I would like to think that my family is fiscally prudent. We own a small business, my wife stays home with our four children, and we try to avoid being in debt, by paying cash...

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I would like to think that my family is fiscally prudent. We own a small business, my wife stays home with our four children, and we try to avoid being in debt, by paying cash as often as possible. We try to save for our retirement, our children’s education, and the odd vacation. Wherever possible, we give to charity and the church.

However, it has never ever dawned on me to put a charitable donation, or offering, on my credit card. To me, that seems ridiculous and fiscally irresponsible. That would be even more irresponsible if my family had the highest level of debt ever recorded in the history of Planet Earth.

As a small-business owner and family man, I am painfully aware of the fact that I live in the most debt-ridden country that has ever existed. Personified, the United States of America lives on credit. It pays its bills with a credit card, purchases its staples with loans, and spends more money than it makes every single year. The “credit card companies” that have provided such generous credit limits to the U.S. are the governments and corporations of the rest of the world.

What’s gonna happen when our creditors decide we are just not worthy of more credit? What’s gonna happen if they decide to send us to the collections department?

I am not a miser, far from it. And my heart bleeds for the victims of the tsunamis, particularly the innocent children. Yet, I wonder whether putting another $350 million on our “credit card” is a wise idea. Then I discover that the White House is considering changing the structure of Social Security benefits so future retirees (I, my wife, my children) will get less. Huh?

Maybe I am just a callous, selfish, overworked, tax-burdened small businessman, struggling to make ends meet in the most oppressive state for enterprise, in the most debt-ridden country since the beginning of time. But more than half of every dollar I earn goes to either Seattle, Everett, Olympia, Ogden, Utah, or Washington, D.C., in taxes, levies, fees and other imperative governmental charges.

Am I the only person who is somewhat uncomfortable that in the space of 24 hours my federal government has put over one-third of a billion dollars on the “credit card” and told me that when I retire it will pay me less?

There is no shame in looking the world in the eye and saying, “Sorry… we just can’t afford it.” Because, despite the bleeding hearts who would say otherwise, we can’t.

David Ruffley Mullineux takes care of business in Snohomish.