Earlier in this space, Jon Friesch and Scott Boston addressed the merits of a Tea Party alternative to the Paul Ryan budget as an appropriate topic for a Voices e-book. I would like to follow up on that theme, by suggesting that the broader topic of fiscal responsibility as it relates to debt ceilings is also a worthy e-book topic.
A striking aspect of 18th Century dwellings are the low ceilings found in most homes of the period. Why were they built this way? In one word: pragmatism. To build structures with wasted space overhead was impractical (i.e. they were harder to heat and keep warm). This kind of pragmatism is seemingly absent in the lexicon of our contemporary legislatures.
In the coming weeks, the Congress will debate the merits of raising the debt ceiling. Those of us in the Tea Party movement can imagine the incredulity with which the Founders would have viewed our current circumstance–A $14 trillion national debt, a $1.7 trillion annual deficit, and no end in sight to the citizens and corporations with their hands out for more federal dollars.
George Washington exhibited his pragmatism when he told Congress “No pecuniary consideration is more urgent than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt; on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of time more valuable.”
Today, our Congress is in need of guidance such as Washington’s to realize fiscal sobriety. It is up to the sovereign people of the Republic to remind Congress to lower the debt ceiling beyond what is being proposed. Visualizing the structures of the Founders may help keep this goal in view. The ceilings in their homes were low; they also kept their debt ceiling low.
Jon Wallace is the founder of the Rutland, Vermont Tea Party.