How Is Your Math?

By Mark David Blum, Esq.

The other day I was telling a dear friend that the national debt, $10 TRILLION was a number greater than there are stars in the sky. He sniggered and called me a fool. According to the United States Department of Energy, there are 10 billion stars in the galaxy. There are ten billion estimated galaxies out there. Ten billion is one hundredth of our national debt.

Here are some other sobering facts. According to the latest estimates, counting every man, woman, and child, there are 330 million Americans. Dividing our ten trillion dollar national debt means that each of us already owes $30,303.03. Since neither my wife nor myself have paid our share, I can safely assume that my two daughters will not only shoulder their own $31,000.00 but also pay the share owed by my wife and I.

Would you like to see more fun with numbers? The Iraq War has cost the nation $600 Billion. That number is 6x the number of stars in the galaxy. Every American owes $1,818.90 for their share of the War.

This past week, my government promised to bailout Wall Street with $700 Billion dollars. Though the experts are claiming the number can climb as high as $5 TRILLION, both the Fed. Chairperson and Treasury Secretary said the number of $700 Billion is a randomly selected number. The cost to you and me for this one project is another $2,121.21.

Americans also bailed out a major insurance company. We paid nearly $300.00 each for a collective 80% interest in the company. Throw in another thirty billion dollars for the auto industry and that is another $91.00 for each of us, and this week turns very expensive.

I am done. I cannot afford these debts. No representative of mine has my consent or authorization to engage in such debt accumulation. Doing so is against my will and over my objection. It is just too much money and I don’t think everybody is going to be able to pay up before our entire economy collapses into a national bankruptcy. No wait, the Constitution forbids such escapes. We are mandated to pay off these debts no matter what. If not my generation then in succeeding generations, somebody is going to have to pay this debt; even if at the point of a gun. Not many Chinese and Arab government officials are going to wipe off mass amounts of debt without taking something in return. Give them Hawaii and Alaska for payment in full. Throw in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Isles, and Guam and that should pay off the entire debt. Otherwise, I suspect the end of days is nigh.

Me? I am furious that I owe nearly $33k for services I never received and benefits never conferred. The national debt has been little more than lining the pockets of Haliburton, Blackwater, the maker of Duct Tape, Oil companies, greedy Americans buying in over their head, and now Wall Street speculators.

My government is crying Emergency and that urgent action is mandatory. The last time this President and his party made such a proclamation, we got the War in Iraq, the monster called Department of Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, and warrantless searches.

I just cannot concur that throwing $2,121.21 into the abyss. My wife and daughters concur. So too do everybody I know. We simply do not have another couple thousand dollars to throw into the faces of greedy Wall Street speculators. My government lacks the legal and moral authority to compel otherwise.

The only viable alternative is to let me off the hook now. Let us pay our fair share of the debt and not be saddled with any future debt beyond the day to day operations of government. Then I could actually consider a McCain presidency with its promise of a slash and burn the budget. Yet, until the debt is gone, all discretionary income that comes into Washington goes into the payment on the interest on the debt. The principle just keeps growing because Republicans and government bureaucrats are addicted to spending at a certain lifestyle level. Nobody is putting on the brakes.

In closing, I leave you with these two thoughts. First, does the Constitution’s language that government’s role is to promote the “general” welfare include rescuing the welfare of an individual? Second, under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection analysis, does the fact that government gives a complete bailout to one person or corporation mean that I too can call upon government to bailout me? I promise it will be less than a penny a person for that bailout. What is a penny between friends, eh?

A penny saved is a penny for your thoughts.

To quote a favorite Republican, “I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution ... or have failed their purpose ... or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should be attacked for neglecting my constituents' 'interests,' I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty, and in that cause I am doing the very best I can.” -- Barry Goldwater

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