The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


April 20, 2014

Bill Jones | Overwhelming debt strangling our nation

JOHNSTOWN — Dad always said, “If you can’t afford to pay for something, don’t buy it.”

It is too bad that our public officials in Washington haven’t had that much common sense. Anybody who is capable of thinking and who has any inkling of world history should know that there comes a day of reckoning, and it can be a very bitter day indeed.

It is a sad fact that if we still had debtor prisons in this country, most of our elected officials in Washington would be behind bars. Maybe they should be, the way they have spent the taxpayers’ money without rhyme or reason.

All we hear when there is discussion of federal budgets is “reduce the deficit.” What ever happened to the very real desire and need to eliminate the deficits and reduce the national debt?

Financially, the United States is in a very deep hole and getting deeper all of the time. It is difficult to say who really owns us and even more difficult to say how we could repay if other countries call our notes and demand repayment.

Think about it. If you are unable to make required payments on your home mortgage, the bank forecloses and takes your home. What will countries we owe money, such as China, take in lieu of our money, which is being devalued continually by the Federal Reserve’s practice of printing new money that has no solid backing, except the “good” name of a country deeply in debt.

We have seen in history what has happened in too many countries that have tried to buy their way out of debt by printing scads of money that becomes worthless paper. If we follow the same path, we can expect economic disaster that could make the Great Depression of the 1930s seem like a rich man’s holiday.

Getting back to dad, he bought bonds during World War II because he was a patriot and wanted to help the war effort. When the war was over, he cashed his bonds because he said he didn’t want to encourage our country to be a debtor nation. He should see what we have become – or maybe he shouldn’t.

Deficit financing has become the way of life for our federal government, and don’t point fingers at those of the other party. Democrats and Republicans have both been guilty of spending money they didn’t have.

“You want a new program that will bring you votes? Sure, why not? We won’t be around when the roof caves in.”

The result is a national debt so large there is no reasonable way it can be paid down, even if income tax rates were doubled. The interest alone on our debt is growing like the fungus that it is.

Congress should approve no new programs unless it assesses sufficient new taxes to pay for them, and see how we the people would like that. It should eliminate programs and departments that are not called for in the Constitution, and it should learn to live within its means.

American tax money should be used only for things that benefit our country, not to spend on other countries that do not have debts as large as our own. It should not be used for so-called “nation building” when our spending is tearing down our own country.

We should not claim we are creating democracies when our country is advancing steadily into socialism.

Somehow, we have to become solvent or our great nation will not exist as we know it, 50 years in the future. Perhaps it will not take that long.

We cannot continue to increase the debt. We cannot build federal budgets on planned deficits. We cannot keep raising the debt ceiling to accommodate reckless spending. We cannot continue to pay more in loan interest that the entire federal budget amounted to throughout most of our existence as a nation.

Nobody wants higher taxes, but if Americans keep demanding more handouts from Washington, there is no other way to pay for it.

“Don’t ask what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

God bless America. We certainly need it.

Bill Jones is a retired senior writer for The Tribune-Democrat.


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