"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, April 4, 2011

An Apt Metaphor for Our National Debt

From Ace of Spades:
We're like kids who see no huge changes in our day to day lives, so we assume all is well. Mom and Dad still feed us; we still have a roof over our head; the schoolbus keeps coming to pick us up. As far as we can tell, life is going on as normal. But what we don't see -- Mom and Dad's huge credit card debt, the car-repair bill that is now on the verge of going to collection, Mom's hospital bill, the ARM on the house that is about to adjust upward -- is the stuff that is about to shift our lives into an entirely new orbit. When everything finally collapses, it descends on us like a disaster out of blue, but that's only because we weren't paying attention. We preferred to let Mom and Dad deal with that stuff. It never occurs to us that maybe Mom and Dad are incompetent at managing their finances.
Mom and Dad, in this scenario, are the "elites" who have governed us over the past few decades.  We are the children, accepting their largesse as our due, but never looking behind the curtain to see that the goodies we get (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, welfare, food stamps, college loans, subsidized housing and mortgages, etc.) need to be backed up by real income and, ultimately, real value in things produced in order to be stable.   To the degree that they aren't anymore, we are headed for a reckoning. 

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