The Vicissitudes of Nations

And as the vicissitudes of Nations beget a perpetual tendency to the accumulation of debt, there ought to be in every government a perpetual, anxious, and unceasing effort to reduce that, which at any times exists, as fast as shall be practicable consistently with integrity and good faith. – Alexander Hamilton

If there is anything our government should be discussing at the moment it is the reduction of our national debt. To my mind there is no matter more pressing nor more likely to impinge upon the preservation of liberty than this.

Let me be clear that I am not against debt in principle. Debt whether privately or publicly incurred can be useful if it is not excessive. Anyone who has personally ended up deeply in the red can tell you that excessive debt is burdensome. Borrowing excessively can eventually paint you into a corner, if you are not careful, especially if you are ever late on your payments or default altogether.

When your creditworthiness is compromised the rate at which others are willing to loan you money increases and the higher interest rates eventually result in interest payments that you can no longer support within your existing budget. Once you’ve cut all the discretionary expenses you have in order to make interest payments (as you probably stopped paying down principle long ago), you are faced with the panic-inducing realization that you have to cut back on basic living expenses, find some way to borrow more, to push back the debt you owe or default. The farther you slide the uglier it gets.

My observation of the comic if not tragic governmental debate about raising the debt ceiling is that we’re at the point collectively where the panic tends to set were this discussion taking place at the individual level. If the only answer is to raise the debt ceiling I think it is safe to say that we’re about to roll the last stripe of paint around the feet of our nation.

No pecuniary consideration is more urgent, than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt: on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of time more valuable. – George Washington

4 thoughts on “The Vicissitudes of Nations

  1. I agree, that personal responsibility need be taken, not only for the spending, but for putting an end to the furtherance of fear mongering, and creation of more vicissitude, by settling the hearts and minds of those we touch. By refusing to become fearful regardless of what the transition coming might look like.
    By remaining centered on what is true, and spreading that good word.
    “Has there been a time when everything we needed and more were not provided from the foundation of the earth?”
    “Peace, be still, and know…….”


  2. Chuck Reddick

    I couldn’t agree with you more Gregg. Perhaps the best way (and maybe the only way) out of this dilemma that our country faces is for each of us individually to start living within our means. Sort of old fashioned I know but the taking of personal responsibility seems to me to be the clearest message that we can send to our representatives in the government that this practice of over spending and over borrowing must stop. Maybe they could be reminded that there is much more wealth in providing genuine value to others, and in their case an example of genuine value might be having the discipline to keep our country living within its means.


  3. Lady Leo

    We can’t spend our way out of debt. At some point those we owe will come demanding payment which I fear will have more to do with our liberty. We are spending the future generations freedom.


  4. DeeDee Miller

    I’ve been following this in the news and appreciate the greater virtue your posts have been bringing to the matter. It gives me some great starting points to discuss the matter with my children as well. Thank you!


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