Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sticking Your Kids With Your Debt

I typically have two big issues which I judge political candidates on: the environment and the national debt.

Almost every year, both issues have been completely overlooked in the election process by both parties. However, this year, the environment actually is being talked about and the Democrats seem to have some plans to improve things.

The national debt has had no discussion whatsoever. Have we forgotten that the yearly budget deficit, brought to zero under President Clinton, is now higher than it's ever been? President Bush and the Republican Congress ran up a massive amount of debt that we are going to have to pay back.

Correction - our children will be paying it. Which brings me to a point, brought up eloquently by Oliver "Buzz" Thomas, a minister, lawyer and author of the book "10 Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You (But Can't Because He Needs the Job)."

Thomas wrote a blog post for USA Today earlier this month about our penchant for debt. He feels that we are violating fundamental religious principles by running up this debt and putting in no effort to pay it back. Essentially, it is like building up a $30,000 credit card bill and then leaving it to your children.

Would you do that? Probably not. But, as Thomas points out, it is just easier when it is a distant, shapeless blob like the national debt. And our politicians, especially the spendy Republican President we have, don't help. Can't blame it on the war either. This administration has increased the national debt every year without even counting war expenses.

As Thomas puts it, "Whether you're Christian, Muslim, Jewish or Zoroastrian, your tradition has taught you at least this: a) Pay your bills and b) Provide for your children. Right now, we are doing neither.

So why aren't our politicians talking about it? Probably because it will be uncomfortable to pay back the debt. Services will have to be cut. Taxes will have to be raised (sorry W - your way ain't-a workin').

We have to re-insert this into our national discussion again. Do we need to resurrect Ross Perot to bring back the topic of paying the debt? I hope not.

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