Posted by: Walt Curtis | July 29, 2011

National Debt – Light and Goodwill or Darkness and Enmity?

The purposes of the Constitution of the United States of America are clearly stated in the Preamble:
–       form a more perfect Union
–       establish Justice
–       insure domestic Tranquility
–       provide for the common defence
–       promote the general Welfare
–       secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

I consider these purposes to be based in light and goodwill.

The Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of the federal government have various duties and responsibilities in fulfilling these purposes. The House of Representatives is responsible for bills relating to revenues all branches of the federal government need to fulfill their duties. Revenues mentioned in the Constitution include “Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises” (Article I, Section 8, paragraph 1).

The federal government has incurred debt in fulfilling its constitutional duties for most of its history. There has been much recent discussion about debt limits and debt ceilings and what the Constitution has to say (or imply) about the subject. Some say that Item (paragraph) 4 in Amendment 14 disallows a debt ceiling on the obligations of the federal government. Others say that the wording relates only to concerns arising from the Civil War. I would point out that it could merely have been a reiteration of policy instituted through the influence of Alexander Hamilton with regard to Revolutionary War debt. To be certain, one would need to research the proposals and discussions regarding the items in Amendment 14; and the points included in the amendment may have been the results of notions and ideas that had been discussed or sought for decades before its enactment.

The federal debt has two main parts: 1) debt held by government accounts, and 2) debt held by the public. The debt held by government accounts results from funds the federal government holds in trust for others who have paid (by their own contributions or based on agreements that the federal government and/or their employers would pay) into the accounts for their own future benefit. The debt held by the public is for the deficit (negative balance) between revenues and what the federal government spends by legislative action to fulfill its Legislative, Executive and Judicial responsibilities under the Constitution of the United States of America (for example, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008—Public Law 110-343, 122 Statute 3765, enacted October 3, 2008).

Payment of both types of federal debt is ensured through securities offered by the federal government to investors, and my best surmise is that this is where a difficulty either exists or has been invented. So many people have paid so much into government accounts (e.g., Social Security Trust Funds, Military Retirement and Health Care Funds, Medicare Trust Funds, Civil Service Retirement and Disability Trust Fund) that the sale of federal securities for debt held by the public may be adversely affected.

In other words, the problem does not seem to be in the amount of debt itself, but in the investment resources available. There must be more to it, however, because a reduction in debt held by government accounts will not increase revenues to pay for debt held by the public. And it seems that investors would likely want to reinvest in order to continue their interest earnings.

In these rather baffling circumstances, one solution that is being sought is to prevent the disbursement of monies invested into government accounts by limiting or cutting benefits or benefit amounts.

Such actions would not prevent the demand for funds by those who have paid into government accounts; it would simply require them to continue working and likely cause many to die earlier than they would have if they had received the full value of the benefits for which they paid throughout their lives.

Of course, the effects would be felt most keenly by the poor and unprepared. In my opinion, this amounts to effectual involuntary servitude and euthanasia of the aged and poor. These types of actions reflect darkness of intent and enmity towards the poor and unprepared.



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