Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Humorous Child Perspective And A Not So Humorous Adult Perspective

I am attending my third school graduation in the last two months.

This graduation takes place in an arena that holds thousands; half is partitioned and half is filled with people: men, women, children, babies.

Before the crop of dentists, pharmacists, and nurses walk for their diplomas, we listen to a few outstanding talks. One of the doctors mentions the works of Plato. To my surprise a few children are listening; in the mostly quiet auditorium, I hear their unrestrained reactions to the mention of the philosopher Plato.

"Play-doh?" One little guy is surprised the speaker standing in black and purple robes dangling with tassels, a silk draping across his chest, and wearing a muffin-man black hat, would mention the clay he shapes and squeezes.

At the same time, I hear another echo of Plato, "I have Play-doh."

We often tune out what we hear until it's important to us.

I turn to Tony and ask, "How much collective debt sits on the shoulders of all these graduates?"

We multiply the known debt of an acquaintance by the number of graduates--if our calculations are even close to the average per person debt, collectively, members of the audience have possibly incurred $20 million dollars in debt.

Yet we see how important debt can be to success--when it is managed well.

Currently the national debt is greater than the GDP or the Gross Domestic Product. The GDP is the total value of services provided and goods produced in the entire nation. This debt accumulation that has now surpassed the GDP ( it is 105% of the GDP) looks like a behemoth, a monster, and impossible of ever being paid off.

The borrowing and spending in the last decades resulting in unfathomable trillion dollar debt looks like the work of children who have misinterpreted the works of Plato for Play-doh.

The one candidate who dared to mention the national debt during the early debates, was ignored.
Where are the hundred pound politicians who are willing to tackle the 400 pound debt linebacker running away with the ball?

The November 2016 elections aren't just presidential. I am looking for candidates who are willing to even mention the national deficit.

Few people realize an out of control US debt has been paid off before. In 1816, the debt topped at $127 million (today's debt is 19 trillion). The United States had just ended the war of 1812, a second and bitter embroilment with Great Britain. Senator Thomas Hart Benton noted that if the US could pay down its debt, only then would it be "a nation wholly free."

If we take his words to heart, for a nation that values freedom so highly, we are not a free nation.

Paying down the debt became a national priority. In 1825, at the end of the fifth president's term, James Monroe had set the course and predicted the national debt would be reduced to rubble in ten years. During Andrew Jackson's presidency, the goal was reached.

In the recent past years our government has considered defaulting on our national debt. Can we imagine the consequences?--we have to start facing the possible consequences.

I visited the US National Debt Clock website. It takes a strong stomach to type in http://www.usdebtclock.org. But do it, you must. It will be like walking into Alcoholics Our Country's in Debt Anonymous-- and taking the first step of sobriety to becoming a nation that demands of its leaders-- a plan for recovery.

We need to trade our Play-doh for Plato.