Environmentalists invariably start their arguments by asking what kind of world we are going to leave for our children. But I’ve always thought the greatest sin we’ve committed against our children is living far beyond our means and leaving it for them to pick up the tab. I believed this in the 60s, when I was one of the “children” and I believe it even more today. Yet, while the national debt has grown and grown to unimaginable numbers, it has never seemed to matter much to the voters. We haven’t even been able to agree on a balanced budget amendment, which any reasonable person would think was a no-brainer. The first thing you do with a spendthrift is cut up the credit cards. And the federal government is the world champion spendthrift.
Bookworm assured me a few months ago that this time it would be different. She told me that the cost of Obamacare and the stimulus programs, working together, were increasing the deficit and, therefore, the debt, so greatly that people who had managed to ignore the problem until now were finally concerned enough to base their vote on this issue. Personally, I’ll believe it when I see it.
One kind of side note: as bad as the deficit is, it is far worse than it looks. Inflation is a boon to debtors, as it devalues the debt. The national debt being the largest of all is devalued the most by inflation. Thus, in a sense, you can view the true deficit as the official deficit minus the devaluation of the existing debt. But, with inflation at historic lows, there is hardly any offset. The full deficit is added to the debt.
Anyway, I can’t imagine any regular reader of the Bookwormroom not being appalled by the national debt. But do you believe the general public is finally concerned enough about the national debt to hold candidates accountable? Or will the government just continue to ring up ever larger deficits until the whole system collapses?