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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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  • The Future for the Next Generation: Involuntary Servitude

The Future for the Next Generation: Involuntary Servitude

William L. Kovacs

November 2022

The Future for the Next Generation: Involuntary Servitude

Under our Constitution, the people are the sovereign. We the people then hire the federal government to run the nation for our benefit. But like the Sci-fi movies where robots take over humans, the federal government is constantly expanding its powers to be our master and we, its servants. Both political parties increase their power over us by increasing the national debt. As the debt grows it becomes more unmanageable; eventually resulting in chaos that provides the federal government with the opportunity to fully realize its dream of placing citizens into involuntary servitude to serve its needs.

William L. Kovacs, the author


The United States is 246 years old. The last president to return money to the treasury was Calvin Coolidge. Our last six presidents in their forty-two combined years in office, have, on top of appropriations, borrowed, an additional, $27.46 trillion to run the nation. That is 88% of our entire $31 trillion national debt. Each taxpayer’s share of the national debt is $245,191 as of September 22, 2022. It is rising daily. The average personal income in the U.S. is $63,211.

Is our federal government incompetent, or insane or is there a more sinister agenda? Since most of the government is occupied by power-hungry people, its goal is to gain greater control over citizens. The easiest way to achieve greater control is through massive debt. It allows the government to give us what we don’t need, in exchange for taxing future generations. Eventually, it will require confiscatory taxes on citizens to pay off its debt. At that time the journey into involuntary servitude begins.

How did the government put us in this position?

The framework of our Constitution is so broad and vague as to allow the federal government to be capitalist, communist, or socialist. Moreover, the federal government can tax us as much as it needs to satisfy its wants. From 1932 to 1981, the marginal tax rate in the U.S. ranged between 63% – 91%.

Republicans and Democrats are both responsible for the National Debt. Actually, Republicans, for all their righteous calls for fiscal restraint, are responsible for 60% of it. The chart in the image uses data from The American Presidency Project, The Balance, and the Treasury Department to illustrate the increase in the national debt for each president by the fiscal year.

It is unlikely the national debt will be paid off in our lifetimes. This means we are living on the future productivity of those who have no say in creating it.  A truly unjust law to those who will have to pay tomorrow, for our spending today.

The national debt will become so burdensome to future generations that it will undermine democracy. If the federal government taxed current citizens the full amount of the programs it funds, there would be a tax revolt against “unjust taxes.” But the accumulation of massive debt is different from imposing taxes on people. Our representatives avoid accountability and confrontation by shifting the cost of today’s government to future generations.

Each dollar expended by us today without earning that dollar is a dollar our posterity will have to repay for us. Is there a point at which the debt imposed on future generations is so massive that it converts the social obligation of paying reasonable taxes into involuntary servitude to the government?

What is involuntary servitude?

Involuntary servitude” is defined as “a condition of compulsory service or labor performed by one person, against his will, for the benefit of another person due to force, threats, intimidation or other similar means of coercion and compulsion directed against him.” It is usually found in situations where the servitor is compelled to labor against his will in the liquidation of some debt or obligation.

The International Labor Organization Forced Labor Convention of 1930 deems all involuntary work or service exacted under the threat of a penalty, to be forced labor, therefore, illegal. Under the Convention government-forced or compulsory labor does not include compulsory military service, civic obligations for the benefit of the community, punishment for a crime, and emergency situations such as helping with catastrophes.

Absent from the list of exemptions are mandates imposing taxes so excessive that future generations must work to pay off the debt accumulated by prior generations.  Going forward the Congressional Budget Office estimates our national debt will continue to increase from 100% of GDP in 2022 to 180% of GDP in 2051. This will impose trillions of dollars of additional debt on future generations.

Involuntary servitude is implemented by force

The federal government will have to impose unreasonably high taxes on future generations if it is to pay off the national debt. Anyone who does not pay will be threatened by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) with a fine, confiscation of property, salaries, bank accounts, or imprisonment.

In the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act,” Congress authorizes an additional $79.6 billion for the IRS. $45.6 billion of this money is for enforcing the payment of taxes. The IRS will hire more enforcement agents, and lawyers, and purchase new technology and weapons to increase enforcement efforts.

Placing the situation in perspective is essential to understanding the federal government’s intentions. It is estimated the IRS will hire an estimated 87,000 new agents. This more than doubles its current workforce of 78,661. With its 165,661 federal agents, the IRS will be the fifth largest federal agency by the number of employees.

These new employees are in addition to the 2,300 Special Agents that carry AR-15s, P90 tactical rifles, and other heavy weaponry. According to OpenTheBooks, the IRS currently has 4,600 weapons and 5 million rounds of ammunition. Moreover, the IRS will have significant fire-power backup, should it need it. The Militarization of the U.S. Executive Agencies, prepared by OpenTheBooks, reports that 103 executive agencies, outside of the Department of Defense, spent $2.7 billion on guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment between the fiscal years 2006 and 2019. It estimates there are more federal police officers (200,000) with firearms than U.S. Marines (186,000), and this is before the IRS adds its new enforcement agents.

President Biden routinely talks tough and mocks anyone (from domestic extremists to parents speaking at school board meetings) believing they could challenge the power of the U.S. government. He noted if they [citizens] planned to use guns, they would “…need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.”

Likely 99.9% of citizens are not planning to challenge the federal government, in any manner. Most understand the federal government operates independently of the people in the nation. It is also extremely well-armed and could eliminate anyone or anything that remotely appears challenging. That is not the issue. The issue is that the president of the United States regularly reminds citizens that the federal government has massive military power it can use against them. So much for believing the government works for citizens.

Federal collection threats, will result in involuntary servitude?

If future citizens object to paying off a massive debt they had no part in creating, the federal government will use all the civil and criminal laws against them. It will overwhelm any person that challenges its “God-given right” to take any property for whatever the government believes is owed. These citizens will be forced to work no matter what the tax burden might be, to pay off the national debt.

Paying off a reasonable national debt is a civic duty. Working endlessly, under government threat, for a lifetime to pay off tens of trillions of dollars of debt that these future generations had no part in creating, is involuntary servitude which is prohibited by the XIII Amendment to the Constitution.

What can citizens do?

Citizens today cannot claim there is nothing we can do since the government controls the spending and increases in the national debt. Citizens in a democracy are responsible for the actions of the state. We need to treat government officials as our servants. Citizens have the ability through our vote to control them.  If we continue to allow the government to amass debt, we are telling future generations “they have no rights. All wealth belongs to the government.” At this point, the U.S. becomes an unjust nation that imposes involuntary servitude on posterity. If it continues, it is the end of our Democracy.

William L. Kovacs, author of Reform the Kakistocracy, recipient of the 2021 Independent Press Award for Political/Social Change. He also served as senior vice president for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a chief counsel to a congressional committee