Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday’s Quote: The impact of fiscal negligence

c/o U.S. History
Our colossal $15 trillion debt, currently 101.1% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, is tops in the world by far. But CNBC revealed last September that the percentage of American debt-to-income ranks an almost respectable 20th worldwide among other mass-borrowing countries. Australia (138.9% of GDP), Spain (179.4%), Portugal (223.6%), Hong Kong/PRC (250.4%) and Denmark (310.4%) are just five nations that struggle all the more. Yet none surpass the dubious distinction held by Ireland, whose total obligations weigh at a bewildering 1,382% of its GDP.

How such financial calamities occur in sophisticated nations is beyond comprehension, although a failure among elected officials to abide by the standards that established their homeland appears to be the proverbial key that swings the door wide open for unsustainable liabilities that later become domestic nightmares.

Everyday citizens are just as capable of spending in gross excess. Although materialism and greed are unfortunate byproducts of free enterprise, such unscrupulousness is not exclusive to those who benefit so greatly from our economic structure. Moreover, alternative models commonly endorsed among the Left (centrism, collectivism, communism, socialism, etc.) are no better. In fact such ideologies are proven far more stifling to cultures that yearn for opportunity and self-determination.

Hence the social order is left with a question: will we temper ourselves, and thus demand our elected officials to do the same; or will we surrender what remains of our ever-diminishing autonomy and hope that, by some miracle, an unabated government will cease to function according to blank check policies and right the ship by all benevolent means?

Monetary issues concerning both government and the electorate are timeless. Verily we now have a President – a confessed redistributionist in the mold of the above-mentioned philosophies – who evidently views our established system as a mark for ultimate dismantling, the exploitation of which is only used as a platform to endorse something entirely different. To that end, one of the Founders offered the following:


“The establishment of the new plan of government, in its present form, is a question that involves such immense consequences, to the present times and to posterity, that it calls for the deepest attention of the best and wisest friends of their country and mankind. If it be found right, after mature deliberation, adopt it; if wrong, amend it at all events: for to say that a bad government must be established for fear of anarchy, is really saying that we should kill ourselves for fear of dying!”
~ Richard Henry Lee, in a letter to the Governor of Virginia, Edmund Randolph; October 16, 1787

R.H. Lee (1732-1794) was a signer of the Articles of Confederation and the author of the Lee Resolution, by which the Second Continental Congress declared the Colonies to be independent of the British Empire. He likewise served a one-year term as the President of the Continental Congress and later acted as President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate. Yet he is perhaps better known in modern times as the great-uncle of General Robert Edward Lee.


James Nicholas said...

Ireland - it was just 15 years ago or so when the emerald isle was the envy of Europe, a poor country which suddenly saw tremendous growth in the the tech sectors, largely the result of a marked reduction in their tax rates (smart idea) coupled with a new found mobility for European business. Now in ruination, you say? Spent themselves into ruination? Not such a smart idea. It's a fair bet to venture that those that designed the economic resurgence were not the same as those that drove the nation into ruination. Well, I must say, no matter how much you or I pay out in taxes, we will never keep up with how fast someone else in government spends it. Something to do with the fact that it is much easier to spend someone else's money. And I'll add this: I loved the Lee quote.

All that to say, excellent piece!

AMW said...

Thank you sir. God bless.