In the great fiscal scheme of things, October 22, 1981 seems like only yesterday. That’s the day the US public debt crossed the $1 trillion mark for the first time. It had taken the nation 74,984 days to get there (205 years). What prompts this reflection is that just a few days ago the national debt breached the $18 trillion mark; and the last trillion was added in hardly 365 days.It's difficult to say anything that captures the suicidal political choices, the egregious short-term political maneuvering, the political cowardice, the political opportunism, or the cynicism that made this amazing increase in our debt possible.
Charles Dickens' Mr. Micawber offers the advice to David Copperfield, "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen, nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."
The reason for that misery is having to swallow one's pride, abandon one's status as an independent man, and visibly assume the position of supplicant before another human being. To request a small loan is as humiliating as to request a large one. The request reveals to one intended creditor that one has been weak and improvident but the man in need must still make his humiliating request.
What humiliation of the Nation is implicit in such an enormous debt? What Chinese, Japanese, German, or Saudi rings have our leading lights been forced to kiss?
In the same way, the crystal clear scheme of the Constitution has been gradually subverted. A Supreme Court decision here, another there. A Congressional usurpation here and a presidential ukase there. In living memory, the federal government has become every bit a monstrosity as the debt itself, which is nothing more than an indicator of the extent of the subornation that elegant Supreme Court obfuscation and sophistry have enabled, celebrated, and concealed.
The American soft tyranny has been funded and philosophically validated. Liberty in the U.S. has been eroded rather than smashed in one blow, all with little complaint from the majority of the voters.
The essence of communist regimes has always been dictatorship, secret police, torture, execution, economic ruin, and exaltation of the lie that slavery is freedom, poverty is plenty, and theft is justice. Yet the electorate of brave and free citizens, privileged and coddled like no others in history, was content to twice elect a man who started his political career in the living room of two communist terrorists.
That is what is called "eternal vigilance."
I've mentioned Alexander Solzhenitsyn's "pitiless crowbar of events" several times here. He merely echoed Ben Franklin who said, "Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other." And we're all going to matriculate in that school whether we like it or not.
Only Yesterday—-How The Federal Debt Went From $1 Trillion To $18 Trillion in 33 Years." By David Stockman, Contra Corner, 12/5/14.