Tuesday, January 8, 2013

National Debt Awareness Day - January 8th

     On January 8th, 1835 the U.S. national debt dropped to $0 for the first (and last) time in it's history.  Some attribute this instance to President Andrew Jackson's efforts which included allowing the charter for the Second Bank of the United States to expire. But whatever the strategy it has unfortunately never been repeated.

In 2004 our debt was nearly $7 trillion. Only seven years later, January 8th 2011, the amount had doubled to $14 trillion!  2011 was the first National Debt Awareness Day, an effort to draw attention to the fact that massive amounts of debt are being racked up in our name.  In other words, the government has a gigantic credit card and politicians are wearing it out; you, the taxpayer, along with future taxpayers get stuck with the payments.

The second NDA day found the debt had risen to $15.2 trillion, and that was after the U.S. Congress supposedly "got serious" about the debt and deficit!  At the same time, the president expressed his desire to increase the debt to $16 trillion within a year.  Congress accommodated the president and just like clockwork the new debt limit was reached again, no surprise for most.

What is behind all of this debt and how will it be paid when interest payments are already billions of dollars?  Politicians focus on the yearly deficit as a way to avoid the massive debt and snowballing interest and future tax burden.  

Share this post to let your friends know and promote discussion of National Debt Awareness Day!

George Washington on debt in his Farewell Address
"As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it, avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertion in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should co-operate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind that towards the payment of debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment, inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the   measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate."
Thomas Jefferson
"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."

I hope you enjoy being a part of this occasion - the third annual National Debt Awareness Day!  Maybe one day we will have an annual celebration of the 2nd debt free day in the U.S. and find that it will remain that way for many years to come.  Interest paid is freedom wasted.

Links about the federal budget and related items:
http://www.usdebtclock.org/  - This has a good breakdown of our debt

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