The American Way of Life (Part 20 of 28)

Part 20: of a 28-part series

“Those who do work are denied a fair return for their labor by a tax system.” This was in 1981, Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address. And this is coming out of the Carter administration. Some of you may not remember that. Some of you may not have been born yet. Nevertheless, you weren’t paying taxes yet then either.

But, [we have] a tax system which penalizes successful achievement and keeps us from maintaining full productivity. We need to be productive now more than ever. We’ve got debt up to our kazoo –$700 billion plus ($850 billion, actually – now they tacked on a couple of hundred more billion dollars. Once you’ve spent $700 billion, I guess another $150 billion isn’t anything. Let’s just go for broke!) And we’re going to pay for it. But it could be taken care of.

For decades we have lived in deficit spending. Individually, if we were truthful, for the last 30 years we have lived not within our means. We have charged and charged. They send credit cards to high school students nowadays. They can’t lure you to do something that you’re not disposed to do. It’s not the banks that are at fault. It’s we who have the disposition to not live within our means, and to lie on loan applications, and to fall into temptation, as it were. We’re weak, and we’ve lived in debt for so long that the balloon has had to pop.

[We’ve been] mortgaging our future and our children’s future for the temporary convenience –  now we’re going to have to get down to just cash flow. We’ll have to pay everything just by cash, which means stores will have to close, you’ll have to cook at home. No more lattes. We have been spending like a drunken sailor. There’s good debt and bad debt, alright? But you have to understand that much of what we’re in today is because of bad debt. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals.

Here we are. You and I as individuals can live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why do we think that collectively as a nation we’re not bound by that same limitation? We’re going to have to hold our Congressmen and our assemblymen, both at the state level and the national level, to live within their means. Bobby Genta – I love Bobby Genta. Remember Bobby Genta? He told his assemblymen, “You live within your means. You’ll only get a $50 lunch.” He got an A+ rating. He was supposed to speak at the Republican convention, but he stayed at Louisiana as a result. But watch out for Bobby Genta. It can happen.

To be continued…