“Debt, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slave-driver.” – Ambrose Bierce

“What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?”
– Adam Smith

“Be assured that it gives much more pain to the mind to be in debt, than to do without any article whatever which we may seem to want.” – Thomas Jefferson, In letter to his daughter.

Model, Katherine

Great civilizations have come and gone since man first decided to live in a community by a water source. Nimrod built some of the Earth’s great original metropolitan sprawls. Babylon, Persia, the Greeks, Rome were all powerhouses and at one time centers of the planet. The Dutch East India Company was the first to become a publicly traded corporation when they issued the first share of stock in 1602. Following this several European countries became centered on expanding their influence in colonies around the globe. The superpowers back then centered on Great Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal.

Today, that map of superpowers has to be redrawn a little bit. A paradigm shift relocated the influence away from Portugal. Most kids today couldn’t find Portugal on a map and the other nations sort of keep to themselves.   The ability to maintain a space program became somewhat of a defining prerequisite to be a member of the superpower club. And right now, the United States of America can boast a superior position in this exclusive members only club. So let me get to my point. Actually, its more of a question.

How long does America have before its membership expires?

All the aforementioned great civilizations had its time, but did not sustain. The U.S. is still fairly young and I submit that we may be burning too brightly, and could potentially have a shorter life, comparatively speaking. The larger the star, the shorter the life because the immense pressures to maintain that size causes it to burn up its  hydrogen at a much faster rate than say a star like our sun. So what is America’s hydrogen….CASH!

Model, Katherine

If there is any one thing with the potential to kill our nation and reserve our spots in the history books, its our national debt and the lack of cash. In one of my first Econ courses during my undergrad years, I had a professor who encouraged us to simplify huge problems by imagining them on smaller scales. The National debt and the totality of how we pay our bills is too much for me to wrap my brain around. I used to say in High School that I’d be Treasury Secretary one day. Just in case you were wondering, it didn’t happen. But what I can do is model the debt crisis after me. The model and principles are still the same. I have bills to pay and I know what happens if I don’t generate revenue to pay them. I also know that credit cards have to be paid off at some point. I understand full well the consequences of the transfer strategy whereby a balance is simply transferred to a new card instead of paying it off.

It took the first 204 years of our Nation’s history to accumulate $1 trillion in debt. And now we are doing that every 2 or 3 years. – Jim Cooper

Model, Katherine

We have a new deadline, and it looks like congress and the president have staved off disaster by finally reaching an agreement to pay our bills. I don’t see a success at all. I see a delaying tactic. Raising the debt ceiling by 2-something trillion so we can increase debt, in exchange for making cuts that will equate to that same amount, but over 10 years?? Its not sustainable.

Here’s my prediction. Obama is not soley responsible for all this. Our two-party system is essentially failing us. The weight of the sun in debt plus a government that can never come together for meaningful resolutions is the perfect storm. Wait… we’re missing one last element. A perfect storm is always characterized by at least 3 elements that come together to create the uber-mega effect. I think that 3rd element will be the rest of the global community coming together to effectively stifle our influence on world markets. Chiefly, this will be done by devaluing the dollar, but I believe other international policies will come into effect that curtain our ability to conduct business as normal. In the same way we create oversite and regulatory divisions after something disastrous happens (Federal Reserve, OSHA), so will the international community create a governing body who’s prime directive is to keep any one country or government from becoming a cancer to the rest of the nations. Who started the housing debacle that crashed the economy? We did. Who else felt the effect because they bought our debt? The World. Putin just said it, and I can’t say I disagree with the man.  “Putin says U.S. is ‘parasite’ on global economy“, By Maria Tsvetkova | Reuters – Mon, Aug 1, 2011. America is only 235 years old. In the life-span of a nation that’s teen-age years. Would you give your kid a credit card?

Model, Katherine

Sorry about talking on matters that have nothing to do with photography. Had to get this one out though. Photo next time, okay? Congrats to Katherine who got married recently.

“Ten million dollars after I’d become a star I was deeply in debt.” – Sammy Davis, Jr.

“Blessed are the young for they shall inherit the national debt.” – Herbert Hoover

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan doth oft lose both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.” – William Shakespeare, Hamlet.