A few weeks ago I reported on the increase in our nation’s national debt, something that I usually only do on the first Thursday of each year. If I repeat some things here, then it’s because they need repeating. What I found was disturbing. Not only is our debt increasing, it’s doing so at a faster rate than ever. We, as a nation of individuals are living on the edge of disaster and, individually, we don’t seem to care.
Collectively, it doesn’t seem to bother us that we’re borrowing money from nations we’d rather not be indebted to, and that we’re borrowing it, chiefly, to pay the interest on what we already owe.
That brings up other questions such as who are we borrowing it from? I don’t remember co-signing anything. One or two of the oil rich nations in the Middle East might be my first guess. China and Russia should also be considered, because they’d both like to see us bankrupt. Don’t the American people have a right to know this information? And what sort of terms have we agreed to without informing us?
For instance, what have we put up as security? You and I can’t get a loan to buy a house without knowing that, if we default on payments, we lose the house. If we, as a country, default on our payments do we hand over one or more islands in Puerto Rico? Or maybe Guam or one of the Hawaiian Islands? My personal choice would be Texas. I spent too many years in the army alongside bragging Texans.
Or do we take the military solution: fabricate a supposed atrocity against us and, then, bomb the beejeebers out of them? Hey, it’s been long suspected of being a factor in causes for the Spanish American War.
Maybe, we don’t think that something on the order of what happened on October 29, 1929 (Black Tuesday) can ever happen again, that we’re “too big to fail.” Bull excretion! Financial collapses have always been part of our nation’s history. A major problem is that most of us aren’t in a financial position to withstand such a calamity.
Back in 1929, and in the dozen or so years which followed, few people had any individual debts...with the probable exception of a real estate mortgage. It was the general practice to save up enough money until you could pay cash for whatever it was you needed. That could include a used car! I seem to have a fuzzy sort of family memory about my aunt doing just that.
I find it difficult to reject such a policy. Oh sure, I find it more convenient at times to use a credit card, but I pay it off each month and I’ve been told that hurts my credit record! I’ve never understood that. Since I entered this world in 1928, I guess I can claim to be considered a true “child of the Depression”. A thought entered my mind recently that few people under the age of 85 can remember what that was like.
Enough doom and gloom. I just hope I’m not a prophet.
I recently received a delightful email from Don MacLean listing many — if not most — of the old words and expressions we don’t hear any more, such as “Okey dokey”, “Hunky Dory” and “Holy moley,” but I particularly enjoyed the thirty-some expressions attributed to Andy Rooney. Golly, I hope there are still people who remember that old lovable, height challenged, musical dancer and curmudgeon. And, if you do remember, I’ll bet it’s with a bit of a smile on your face.
Bill Moeller is a former entertainer, mayor, bookstore owner, city council member, paratrooper and pilot living in Centralia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.