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By The Joplin Globe
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Opinion: Hope children will forgive our spending


Last updated 5/8/2021 at 3:16pm

Dear children and grandchildren,

Thank you.

And we’re sorry.

Thank you for the $28 trillion (and counting) that we borrowed from you. But borrowed isn’t really honest, is it? You had no say in the matter. It’s more accurate to say we took it from you without your consent or even knowledge.

And for that, we’re sorry.

We’d like to tell you it was all because of an emergency, because of the worst pandemic to hit this country in a hundred years. Some of it was, but much of it — more than $20 trillion of it — wasn’t. Sure, we had our crises and emergencies, and you’ll have yours. And some of what we borrowed — we mean took — from you we invested in infrastructure, such as highways, broadband and more that we’re leaving you. Maybe that can be justified.

But let’s be candid. A lot of what we borrowed — sorry, there’s that word again — a lot of what we took from you was just us living beyond your means, borrowing more and spending more than we took in because we refused to “exercise some discipline” and “show some self-restraint,” you know, all the virtues we preach to you.

The truth is we were deficit spending to the level of 13 digits even before the pandemic. Trillion-dollar deficits became the norm during good times, the crutch that propped up our way of life.

In the end, budgets aren’t really about numbers, they are about values and priorities.

We’re sorry that our values, our priorities, didn’t include you.

We knew, we were told, that unrestrained federal spending would mean less money for you to invest in your own national emergencies and in your own children, and that every dollar of yours we spent was a vote taken from you before you were even born.

You can blame our politicians — left and right, liberal and conservative — but honesty compels us to admit that our politicians are a reliable reflection of us, the voters who put them in office.

We hope you’ll forgive us.

We hope you’ll learn from the mistakes we made.

And we hope that you’re strong enough to do what we couldn’t and wouldn’t do — exercise some discipline and show some self-restraint.

— The Joplin (Mo.) Globe


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