Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 18, 2017

Passing on debt ‘morally reprehensible’

By James Lee Elliott | Apr 25, 2013

To the editor:

It has always been popular in many countries to justify the practice of passing on the debts incurred by one generation to the next for payment. Should one generation impose its debts on the next? This was not the view of the American Founding Fathers. They knew that the wars, economic problems and debts of one generation should be paid for by the generation which incurred them. They wanted the rising generation to be genuinely free both politically and economically.

It was their feeling that passing on their debts to the next generation would be forcing the children of the future to be born into a certain amount of bondage or involuntary servitude, something for which they had neither voted for nor subscribed to. This would be, in a very literal sense, taxation without representation. They said it would be a blatant violation of a fundamental principle of the Republic.

Debt is simply borrowing against the future and exchanges a present advantage of instant gratification for a future obligation. It will in return require not only the return of the original advance of funds, but also substantial compensation, or the consequences of such, to the creditor for the use of their money.

Our Founding Fathers had undergone sufficient experience with debt to see its corrosive and debilitating effect, which tends to corrupt and divide individuals, nations and countries. Excessive debt greatly curtails the freedom of the debtor, it benumbs the spirit and imprisons the beholders from pursuing the American dream. Excessive debt is a perpetual burden every working hour, it often means sleepless nights, a sense of constantly being threatened and a fear of potential disaster. We now live under a weight (national debt totalling trillions of dollars) which is constantly increasing with every tick of the clock. The trillion word is used anymore by many of our elected leaders as if it means nothing. Have any of these elected leaders told us that one trillion seconds is 32,000 years? Therefore, if we were to pay back on dollar per second, it would take 32,000 years to pay back just $1 trillion, and this doesn’t include the interest.

Wasteful spending and hazardous borrowing against the future can and is reducing the best of us out of business, into bankruptcy, object poverty and even gnawing hunger from some of the most basic necessities of life the Framers of the Constitution worked tirelessly guaranteeing that the government would not become tyrannical, all encompassing, always watching you, always taxing you, borrowing more to spend wastefully and foolishly. We the People cannot continue to ignore the signs of this terminal economic cancer by allowing elected leaders to live for today by taking whatever’s needed and justifying it, therefore dulling our senses to the consequences of the next generations of Americans.

To saddle the next generation with unimaginable debt is not only callous, it is morally reprehensible. How can we live with ourselves knowing that we are eroding the standard of living of the next generations with each dollar that we allow our elected leaders to add to the national debt?


— James Lee Elliott, Fairfield

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