Sunday, September 28, 2008

Living Beyond Our Means

We as a nation have been living beyond our means. That is the conclusion of the panel on ABC 'This Week'. That's exactly right. I've been saying this for years. Where have all of these pundits been? I've not heard any of them, right or left, say these things until the last few months. (The one real exception to this is the Libertarian perspective of Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, Bill Bonner, the Cato Institute, and others, which deserves much credit.) I am not bragging about this, just venting frustration that things have gone this far before our leaders, both political and intellectual, get it. And this fact, frankly, does not make me optimistic that they know where to go from here. How can they see it now when they couldn't see our crisis just a few months ago?

I hope that this fundamental wisdom carries the day from now on. (I don't how that would play how in terms of this bailout, which seems like just more borrowing and spending.) But I'm not optimistic because no one wants to hear it. And any politician that talks that way (the last one to do it was Jimmy Carter) will not get elected (or reelected).

So how do we begin to move out of this debt-ridden dilemma? I think it may take the refusal of foreign countries to fund our national debt. And then our government would have to balance the budget, because there would simply be no one lending us anymore money (that we're never going to pay back). Or we just print money that can only lead to increased inflation and a weakening dollar, both of which are very bad and the equivalent of having less money than before, as if we had raised taxes or reduced spending, but only worse in its consequences.

These things may happen sooner than we think. (That almost sounds apocalyptic, doesn't it. I really don't mean it to. I don't view history or Revelation that way. Think more Old Testament prophets like Amos or even Jeremiah.)

Meanwhile, is it just an accident that my mail has been lighter the last few days, with perhaps fewer credit card applications? That alone would be a true blessing.

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