© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. “As quickly as you start spending federal money in large amounts it looks like free money.” Dwight Eisenhower
It was a short political conversation when he started, “Our leaders…” and I interrupted, “They are not my leaders, they are my representatives. I didn’t empower them to lead me, I empowered them to represent me.”
He was trying to make a different point but I wouldn’t call the people who won elections my leaders. Leaders are like the King and Queen. Leaders rule over me. Well, perhaps Congress is full of leaders and lacks representatives of the people.
Many of the representatives we send to Congress act like they are royalty. They get rich on the public dole. While making less than $200,000 a year from their congressional salary their wealth increases by millions each year. The media turns a blind eye to this.
Also, there is the long-term effect of our representatives. They have put every man, woman and child in our country very much in debt without our permission. Every year for decades they spent more money than our country had from tax revenue.
Know this: I did not empower my representatives to place me in debt. They won’t admit it either that our country is broke because our representatives have consistently for decades spent more money than they received from tax revenue.
In fact, our representatives have and are spending more money than taxes can ever bring in. Our listed debt is near twenty trillion dollars and our unfunded debt is near a hundred trillion dollars. That means we could take every dollar in our economy for five years and apply it to our debt but we would still be hopelessly in debt.
This has been done in less than sixty years. During the Eisenhower presidency there were several years of budget surpluses. Then starting in the 1960s our representatives spent and spent and spent making government bigger and bigger and bigger. Each new class of representatives seemed to outdo the last in making government bigger and more intrusive.
Worldwide we see this in many countries. Their politicians over decades have consistently spent more money than tax revenue to the point these countries are completely broke but will not admit it. At first they borrowed and borrowed and borrowed to keep their power going.
When they couldn’t borrow any more money they printed money. Now they are in default as will be almost all nations who spend more than they take in. They still deny their debt and try to make it someone else’s problem. Ultimately, that will not work.
In New Mexico it is a similar story. States cannot spend more money than they take in from taxes so our representatives starting with Governor Bill Richardson stopped only spending what they had and started borrowing money so they could spend even more money.
Previously under Governor Gary Johnson New Mexico only spent what it had. The state was one of only several states who did not have debt. Richardson changed that and floated bonds for spending which are debt instruments. Now a large percentage of our spending is paying for the debt they borrowed. It only gets worse.
Everything in Santa Fe is about bonding capacity and using more and more debt instruments. The debt of these practices will bankrupt the state at some point. But the media didn’t take Economics 101 so all they see is more spending, not realizing that the spending is achieved with debt which must be repaid.
There is an old saying, “Laugh when you borrow and you will cry when you repay.” Yep, we are about to have a sob-session like no others. Look at countries that have spent and spent and spent. They are forced to tighten their belts and the citizens often are rioting because they feel entitled to money the country doesn’t have.
The very least we can do with the debt that is being foisted upon the citizens of New Mexico is to admit that it is debt and not good in the long-term. Our representatives are money-holics who live to spend. First they must admit their addiction to debt if we are to cure this problem.