“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 debt, 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 calling and our creeds…[we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers… And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for [another ]…till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery…And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.”
Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Samuel Kercheval, Monticello, July 12, 1816
Some thoughts regarding this quote as it relates to my life:
I attended public and private schools. I was taught to “Fear The Lord” and “Pledge Allegiance”. I was taught that if I was honest, spiritual and worked hard, that everything would work out and I would obtain the American Dream. A successful career. Own a home, have a family and maybe, just maybe, a really cool car.
We saw home loans given to those who could not pay for them. Equity lines of credit on false information and inflated home values; junior and missy need iPods, iPhones and Daddy needs a new boat baby!
Thankfully, in spite of advice from many to get a house! I managed to stay out of the home purchasing market and maintain substantial amounts in savings and 401K’s. However, with artificially low interest rates, making money from my earnings is more like going to Las Vegas. Money, like many things “stays in Vegas”. Wall Street, err, Vegas, always wins or will get bailed out in the end. They are too big to fail, but I am not.
Now I see Social Security, my share into it suddenly changing, even increasing my tax burden. I must retire later in life, and draw less from it. All of this done to me by those who basically redesigned it for themselves; making sure they saw no negative changes to the system they made for themselves. The coming generations will be paying the next 50+ years.
Yes, the generation that preached to me on how to live, be a patriotic citizen, God fearing, gave me lessons on morals and character, is the largest money grabbing, socially unjust generation in our nation’s history. Racking up debt after debt, without any intentions of ever paying it back in their lifetimes. Very content on passing debts and social burdens onto their children’s children’s children.