Kicking the Can (of debt) Down the Road

Following up our post (Tax the Man Behind the Tree) about taxes and revenues, the article linked above traces our national debt since 1900 and projects how it might grow through 2050. It shows national debt as a percentage of GDP., which may or may not be something we understand. If they plotted it as dollars rather than as relative percentages, it would probably blow the circuit breakers in your mind, so maybe this is for our own safety.

Someone once said the Boomer Generation was very good at passing debt to future generations. I don’t know whether this is a fair assessment. Regardless, passing debt to future generations seems irresponsible and selfish. Next time one of our elected representatives talks about government plans for the future, you might want to ask about our national debt, and ask who will pay the bills. Be prepared to ask again after he laughs and changes the subject.

A friend once told me that bankruptcy was a legitimate tool for personal financial management. In his view, if you racked up too much credit card debt, you should declare bankruptcy, wipe the slate clean, and go on spending. If you declare bankruptcy several times over the course of your life, no problem; it is just part of managing your budget. The legality of such an approach seems iffy, but there is not much doubt that passing your debts off onto someone else and then doing it again and again is immoral. But how about a nation passing its debt down to your grandchildren? Not cool, not right, and not moral.

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