There is a way to end all wars, and the means of doing so can be stated in the following
words: we must learn to love our children and grandchildren more than we do the state.
- Butler Shaffer -
Those words, written by Butler Shaffer in 2006, resonated with me when I first read them because therein lies a fundamental truth about the universal human condition. The idea that people love the state - and by extension, their rulers - more than their own offspring is disturbing. Americans may be guilty of this even more than the people of other nations because of the widespread belief in American Exceptionalism. In addition to the willingness to sacrifice their children in senseless wars, the love of the state (bordering on worship) manifests itself in other ways such as the allocation of scarce resources.
Despite the sanctimonious platitudes about personal responsibility and the vapid verbiage about government programs being for the children, Americans reveal their priorities when they support imposing massive debts on their chidren and future generations, year after year. Since 1957, the national debt has grown each and every year. This has occurred under both corrupt political parties supported by the American people. Not only does the debt grow year after year, it has accelerated in the last decade. Indeed, for people who claim to care so much about children, it is odd to bequeath them a welfare/warfare state saddled with massive debt. This does not even include the huge state mandated obligation to fund Social Security and Medicare for an aging population. Not only is the national debt irresponsible, it amounts to a financial crime to impose such a debt on people who can't vote, can't enter into contracts, and who may not even be born yet!
Our government tells us that the annual deficit for the year ending on September 30, 2010 was only $1.3 Trillion. This is touted as an improvement because it was less than the deficit of the previous years, $1.4 Trillion in 2008 and $1.9 Trillion in 2009. Of course, the new deficit is simply added to the deficits racked up each and every year for the past 50 years. Regarding this improvement, the BBC reports:
The data "underscored the administration's commitment" to cutting the massive deficit, the government said.
But Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned that "we still have a long way to go to repair the damage to the economy and address the long-term deficits caused by the crisis."
The US has come out of recession but has seen sluggish recovery and spending on benefits has continued to rise.
"Our fiscal outlook, which remains challenging, has improved over the past year," said Mr Geithner and the head of the Office of Management and Budget, Jeffrey Zients, in a joint statement.
They said the improvement was due to "careful stewardship" of emergency programs aimed at put the economy on the track to recovery - such as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (Tarp) to bail out banks.
Oh, what a wonderful gift to the children! Adding more to their debt to bail out incompetent and/or crooked bankers and securities salesmen will surely be cherished by future generations who will appreciate the fact that these people were able to remain in business, despite their failures, and receive enormous bonuses also.
While the annual deficit for the 2010 fiscal year may have been $1.3 Trillion, the national debt increased by $1.651 Trillion. This is an improvement over the increase in the national debt for the fiscal year 2009 of $1.885 Trillion - in much the same way that being robbed of $165 by the same thug that robbed you of $188 a week earlier is an improvement. It seems to me that when an injustice is compounded year after year, calling a slight reduction in the amount of transgression an improvement is merely an attempt to deny that the injustice exists. The simple fact that Americans foster a huge debt upon their children is in itself unjust.
The national debt as of September 30, 2010 was $13,561,623,030,891.79 - a staggering amount by any analysis. When divided among the number of Americans, about 310,500,000 according to the Census Bureau (as I write this), one finds that each and every American's individual share of this debt is about $43,675. The increase in the national debt for the one-year period ending on September 30, 2010 was slightly more than $5,300 for each man, woman and child. These figures give a more human perspective to the size of the national debt and the government's deficit spending.
This enormous debt is not the result of unexpected circumstances. Government bureaucrats and their political bosses carefully put together budgets and they also carefully predict revenue and the resulting deficits. For example, the 2010 National Budget of $3.55 Trillion predicted an annual deficit of $1.17 Trillion. To put that in perspective, the budget called for the expenditure of about $11,400 on behalf of each American while knowingly plunging each American about $3,765 further into debt. But, why quibble over the fact that each American was actually plunged $5,300 further into debt? What's a lousy 1,535 bucks when your total debt is over $43,675?
It is one thing to favor things like authoritarian or totalitarian governments, the surveillance/police state, the welfare state, and the warfare state, but it is entirely a different thing to expect innocent children and the unborn to pay for these follies. I would urge those of you basking in the glory of American Exceptionalism to pay for the hell you are inflicting on your family, friends, neighbors, and citizens of other nations instead of charging it to your children and grandchildren - and mine. It is obvious that the corrupt politicians you choose to support have no intention of paying off a single dime of this debt as they have not done so in over 50 years.
Taking Butler Shaffer's idea - that we must learn to love our children more than we do the state to end war - one step further, perhaps learning to love our children might also end the poverty and economic slavery to the state that the legacy of massive debt is sure to bring them. Perhaps, eventually, learning to love our children will be the way to end the state itself. What would be a better gift for the children than to end the chaos, misery and injustice that the state is responsible for?
I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more
rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also believe - "That government is best which
governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.
- Henry David Thoreau -
This article contributed by Tom Blanton of Richmond, Virginia.