Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Why Are We In Debt

Why are we in debt as a nation?

At the risk of being offensively blunt, it’s because we’re apparently a bunch of morons. It’s because our governments – federal, state and local – are either incompetent or unethical, and we the people are largely purposely unaware of what’s been going on.

It isn’t as if we haven’t known that our cities, states and country have been poorly misusing their authority and our money; we’ve had ample proof of that at ever level. And yet it was more convenient for us to turn a blind eye to such ridiculous expenditures as:

· Baltimore, Maryland’s former Mayor Sheila Dixon, who was eventually charged
with two counts of fraudulent misappropriation, two counts of felony theft and one
count of misconduct in office. She was convicted of one count of fraudulent
misappropriation, involving the personal use of $630 worth of gift cards.

· Bell, California’s $100,000 annual salary for four part time council members. The
city manager, meanwhile, made $800,000 a year.

· Pennsylvania’s insistence on awarding PENNDOT contracts to the lowest bidder,
which consistently ends up being the same company that then raises its bill and
its timeline repeatedly throughout the job.

· The United States’ allocation of $71,623 “stimulus” funds to the Wake Forest
University Baptist Medical Center for its “Monkeys Getting High for Science” study.

· The United States Defense Department’s “inability” to account for $8.7 billion of
the $9.1 billion
allocated to reconstructing Iraq.

Now those example – especially the first – may seem inconsequential considering the scale of our national debt and deficit. But every little bit counts, when it comes down to it. Ms. Dixon was only caught misusing $630. But that hardly means that’s all she took.

Let’s face it: The more power we give to people, the more likely they’re going to misuse it. Ultimate power corrupts ultimately and all that. Hence the reason why you’re out anywhere from $15 to $4,859 depending on what state you live in, and$42,000 - $119,000 on the national level depending on whether you’re a taxpayer or not.

That’s why the Founding Fathers – even most of those who adopted the Federalist label and championed a stronger central government – were so ardent about keeping government out of people’s lives overall… because they were smart enough to know what could happen otherwise.

It’s time that we wise up too.

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