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by OPOVV, ©2013

How much debt does Uncle Sam pass on to future generations because of politicians’ weakness?

(Dec. 13, 2013) — Lucky you! A long-lost uncle died and left you a profitable farm, fully equipped with the latest technology and gadgets. All the farm animals are healthy and content, thanks, no doubt, to an artesian well that delivers cold pure water, without stop, for the past thousand years. Lucky you indeed!

But wait! It gets even better. You discover that developers have been eyeballing your uncle’s farm for years, even made him outrageous offers, “Why, with the money you’ll make, you can buy a condo on the beach and live the rest of your life in ease.” They also tell tall tales of being run off the land by your uncle brandishing a shotgun. The nerve! And with so much money on the table!

Now your life is all laid out. You can quit your job, sell the farm and buy that condo on the beach. You’re going through your uncle’s papers and find out that his father, your grandfather, owned the farm free and clear before him and that the farm was passed down when your grandfather died. And you further learn that your grandfather got the farm from his father, and so on back to the time of the American Revolution. So, the farm has been in your family for generations, how about that? You learn that it took three generations to get the farm paid off and that each subsequent generation did a little bit better than the preceding one.

A new thought emerges: maybe you can manage the farm; maybe you can continue in the footsteps of those who have traveled that same road before you; maybe you can make improvements or, at least, leave it in the same condition in which it came to you. Kind-of like the physician’s oath: do no additional harm.

And so it passes: you become a farmer, a cattle herder, a banker, an entrepreneur, a capitalist; just one of many in a long line of landowners who lived by one moral imperative: leave the land in the same condition, or better, than when you got it.

The farm is free and clear: no debt. Yet, as you walk around the sheds and barns, fences and gates, you see that there’s room for improvement. Why manually open a gate, for instance, when they have remote-control gates these days? No wide-screen in the barn, plus the equipment isn’t this year’s model. Oh, sure, everything is in good working order, and it’ll get the job done, but that disc harrow has a few spots of rust here and there.

And THAT’S when the light bulb finally lights up in your head. Leaving the farm to future generations means that you leave it the way you got it: in an improved working order, debt-free. You realize that your uncle was just as responsible as those who traveled that road before him, for he left the farm to you a little better off than when he received it and, perhaps most important, debt-free.

Extrapolate the example of the farm to our country, and the long-lost uncle is Uncle Sam. We expect the preceding generation to leave us the country a little bit better (safer) than when they got it, and debt-free. We, on the same hand, have the same obligation: we’re to leave our country better off than when we got it, and that means that WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO PASS ON ANY DEBT TO THE NEXT GENERATION.

So what’s our moral imperative? Simply to live within our means and not pass our debt to the next generation. It’s the old Golden Rule: do unto others as you would expect them to do unto you. Something, clearly, Congress needs to learn when dealing with the National Debt.


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  1. My Dad taught me to always leave a campsite cleaner than when I got there. Unfortunately, too many kids today discard their McDonald’s hamburger wrappers exactly where they no longer need them. And why are cigarette butts tossed out the car’s window? Don’t most cars have ashtrays? I guess that makes for “job creation”.