Thursday 1st September 2016

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Why No One Does Anything About The National Debt

November 18, 2013 Featured Today No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

It is one of the great questions of our time: Why do we seem so complacent about the rising national debt? Every politician in the country says it is unacceptably high, but then changes the topic. The debt is currently well over $17 trillion. That means each American owes approximately $54,000, with each taxpayer owing about $149,000. We all have heard the clever quip about how it is no big deal because we “owe it to ourselves.” That is only partly true. It is true that many American citizens, banks, and investment houses have bought the government bonds that constitute the debt. But so have foreign countries, the Chinese, Japanese, and Saudis, especially. But, regardless of the bondholders, we have to redeem the bonds when they come due. Everyone — Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative — agrees that this constitutes a crushing obligation for the economy. Yet there is no plan in sight from our political leaders to end the coming train wreck.
Why do the politicians shrug and go about their business when the topic comes up? Some say it is a version of French King Louis XV’s confidence that he would be out of office before the crash occurred: “Aprés moi, le dèluge.” No doubt, some of that is going on. Also some wishful thinking.
But, I submit, there is another motivation: There are those who are unwilling to cut back on government spending, regardless of the consequences, until the country has eliminated significantly the differences in standard of living between members of our society.
We must keep in mind that, from the late 18th century on, there have been two conflicting understandings of what is meant by “equality.” Our Founding Fathers understood the word to mean “equality of opportunity”; that there would be no privileges in law granted in the United States to an aristocracy in the “pursuit of happiness.” The Founders accepted that this understanding of equality would do nothing to prevent economic inequality. They accepted that individuals not handicapped by primogeniture, titles of nobility, and class would inevitably achieve varying levels of economic success; that equality of condition could be imposed only by an oppressive government that treated its citizens unequally by limiting their opportunities in business or expropriating their earnings through taxation.
Hence, it has been the consensus American view that all that we would be guaranteed as Americans, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, was that “artificial weight” would be “lifted from all shoulders — to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all — to afford all an unfettered start, and a fair chance in life.” Or, as we hear people frequently phrasing it in our time, we have been guaranteed “equality of opportunity, not equality of results.”
But it should not be forgotten that this is not the only understanding of equality that has been part of our intellectual and political history. Ever since the time of the French Revolution, there have been those who have argued that for “equality” to have any meaning, it must include economic equality; that the freedom to be out of work, homeless, underpaid, starving, and exploited by the rich is not a freedom worth having.
In France, men such as “Gracchus” Babeuf called for the abolition of private property and the redistribution of national wealth. His countryman Louis Blanc called for guaranteed employment for all at a “living wage” through government employment in what he called national workshops. The leaders of the Paris Commune in 1871 took control of sections of Paris and called for government control of prices, wages, and working conditions to ensure a redistribution of France’s wealth, from the landowners and the owners of businesses to the lower classes.
This thinking spread beyond France. In England, the Fabian socialists — led by individuals such as George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells — called for a government takeover of the nation’s resources and businesses to ensure fair wages, fair prices, and humane working conditions. They were called “Fabians” because they called for these reforms to be brought about peacefully and gradually, in a manner similar to the slow, grind-it-out battle tactics of the Roman general Fabius. The Fabians took this position to distinguish themselves from the followers of Karl Marx who called for violent revolution and dictatorship to achieve economic equality for the working class.
I submit that this is the root of the American reluctance to tackle the national debt. Most Americans think of equality in terms of equality of opportunity, in line with the Founding Fathers. But there are those who agree with the understanding of equality rooted in the view of the 18th and 19th-century French radicals. They hold that, as long as there are people in the United States with substantially fewer resources than others, there is a need for expansive government intervention financed by higher taxation, to end that injustice.
The point is not that those who call for greater spending on government housing, food stamps, welfare payments, tuition assistance, single-payer health insurance, and a “living wage” are familiar with the writings of Gracchus Babeuf and the Fabian socialists, only that they are motivated by the same conviction that our society is unjust — and in need of remedial action through government programs and higher taxation — as long as there are people in the country who live with considerably fewer resources at their disposal than the better-off.
It does little good to point out to those who think this way that most of the poor in our time in history have more material resources — indoor plumbing, heated homes, cable television, Internet service, and access to tattoo artists and wigmakers — than the middle class in the 19th century. What matters is not what you possess, but whether you possess less than large numbers of your fellow-citizens. In their eyes, if you possess less than your neighbors — regardless of the differences in education, work, and self-sacrifice between you and them — it is unjust.
The corollary is that the government should spend and tax to whatever level is necessary to end the injustice; that the national debt is not an indication that the government is spending too much, only that it is not collecting enough in taxes.
From all indications, those who hold to this understanding of what is meant by “equality” are becoming an ever-increasing segment of society, one that can be energized by politicians seeking to use their discontent to secure a voting bloc that will keep them in office. It is a serious challenge. It would mean that the political views of the European radicals are threatening to supplant those of the Founding Fathers.
Barack Obama is fond of calling for a “transformation” of the country. If those seeking the European socialist understanding of equality carry the day, it will be a transformation of great proportions.

Share Button

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Catholics protest at Tim Kaine’s parish: If priest won’t ‘instruct parishioners’ on Church teaching, we will

RICHMOND, Virginia, August 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Roughly a dozen pro-life activists protested Sunday outside of pro-abortion, pro-homosexual Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine’s Catholic parish. “Sen. Kaine has failed in his duty as a Catholic public servant to…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke stands firmly behind Cardinal Sarah’s call for ‘ad orientem’ worship

ROME, Italy, August 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke has given a strong endorsement of Cardinal Robert Sarah’s recent encouragement for priests to begin celebrating Mass in accord with the ancient posture that recognizes God as the center of…Continue Reading

Video: Biological males can stay overnight with female, but parents can’t be told, school officials say

NewsGenderThu Aug 25, 2016 – 2:22 pm EST ANNAPOLIS, MD, August 25, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A Maryland school district will allow members of one biological sex to sleep in the bedrooms of the opposite sex during school activities – and…Continue Reading

Two Catholic nuns found murdered in Mississippi home

Two nuns who worked as nurses and helped the poor in rural Mississippi were found murdered in their home Thursday, and there were signs of a break-in and their vehicle was missing, according to officials. The nuns were identified as…Continue Reading

Life isn’t black and white – teach priests to discern the gray, Pope says

Vatican City, Aug 25, 2016 / 04:18 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a conversation with members of the Jesuit order from Poland, Pope Francis said the real life situations of everyday Catholics aren’t black and white, but rather vary on a…Continue Reading

Vatican newspaper article: Pope’s apostolic exhortation is magisterial teaching

August 24, 2016 Writing in the Vatican newspaper, a Spanish ecclesiology professor said that Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia is part of the non-definitive ordinary Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff to which the faithful owe religious submission of intellect…Continue Reading

BREAKING: Leaked e-mails show George Soros paid $650K to influence bishops during Pope’s US visit

August 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Leaked emails through WikiLeaks reveal that billionaire globalist George Soros – one of Hilary Clinton’s top donors – paid $650,000 to influence Pope Francis’ September 2015 visit to the USA with a view to “shift[ing]…Continue Reading

Catholic school faculty member sues school after she’s fired for being gay

A lesbian teacher was fired from Paramus Catholic High School after administrators learned that she was married to a woman, according to her lawsuit. Kate Drumgoole, 33, was the school’s head basketball coach and dean of guidance when the school…Continue Reading

Scottish Catholic Church denies supporting ‘mandatory’ LGBT activist school program

GLASGOW, Scotland, August 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The Catholic Church in Scotland is flatly denying that it is lending its support to advancing a pro-homosexual curriculum in Catholic schools, despite secular as well as gay news sources claiming the opposite.…Continue Reading

Amid falling sales, Target responds to backlash with $20 million plan for single-stall bathrooms

target

NewsGenderThu Aug 18, 2016 – 2:57 pm EST Amid falling sales, Target responds to backlash with $20 million plan for single-stall bathrooms  #flushtarget , bathroom bills , target , transgender , transgenderism MINNEAPOLIS, August 18, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Facing…Continue Reading

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Signs New Book Deal with Bloomsbury

Indeed, it’s official. Bloomsbury is announcing that Pope Benedict has a new book coming in November 2016, entitled, The Last Testament. It appears to be 224 pages. Ever since Bloomsbury merged (“bought out?”) T & T Clark, they have been…Continue Reading

Transgender Bathroom Access Extended to All Federal Buildings–Including Prisons

The Obama administration is set to unveil a new regulation this week that will expand transgender people’s access to restrooms consistent with their “gender identity” to thousands of federal buildings and facilities across the country — including prisons. Buzzfeed News…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Not sure how to vote in the U.S. election? Here’s Cardinal Burke’s advice

ROME, Italy, August 30, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the most outspoken defenders on Catholic teaching regarding life, marriage, sexuality, and the family, weighed in on the upcoming U.S. election, telling reporters that the faithful must vote for the candidate who will do the most to “advance” the protection of human life, defense of the family, respect for freedom, and care for the poor. “I think that what we have to do…Continue Reading

Did a Catholic healthcare org just agree to hand out contraception under pressure from the ACLU?

ST. LOUIS, Missouri, August 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Under pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union, a major Catholic healthcare provider has apparently committed to provide artificial contraception at a chain of clinics it has taken over from Walgreens, the for-profit pharmaceutical chain. “If they are really going to be handing out contraception,” said Michael Hichborn of the Catholic watchdog organization, the Lepanto Institute, “then they will be in contradiction of Catholic teaching.” SSM Health…Continue Reading

St John the Baptist: a model for our time

(Vatican Radio) Monday, August 29th, the Church remembers the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist (cf. Mk 6:17-29). For centuries, St. John the Baptist served as the principal model of Christian manhood, and Pope Francis has called the great prophet and precursor of the Lord a model for Christians also today. The Director of Vatican Radio’s English for India service, Fr. Melwin Pinto, SJ, shared with us some reflections on the enduring importance of St.…Continue Reading

For David Daleiden, Soros money shows Planned Parenthood in a panic

Washington D.C., Aug 26, 2016 / 10:55 am (CNA).- A leaked grant report from the Open Societies Foundation seems to show Planned Parenthood and its allies in a panicked effort to raise millions of dollars to counter a series of investigative videos alleging the abortion provider broke the law. For undercover journalist David Daleiden, it’s a sign of hope. “It shows that the issue of selling baby body parts for profit is an issue that…Continue Reading

Meeting Point Sex Ed Program Not Ready for Catholic Schools

The Meeting Point: Course of Affective Sexual Education for Young People (http://www.educazioneaffettiva.org/) is a high school-level sex education program developed by “a group of married couples in Spain,” supported by the Spanish Bishops’ Conference and released online by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family in July 2016.  It is intended for use in Catholic high schools, parishes and homes. Although The Cardinal Newman Society does not formally review educational materials, we have taken a…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . The Craft Of A Good Storyteller

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN Times Square and Other Stories, by William Baer (Able Muse Press: San Jose, CA, 2015), 202 pp. Available at www.ablemusepress.com. A collection of masterfully crafted, fascinating stories that always pique the reader’s curiosity by presenting ironies, dilemmas, or questions that seem unanswerable or inexplicable, this volume presents a host of tales on…Continue Reading

The Demolition Of Democracy

By DONALD DeMARCO Michel de Nostradamus, peering into the events of 2016, would shake his head in disbelief. He would witness the incredible spectacle of a war on the state of North Carolina because its democratic legislature saw fit to ban men from using the women’s washroom in the interest of protecting girls from male…Continue Reading

France… Summer Of Terror Lingers

By JOHN J. METLZER PARIS — Imagine for a moment arriving at Sunday morning Mass only to see the doors of the church guarded by camouflage-clad soldiers with automatic weapons. Well, this was the stark reality when we arrived at our neighborhood church, a structure dating from the 15th century, but hardly a tourist nexus.…Continue Reading

It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “I did it my way,” crooned Sinatra. Donald Trump is echoing Ol’ Blue Eyes with the latest additions to his staff. Should he lose, he prefers to go down to defeat as Donald Trump, and not as some synthetic creation of campaign consultants. “I am who I am,” Trump told a…Continue Reading

Government: New 700,000-Word Regulation Is Good For You

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY The nine-second video of two federal bureaucrats the White House posted on its blog the past week was notable for something it omitted. That something was very big — and putting it on display might not have fit with the apparent propaganda purpose of the video. The video itself starred EPA…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Interview With Postulator . . . Most People Can Still Learn A Lot About Mother Teresa

By KATHLEEN NAAB (Editor’s Note: In this interview, Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC, Mother Teresa’s postulator, tells ZENIT writer Kathleen Naab that thousands of testimonies attest that Mother is still doing work on Earth from her post in Heaven. (Pope Francis will canonize Mother Teresa on September 4. (ZENIT News Agency published this interview on August 22. All rights reserved.) +…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Turning Together Toward The Lord

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The closed circle of therapeutic navel-gazing hangs on like an overused joke in a few places yet, one of them being the Church. The priest and people facing each other during the entire liturgy is a vestige of the illegitimate seizure by and subjection of 2,000-year-old liturgical development to the rash agenda of primitivist vandals…Continue Reading

The Marvel Of The Catholic Church . . . The Four Senses Of Sacred Scripture

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 15 Since the first heresies attacked the early Church, and all the way up to Luther and to the ecclesiastical dissenters of our days, Bible interpretation has been a source of division. Ever since the Devil concocted the idea that every Tom, Dick, and Harriet could interpret the Bible allegedly by the “light of the…Continue Reading

The Mystagogy Of The Celebration Of Baptism

By DON FIER The baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River marked a turning-point in His life. Having lived in a hidden manner in obedience to Mary and Joseph for thirty years (see Luke 2:51), our Lord now began His public ministry by freely submitting to the penitential baptism of St. John the Baptist. Although unblemished by sin and in…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Can you possibly provide the name and e-mail address of the bishop of the “renowned” Catholic Vice President Joe Biden? This latest mockery of his faith — officiating at the “marriage” of two men — cries for some type of action from the shepherd of his flock. I would like to be able to communicate my concern to the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Pope St. Gregory The Great

By CAROLE BRESLIN In 1994 a musical phenomenon took the world by storm. Nothing like it had ever been popular before, but this new recording became a hit around the world. People raved about the peace it brought them when they listened to it. The songs were sung by Benedictine monks from their monastery near Burgos, Spain. Although Gregorian Chant…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Euphrasia Eluvathingal

By CAROLE BRESLIN In 1605 Fr. Robert De Nobili, a Jesuit priest, arrived in India to evangelize the people. He found them to have a noble bearing and a deeply spiritual life filled with fasting, prayer, and meditation. Difficulties presented themselves to him as he struggled to convert them: “If these people did not see me do such penance, they…Continue Reading