… addendum to Priestley's "sinking boat"
It was about seventy-five years ago when I first heard my parents lamenting the financial burden being imposed upon future generations of Americans because of excessive government spending.
Nearly four generations have come and gone since those old Franklin Roosevelt days and the financial pyramid scheme has continued. Most of us are familiar with the scam run in and around Boston by Charles Ponzi, back in the 1920’s.
It was a scheme whereby the first investors paid in on a plan which returned handsome dividends when they cashed out, as more people were jumping in, (the second layer of the pyramid). And they, in turn, took their money and ran when the third layer bought in. Each successive wave of investors enlarged the payoff for those at the top of the pile – until the pool of contributors ran dry and the hoax imploded on itself.
A rough parallel can be drawn between that skulduggery and how our government (and many Americans) has contributed to this financial house of cards which we now see in danger of collapsing. Layers (generations) of people buying extensively on credit, with little prospect of fully repaying their debts, have had their consequences.
A system built with no actual basis of ownership (capital) cannot sustain itself indefinitely – the piper must be paid. In today’s society, younger generations don’t really “own” anything of consequence. Their homes, automobiles, boats, RV’s and big-ticket items are heavily mortgaged, smothering them with a monthly struggle of debt repayment. The days of a ceremonial burning of a home mortgage contract after thirty year’s payments and true ownership are now an anachronism.
And let us not forget the long-suffering college graduates who borrowed government money which many may never be able to repay. Whatever became of the young people who "dish-washed" their way through institutions of higher learning?
But, of course, the real blackguards to be held accountable are the corrupt mortgage lenders, the scoundrels on Wall Street and the banking industry who have profited from their fraudulent practices. Let us also look at the something-for-nothing “home buyers” who have also taken advantage. There are Ponzi-like opportunists at all levels of our society.
They have all learned their economic lessons well, simply by observing their own government appropriating money (which it doesn’t have) to finance programs which we don’t need. Deficit spending has become a way of life at all levels.
As that old American cowboy, humorist, Will Rogers, observed many years ago – “We may be the only nation to go to the poor house driving an automobile.”
November 7, 2008