Monday, June 25, 2007

Money Talks

As Benjamin Franklin walked out of the Constitutional Convention, he was approached by a group of citizens asking what kind of government the delegates had created. His answer:

"A Republic, if you can keep it."

From 1776 to 1830, one state after another lifted the requirement for voters to own lien-free real estate. In 1870, voting rights became colorblind (not necessarily a bad idea). In 1920, women were allowed to vote. Within a few election cycles, the electorate saw fit to have the government pay for the care of the downtrodden.

Today, estimates of the unfunded American liabilities range from $50 trillion (grandfather report link below), $60 trillion (USA Today), and $70 trillion (Senator Coburn). Rising by $3 trillion each year and accelerating. To put this in perspective, the debt is roughly equal to every American’s paycheck for the next five years. Total home equity in the United States is around $10 trillion. The end game is an economic depression that will make the one from the 1930s look mild.

The Founding Fathers have proven that a democracy with universal but restricted voting rights can thrive. Our last few generations is in the process of proving that Plato’s and President Madison’s premise that a democracy with universal, unrestricted voting rights is destined to end violently.

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