(Guest Commentary) Mike Farris – Citizens for Self-Governance – Senior Fellow for Constitutional Studies, co-founder of the Convention of States Project
One of the reasons we have accepted the premise of the “lesser of two evils” in our voting decisions, is that we don’t have clear ideas of what “good” looks like. This is the fifth in a series of ten short articles giving a coherent philosophy on what we should be looking for in a President.
We are so inundated with talk of the lesser of two evils, some fundamental analysis of a constitutionally and morally sound president seems appropriate.
5. We need a president who will honor the next generation by not leaving them with mountains of debt
Debt is a tax on the next generation. Congress spends money it doesn’t have today for programs that are designed primarily to win votes from the people gathering hand-outs from the government.
Grandchildren will be paying for grandma’s federally-subsidized prescription medicines for the rest of their lives.
A young taxpayer in 2035 who is paying taxes for money spent in 2016 is being denied the essence of a republican form of government. In a republic, we elect the leaders who make our laws and impose taxes on us. When the taxes are imposed via debt, we have taxation without representation on the generations stuck with the debt.
The true national debt is not $19 trillion. If the federal government followed legitimate business accounting practices, the true national debt would be at least $140 trillion more. This is the amount of the unfunded liabilities from entitlement and pension programs. Rick Perry was right. It is a Ponzi scheme.
The way we get out of debt is not by taxation. There is no amount of taxation that can ever truly get this nation out of debt. If we taxed by confiscating everything that everyone owns—down to our homes, bank accounts, televisions, tennis shoes, and cell phones—it would not be enough.
There are two things we can and must do to not leave our children with a mountain of debt and the seeds of a violent revolution:
- We have to stop spending so much money. The vast majority of today’s federal spending is unauthorized by the Constitution. While we cannot violate the promises we have made to today’s Seniors, we have to phase out these programs for the future to stop the inevitable crash that will otherwise come violently upon us.
- We have a one-time opportunity to get this nation out of debt by responsibly selling off federal assets. The federal government owns a major amount of land and resources in the West. In many states, more than half of the land is owned by the federal government. The oil reserves alone on these lands is worth trillions of dollars—probably enough to pay off the $19 trillion “official” debt. The land itself and other resources can be systematically managed as a true trust fund to put enough resources into the fulfillment current entitlement obligations to fulfill our existing promises. But then it must stop.
Once these resources are gone, there is not another set of assets to solve another generation of debt problems.
We have to stop spending like there is no tomorrow. For our grandchildren, there is tomorrow. We cannot look them in the eyes and leave them in slavery to our debts.
Michael Farris is the Chancellor of Patrick Henry College and Chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association. During his career as a constitutional appellate litigator, he has served as lead counsel in the United States Supreme Court, eight federal circuit courts, and the appellate courts of thirteen states.
Farris has been a leader on Capitol Hill for over thirty years and is widely respected for his leadership in the defense of homeschooling, religious freedom, and the preservation of American sovereignty. A prolific author, Farris has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Salvatori Prize for American Citizenship by the Heritage Foundation and as one of the “Top 100 Faces in Education for the 20th Century” by Education Week magazine.
Farris received his B.A. in Political Science from Western Washington University. He later went on to earn his J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law, and his LL.M. in Public International Law, from the University of London.
Mike and his wife Vickie have ten children and 19 grandchildren.