Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Immorality of National Debt: Part II

We’ve all read the stories: A family, children included, is wiped out by gunman whose vendetta is inclusive. His rage has grown so hot that punishing the man who "owes" him is not enough to assuage his wrath. The entire family must be wiped out. The innocent perish with the guilty.

Such a scenario is an intolerable, outrageous travesty of justice. Everything within us revolts against the targeting of innocents, for we believe only the guilty should be judged and punished.

Yet, as pointed out in Part I of this two part series, our national debt unjustly targets future generations by loading them with debts they did not authorize. None was permitted a voice. Even the voiceless unborn are burdened with debt as the sins of the fathers are passed down to the next generations.

For make no mistake, making debt trans-generational is one of the most disastrous and far- reaching mistakes our government can make. That is because such a policy violates the principle that each person is responsible as an individual before the law. It overturns a basic foundation of Western jurisprudence, which from time immemorial has stood for the Judeo-Christian principle that the innocent are not responsible for the errors, crimes and debts of preceding generations.

For hundreds of years, Westerners have believed that children are not to be condemned or held responsible for the errors of their parents. For instance, children are not required to pay off their parents’ debts. The IRS is not allowed to arrest family members because grandad hasn’t paid his income taxes in thirty years. In a similar manner, wives are not to be held responsible for the sins of their husbands. They are not thrown in jail if their husbands get drunk and wind up in jail on a DUI charge. And a third example: Parents are not to be punished for the wayward ways of an errant son or daughter. They are not sent to jail when their teenager commits murder.
In brief, our gargantuan national debt turns the entire Western system of jurisprudence on its head, calling into question the very foundations of our system of justice. After all, why should any person be punished for reckless assumption of debt if our own government has proved itself to be the most reckless debtor in the history of the nations?

The matter goes beyond mere bad example. It even goes beyond punishing the provident and encouraging the profligate. In fact, the government’s reckless and disastrous borrowing corrupts by example and policy public morality as concerns fiscal responsibility. In point of fact, the innocent are punished along with the guilty, for through taxation, all are paying back others’ debts. The entire populace is treated as if guilty.

Further, in order to fortify itself against changing its disastrous policies, the government extends its own immorality to the entire populace by creating policies which encourage individual indebtedness. This it has done in the form of bailouts of individuals and of institutional entities which have engaged in profligate behavior. Debt is garnered without painful consequences.

Our government has been working overtime to relieve its citizens of the consequences of irresponsible behavior. It has seduced the people into following its own example of reckless borrowing by offering money to relieve credit card debt, reduction of mortgage payments, and bailouts of institutions which have engaged in reckless financial behavior, thus rewarding the profligate while punishing the prudent. In so doing, the government encourages the people to imitate in microcosm what it does on the macro scale. The psychological effect is to diffuse and vitiate any protest by the people. Governmental policies achieve the moral seduction and corruption of the very people it professes to be "helping."

In other words, our government is enabling and abetting a debtor’s mentality similar to its own in an effort to deflect criticism and to make the public dependent on government "aid."

To put it another way, the seduction and corruption of the populace, the effort to make people accept the debtors’ path as legitimate, is very similar to that of an alcoholic who gives his baby beer in a bottle to suckle so that by the time the child himself is a teen, he, too, is an alcoholic. The child will not reproach by example or word the father who addicted him, for from infancy on the child has now become dependent and an addict himself.

Our government is that bad parent. It encourages the people to accept and to imitate its bad behavior.

Meanwhile, the size of the debt and the fact it exceeds any particular generation’s ability to pay it off means that within a short span of time, the profligacy of our government will seem normal. Massive indebtedness will be an accepted means of governing; a normal function of government. Further, all the while the government is encouraging by its example and policies its own indebtedness and the indebtedness and the dependency of its people, it will continue to stoke the fires of class warfare in order to distract them from the real villain; namely, the government itself.

Next article coming up:
PART III: Spreading the Guilt Around.

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