The National Debt Catastrophe
July 1, 2023 | View PDF
A debt ceiling crisis is a phenomenon that occurs on a regular basis in our crazy spendthrift Congress. Since its members are spending other people's money, the great majority of them relentlessly throw it around without any consideration about the consequences imposed upon our country's economy. Then later, when the bills come due, and they discover that they have already spent beyond their Constitutional limit, they plead for another increase in our national debt ceiling. And if they don't get it, our government will shut down. Today, our debt is OVER 31 TRILLION DOLLARS. Next year, if current trends continue, it will SURPASS our GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT.
Obviously, this practice is devastating to the value of our currency, and it is seriously threatening its status as the world's reserve currency. Already, Russia, China, and others are looking for alternatives to American dollars in their international trading. And of course, since the beginning of the Biden regime, inflation has skyrocketed. Could American dollars soon evaporate like Zimbabwe dollars?
Every citizen with at least half of a brain understands the means of balancing a budget—he does it every day of his life—ALWAYS spend less than you earn. If you can't afford it, don't buy it. Stay out of debt. If you must borrow, pay it off ASAP.
But Congress has a “What, me worry?” attitude. It's not their own money. So who cares? For them, cutting spending is at the bottom of their priority list. Their priorities are their favorite pork barrel projects—everything from public assistance follies to the infamous military-industrial complex.
Comments on the internet verify that many ordinary people don't seem to care either. Instead, they recommend raising taxes and going after “the rich tax cheats” who earn more than $500,000. Some have actually insisted, “We CAN'T cut spending.”
But could we? Anybody who has studied our history and looked at the things our government has done should clearly see that MOST of the things that government does is unconstitutional—anything that is not specifically authorized in our Constitution. What IS authorized? ONLY THREE THINGS.
1. NATIONAL DEFENSE: That would be what we need to protect our country from foreign invaders, but NOT a massive military-industrial complex, and NOT massive aid and intervention all over the world. If you want to see an example of a rational national defense, look at Switzerland. It is effective and low cost. Switzerland has not been invaded for the last 400 years. Meanwhile, we are being massively invaded, mostly on our southern border.
2. PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE: This includes roads, bridges, waterways, airports, and other public facilities.
3. JUSTICE: This includes the infrastructure and services needed to protect our rights and property and maintain a civilized society.
Stop and think. Do we really need to spend many tens of trillions of dollars to provide these essentials?
What is our government buying that we don't really need? What is it buying that we are actually BETTER OFF WITHOUT? The list is so huge, it is incomprehensible. It is so massive, a team of perhaps 1000 financial experts might require a decade or more to merely list them all. Here is a SHORT list of just a FEW of them.
1. PUBLIC ASSISTANCE: This includes our so-called “welfare programs” including SNAP, child care, welfare payments, section 8 housing, utilities, Obamaphones, Cash for Clunkers, benefits for illegal aliens, and numerous other “freebies.” These actually disincentify people to work for their livings, and to make it even worse, people who actually do some work on the side can become disqualified. So they say, “Why work for a living when I can vote for one?”
Public assistance is NOT Social Security and veterans, benefits. These are items we have already paid for, and that money should be in a secure reserve fund. But for many years, greedy politicians have been “borrowing” (actually stealing) that money and never paying it back.
2. FOREIGN AID: This is basically welfare for third world countries, especially Africa and parts of the Middle East. Much of its purpose is to feed hungry children, but corrupt officials over there often seize the food and sell it on black markets. But even worse, feeding hungry children encourages reckless child bearing and actually exacerbates hunger down the road. What these countries really need is CONTRACEPTIVES to abate their exploding birth rates.
3. REGULATIONS: America is OVERWHELMED by regulations and mandates—most of them excessive, and some completely useless. The more strict the enforcement, the greater the damage to the economy. The shutdown of Volkswagen for minuscule quantities of nitrogen oxides was a national tragedy.
4. WARMONGERING has cost us many trillions of dollars to impose massive carnage and destruction around the world. What have we gained in Vietnam, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan?
Some recent ongoing expenditures that need the chopping block are from George W. Bush—The Patriot Act, Homeland Security, and the TSA. These items are abusive, invasive, and useless. They should have never existed in the first place.
In our earlier days, way back in the 1820's, federal funding was derived from tariffs and duties. With our funding so limited, spending excesses were usually well controlled. But even then, numerous Americans were obsessed about our national debt, and it was a lively topic at dinner table discussions. Presidential hopeful ANDREW JACKSON called it “The National Curse.”
As soon as he was elected in 1829, Jackson vowed to eliminate it—$58 million (about $2 billion today). The United States collected millions in tariffs and sold federal land for millions more. He could have frittered that money away. But he knew that was a dangerous fiscal policy and could lead to irrecoverable deficits. Instead, he vetoed spending bills left and right, and on January 1, 1835, zeroed out our entire national debt. He gave the surplus funds back to the states. In our history, the Jackson administration was the only one to accomplish a national debt payoff. (HINT: That's why we need to KEEP him on the $20 bill.)
Up until 1913, when WOODROW WILSON authorized the federal income tax (which recklessly didn't even have a cap on it), the United States had kept federal spending under control. With his huge tax windfall, Wilson drove us into World War I and escalated spending to unprecedented levels. During his regime from 1913 until 1921, Wilson consumed ALL of the new tax money AND expanded our debt from $2.9 billion all the way up to $24 billion—a 722% increase.
In spite of his scandals, Warren Harding managed to trim our debt back 6.79% until he died in 1923. At that point, we received the blessing of our greatest president since the days of our founding fathers—CALVIN COOLIDGE—the epitome of what every president should be.
Coolidge had a quiet and steadfast demeanor and stood for frugal, limited government, laissez-faire policies, and economic power controlled by individuals. He was a “minimalist politician,” often labeled as “Silent Cal” and regarded by some critics as somewhat lazy. But the truth is that he did exactly what EVERY president (and Congress) should do; he refused to meddle into things where our government shouldn't be meddling. “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.... Four-fifths of all our troubles would disappear, if we would only sit down and keep still.”
Coolidge always kept a tight rein on the federal budget and maintained a surplus every year, and at the same time, reduced taxes. Inflation dropped from 1.73% to MINUS 1.2%. Unemployment plummeted from 6.7% to 3.2%. Taxpayers earning between $10,000 and $100,000 increased 84 percent. Manufacturing rose over 50%.
Coolidge always kept expenditures down and actually LOWERED our national debt by nearly 25%. No other president or Congress has done that in the 20th century or later.
The bottom line is WHY do our elected officials have to be so greedy and recklessly fritter our hard-earned money away, and then when that's all gone, commit us to BORROW additional money and pay interest for even more worthless agents, programs, projects, and enforcement that rational people would never want? THIS IS NATIONAL SUICIDE.
WHEN are we going to get our fiscal house in order? WHEN will we bite the bullet and STOP the debt hemorrhage? When will we LIMIT reckless spending? When will we SAVE our nation from bankruptcy?
Will we EVER be treated to another Coolidge administration?
So let it be written. So let it be done.
1. Smith, Stacey Vanek, The Time the US Paid Off All Its Debt, August 3, 2021.
2. The Federal Deficit—History of the U.S. Debt by President.
3. Wikipedia, Calvin Coolidge.
4. Bashir, Alan, Who is the best U.S. president in history? Why? Feb 28, 2017.
5. Flowers, Steve, Our National Debt is Unsustainable, Alabama Gazette, May, 2023, page 2.