official worth their salt wouldn’t need to ask the public what to do about an out of control national debt. Rather than seeking public opinion, our elected representatives really only need to ask themselves two questions: 1) Does the U.S. Constitution authorize this? 2) Is this sound fiscal policy that is in the best interest of the country and of future generations?
While the Constitution does not prohibit Congress from engaging in deficit spending, it should be pointed out that the vast majority of what the federal government is currently spending funds on is not authorized in the Constitution – thus I contend that the matter at hand fails even the first part of this simple test. As for the second question, anyone wondering whether further increasing our already astronomical and incomprehensible national debt is a good idea, needs to be put in a straight jacket, not sent to Congress to run our country.
The problem in America today is not that we the people are failing to write cards and letters to our representatives to tell them what to do, or that we’re failing to answer their public opinion surveys. The problem in America today is that we the people have elected to high office individuals who appear to be ignorant of the Constitution they swore to uphold and who can’t even figure out whether more debt is a good thing. We’ve elected people who are more interested in their own popularity and in getting reelected than in doing the right thing for the sake of the country and future generations.
Real leaders don’t lead by consensus. Real leaders lead with the courage to do what is right and what is necessary whether it’s popular or not. Who wants to follow a general who stops in the middle of the battle to ask the troops what they think and take a poll to make sure he’s doing ‘the popular thing.’ America needs leaders who are ready and willing to say “Damn the popularity polls, I’m going to do what I have to in order to save my country.”
Ultimately the responsibility comes home to roost with us, the voting public. Do we have the courage to act on our stated convictions? Will we raise up, support and vote for statesmen who are committed above all, to defending our God-given rights, constraining government to its Constitutionally prescribed limits and adhering to sound fiscal policies that will deliver future generations from the bondage of crushing national debt? Or will we continue to give the precious, empowering virtue of our vote to politicians who seek popularity and reelection and who will decide the future our great nation on the basis of opinion polls.