Unheeded Warnings – Dire consequences – Part 3

Posted By on July 30, 2011

The eyes of all America and the world are turned towards Washington these past few weeks. The American debt crisis has finally garnered the attention it should have decades ago. Congress and the Federal Government have written checks that “we the people” and the States can no longer endure. Additionally, Standard and Poors and Moody’s have added their voices to the fray; yet, Congress (mainly the Democrats and the RINO’s) and the Obama Administration are choosing to ignore both us and them. To these idiots cutting simply means limiting the percentage of increase in Federal spending, but our voice has been loud and resounding while the credit agencies have been adamant, Spending must be CUT and not limited.

In this series I have attempted to bring attention to the words of George Washington as he prepared to retire at the end of his second term as president. I may be a singular voice, speaking out in the darkness, but I will not be silent. Our first president was a man of exception wisdom, insight and common sense. It would do us well to heed his words. It would do Congress good to learn the lessons of history, so they may stop repeating. Remember the words of George Santayana:

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

If you haven’t read George Washington’s Farewell Address to the Nation in its entirety, now is a good time. Yes, even before you finish this article, I won’t be offended. Here is a link, George Washington’s Farewell Address to the Nation.

I am skipping ahead, and over some very important points to move to what His Excellency said about credit.

As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. (Emphasis added)

The General, our first president, considered nation/public credit as very important to national “strength and security.” Here is a man who endured extreme hardships during the revolutionary war when Congress, the Continental Congress wrote checks with its words and promises that its bank account couldn’t pay. That Washington and the Continental Army stayed together during those times of deprivation is a miracle, let alone that they were able to win the war. Soldiers were not paid, clothed, or fed, nor did they receive sufficient arms, ammunition and war supplies. So, here is a man who knows the problems associated with protecting the nation when credit and finances have been, and are misused.

His admonition is to “cherish public credit.” Noah Webster defined cherish as, “To hold as dear, to embrace with affection; to foster, and encourage…” and “To treat in a manner to encourage growth, by protection, aid, attendance, or supplying nourishment…” (Noah Webster’s American Dictionary) In other words, Mr. Washington was encouraging us to hold our public debt dear, and affectionately. Also, to protect it and not abuse it, to nourish it. All this from just the first sentence of the paragraph!

Let’s see what else he said:

One method of preserving it is, to use it as sparingly as possible

Well, “use it as sparingly as possible,” that sure doesn’t sound like any modern Congress, and by modern I mean to bring special emphasis to those after World War II . I could add to that the Congresses of the 1930’s and the Roosevelt Administration. Since that time, the Federal Government has continued to grow, larger and larger, beyond the bounds established by the Constitution. He went on to say:

…avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts, which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen (burden), which we ourselves ought to bear. (Emphases added)

Interesting warnings which should have been heeded years ago. “Cultivating peace” and “timely disbursements to prepare for danger…” how we could use that now! “Avoiding… the accumulation of debt…” do you think that might have been something to have listened to at sometime in the recent past? “Shunning occasions of expense…” wow, how much stupid, inane, unneeded programs, bridges, foreign bribes and the like have we paid for just in the past 30 years? “Not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the” burden, how our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren would benefit if these words had been put into practice.

His next words are even more telling:

The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should cooperate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind, that towards the payment of debts there must be Revenue; that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment, inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate. (Emphases added)

This is all in just one, single paragraph! In a mere 223 words George Washington said more than most politicians say today in an hour, or even a career. Two hundred and twenty-three words, if heeded, would have prevented all the angst, turmoil, inflation, deflation, depression, recession, animosity and political name calling we have been subjected to by politicians and the media. Two hundred and twenty-three words most of us never knew existed.  Two hundred and twenty-three words of lasting value and immortal as they ring long past Washington’s last breath.

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