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It's A Gray Area: Our grandchildren are bankrupt

February 22, 2013|By James P. Gray

The biggest security threat to our country is a failed economy, and today that is a genuine threat.

How so? Because the simple fact is that for every dollar the federal government now spends, it is either borrowing or printing 43 cents. Obviously no company could do that and stay in business, and no household can, either, without facing almost immediate bankruptcy. And neither can any country.

Anyone even partially familiar with history knows that the Roman Empire was never conquered from without until it had overextended and collapsed from within. The same thing happened with the Ottoman Empire, and more recently, the Soviet Empire. And that is where we are headed.

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With great shame, I say that it is my generation that has put us into this position. Our children will have to shoulder our debt during the rest of their lives, and our grandchildren are bankrupt. The recent posturing in Washington, D.C., with the "fiscal cliff" is only nibbling on the edges of this truly serious issue.

So what do we do? To resolve a problem, we must go through three stages. The first is to recognize we have a problem, and I think we are crossing that threshold now. The second is to explain the problem. And the third is for everyone to help share the pain. On this last issue, I am convinced that if we explain the problem truthfully, and everyone understands and believes that the pain will be shared by all, the American people will rally to deal with this threat and put our economic house in order.

That means the federal government must live within its means and seriously reduce its spending.

This can be done. We should start by conducting an audit of the entire federal government, using generally accepted accounting principles. All public corporations are required to do this every year, and, although this has never happened in history, there is no reason for the government not to be required to do the same.

We should start with the Pentagon. In conducting this audit we certainly will not be giving away any national secrets, but we simply have the right to know how much "bang for our buck" we really are getting.

The first thing to address is whether or not our troops now fighting in various places around the world are actually protecting our security. If our security is not at stake, we should substantially disengage and bring the troops home. We simply cannot afford to be the world's policeman.

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