Thursday, September 17, 2009

Debt musings

To most people, myself included, a reasonable amount of debt is generally acceptable as long as a person enters into the debt intending to pay it back. I have one relative who appears to purposely run up bills knowing that she might get out of paying them because of her specific situation (I won't go into details). To me, such behavior is theft. I also consider some debt "better" than other "debt", e.g. purchasing a modest home or going back to college outranks "shopping therapy" at the mall or a new boat.

I am aghast at what has happened to the national debt and deficit in the past year. Republican or Democrat administration, our leaders have heavily indebted the entire country to a degree that appears to be impossible for us to ever pay off without severe budget cuts, which I can't see our federal politicians making. I think it's a shame for anyone to not get the best medical care possible, I want to see financial support for the development of solar energy and other forms of renewable energy, I want lots of money given to students to allow them to get the best educations they can, I want everyone to be able to have a job, I don't want banks to fail, I want our country to give generous foreign aid, I want a strong fine arts scene, and I want a strong military. However, as a nation, we don't have unlimited funds (unless we print them, but PLEASE don't let us go down that road), and we must prioritize what we want and adhere to a balanced budget. I'd even be happy with a close-to-balanced budget. But what we have now is a deficit just this year of over $1.6 trillion dollars. Can we ever pay back our debt? Or is Congress indebting us to an immoral degree? And more pragmatically, who will keep loaning us money and on what terms? Will our country become prey to "predatory lenders"? Hmmm, I'd really rather muse on something else for a while.

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