Thoughts on the debt ceiling
July 1, 2011 Leave a comment
I recently had to complete a bunch of Continuing Education to keep my professional license in my industry, and among the requirements was several hours of ethic training. I always enjoy this, because there was a time when I was rather caught up in ethics, specifically reading various Western-Civ canons devoted specifically to that subject. When I do my CE ethics courses, it’s a nice, easy refresher on the subject.
My industry is one of the most heavily-regulated in the world – banks have nothing on us. The training is a mixture of government requirement and corporate requirement, and like any other corporation that wants to stay profitable, in the good graces of its customers and in business, there is a heavy focus on ethics, or, in laymen’s terms, doing the right thing.
I marvel at what Jeff Bezos pulled in California, and I admire him for it. California aka “American Greece” is drowning in debt in large part due to civic employee ie government union contracts, pensions, salaries, etc. Rather than making so-called Hard Choices, the State decided to do what all States run by Liberals do – raise taxes, invent taxes and more vigorously enforce already vigorously-enforced tax codes. So Bezos and Amazon extended the forearm, lifted the middle finger, gave its affiliates less than one day’s notice, and pulled out of its operations in California.
Some of the affiliates feel slighted, and I don’t blame them, nor do I blame Bezos for pulling out. At ground zero regarding the ethics and, yes, the morality of our government spending at all levels spiraling out of control is this: On whose behalf do I work, and who is entitled to the fruits of my labor?
Although it’s been fairly settled law since the early 1990s that taxing online purchases wanders into the area of Interstate Commerce and is therefore a Federal issue, not a State on, States have been trying for years to tax out-of-state online purchases. They get a lot of lobbying from big-box retailers over this, because retailers are being undercut from online because there is much less overhead. Ergo, what we have is a soft crony capitalism, often with competing interests – it’s not like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and other huge retailers don’t have an online presence, they no doubt think it unfair that Amazon and other online retailers don’t have a brick-and-mortar presence, and all the overhead that goes with it.
To which, in an earlier time, we would say to the victor goes the spoils. Wal-Mart is always winning, and Amazon is winning, but when the State starts playing favorites … some will fight back, but others – like Bezos – thought wisely, cut and run.
This issue is not related specifically to the debt ceiling, but it is. America is drowning in debt – my generation will shoulder some of this hideous burden, but the real burden is coming from Echo Boomers and Millenials right behind Gen-X at a time when those Americans are drowning in personal debt like no generation in human history. It is not lost on anyone that pays attention to this issue that the deepest of all ironies resides in the fact that it is those generations who were responsible for getting Fred-6 elected POTUS, the same Fred-6 that is now bending them over the pinball machine of America’s back bar and raping the shit out of them.
You’re probably already aware that this issue is not nearly so complicated as it’s made out to be. America has a so-called Debt Ceiling, and Democrats and some Republicans want to raise that ceiling. Why? To spend more. They say it’s to save this or save that, but that selling point hasn’t worked the last three times it’s been tried with various stimulus packages, and it won’t work this time when we’re eventually sold out and the Debt Ceiling is raised yet again.
It is the nature of the fiscal retard – yes, retard – to max out his credit cards, take a line of secured credit on his already paid-off home to pay off those cards, and then immediately spend those cards back to their breaking point. This is not only not uncommon in America, it is the New Hopey-Changey Normal we now live by. This is what the Democrats, lead by our increasingly deranged POTUS, propose to do.
Fiscal discipline is hard – very, very hard, especially if you’ve never had any before. I would know, as I have virtually no fiscal discipline but have slowly, patiently been digging myself out of a very large hole for the past two years. I’m on vacation this week, and much of my vacation has been spent putting together my first legitimate budget – I’m 36 years old, well-educated, sharp when it comes to economics, and terrible with money. I’ve not gotten close to a breaking point and am closer to being in the black now than I have been in a decade, and this morning, all my numbers crunched and munched, I wrote them all down on my whiteboard and now I can see those numbers at all times when I’m home. A year from now, the only money I’ll owe is to my bank for my home and to the government for my student loan.
I’m one person, responsible for no one else, dealing in thousands of dollars, not hundreds of thousands, millions, billions or trillions. The Government is composed of hundreds of thousands of people with millions of assets and hundreds of millions of people and trillions in debt. This won’t end well.
I go back to student loans. I don’t regret for a moment returning to school when I got bored with life a decade ago, but I do regret taking out the loans I did. My student loans and mortgage debt are minuscule compared to many students taking on loans today, but I’ve always worked, always paid my own way, and until my decision to take those loans a decade ago, I’d always been in the black.
Debt is funny like that, which is why it needs a cap, a ceiling, a sober puppeteer motioning the mindless and the insolvent into the proper channels. I don’t think personal debt should be a matter of regulation, but I do think debt taken out in the name of Americans should have a limit – and the $14 trillion we currently have is way, way, way, way, way too much.
There has been a movement on and off for the last few years started by lazy, worthless college graduates who are all for Hope and Change to forgive all government-backed student loan debt. Just as one goal of mine is to never cash a Social Security check, another goal of mine is have my student loan debt paid back, in full, in three years. I would go bonkers if that debt was legally forgiven, because there is no such thing as a free ride, and the taxpayers didn’t take on my debt, I did. I would probably pay X amount of dollars on my tax returns until the full debt was paid if they were ever “forgiven,” and I doubt you know anyone who hates taxation as much as I do.
As we wander into our nation’s 237th birthday, I’m not filled with doom, but I’m not optimistic either. One very noticeable reaction to the relatively Conservative, grassroots movement that has sprung up over the last two-and-a-half years is the complete unhinging that has taken place on the American Left.
For those of us who’ve followed the Left’s various hobby-horses half a generation or more, it’s not surprising, but for many, the last couple years have been a wake up call: in the name of political expediency and lust for power, the American Left is willing to destroy the future for the next three generations of Americans. And for what? I’m not sure anyone can honestly answer that question, but there is nothing noble, altruistic or American about it.
I hope you have a wonderful Independence Day weekend with your friends and family – it’s my favorite holiday, always has been and probably always will be. July 4th is one of two holidays I actually observe (yep, the other is Halloween) and do things for each year, I love the fireworks, the food, the friends and family, and have many fond wishes of Independence Days gone by.
Have a great Fourth.