Tuesday, April 14, 2009

When and Where Will The Buck Stop?

America has always been a nation in debt. Shortly after the birth of our nation, our country went into debt and continued as political leaders came and left Washington D.C. President Truman once claimed that the “buck stops here” but like other politicians, he just passed the buck to the next successor coming into our nation’s capital.

America has always been a nation in debt. Shortly after the birth of our nation, our country went into debt and continued as political leaders came and left Washington D.C. President Truman once claimed that the “buck stops here” but like other politicians, he just passed the buck to the next successor coming into our nation’s capital.

As politicians passed the buck to the next generation, the national debt steadily grew. Politicians, both past and present, are infected with the false belief that they can wash their hands of responsibility for paying down the deficit and that some future generation will take up the mantle of eliminating our country’s debt.

Politicians, regardless of political party, have recklessly allowed the federal deficit get out of control. Neither party has, nor currently, been able to say no to spending beyond what our nation can afford. Consider this, in 1980, the year I was born, the US National Debt was approximately 900 Billion dollars. Today, as we speak, the US National Debt is over 11 Trillion Dollars.

The heavy mantle of paying off the debt falls on the shoulderS of every young adult in this country. They are passing the debt to my generation, and subsequent generations that are after us. The national debt is equivalent to having every man, woman and child in the country saddled with $35,000 in debt and we are piling on more debt. Let’s not forget that American individuals are also drowning in their own consumer debt as well. The American Dream is being taken away from us by irresponsible adults.

As a young adult who is about to leave higher education and enter the workplace, I have a burning question for the political leaders of our nation: will you continue to spend away our American Dream or will the buck stop with you?

I fully support the outrage over the bailout money irresponsible corporations have been given by equally irresponsible politicians. America has a history of bailing out failing airline companies, incompetent car companies, greedy savings and loan associations, and now irresponsible financial institutions. When will politicians end the practice of giving the buck to incompetent business leaders and corrupt corporations? This practice needs to stop and it needs to end today.

When we talk about the consequences of passing the buck of financial stewardship over our nation’s finances to the next flock of politicians who enter the halls of government, we’re not talking about dollars and cents. The discussion was, and never is, about money -- nor is it about taxes, reckless spending, deep deficits and gigantic bailouts. Such discussions are just a way to help us visualize what we’re really talking about, which is Rights and Freedoms.

We have learned from the sad history of nations across this planet that a government once stretched by the increase of power, never regains its original dimensions. As the government grows in size and power, it expands at the expense of the rights and freedoms of its citizens. We know that a decrease in the rights and freedoms of its citizens is a direct result of an increase in acts of oppression and abuse by the government.

We have also learned from history that when a country spends beyond its means, such as providing massive bailouts, there will be a corresponding loss of freedoms. A nation that runs on debt ensures that it will not remain free and strong forever. A state that is burdened by debt will be powerless in guaranteeing rights or preventing the loss of freedoms that were once enjoyed by the public. Likewise, the people will not have the ability to exercise their rights and freedoms because they will not have the financial ability to do so. A government that is not economically free, will abuse the citizens and rob them of whatever rights are remaining.

Despite its weaknesses and flaws, one the best protectors of individual liberty and freedom, and strongest defenses against the abuse of government power, is capitalism. When an individual is able to earn, keep and spend his wages, they are in the best position to meet his or her needs and wants, to pursue their desired careers, to support institutions that reflect their values and beliefs, to improve the community they live in, help the downtrodden or oppressed, enjoy the environment, and pursue their dreams.

Capitalism never was meant to operate only by an invisible hand. Government has the responsibility to ensure that corporations conduct honest transactions with the public and that they do not abuse their powers gained through the income from its consumers. It is to ensure that the market place operates freely, fairly and openly for all. Government should not meddle in the affairs of the free market by dictating who can get fired, how much a person’s wage should be and whether or not a business or employment contract should be honored. The government is only to be a referee to put bad corporations permanently in the penalty box and leave the good corporations to participate in the free market.

Any government that has the absolute authority to determine the flow of commerce will not be content with just having dominion over the economic sphere of the nation. It will also seek to dictate the political, social, religious, and cultural affairs of the nation. When the government has greater power than the people, inequality occurs because it is typically just the ruling class and everybody else. As a result, oppression and abuse at the hand of government occur with greater frequency and the light of individual liberty will grow dim.

We are at a unique moment in American history. We can either preserve our freedom or let it slip away from us. We choose to either avoid or face the consequences of financial irresponsibility.

To anyone even considering running for office or any politician seeking reelection: I don’t want to hear any promises other than that they will get us out of debt and stop the reckless spending of our tax dollars.

We the People, young and old, male and female, rich and poor, republican and democrat, believers or disbelievers in God, are united today in protest against the financial irresponsibility of our leaders. Prosperity is not a guarantee -- it is a challenge that must be earned every generation. But because the politicians have refused to let the buck stop with them, the buck stops with us. It stops with my generation. TODAY.

UPDATE: You can watch the speech on YouTube:

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