OPINION – Anyone who has struggled under the burden of personal debt understands that it can be a very real form of bondage.
Whether that debt is self-imposed or stems from catastrophic issues involving illness or the failure of a business, the life of the debtor is stressful.
Of course, this stress primarily affects only those who have a sense of responsibility. Individuals who place high value on honesty and fidelity will find a way to pay their own debts, even when it is challenging.
This personal character is what distinguishes them from the political class that borrows and spends beyond its means as a matter of course. It is a moral difference that cannot be overstated.
On an individual level, when we seek to eliminate household debt, it’s often necessary to cut back on spending and to stop accumulating new debt. But our leaders at the highest levels of our government have continually taken on more debt by increasing their spending and their promises of more entitlements.
The U.S. national debt is over $17.5 trillion today. This does not include another $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities that politicians have promised to pay out over the next few decades.
To understand why the national debt is growing exponentially and spiraling out of control, consider this explanation from Judge Andrew Napolitano:
Presidents and Congresses don’t worry about paying back the principal or paying the debt service, as long as they can continue to borrow more in order to do so.
As absurd as it sounds, the federal government borrows money in order to pay the debt service on money it has already borrowed and spent.
This means that past and current politicians have borrowed unfathomable sums of money with the expectation that it will be repaid by future generations. But there is a huge moral hazard in creating debt obligations for generations of individuals who had absolutely no say in the matter.
The desire to live at the expense of others is a materialistic trait of human nature that America’s founding generation warned of long ago.
Thomas Jefferson addressed the concept in a letter to James Madison titled “The Earth belongs to the living.” Jefferson wrote:
The question Whether one generation of men has a right to bind another…is a question of such consequences as not only to merit decision, but place also, among the fundamental principles of every government.
Jefferson described how a man who sought to bind succeeding generations to the payment of debts that he had incurred could, during his lifetime, eat up the fruits of the labor of several generations to come. His debts should be his own responsibility, not that of his offspring.
Modern politicians pervert the proper role of government by promising benefits to cronies and constituents. Then they support their reckless spending by brazenly borrowing what they cannot extract by force from the populace through taxation.
No amount of political posturing can disguise the kind of scam being legally forced upon tens of millions who could not give their consent.
Jim Quinn pulls no punches when he observes:
The $17 trillion national debt accumulated by elder generations to benefit themselves and $222 trillion of unfunded entitlements promised to themselves is nothing but generational theft. It’s immoral and possibly the most selfish act in human history.
This leaves members of upcoming generations with a decision; bind themselves and their children to lives of debt slavery or repudiate the debt.
The question that hangs over up and coming generations: Whose debt is it anyway?
Do we really have a moral obligation to assume the debts of those who are dead? Did they have any moral right whatsoever to contract debts greater than they could pay off within their own lifetimes?
This is a question that each of us must answer on our own terms. But before answering, we should have a clear understanding that those who would place debts upon the unborn are wicked.
Those who hold the reins of power aren’t likely to change, but the sun will eventually set on their empire. The IRS will continue to confiscate our earnings under the intimidating threat of jail or poverty.
But no matter how much those currently in power try to force their debts upon the rest of us, the upcoming generations will have the final say in the matter.
And they need not feel a shred of guilt for refusing to assume responsibility for a debt that’s not theirs to pay.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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