Government & Constitution

Are Deficits Unpatriotic?


On the day before Independence Day 2008, Senator Barack Obama delivered this opinion of deficit spending at a campaign event:

The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents.  Number 43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.

(Emphasis mine.)  President Obama has now added $4 trillion all by his lonesome… in less than half the time it took “Number 43.”  Does he still think deficits are “unpatriotic,” or is that the wrong word?

Sustained deficit spending is certainly irresponsible.  It’s one thing to overspend for a short time when faced with a massive national crisis, like a war or natural disaster.  Today, trillion-dollar deficits are an accepted fact of life in Washington, even after a big “deficit reduction deal.”  This means the government is willing to spend more money than it collects, in perpetuity. 

That’s a mockery of the American principle of restrained government.  For that matter, it makes a joke of the notion that government can centrally “plan” economic growth.  It can’t even plan its own growth.

Deficit spending is tyrannical.  It’s the ultimate form of taxation without representation, presenting children not yet born with bills they never had a chance to vote against.  It establishes programs that become permanent financial obligations for future Congresses.  When the people demand fiscal restraint from big-spending government, they’re told spending cuts are effectively impossible, because too many citizens depend on the deficit-financed programs, and too many government employees would lose their jobs.

Deficit spending is a lie.  The people are offered subsidies and benefits paid for with money that doesn’t exist.  When politicians speak of trillion-dollar “stimulus” programs, they’re distorting the free market with false information, and wielding economic influence they don’t really have.  Government attempts to create new markets out of thin air using deficit money, such as the “green jobs” disaster, amount to weaving a mirage with illusionary thread.

Our massive national debt, built through decades of deficit spending, makes America weak.  Increasing individual and corporate dependency on a rapidly growing government drains the vitality of the free market.  Unfriendly creditor nations like China gain unhealthy amounts of economic leverage over us.  Credit agencies like Standard & Poor’s become major players in public policy debates. 

Hundreds of billions of dollars per year are appropriated from taxpayers merely to finance our staggering debt – the ransom demand from yesterday’s broken promises.  If the interest we pay on the debt goes up, perhaps as a result of America’s downgraded credit rating, more billions will vanish, without providing any benefit to the taxpayers.

Very soon, we will feel the consequences from years of deficit spending, as unsustainable entitlement programs collapse… and the resulting social chaos will destroy us.  The day quickly approaches when Washington can’t borrow or print enough money to pretend it can function.  The last generation that might avoid the crash has come dangerously close to accepting sugary lies, peddled by those who seek political benefit from riding the dying system for a little longer.  When their illusions fail, there will be nowhere to register a complaint, and very little to discuss.

Does all of that add up to make deficit spending “unpatriotic?”  Barack Obama claimed to think so, four trillion dollars ago.


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  • Richard

    The more I read about Obama and his cohorts double talk, the more I am reminded of Saul Alinsky’s ‘Rules for Radicals’.  A good quote, “The issue is never the issue. The issue is the revolution.” All this garbage made so much more sense once I read about it. The means justifies the ends and what have you.

     Chicago style “community organizer”. Yeah..

     The fool believes that anarchy can be maintained, and those with a brain realizes that anarchy leads to oligarchy, unless of course, the “anarchists” believe in real freedom and seek to create a true and functional republic out of a tyranical state where individual liberty is true for all, so long as they are willing to work for it.

  • Martin Hale

    Of course he doesn’t mention that after we went into a deep hole to finance WWII, we came out after the war with two major programmes to help our allies and enemies rebuild, while helping ourselves by requiring that they spend a certain percentage of their loans with American businesses.  Win-win.  The Marshall Plan and Lend-Lease.  Both were good for the world and good for us.

    I don’t the crowd down in DC have that sort of creative thinking.  Hell, even FC brought up a programme which the braintrust down in DC hasn’t thought about – Debt Bonds.

    BTW, John, like the new ‘mugshot’ photo you’re using.  Nice new update to go along with the new site design.

  • alouisis

    This article incorrectly says the President did this “all by his lonesome.” 

    False, he inherited two wars that were being fought on credit. The congress refused to “sack up” and tax those who could easily afford to pay; the recipients of corporate welfare, long term capital gains, high income earners, transaction tax on securities trades, etc. None of these things would have impacted the economy (security trades and long term capital gains almost exclusively represent speculation, not capital formation). 

    Congress would have none of it. Who in congress? Republicans and the lunatic fringe tea party freshmen.If you are mad at someone, be mad at them!

    Obama has certainly not delivered on his promise, it seems there was an impassable stump on the road to getting there. Too bad for us all that the obstinate republican dogmatists are willing to sacrifice our short term prosperity for their hope of future political gain.

  • JayC777

    “can you cut your way out of deficit without raising taxes?”

    Absolutely.  This country survived for 137 years without income taxes.  If you made the proper cuts and rooted out the fraud you could once again eliminate the income tax and still run a surplus.
    Those are the real facts.

  • confedgal

    But we did have import taxes which was charged on everything brought into the U.S. legally. Every time we sign a free trade agreement, it cuts those taxes.

  • reddarin

    > he inherited

    blah blah blah Cowboi Poets blah blah blah Big Bird blah blah blah Nancy Pelosi’s tax payer funded private Jet blah blah blah Pelosi’s alcohol bill blah blah etc.