Debt is a popular thing! Credit cards, mortgages, car payments and just about anything else our little paychecks can't cover! Governments are made of people and they also borrow money for projects and day-to-day functioning way beyond their needs. Sometimes the interest is so low that the money can be borrowed for free (or near free) while at other times, it may be a crisis that forces countries right into a default interest rates. One this is for sure...most countries are in debt and run dangerously close to insolvency and if they don't change course we may have more serious consequences.
Public Pressure to Borrow
Government is about helping one's fellow countrymen/women, at least in theory, and wherever resources are available there will be a lot of people interested in obtaining those resources. A lack of money doesn't stop people from wanting things :) Compounding our problems psychologically, lawmakers may not feel any real guilt over obsessive borrowing. It is removed from their daily lives. When faced with not pleasing their constituents and making tough calls; most will give in!
Do you want to be the person who says "No!"? Few elected officials would have even the slightest desire to run a foul of the pressure to keep the government faucet open. We may know we should close down some programs but getting people to agree on what no longer is needed can be a nearly impossible task that only the daring and foolhardy want to take on! Thus, balancing budgets isn't about restricting programs, it is about not forcing our needs today on people tomorrow.
I would like to provide some wisdom here if I may. The global financial markets are complex and move billions/trillions around the world everyday. One mouse click and entire markets can shift. Money is too often seen as a depersonalized abstract concept far removed from people's everyday lives. It no longer something we see dwindle out of our pocketbooks but is mixed with credit and savings in a way that is no longer "real" for people.
What is Money? A Unit of Measure
Money is a unit of work, time and effort at its essential root. It isn't just a number but is based in its productive value on the market. We receive money based on our ability to produce things of value. If we produce a lot of value, we should receive a lot of money. Countries that have higher labor value typically earn more money then countries that have low labor value.
Prior to cash and electronic currency trade was the primary way of obtaining goods. A chicken for two loaves of bread was the nature of daily commerce. When the clock was invented, money became a little more like a unit of the value of time. The Industrial Age soon followed and time and wage connection spread throughout the globe. Alas we in our modern time money became a measure of creative capital.
Removed from the Consequences of Spending Money
Countries that borrow excessively are burning resources from the future. They don't have enough dollars in their pockets today to pay for all of their needs and therefore need to reach into the labor of future eras. Our children and our children's children are the recipients of our financial decisions now!
An ethical dilemma is created. As parents we may have a hard time taking our children's college money (i.e. wages, savings, etc...) to buy just one more car, toaster, or toy. In those terms our hearts would break. With national debt we do this collectively because the consequences are far removed and abstract for the average person who feels little obligation to that debt.
Politicians have a responsibility to be frugal with our nation's money. It isn't their money and spending "numbers on a piece of paper" is easy when the consequences don't come to rear their ugly heads until decades later. The old farmer mentality of NOT getting into debt are long gone. Electronic versions of money have warped our view of spending.
What Can We Do?
Let's get wise about money! Money is about capital and value on the market. We can't just borrow from our grandchildren without serious thought. Balancing the budget will take some time but if we continue to push our lawmakers to make better decisions in their budget expenditures we can start shaving off percentages of waste without necessarily impacting the total benefits.
We can also continue to innovate our services for greater market value. Once we start down the path of re-tooling our services, without a doubt, we discover avenues to betterment that can have a long-term influence on U.S. sustainability. We need people like you to encourage your political representative to take a serious look at budgets to start reducing the debt burden on us all.
We can step back as Americans and wonder if we are truly being heard by the politicians who claim represent us. As they rise there are lots of promises but once they are in the mix all of those promises seem to be less important. Real action requires real people. The constant arguing an deadlock by bother parties seems to influence our future chances of success.
You can find your political representative here to encourage more thought before spending.....