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MY WORD: About the federal debt – and other stuff

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By Robert Pearce

In the future columns, if I test the limits of the First Amendment and the latitude of this newspaper, I expect someone to slap my hand. I have, however, promised the publisher that I will not mention political parties, elected officials still in office or candidates for office.

Last week we discussed some things that shaped my conservatism. Probably events during the Great Depression are most vivid.

Example: One night there was a knock on our back door on Clay Street. Dad, in one of rare appearances before my bedtime, answered to find a man, hat in hand, clean shaven and wearing clean work clothes.

“Mister, do you have any work I can do for food for my family?” the man asked.

That’s the only thing we had plenty of: work. We had a small garden in the back, plus a large one at the family farm where Dad and one of his brothers were struggling to keep it in the family.

Mother was a prodigious canner. The man was given a simple task and was loaded up with canned goods in Mason jars.

Maybe that’s why I get so angry about our public debt of $17 trillion. Everyone still living who voted us into this mess should be sent to the nearest dairy or cattle ranch and let our grandchildren and great-grandchildren throw ripe cow pies at them.

But wait, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is an unfunded liability of over $40 trillion in the Social Security system. There is no “on the books” record of this.

So, the public debt is not $17 trillion. It’s more like $57 trillion. Plus interest. We’ll probably discuss that in the future. That’s when it gets really scary.

Why do we keep sending back the same folks who did this?

Some of the things we’d like to discuss later are: overhauling the tax system, how to balance the budget, the judiciary, the lawmaking power of bureaucrat, and many more depending on the approval of the editors and publishers.

Correction: Samuel Johnson lived in the 18th century.

Stay tuned.

 

Robert Pearce is retired and lives in Shelbyville.