Debt is a Moral Issue – Part I

Debt is a moral issue.

Something is owed by one to another, with the understanding that what is owed must be paid back. This is a basic principle and one almost universally understood within the contexts of business, finance and even personal relationships.

If you borrow money from the bank to finance the purchase of a home or vehicle, there is an understood and binding agreement as to how and when that loan will be paid back. The borrower has taken on that debt and, with it, the responsibility for repaying the amount borrowed from the lender. A commitment has been made to restore the financial situation of the lender. The refusal or failure to do so will result in penalties, or, at the very least, adversely affect the credit and financial wellbeing of the borrower.

To borrow without the ability and a clear plan to repay is foolish. To borrow under dishonest circumstances is fraud.

While in our culture, some debt is usually unavoidable, it is a reality most of us try to avoid. We don’t want to be in debt. We want to be free.

Sadly, when it comes to government spending, most people are quick to throw these common and agreed upon understandings out the window.

Most Canadians understand that there is no such thing as free money, but, when it comes to government spending, too many choose that fiction over reality, believing government to be a never-ending supply of generosity.

It’s not, and it cannot be.

The reason is simple. Government does not have its own money. It has only the money it receives from the taxation of citizens.

When your tax dollars cease to satisfy the spending needs—or more often desires—of government, they have three choices: to raise taxes, cut spending elsewhere, or borrow.

In times of crisis, such as war, depression or pandemics, governments are often forced to borrow. But when the government borrows it isn’t borrowing against its own money as capital. It’s borrowing against its citizens. It’s borrowing against you and your family.

When they do so, in a democracy, it is incumbent on government to empirically justify the need for their actions, but also to ensure they are not unduly burdening, not only their citizens but, future generations.

To borrow and spend someone else’s money recklessly is foolish but to mortgage the future of generations to come is immoral.

Sadly, that is exactly what the Liberal Government has done and continues to do at unprecedented levels.

Their record levels of peacetime debt preceded COVID-19, but their pandemic spending has eclipsed what even the most pessimistic decrier of deficits could have imagined.

I can appreciate the initial need for reactive measures, as governments took time to sort out what was going on, and voted accordingly. But over the past few months I have become increasingly disturbed by the haphazard and, in too many cases, wasteful spending by the Liberals.

That’s why, in the coming weeks, you’re going to be hearing more from me about debt and deficits. Shining the light on how money, borrowed to “beat COVID-19”, has been used for other things, wasted and, in some cases, seems to have just disappeared. Money the Liberal Government borrowed under the guise of helping Canadians, when, in too many cases, they’ve just been helping themselves.