iou note

Click here to listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM 600, Friday, May 18, 2012.

Do you have an extra $520,000 you can lay hands on (emphasis on the word “extra”)? If so, go on living your life as you see fit because you’re not affected by what I’m about to say.

But for everyone else if taking $520,000 out of your checking account would put you in overdraft, or if selling $520,000 worth of assets and handing over the proceeds would seriously affect your net worth, of if a $520,000 decline in your retirement assets balances would negatively affect the prospects for your golden years, or if making principal and interest payments on $520,000 over time would crimp your monthly cash flow, it’s time to pay close attention.

The government has borrowed money over your signature and made promises in your name to the point that your household now owes $520,000. Between the national debt, now approaching $16 trillion, and the unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, now somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 trillion, your household is on the hook for just over five hundred large.

That would be bad enough. But the story is made manifestly worse by the fact that that 500-K obligation is growing. That’s because not only does the government continue to borrow money and make promises in your name, it’s doing so at an ever-increasing clip.

This is not abstract. This is not one of those illustrations like how many round trips to the moon can you make if you lay one dollar bills end-to-end.

This is all very real. You owe this money. That $116 trillion is going to have to be paid, your household’s share is $520,000 and you will be paying it. If you die before it’s paid, it falls on your kids.

Picture this in your mind as vividly as you can. Use whatever illustration it takes to make it real in your mind. Imagine that in addition to your existing mortgage, you have an additional $520,000 mortgage that you will be required to pay.

Using the housing illustration, consider that the value of the average home in America is about $220,000. Thus that $520,000 you owe is like having to pay the principal and interest on mortgages for two houses that you will never live in.

The $520K may not bother you because you’re happy with all the government goodies you’re getting. But know this, the goodies are going to come to a screeching halt, one way or the other and that fact should be obvious.

As surely as owing $520,000 will sink you personally it will sink the country.

So where is the outrage? When are we going to get serious? We’re wrapped up in gay marriage and class envy. When will we address the one threat that can actually defeat us?

I’m no fan of FDR, but give the man credit. He convinced Americans to go all-in toward winning World War II. He got Americans to put up with shortages of meat, gasoline, milk, butter, eggs and nylons. He got and kept the country behind him even as more than 400,000 of its young men, taken from their homes by the draft, never returned.

Yet the threat to the country today is much worse than the threats it faced in World War II. Is Obama the person to lead on this issue the way FDR led in World War II? I don’t think so but is Romney?

More important, if either of them gave it to you straight, and told you that your government goodies were going to be trimmed the way FDR said that meat and butter were going to be rationed in World War II; would you follow their leadership?

To put the sharpest point possible on it; do you have in you the character that drove your parents and grandparents to make the necessary sacrifices to overcome the existential threat that confronted them in 1940?

Carefully consider your answer. It determines the fate of the country.

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