Carl Emerson, over at Freedom Analysis, posted an extremely insightful article on the “stimulus” debate that I wanted to share with my readers. Regardless of your political leanings, this is something you need to consider…
The Kool-Aid is flowing in Washington, D.C.
Sadly, lawmakers are actually batting around the notion of passing what is currently being estimated as an $800 Billion “stimulus” package.
First let me say that if we actually had $800 Billion “in the bank,” as it were, my opinion on this might be different. But the fact of the matter is that we are talking about borrowing this money… on top of all of the money we’ve already borrowed.
And before you write off my opinion as somehow “partisan” or otherwise neatly in support of one “side” or the other in this debate, let me hit you with a bit of common sense:
You can’t borrow your way out of debt.
This is a lesson learned the hard way. I’ve tried it. Let me tell you… it simply doesn’t work.
A National Addiction
We — as a nation — are addicted to debt. And so far we — as a nation — have not felt the sting of it. Sure… many families have learned that excessive borrowing against an asset which varies in value can land you in foreclosure. That stings. But as a nation, we’ve not yet faced the painful consequences of all the borrowing that we have done.
This is precisely why we continue to debate this bill as though it were actually a plausible solution.
Once you realize that you have a harmful addiction, you must do any and everything in your power to end the addiction. No matter how painful it may seem (or actually be).
But we — as a nation — have decided that more of our destructive vice is preferable to detox.
The fact is that it used to be a shame to “mortgage the farm.” It meant that you had managed things poorly. It meant that you had not planned well enough for the future. It meant that you weren’t planning well enough for your heirs.
Granted, in an agricultural enterprise, there are years (and sometimes series of years) where drought or other conditions affect the crops and things go badly. But everyone knows this and it’s all the more reason why shrewd farmers plan for it by storing things up.
But our pattern of handing off responsibility every few years and electing leaders — at the national or state level, in all branches of government — who are more concerned about short-term results, their approval ratings and their “legacies” than they are about the real impact of their decisions has made it all too easy to dig ourselves deeper and deeper into this devastating hole.
And whether it’s been done ignorantly or with complicity, we the people have enslaved ourselves through the actions of these leaders.
It’s been done by Republicans and Democrats alike. It’s been done by Independents and others. It’s all too easy to simply borrow more than it is to address the real issues. And as anyone who treated their home equity like an ATM machine during the real estate boom years can tell you, it’s all fine and good until you can’t borrow anymore.
And then the pain of dealing with the real issues is far greater because of the multiplied impact of the debt.
As the ancient proverb says:
The borrower is servant to the lender.
We have enslaved ourselves. And most of us don’t even know it yet. We’ll realize it one day when we wake up with the sting and the scars of the whip extracting its “pound of flesh.” And we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.