Bonnie Alba
Debt's truth and consequences
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By Bonnie Alba
July 2, 2010

"No generation has a right to contract debts greater than can be paid off during the course of its own existence." George Washington to James Madison 1789

Millions of Americans lost all fiscal common sense over the last 25 years. They bought homes with huge mortgages, made payments on two- plus vehicles along with never-ending credit card payments — most during the 90s pseudo economic upturn. It was the great illusion which lured all into its masterful trap. The debt trap became a way of life.

Just as government did, people did. Long ago, the federal government accepted that debt was good, nothing to worry about. Americans fell into the debt trap all too easily, lured by offers they thought they could pay back. Unfortunately many went beyond their incomes and fell into a black hole, unable to see a way out. Savings decreased to almost zero while spending increased with no end in sight.

As the people abruptly awoke to their personal financial peril, they discovered the government's propensity for spending and increasing a National Debt beyond common sense, imperiling our nation's fiscal sovereignty and future generations.

What the federal government had been doing for at least 80 years and offered to the people was a way to "have it all." We took the cheese and ran with it. But the trap had a delayed spring. When the spring released under the weight of economic pressures, it caught many people unprepared.

This has caused many Americans to stop, think and change their consumer habits. They are now paying off their debts — if they still have jobs. And saving too.

Rather than listen to present-day political leaders and so-called economic experts, many of us, perhaps millions, are seeking and listening to the wisdom of those who came before to include the founders. Not only listening, but taking on the responsibility of rebuking and correcting ourselves and our government.

Meanwhile the liberal democrat philosophy repeatedly chimes the mantra that annual deficits and the National Debt don't matter, that debt shouldn't slow government growth down at all. This while nations including the United States are headed towards fiscal disaster. The Republicans have also failed. There are very few real fiscal conservatives now serving in Congress.

What federal and state governments have done and continue to do fiscally is an insult to most Americans. Or, should be.

It is said that a government budget cannot be compared to a regular family's income, expenditures, savings and debt. Americans beg to differ. There is no difference and, as we see occurring before our eyes, nations, including America, are financially failing worldwide. Why? Plain and simple: Continually spending more than income received over decades.

America and other countries have enjoyed over 50 years of prosperity which led many to believe it would never end. The reality is that what goes up is very likely to come down.

When families suffer from financial hardship, what do they do? Increasingly Americans are tightening their belts and recovering from the debt trap. With the high number of foreclosures and rising bankruptcies plus job losses, Americans are going through a financial struggle they didn't ever think could happen.

Our personal family experience: In the mid-seventies, my Army sergeant husband and I realized we would enjoy more financial freedom if we paid off our debts and increased our cash flow. With three growing children, our credit card debt was growing while making minimum payments in addition to monthly car payments. We were barely making it. Thus, we embarked on a strict budget. It was not easy with many stops and starts along the way. The important thing is we did it. At the end of three years, we were debt free, giving us the increased cash flow which enabled us to live within our means.

Should a government's fiscal budget be any different than a family budget? The people are learning this difficult lesson, but the government shows no sign of common sense. There are consequences for growing the debt. To correct means a time of suffering and sacrifice.

This is one of the top issues for Tea Party Americans. It's time for our government leaders to seek wisdom instead of their own agendas. Otherwise, the trap of continual borrowing and debt will spring, if not today, tomorrow. If they continue down this irrational road, they will lose their jobs.

Debt is addictive — Americans and government must stop for the sake of our grandchildren and future generations.

© Bonnie Alba

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Bonnie Alba

(Editor's note: Bonnie Alba passed away on February 12, 2017. You can read her obituary here.)

Bonnie Alba is a "politically incorrect" researcher-writer. Since 1995, her articles have appeared in California newspapers. Previously she served in various Department of Defense positions for over 16 years... (more)

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