Paying Down Our Debt

Scott Soucy believes you and I can pay down the 16 trillion dollar national debt voluntarily. 20 years in the Navy and Army have instilled in this nuclear engineer the acuity and perseverance to get the job done with unflinching enthusiasm in the face of snarling skeptics, including myself.

Your first and strongest argument against paying a dollar from every paycheck to the Bureau of the Public Debt in Parkersburg, W. Va. is well-placed mistrust. U.S. citizens paying off the 16 trillion dollar federal debt for our irresponsible congress critters is like giving a bottle of Jack Daniels and family car keys to your teenager. Who among us really believes we should free them from their duty to govern responsibly? Thus, the worst possible outcome of this endeavor would be the highly unlikely event of success.

Consider this: The plan is to pay off the debt of a spendthrift congress, primarily the Democratic Party, which lacks the competence to pass a budget crafted by its own President. Paying off the debt would reward not only that behavior, it would also reward the concept of solving our 1.3 trillion dollar annual deficit with a total of $56 billion by “taxing the rich.”

The effort is not entirely without redeeming value. First, media attention to Scott’s effort keeps the serious topic of entitlement reform and replacing spendthrift politicians in public conversation. Second, Scott represents the millions of Americans who don’t require a free cell phone to secure their love of country. There are Americans who give thousands and even a million dollars to pay the debt. An estimated 7 million dollars was donated to pay off the debt last year. How much did that help? It paid only the interest on the debt for about a week.

Still, people like Scott represent the most well-meaning of us who just don’t understand they are feeding the spending addiction of fearful, ignorant and/or miscreant politicians. They are people willing to “do something” when their politicians fail. They lead by example while congressmen and women send “newsletters” to constituents lauding the lard they send back home. They are the Americans who really need to run for office or use their talents to elect fiscally conservative citizens to congress.

The fiscal cliff and sequestration nonsense is a painful symptom of political profit over prudent policy. If “taxing the rich” and “bringing home the federal dollar bacon” while promising “free health insurance” and “free mortgages” gets one re-elected, it doesn’t make sense to do the hard work of solving difficult fiscal problems.

There is another solution to the personal profit of political pandering. If one cannot stitch together a 20 or 30-year career with awesome retirement benefits from bilking an uninformed electorate, there’s little attraction for these cretins to run. How might we remove the attraction? Term limits by constitutional amendment. It’s been done for the Presidency for good reason and we now have good reason for Congress.

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