At Wednesday’s debate Mitt Romney said something I never thought I’d hear him say – or, indeed, hear anyone in government say:
LEHRER: … Governor Romney, you — you go first because the president went first on segment one. And the question is this, what are the differences between the two of you as to how you would go about tackling the deficit problem in this country?
ROMNEY: Good. I’m glad you raised that, and it’s a — it’s a critical issue. I think it’s not just an economic issue, I think it’s a moral issue. I think it’s, frankly, not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation and they’re going to be paying the interest and the principal all their lives.
And the amount of debt we’re adding, at a trillion a year, is simply not moral…
One could almost leap and shout for joy.
It has been growing on my mind – for some time now – that it is not right for any government agency to have debt. You see, when the government creates debt what it does is deny to future generations the right to make their own decisions. As a true democrat, I refuse to bow to the tyranny of those who merely happen to be walking around at the time – I pay heed to those who are dead (ie, I revere tradition) as well as have consideration for those who are yet to be born (I won’t, if I can help it, make things more difficult for them by engaging in idiocy today). Many of those who are walking around right now want all sorts of things which we cannot afford; and even those who want higher taxes still want even more spending than even the higher taxes would cover. Anyone who wants anything which cannot be paid for out of current accounts is reaching in to the future and acting as a most tyrannical dictator. People not yet born may want to expend their collective tax dollars on Project X but they won’t be able to because we, before they were born, spent their tax dollars on Project Y. Is that in any way fair?
You can try to dress it up and say “well, true we’re mortgaging their future but we’re also providing them this wonderful thing”. But suppose when the future arrives they don’t consider it all that wonderful? Suppose even if it were wonderful they’d yet rather have something else? Who are you, current person, to deny them their choice?
The future does not belong to us – the day after you vote to increase the debt on persons yet unborn you may well die. You’re not there – you can’t convince anyone tomorrow, you can only deal with today. Today we may have X amount of dollars to spend and it is up to us, by applying our wisdom, to figure out how to spend them and once we run out, that is the end of the matter. You can try to hike taxes to get a bit more but everyone knows that after a while high tax rates have a diminishing return (even liberals know this – so ultra-liberal Governor Jerry Brown just extended lower tax rates for Hollywood…because he knows that if Hollywood were hit with a higher tax rate, Hollywood would move out of California and so California would get nothing…the pity, though, is that liberals won’t apply this to all spheres of economic activity…guess it helps if you can throw a swank, Beverly Hills party). But no matter how you slice it, there isn’t an endless supply of money – there is just so much and then there is no more. And there is the additional fact that no matter what we do there will never be enough money to satisfy all the wants – some will have to be set aside. To borrow to meet wants is just criminal cruelty – and an undemocratic assault upon future generations.
Right now we are so jammed up with debt that we won’t be able to get out of it for quite a while but it is to be hoped that we are learning our lesson – and Mitt Romney’s statement at the debate shows that he, at least, is far ahead on the learning curve. Much further ahead than Obama and his Democrats. We have to balance our budget, pay our debt off and then never borrow another red cent.
Want a social program? Pay for it out of current accounts. Want a new road? Pay for it out of current accounts. Want to fight a war? Pay for it out of current accounts. And if there isn’t enough money for it, then you’d just better not do it. Its the only moral thing to do.