Defining “Broke”

In a Chicago Sun-Times opinion piece this morning, Reason magazine’s Jacob Sullum says the Democrats aren’t serious about the national debt. Nothing surprising about that, but he concludes with this beauty:

Picking up the president’s investment theme, The New York Times says it’s “obfuscating nonsense” to declare that “we’re broke,” as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) likes to do. “A country with a deficit is not necessarily any more ‘broke’ than a family with a mortgage or a college loan,” the Times explains.

Suppose the mortgage is twice the home’s current value, the college loan was used for an unfinished degree in anthropology, and the family cannot make payments on either without borrowing or stealing because it has no income of its own. Now this family looks more like the federal government.

Whether we call it “broke” or not, no one should be lending it any more money until it gets its house in order.

Brian Saint-Paul

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Brian Saint-Paul was the editor and publisher of Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, in Washington. D.C. In addition to various positions in journalism and publishing, he has served as the associate director of a health research institute, a missionary, and a private school teacher. He lives with his wife in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, where he obsesses over Late Antiquity.

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