From How To Run a Federal Budget Surplus, by Gary North
(The bold in the quote is mine)
My comments in italics.
From time to time, someone asks me: “What would you do about the Federal deficit?” I have this amazing answer: “End it immediately. Then run a surplus until it is paid off 100% — exactly as I would do with my own budget.”
Of course, this assumes that I was ever put in charge of the Federal government’s checkbook. That would be unlikely. It would also be revolutionary. I don’t believe in political revolutions. Revolutions make things worse. They require centralized power and violence — a point that Karl Marx’s collaborator, Frederick Engels, made clear in his 1874 essay, “On Authority.” He wrote: “A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists.” That is not my agenda.
Christians may not go down the road of oppression, theft, lies, and murder.
If we do, God will give us a fitting reward for our contempt for His way.
And we won’t like it. Not even a tiny bit.
When free market economist Ludwig von Mises was asked what he would do if he were put in charge of the economy, he replied with one word: “Resign.” That was the correct answer.
We need to think carefully about what civil governments are and are not. Civil governments are not like individuals. They are irresponsible in ways that individuals never can be, because other individuals will intervene to stop irresponsible individuals before they inflict harm on everyone around them. So, we do what we can to call government irresponsibility to the attention of others. We fight battles that we can win, or at least might win, which are few and far between in the latter stages of national irresponsibility, which we are obviously in.
A successful political battle begins with ideas. So, in the name of responsibility, but not in the name of political revolution, I offer my program for balancing the budget.
Because of the slackness and the contempt for God’s Laws by our forefathers — stemming from at least the Second Great Awakening — we are currently in a nasty fix.
First, we must repent. In our lives, and then in our families and churches, then in our businesses and neighbourhoods, and finally in the legislatures and courthouses.
This is going to be a long walk. But there are no shortcuts.
Then, as we take God at His word, we can start thinking His thoughts, as a obedient servant should quickly grasp what his master desires.
By following His way, we gain the victory, little by little.
(For clarity, I removed North’s italics from the section title below.)
MY PROGRAM FOR DEFICIT REDUCTION
Cut spending until income equals outflow. Then cut it some more.
That’s it? That’s it.
“But what about . . . ?”
This is the universal response that guarantees future government bankruptcies, all over the world. Three words: “But what about,” plus a question mark
Nothing in American political history ever since the last year of the Jackson Administration in 1836 has overcome the effect of these three words: “But what about?” There was no national government debt in 1836. Also, that was the last year of the Second Bank of the United States as a government-licensed central bank. Then the recession of 1837 ended the year of debt-free living for Congress. It never happened again.
To head off “But what about?” my recommended reform mandates an across-the-board cut of spending by every Federal agency. No exceptions. Every budget is cut by the same percentage.
“But what about . . . ?” Yes, that one, too.
“But you can’t mean . . . ” Yes, I do.
“But that would lead to . . . ” Yes, it might.
“But people would be forced to . . . ” I am sure they would.
“But this idea is utopian.” No doubt it is.
I will tell you what else is utopian: long-term Federal solvency
We haven’t seen the bankruptcy of a leading political power since the fall of the Bourbon Dynasty in France.
Last time, it kicked off revolutions, coups, decades of war, spasms of mass murder, and a huge powergrab by the State and collectivists ideologues.
I don’t think that will happen this time: information technology and modern economic systems work against it.
Far more likely is some form of large-scale decentralization (including informal secession, but probably not formal exits from the Union).
The Old Order will die.
Let’s see if Christians can create a large number of viable, locally-focused alternatives.