Contrary to what Martin McCaw wrote, I have never attended a tea party meeting. But I will speak to any Green Party, tea party, Democratic or Republican group that invites me. And I will argue across party lines that our nation has a huge problem with debt, and that it is a major justice issue.
Our huge debt is an economic and a moral problem. Debt, with no intention or no effort to pay it back, is always a moral problem. That was the main thrust of my column two months ago.
It is unfortunate that some want to turn my concern into a moment of partisan political warfare.
Mr. McCaw distorts what I said. I never said I wanted to defund Social Security or Medicare. I said economists are already worried about how to fully fund these programs and keep them solvent.
Our growing national debt and yearly deficit spending will only make it more difficult to make these programs secure.
A few weeks ago, Chas Vigneron suggested I lied about Thomas Jefferson, that my "historical accuracy nears: ‘Pants on Fire.'" I'm sorry to hear this, because I learned my facts on a tour of Monticello. The facts I presented were accurate.
Dumas Malone, the noted Jefferson scholar, said that Jefferson inherited from his father-in-law, John Wayles, a large estate along with "a huge debt from the effects of which he never entirely escaped."
Yes, there were some other factors that made financial recovery difficult, but these burdens were in addition to the burden of legally inherited debt.
Jefferson (unwisely) endorsed notes for $20,000 for Wilson Cary Nicholas, who went bankrupt, lugging him down with debt at the end of his life. This does not eliminate the fact he carried a long financial burden previously.
Today we already owe about 40 cents in interest on every dollar our government spends, on the very day our government spends it! Will our grandchildren owe 60 or 70 cents the moment a dollar is spent?
It amazes me to hear people say a yearly $1 trillion deficit is necessary to help the poor. In the long run, our unbridled spending may help many more become poor. A debt that cannot be serviced can destroy the strength of our economy. In that event, fewer jobs and less revenue will not help the poor.