A culture of debt and bail-out

If we lived in a world stripped of religion and morality, weíd all be worshiping money. Many of us already do. And if you are not a follower of the materialism way of life, then you are in all likelihood still negatively affected by its fanatics.

Iím not talking about personal gain, but tremendous greed. Iím not talking about natural waste, but unsurpassed pollution. And Iím not talking about the just rewards of our labors, but the apathetic pursuit of capital at all costs, even life.

Can you imagine an expense too great that there are no men now found on the world scheming to prophet from it? Men who in every plain sense sell their souls for tangible property. Men who have no quarrels with the dark state of the world so long as it provides for them, finding they only believe in but one virtue Ė profitability.

For through these draconian corporate methods we now find ourselves in a world where the greatest amount of wealth is concentrated in a shrinking number of people. Where, when a business topples the workers get laid off in droves while the executives retire with record-breaking benefits in excess of tens of millions of dollars.

This summer, another $790 billion will be pumped into our countryís financial veins.

Iíve been reading a lot lately on just how much money people owe. The nation debt is about $10.7 trillion and I didnít calculate the math, but the government website said that for every man, women and child currently living in America, weíd all have to pay $35,000 each to get our country square with the house again. Most of us, however, already owe about that much.

According to the Office of the New York State Comptroller, the state is about $52 billion in debt and that per population, the state ranks the second worst in the country with only Alaska ahead. Not to mention that Wall Street accounts for roughly 20 percent of our state income, or at least at did at one time.

If all this is true, I think itís about time I moved to a different state because being in one of the highest taxed and bureaucratic states in the union, particularly from a region thatís traditionally shunned in favor of the more highly-populated down state priorities, Iím starting to see the greener grass.

The human mind has some logistical limits and our debts have exceeded our capacity to rationally conceptualize them. Maybe thatís why itís so easy not to care about the two bail-outs totaling near $1.5 trillion or the near trillion dollar Iraq War.

When was the last time you remember anyone actually winning a war? How many victories have you seen in your lifetime? Can you think of the price nations have paid in order to continue its practice? Isnít the expense of conflict, and not its human loss, that caused the only other super power to collapse, not through strength of arms, but through the burden of poverty? Is bankruptcy any better than defeat? Isnít that why capitalism trumps all the rest, where we find Americaís economic power is rooted? Is more spending really the only way we can save ourselves? I guess weíd better hope so.

No matter how you slice it, federal, state, business, personal, we live in a culture of debt.

Iím no economist, but times seem tight for many Ė including New York and dozens of other states Ė so can the federal government really afford to be throwing all this money into circulation? Maybe the question thatís motivated the decision is, can we really afford not to?

Whenever I start reading about these huge sums of cash, itís lost on me. It takes me back to a time in science class when we learned about astronomy. The infinite depth of the universe, the 200 to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way, the incalculable mass of celestial objects and the speed of light. Itís sad that the only thing I can compare our finances to is the enormity of the cosmos.

Sometimes I feel as though our inability to understand the complete effect of these drastic expenditures may revisit us in the future with a stern education in harsh reality.

Iím way out of my league in understanding if this stimulus will work, but I do understand that we just went all in and we may have just put future generations on the line in a bid to save them and ourselves.

I have no solution, only terrifying observations and deepening concerns, but I wouldnít be surprised if the fundamentals of our culture and economy might have to suffer a necessary and very painful change.

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