2008/10/02

Interesting Times

When George Bush took office, the total national debt of the USA was 5.37 Trillion Dollars. It is now 10 Trillion Dollars. The government is soon to write a check for $700 Billion (a number which the Treasury Department picked out of thin air - "It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com. "We just wanted to choose a really large number.") and a similar sized check for the Department of "Defense", with many more to follow.

Graphically, the increasing debt looks like this:

Big tip of the hat to Dr. Chris Martenson who created this graph with Treasury Department Statistics. The above graph shows other obligations besides the national debt, but is useful none the less so showing the exponential debt curve we are on. For a graph of just the national debt visit Chris's website.

There was (at least) one President who saw the dangers of this course of events. His words seem prescient today, though they were penned 192 years ago.

"To preserve [the] independence [of the people,] we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses, and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes, have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account, but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers."

Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816

"No earthly consideration could induce my consent to contract such a debt as England has by her wars for commerce, to reduce our citizens by taxes to such wretchedness, as that laboring sixteen of the twenty-four hours, they are still unable to afford themselves bread, or barely to earn as much oatmeal or potatoes as will keep soul and body together. And all this to feed the avidity of a few millionary merchants and to keep up one thousand ships of war for the protection of their commercial speculations."

Thomas Jefferson to William H. Crawford, 1816

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We now return to our normal, cheerful posting on Pacific Islander...have a nice day.



4 comments:

bonnie said...

Not up to 16 of the 24 yet but enough that I haven't had the energy to address what's going on. Strange times here in New York City. The Times goes right on advertising baubles that cost more than a lot of the country's annual salary ($45K for a wristwatch...

The Moody Minstrel said...

I read a forwarded article in which someone (apparently writing on Forbes or a similar publication) suggested that that $700 billion, instead of being handed to the same fat cats that created the mess in the first place, be divided among all Americans of working age. That would amount to several thousand dollars per person, which would undoubtedly boost consumer spending, allow people to pay off their mortgages, allow people to pay off their credit debts, encourage people to buy houses, etc.. In other words, it would stimulate the economy right where it needs to be stimulated.

But NOOOOOOOOO...they have to go and hand that huge taxpayer burden over to big business...

Guess where our government's loyalties really lie.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

I don't know much about money matters, but from what I read, it is a sickening mess. Can't believe people can be so greedy, those CEOs taking millions for themselves knowing the next day what will happen!
Many people will be very angry about the injustice. Yesterday two people here in Oz told me they had lost about $70,000 each in three days - in their super funds I suppose.
As for us, well, we just live a week or two at a time.
w.

Democracy Lover said...

It is quite apparent that the independence so valiantly sought and won by Washington and Jefferson is lost, along with freedom and democracy and everything else we like to believe the US stands for.

We are now a pseudo-democratic corporatocracy with an incipient police state completely in hock to the greedy tycoons. Is it even possible to dig out of this mess? One wonders.

The best idea I've seen so far is the Master Plan for China to Bailout America. I'm sure we'd hear a lot of moaning about our loss of sovereignty, as though we had any, but I'd love to see it in action.