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Blessed Are the Young, They Shall Inherit the National Debt

William L. Kovacs

September 2023

Blessed Are the Young, They Shall Inherit the National Debt

Between now and September 30, 2023, Congress must fund the government, a task it has been unable to do on time for 27 consecutive years. The only kind word to describe Congress and the president during appropriation season is that they are   “pixilated,” “mildly insane, bewildered, tipsy” over their inability to manage the nation’s money. If a corporation managed its books in the same manner as our federal government, it would be a fraudster, and the feds would be actively shutting it down. Fortunately for Congress, President Herbert Hoover, the man many blame for the Great Depression, provided advice for the ages, “Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the National Debt.”

Why would Herbert Hoover make such a comment when the National Debt was only $23 billion dollars when he left office in 1933? Hoover and all presidents and Congresses after him knew the answer. If the federal government taxed current citizens the total amount of the programs it funds, there would be a tax revolt, and all elected officials would lose their jobs. So, there is no controlling federal spending as long as the nation has children who will inherit the national debt.

The United States is 247 years old. By the end of Biden’s term in office, the last seven of forty-six presidents, in their forty-four combined years in office, will have borrowed $34 trillion, in addition to the trillions spent annually to run the nation. That is 94% of the estimated FY 2025 national debt of $36 trillion. Each taxpayer’s share of the national debt exceeds $250,000. The average personal income in the U.S. is $63,211. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that our national debt will continue to increase from 98% of GDP in 2023 to 181% in 2053. Over the next ten years, the federal government will pay an additional $10.5 trillion in interest on the debt.

Unfortunately, our Constitution is only as good as the people we elect to manage the nation. It has few guardrails as to the type of government established. The federal government can operate as a capitalist or socialist government as long as our rulers are elected and give lip service to the Constitution. The dialogue in the debate plays out like a long-running Broadway show. Well-rehearsed Conservatives argue for less domestic spending and more military spending. Better rehearsed Progressives advocate for more domestic spending and less military spending. The only issue both parties have historically agreed upon is spending more money.

Moreover, a sober reading of the words of our Constitution illuminates the fact Article I, sec. 8 of the Constitution establishes the federal government as an unrestrained tax master that has unlimited taxing, spending, and borrowing authority. The Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution expanded Congress’ power to tax without apportioning taxes among the states. Its power to tax extends to all gross income. The monies collected can used to reward friends with subsidies, deductions, and tax credits to minimize the taxes of those that support the government in power. The tax code is loaded with gifts to friends and private industries, from semiconductors to NASCAR and horse racing, and low carried-interest tax rates for the wealthiest.

Federal spending solidly rests on  U.S. Supreme Court decisions that hold high taxes are not considered involuntary servitude or the taking of property. Excessive, even confiscatory taxes, are authorized under the Constitution. Marginal tax rates were above 90% from 1944 to 1963.

To the federal government, taxation is a means to collect money to keep politicians in power.  The average citizen is a mere commodity whose only duty is to pay taxes and die in one of the many useless wars that benefit only the defense industry and those politicians to which it contributes money.

Democrats and Republicans are jointly responsible for the National Debt. Republicans, for all their righteous calls for fiscal restraint, are responsible for 57% of it through FY 2022. This percentage, however, will come into balance as the Biden administration is projected to add another $ 6 trillion or more to the national debt by the end of its first term.

The chart below illustrates that both parties equally share the blame for the national debt.



Natl Debt increases              

Republicans Democrat Total National Debt
Hoover FY1930-1933 + 5.7 billion $ 23 billion
F. Roosevelt FY 1934-1945 +$ 236 billion $ 259 billion
H. Truman FY 1946-1953 +$ 7.3 billion $ 266 billion
D. Eisenhower FY1954-1961 +$ 23 billion $ 289 billion
J. Kennedy FY 1962-1964 +$ 22.8 billion $ 312 billion
L.B. Johnson FY 1965-1969 +$ 41.8 billion $ 353 billion
R. Nixon FY 1970-1974 +$121.1 billion $ 475 billion
G. Ford FY 1975-1977 +$223.7 billion $ 698 billion
J. Carter FY 1978-1981 +$ 299 billion $ 997 billion
R. Reagan FY 1982-1989 +$ 1.86 trillion $ 2.857 trillion
G.H.W. Bush FY 1990-1993 +$ 1.55 trillion $ 4.407 trillion
W. J. Clinton FY 1994-2001 +$ 1.4 trillion $ 5.807 trillion
G.W. Bush FY 2002-2009 +$ 5.85 trillion $ 11.665 trillion
B. Obama FY 2010-2017 +$ 8.6 trillion $ 20.257 trillion
D. Trump FY 2018-2021 +$ 8.2 trillion $ 28.845 trillion
J. Biden (estimate) FY 2022-2025 + $7.2 trillion+ $ 36.0 trillion
Party totals $ 17.83 trillion $ 17.82 trillion


Since all branches of the federal government have manipulated the Constitution to acquire more federal power to tax, spend, and borrow, how can citizens control it?

There is a passage in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail on unjust laws that should be mandatory reading for every elected official and their staff. It extends far beyond the heinous evils and unjust nature of racial discrimination. It is a timeless analysis of the fundamental attributes of structuring “just laws” in a democracy.

King is asked: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” He replied, “…there are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws.” He explained the moral basis for the distinction. But his two examples of the differences provide insight into structuring “just laws” in a democracy.

To Dr. King, an unjust law is a law the majority imposes on a minority but not itself. A just law applies to all equally.

Secondly, an unjust law is inflicted upon a group that had no part in its passing, e.g., deprived of the right to vote.

While these principles apply to racial discrimination, they can also be applied to the rapidly increasing, massive national debt imposed on future generations who have not been given a “say” or “vote” in the process. Future generations are being told, “Pay our bills.”

It is improbable the federal government will pay off the debt in the lifetime of those living today. We, citizens, are allowing the federal government to let us live on the future productivity of those who have not voted for or benefitted from the debt being created.

We can easily claim there is nothing we can do; our elected leaders control the budget, spending, and continuing increases in the debt ceiling. Moreover, we are constantly told those borrowed funds go to the many “good causes” supporters claim must be addressed.

Notwithstanding the immense power exercised by federal officials, citizens are responsible for the actions of the state. If we continue to allow the federal government to amass debt, we are telling future generations “they have no rights. All wealth belongs to the federal government and those it decides to give money to.” The U.S. is an unjust nation to its children.

Benjamin Franklin, the first prophet on the evils of federal spending, noted, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” Today, we elect representatives who campaign on giving us trillions of dollars more than we send to Washington in taxes. Franklin reportedly also quipped when asked about the type of government created by the Constitution “We have a Republic if we can keep it.”

It looks like our pixilated federal government will be a Republic until our elected officials run out of green ink. Alternatively, our children could get off their climate change obsession and lobby the federal government to control its spending, an action that will really preserve the U.S. for its children.


William L. Kovacs has served as senior vice president for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, chief counsel to a congressional committee, and a partner in law D.C. law firms. His book Reform the Kakistocracy is the winner of the 2021 Independent Press Award for Political/Social Change. He can be contacted at [email protected]




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Dr. Franklin, You Will Soon Know If We Remain a Republic 

William L. Kovacs

October 2020

Dr. Franklin, You Will Soon Know If We Remain a Republic 

Dear Dr. Franklin:

In troubled times we are reminded that after the Constitutional Convention, you were asked what type of government do we have, a Republic or Monarchy?  Your reply, “A republic if you can keep it,” is as profound today as it was in 1787. Over the centuries, Americans have been fortunate to have leaders who strove to keep the nation together. With the leadership of Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Truman we survived a civil war, world wars, and depressions.

We no longer have American leadership. We have only political leadership; “leaders” who win by dividing us. Voters are merely commodities that accept political promises in exchange for their votes.

Democrats want to mindlessly flood the U.S. with mail-in ballots that can be completed by anyone and delivered where needed.

President Trump urges supporters to vote early (by mail) and often (in-person). His Postal Service is restructuring operations (slowing down delivery) in 17 postal areas with 151 electoral votes. Yet, he accuses Democrats of stuffing ballot boxes and destroying ballots. He refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose.

Both parties believe chaos works to their advantage. Both parties refuse to renounce violence should they lose. Trump tells fringe groups “stand back and stand by.” Democrats claim the militant Antifa, a group that burns down cities, are peaceful protesters.

President Trump seems to welcome the opportunity to use force against any civil unrest. The Democrat presidential nominee seems to view the use of force against his supporters as a real sign that Democrats are fighting fascism.

With tens-of-millions of mail-in ballots being cast, official counting may extend beyond the December 14, 2020, electoral college voting deadline. Lawsuits will challenge millions of ballots, all to ensure a “fair election.” So far, 399 election lawsuits have been filed over when ballots must be counted, location of polling places, ballot drop boxes, poll watchers.

Both presidential candidates see different paths to victory. Biden’s path is through loose voting standards and friendly state courts, e.g. PA (extra time), OH (extra drop-boxes.) Trump, like President Bush in 2001, views the U.S. Supreme Court as his ticket to victory.

Three likely scenarios are unfolding.

Biden wins by turning out a vote so massive it cannot be seriously challenged in court.

Trump wins by creating such significant chaos that his conservative Supreme Court must again act as a Super-legislature to “save the nation.”  Bush v. Gore, is the perfect example. The five Republican members of the court usurped Congress’ power to elect the president when it blocked the Florida Supreme Court’s order authorizing recounts. By ending the recount, the court elected Bush as president.

If there are disputed electoral votes, Trump will ask the court to set aside the laws of those states and award their electoral votes to him. This time, however, there are six Republicans on the court.  Three of the justices, Roberts, Kavanaugh, and newly appointed Barrett, were part of the Republican legal team in Bush v. Gore. They know how to use the court to elect a president.

By rushing the appointment of Barrett, in the middle of a presidential election, it looks as if Trump gave her the job so she can vote to let him keep his job. Should Justice Barrett, not recuse herself, and Justice Roberts abandons the president, she will determine the next president. A similar situation happened this week when the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 on a Pennsylvania case involving the time for counting ballots.

If Barrett’s vote elects Trump, the resistance will firmly believe the election rigged. This will be their reason for massive resistance. It will be Trump’s reason to designate these groups as “terrorists” and use the military to “restore order.”

The third possibility is to follow the Constitution and federal statutes governing the election of the president in a disputed election. It is difficult to manipulate this process.

Election disputes usually arise when one candidate has a small vote lead but the other candidate alleges that if certain votes are counted/discounted, he/she would win. The determining factor in 2020 is whether disputes can be resolved before December 8, 2020. If disputes are resolved within that time period, the selection of electors is “conclusive” and must be accepted by the next Congress, starting January 3, 2021.

Electors from states with unresolved disputes will be resolved by Congress in accordance with federal statutes.  In separate proceedings, each House must decide which set of state electors to certify. If the House and Senate agree on a slate of electors, the slate is certified. If the House and Senate cannot agree, the electors certified by the Governor of the state are counted.

After certifying contested elector slates, Congress counts the electoral votes. If one of the candidates receives 270 electoral votes, that person shall be president. If no person has a majority of electoral votes, the House, voting by state, each state having one vote, votes to elect a president. The person receiving votes from a majority of states is the president.

Which party benefits from this dispute resolution process? Currently, Democrats control the House however, Republicans in Congress hold majorities in 31 state delegations and 26 governorships. In seven swing states (AZ, FL. IA, MI, MN, PA, WI), Democrat’s hold majorities in 4, Republican’s 2, and PA is tied. Republican governors in swing states hold a 4-3 advantage. Guessing who wins is Shear Madness!

There is no time frame for completing the process, thus the need for the Presidential Succession Act which establishes a line of succession to ensure the nation is never without a president. Trump’s term would end on January 20, 2021, and an acting president would serve until Congress elects a president.

Dr. Franklin, to continue as a Republic, citizens must view the election outcome as fair and legitimate. This requires the Supreme Court to extend deference to Congress and state legislatures in this most political of political matters. The presidential candidates must be gracious and peaceful in transitioning power or accepting defeat, otherwise the resistance and the armed militia, as proxies for their candidates, will fight for their version of a Republic.

Who knows what type of government we will have after such conflict?